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Line row delays cheap wind power

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Lake Turkana Wind Power Project
A substation for the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Marsabit County. PHOTO | REUTERS 

Homes and businesses will wait longer for the cheaper electricity from Lake Turkana Wind Power Project following a disagreement on whether the transmission line linking the plant to the grid is ready for use.

Carlo van Wageningen, a director at Lake Turkana Wind Power, on Wednesday told the Business Daily that the firm will start injecting power into the grid once the two transmission lines running on the sides of the pylons are done.

This scuttles an earlier government plan to have the cheaper power injected into the grid through a single transmission line pending completion of the second line on the 428-kilometre network running from Marsabit to Narok.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter announced on September 4 that the transmission lines were complete and the firm will be ready to start injecting power into the grid within five days, which lapsed on Sunday.

“They are doing the right thing by putting up the other line which they can complete in a few days. Once that is done, we can start turning on our turbines at say 25 per day,” Mr Wageningen said in reference to Lake Turkana management’s demand for the twin lines.

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The firm is Africa’s biggest wind power scheme made up of 365 turbines. Mr Keter yesterday maintained that the use of a single circuit or line would be sufficient to evacuate the power as the turbines are turned on one by one.

“The way the line is designed, the single circuit on one side can evacuate up to 600MW and because Lake Turkana power is 310MW, which will not be evacuated all at once, we can use the single side as we string the remaining part. All engineers have agreed on this,” Mr Keter said. But Lake Turkana Wind Power has declined to buy this proposal and insists on the two lines.

An engineer on site, who sought anonymity because he is not authorise to speak for the firm, said carrying the power on the single circuit would be “too risky and could damage the lines.

“One side of the wiring, which is complete, can evacuate the power but it was agreed among ourselves that stringing the other side while one is transmitting the power would be risky for people and the infrastructure as well”.

Injection of the cheaper power was expected to ease pressure on homes and businesses after electricity prices were increased by up to 52 per cent on August 1.

Electricity from the wind park will cost Sh8.7 per unit (8.5 US cents), which is in a similar price range as geothermal power, or three times cheaper than diesel-generated electricity.

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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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