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Little takes on rival Uber targeting mass transport

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Craft Silicon CEO Kamal Bubhadhatti
Craft Silicon CEO Kamal Bubhadhatti, Safaricom’s Bob Collymore and a taxi driver Hellen Wanjiku at the launch of Little in July 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyan-owned taxi-hailing app Little is set to rival Uber in rolling out a mass transport service in the new year that will see its users book seats on minibuses plying various city routes.

Little Shuttle will allow riders to book a seat and board the 33-seater minibuses at specific times of the day. The new service targets riders who would otherwise use their vehicles to move around.

Uber in November announced its intention to launch a similar service within Nairobi once tests on the product in Egypt and Mexico prove successful.

Little is running its pilot on Kangemi and Nextgen route in an undertaking that the firm says it is implementing with the help of National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to ensure they comply with the law.

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“We expect to fine-tune the platform as we pilot and customise it further to solve real city problems. For our pilot and also as we go live, we would be working with partners who have clean bigger buses with a seating capacity of 33 and above,” said Kamal Budhabhatti, the founder of Craft Silicon that owns Little.

“The cost (of Little Shuttle) once we go live would be higher than a Matatu cost and we are not competing with them, rather letting Riders who would otherwise be using their own vehicles for city and work movements,” said Budhabhatti.

Little and Uber are targeting a big chunk of the capital’s commuters who use often unpredictable public service vehicles as a form of transport around the city. The Uber Bus function, Uber’s East Africa General Manager Loic Amado told Reuters, would also be available on the app.

Once the service is proven in Nairobi, Amado said it could be expanded to Kenya’s neighbours, such as Uganda’s capital Kampala and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

The idea would be to apply it to vehicles carrying up to 16 people.

“We want to be part of the transportation ecosystem in Nairobi and matatus are a big part of how people move around,” Amado said.

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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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