The 26th anniversary of the World Water Day was marked recently. Each year, since its designation, UN-Water — the entity that co-ordinates the organisation’s work on water and sanitation — sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge.
This year’s theme, “Leaving no one behind”, focused on how the world can attain sustainable development goal (SDG 6) of ensuring water for all by 2030. Water is progressively becoming a more and more scarce commodity as our demands rise, and as the world gets drier. According to UN, over two billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.
Kenya is not an exception in this figure. The Water Services Regulatory Agency (WASREB) reported that only 55 percent of the population have access to clean and safe water.
Of the country’s 55 public water companies, only nine provide continuous supply. Urban areas have better access than rural areas. Sadly, the urban poor pay more for water than the urban rich. In Nairobi, for instance, those without access pay up to Sh20 per 20 litre jerrican for water of equal or less quality while those with better access pay maximum Sh64 per 1,000 litres.
Given the dwindling resources, and increased demand due to increased populations (both human and animals) and industrial needs, the country may not guarantee water for all – a basic human right – unless cross-sectoral approaches are embraced to address challenges that vulnerable and marginalized groups face in water access.
To ensure water for all by 2030, counties need to appreciate that water knows no boundaries. Regions that share water resources – and related challenges – ought to implement holistic cross-county policies that are evidence-based and responsive to individual county needs. Disaggregated data should help identify the demand, bottlenecks to full participation and how the better-off counties can leverage to uplift the worse-off.
Secondly, there is a need for increased county and national budgets for water and sanitation services.
The country’s estimated cost for water supply is Sh1.7 trillion, while current available budget is Sh592 billion. Whereas this may not be achievable in the short and medium term, there is a need for national and county governments to narrow the deficit as it would make a greater economic sense in the long run. The return on investment would stretch beyond enhancing supply to encompass health and productivity for instance – if we were to account for water-related diseases and time cost accrued in search for water.
Therefore, leaving no one behind theme calls for the audit and reformation of the systemic challenges – these include social, political, economic, water provision models and governance structures, both at the county and national levels.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
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.
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.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
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.
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.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
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.
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.