Kwara, a digital banking platform in Kenya has today launched “Kwara Pronto” a digital banking software for SACCOs at risk during the Coronavirus pandemic. The platform will allow SACCOs to continue business operations and serve their customers amid the social distancing measures for the next three months.
Due to government-enforced restrictions on movement and social distancing measures during COVID-19, SACCOs are unable to operate at full capacity. As a result, members face challenges applying for loans, transacting and accessing their funds.
The new Pronto product will enable both BOSA and FOSA SACCOs to quickly and easily go digital. They simply need to provide minimum mandatory KYC requirements. And a snapshot of financial data, all of which are protected under NDA. Staff can work remotely, process the high volume of incoming loan requests quickly, disburse funds, and easily get in touch with members. Members, in turn, can begin to transact digitally and view their finances and loan eligibility in real-time. Eligible SACCOs will also get a free website to enhance their digital presence.
Kwara is offering access to an essential version of its core digital banking platform. Which will enable SACCOs who qualify to bring their operations online, at no cost, for the next 3 months. This is an effort to enable SACCOs and their members to keep transacting while observing social distancing.
“The COVID-19 crisis will inevitably disproportionately impact the financially vulnerable, who rely heavily on SACCOs for access to fair loans and a safety net when they need it,” said Kwara CEO Cynthia Wandia. “Traditionally, SACCOs rely on face to face interaction to serve their customers. Today they are facing significant challenges trying to operate in this new environment. Our platform is designed to kickstart their digital transformation. We are offering an essential version of our platform for free. SACCOs can continue serving the members that need them and get through these difficult times.”
“The Kwara core banking platform is stable and secure, with incredible dedication and commitment in providing support to its clients. I commend them in making an effort to focus on helping SACCOs keep issuing loans through this time,” said Kenya Bankers SACCO Chief Information Officer Steve Biko, of the company’s clients.
Kwara serves more than 27,000 SACCO members via SACCOs. Including Kenya Bankers Sacco Ltd in Kenya and has over Ksh 8bn in assets under management on its platform.
The national 15s rugby team head coach Paul Odera, believes the Simba’s as they are popularly known, has got what it takes to defy all odds and secure a place at the coveted rugby World Cup set for 2023 in France.
Kenya will play in pool A with France, New Zealand, Italy and America 1 at the competition should they qualify.
If Kenya fails to secure Africa 1 and go through the repechage, they’ll play in Pool C with Wales, Australia, Fiji and Europe 1 following completion of the Pool Allocation Draw was done in December 2020 in Paris.
And Odera who was appointed to be in charge of the team from 2019 is very optimistic that the team will deliver when it matters most.
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“Making the World Cup in France is something much bigger than just rugby for us,” Odera told World Rugby.
“Because to us it’s to bring the country together, to bring all the different races together, to bring all the different tribes, ethnic groups together, to bring those disparate social groups together and for the country to start believing in the men.”
He added: “What’s driving me is my passion and that passion is what I’m trying to get into the players, into my coaching staff, into the Kenya Rugby Union as an organization, is that we are transforming this country through the game of rugby and we’re going to get success on and off the field.”
Last month, Odera took the first step on the long road that could lead the Simbas to France when he named a bumper 102-man training squad to continue preparations for their opening RWC 2023 qualifiers in July.
This initial squad will undergo a series of assessment tests after which the team will be narrowed down to 50 players and later, a final list of 30 players who will compete in this year’s Rugby Africa Cup.
The management has scheduled several training camps that will either be virtual or face to face, depending on the next directive on Covid-19 protocols.
This is in preparation for the Stellenbosch camp in June followed by the RA cup in July 2021 where the Simbas will host Senegal and Zambia.
Among those who earned a place in the bloated squad is Fijian Jone Kubu who has been in Kenya for the past five years playing for Kabras Sugar RFC thus is eligible to play for the Simbas having met the minimum requirement for three years according to World Rugby residency rules.
Kubu has played an integral part in the rise for the Kakamega-based outfit and was key for the side when they won the Kenya Cup in 2016 after beating Impala and Enterprise Cup in 2019 against the same opposition.
The tournament is scheduled to run from 8 September 2023 to 21 October 2023 with the confirmed fixtures and kick-off times to be announced in due course.
Rugby World Cup 2023 Pools:
Pool A: New Zealand, France, Italy, Americas 1, Africa 1
Pool B: South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Asia / Pacific 1, Europe 2
Pan-African housing development financier Shelter Afrique has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Juba-based real estate firm, Triangle Real Estate to develop 26,000 housing units for South Sudan Defense Forces at an estimated cost of USD1.5bn through a public-private-partnership special purpose vehicle.
The MOU was signed in Nairobi by Shelter Afrique Chief Executive Officer Andrew Chimphondah and Triangle Real Estate Chief Executive Officer Amb. Arop Deng Kuol, on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and Planning for the Government of South Sudan.
“We have been mandated by the Ministry of Finance and Planning to source funds for the construction and completion of a defense housing project on behalf of the Government of South Sudan under the Peace Through Development programme initiated by President Salvar Kiir in 2018,” Amb. Kuol said.
Amb. Kuol noted that the signing of the MOU was critical in addressing the housing crisis in South Sudan, which has been exacerbated by many years of conflicts.
“The housing crisis in South Sudan is dire. In fact, we are starting from the scratch – the reason this memorandum of understanding we’ve signed with Shelter Afrique is very important for us and is proof that provision of affordable housing is central to the agenda of the government of the South Sudan, not just for the Forces but for the entire population,” said Amb. Kuol.
Mr. Chimphondah said the signing of the MOU with Triangle Real Estate highlights Shelter Afrique’s catalytic role in the provision of affordable housing finance across Africa.
“Our vision is to provide affordable housing for all Africans – including South Sudan. We are proud to be part of this partnership and we look forward to being the pre-eminent provider of financial, advisory and research solutions geared towards solving the housing crisis in South Sudan which has a shortage of 4 million units,” Mr. Chimphondah said.
The Project scope includes development of 148 housing blocks of 160 housing units each at New Site, Qiada Junubiya, J-3 Presidential Guards Apartments, and at New Bonga.
Under the agreement Triangle Real Estate will act as the developer and contractor of the project in conjunction with various consultants. Shelter Afrique, on the other hand, will provide catalytic funding as well as act as the lead arranger to assist in raising additional financing through the syndication of other Developmental Financial Institutions as applicable.
Amb. Kuol also noted that the government of South Sudan was keen on becoming a shareholder of Shelter Afrique and was actively sourcing the budget for the capital subscription fees.
“In addition to sourcing for finance for the Defense Forces housing project, the government of South Sudan has also mandated Triangle Real Estate and a financial advisor – Benchmark Solutions to source for funds to this effect and we are currently in talks with some potential financiers. We believe that South Sudan should become a member of Shelter Afrique in 2021 when approved at the AGM that will be held on the 24th June 2021,” Amb Kuol said.
The results for the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) have been unveiled. Speaking during the unveiling the said the results were for 747,171 students who finally sat for their exams a year of uncertainty thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.