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LETTERS: Proactive approach on plastic waste needed

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LETTERS: Proactive approach on plastic waste needed




A garbage dumpsite. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A garbage dumpsite. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Many predicaments in life can seem insurmountable, until human creativity and non-conventional approaches are applied.

In Bijapur, India, citizens can trade in four plastic bottles for one cup of tea. In Rome, Ecuador, Istanbul and Indonesia, one can get bus tickets and free transport for trading in plastic bottles. A casual apparel chain in Tokyo has announced a partnership with a top factory to produce clothing made from recycled plastic bottles next year.

The predicament of plastic waste in the environment has led communities and countries around the world to look for practical, creative and easily-applicable avenues to manage plastic waste, starting with PET plastic bottles. According to McKinsey, plastic waste will grow to approximately 460 million tons per year by 2030 if the demand for plastics continues to grow by its current trajectory.

Global consortiums and alliances are alive to this fact, and, in response, have started taking concerted steps towards progressively creating value for plastic waste, thereby reducing pollution, and kick-starting a circular economy.

A circular economy aims to keep the earth’s scarce material resources in a continuous loop of use and re-use by eliminating ‘waste’ and creating new product cycles. To date, over 400 signatories including global manufacturing companies such as L’Oreal, Unilever and Nestle have signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment mooted in October 2018 by the UN Environment and Ellen McArthur Foundation.

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The commitment binds companies and governments to changing how they produce, use and reuse plastics. It ensures forethought and futuristic innovations that will ensure that plastics stay in the economy and out of the environment.

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In appreciating that we are part of this global economy, Kenya is making its own steps towards a lasting solution to the issue of waste management albeit in a somewhat fragmented way. Examples include the Customer Bora Initiative, which is run by young people in collaboration with Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), in different parts of Nairobi.

They incentivize customers to trade in plastic bottles for food items such as bread, flour and sugar. There’s also the Project Shule initiative which is driving proper disposal awareness in schools around the country, to start inculcating the value of waste in young minds.

However, it is critical to contextualise our efforts within the global discourse and trajectory on the circular economy as a country, and by doing so, institute a tangible road map towards a circular economy.

In January manufacturers and stakeholders in the plastic sector value chain initiated the Kenya Plastics Action Plan. The Plan, launched this week, aims to ensure the environmentally sustainable use and recycling of plastics by applying the principles of a circular economy in Kenya.

This acknowledges the benefits accorded by the continued use of plastic, as a useful cost-effective material in our nascent and growing economy, and takes the challenge of plastic waste as an additional opportunity to create jobs and industry in new economic models.

Once it takes root, through the support of all stakeholders, it is hoped that this plan can be scaled to include other forms of ‘waste’ as well.

To this end, the plan has identified specific actions that the public and private sector need to undertake to realise a clean and safe environment for all. These will include waste management efforts at the county level; Formation and regulation of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes, and establishment of recycling value chains and standards.

This plan is intended to work through inclusive and broad stakeholder engagement, as well as progressive policy recommendations to catalyze the transition towards a circular economy on all levels.

Industry’s call is for Kenya to pursue a circular economy as a core element in our development approaches. It is paramount that the National and County governments focus on incentivising industry players to participate in such initiatives. This includes predictable enforcement of policies that not only promote regulation of the plastic value chain but also encourage innovations and investments in the recycling industry.

Mucai Kunyiha, vice chairman, Kenya Association of Manufacturers.

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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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