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LETERS: How recycling helps grow global economy

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Letters

A local plant that recycles plastic waste. FILE
A local plant that recycles plastic waste. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Ever thought about what happens to the tonnes of newspapers that are circulated nationally?

Well, when I was in school, we had this art project known as papier mâché whose basic components were old newspapers and glue.

Once it dried up, we put it to good use, making boxes and ornaments. I was thinking about it the other day while writing this article and came to the happy conclusion that it was a practical way to put old newspapers to use, teaching children to apply themselves by making useful things for purposes of learning.

Traditionally, most businesses engaged in a one way economy, or what I would like to call linear economy. Under linear economy it is “take, make, use, waste and dispose”.

No one, at least not in the formal system, cares about what happens post disposal. That is how tonnes and tonnes of plastic carrier bags ended up on land and water, poisoning aquatic life, endangering the health of domestic and wild animals and hurting the productivity of farmlands. Yet, these used materials could have been reused or recycled to make useful, affordable products. Although thin plastic carrier bags were banned more than a year ago, the menace of PET plastic bottles still looms large.

Now let us flip it back to circular economy. Here, we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. Circular Economy entails rethinking, redesigning, Reusing and Recycling. It results in local manufacturing, job creation, value addition and low-carbon economy.

I can mention in passing that circular economy has inspired a number of well-known brands that are making a difference globally. Plastic Whale, for example, is the first professional plastic fishing company in the world. A social enterprise with a mission: make the world’s waters plastic-free and create value from plastic waste, it started in 2011 with a single challenge to build a boat made of plastic waste.

Today, we have a fleet of 11 boats made from Amsterdam Canal Plastic. Today, it is famous for ‘overfishing’ of plastic waste and would be only too happy to go ‘out of business’ for then it will have accomplished its mission.

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Closer home, Dunia Designs, an eco-friendly design company that specialise in the up-cycling of plastic bottles, plastic bag waste and other recycled materials to create beautiful & bespoke furniture, is making its own history by making sense out of waste and in the process protecting the environment, creating employment and building a viable business.

The last century saw a massive increase in the extraction of construction materials, ores and minerals, fossil fuels and biomass, driven by population explosion and increased prosperity in many parts of the world.

As the demand for natural resources such as water, energy, raw materials and fertile land continues to rise, they are becoming not only scarce but more expensive.

Moreover, rising consumption is putting a strain on the environment, leading to the depletion of forests and fish stocks, and the extinction of many species of animals and plants. Left unchecked, Kenya will certainly face an uncertain future with reduced agricultural productivity, rising poverty and growing inequality. The way out of the quagmire is to significantly improve the way we manage our resources – phase out waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of hazardous substances and make a complete transition to renewable and sustainable energy supplies.

It is conceivable that process optimisation could prevent more radical changes from occurring in the transition to a circular economy. The increasing miniaturisation of products and components, for example, may mean that repairs become much more complicated, or that recycling no longer pays.

Ideally, in a circular economy, waste streams and emissions are used to create value, providing secure and affordable supplies of raw materials and reducing the pressure on the environment. This is an essential condition for a resilient industrial system that facilitates new kinds of economic activity, strengthens competitiveness and generates employment.

The existence of a recycling infrastructure, an active market for repairs and maintenance, and a lively second-hand market (the success of sites such as eBay and Marktplaats.nl in the Netherlands being prime examples) show that society is capable of moving towards a more circular economy.

Increasingly, businesses in various industrial supply chains are co-operating in order to generate industrial symbiosis – by reusing waste, energy, water and material streams, for example – in an economically responsible way.

Karin Boomsma, director, Sustainable Inclusive Business.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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