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LETTERS: Growth of TVET skills should be supported

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vocational training centre
A teacher with students at a vocational training centre. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The discovery of oil in Turkana and the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) helped to expose skill gaps that Kenya needs address fast. During the construction of SGR, labour had to be imported to cover for skill gaps such as welding.

The same fate befell the firms exploring for oil in Turkana who had to fly in special skilled workers.

These projects bared the mismatch between markets needs and the technical and vocational skills available in Kenya.

There are many more high-skill mega projects lined up for implementation in the country and the requirement of technical skills will only increase with time.

Therefore, Kenya, and indeed the entire sub-Saharan Africa region needs to be able to jump on the global bandwagon of marching skills to industry requirements in a meaningful way in order to ensure her millions of youth become and stay relevant in the job market.

Unemployment remains a big concern among youth in Kenya, partly because of the mismatch between training and industry needs.

Technical training holds huge potential for jobs because of the prevailing shortage of graduates with technical skills.

Gladly, the Kenya government has appreciated this situation and adopted a deliberate policy to grow Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) following a shortage of graduates with technical skills.

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Currently, Kenya boasts 4,450 vocational training centers and 11 national polytechnics. In a push to expand this, the government has already built 60 new technical and vocational colleges nationwide with an additional 70 set to be completed by end of 2018.

Student enrollment in TVET institutions has began climbing and more youth should be encouraged to join.

The Economic Survey 2018 shows that student enrolment in TVET institutions increased from 202,556 in 2016 to 275,139 in 2017.

This coincided with a 50.9 per cent rise in the registration of more of TVET institutions from 1,300 in 2016 to 1,962 in 2017.

Earlier in the year in April 2018, the Ministry of Education announced ambitious plans to enroll more than 3.1 million youths in technical colleges and more recently with the announcement of additional support in financing technical education through the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb).In the 2018/19 national budget a total of Sh16 billion was also allocated for recruitment of 2,000 technical training instructors, capitation grants, and construction of 15 new technical training institutes.

This was a remarkable increment from the Sh6.5 billion allocated to TVETs in the previous financial year.These measures may not be enough to fill the gap in technical skills but form initial steps towards addressing youth unemployment.

Many agencies have noticed the potential of expanding TVETs in Kenya and have committed to support the cause. For instance, AVIC International is currently equipping a total of 134 TVET institutions to support this cause

The benefits of technical training will be immense to both the youth and the country’s economic credentials.

Lynette Mwende, public policy and advocacy manager, Avic International Holding Corporation.

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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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