In the 1980s through to the early 2000s, a wallpaper was nothing but a drab pick for those keen on livening up their living space. In 2019, things are totally different.
A recent exhibition jointly held by Design for Living (DFL) and Rampel Designs at The Village Market in Nairobi showcased the wondrous transformation a wallpaper can bring to a room.
Rupal Rach, the founder and textile engineer with DFL, says more and more people are preferring print wallpaper.
“A lot of people are being drawn to complex, structured, more embossed, textured and heavily printed wallpaper. It is the highly digitalised prints that create a story.
“They mimic paintings and murals. As a bonus, they work as pieces of art rather than just wallpaper,” she says.
Rach says factors to be considered when choosing wallpapers are the aesthetics and mood of the room or space, the wallpaper design, sustainability and texture consistency.
For instance, DFL offers both the vinyl and fabric options depending on the use of the space.
To ensure the durability of the wallpaper, spaces with higher traffic like commercial spaces, often go for the vinyl option to allow continual cleaning, whereas the fabric option is highly preferred for residential areas and commercial areas with low traffic. “People forget that walls are such a big part of the house. If left bare, walls can look empty.
“People are now more willing to invest in their spaces; you have paint which requires a revamp every two years whereas quality wallpaper can last you up to 15 years if properly taken care of. It is a long-term cost effective solution,” she says.
Wallpaper has been used in lieu of paint and paintings. With technology, it can be colour-matched to the desired level of aesthetics. They are also available in different price ranges that work for different budgets.
“We are working a lot more on paint-like wallpaper which is what we just launched. They look like paintings. It is a big trend that started in Europe, and is slowly trickling down here. One of the wallpapers we have is made from a traditional Japanese painting. You can see every single brush stroke, the detail and they are made to measure. We scale them to the wall sizes so they don’t look awkward during fitting,” Rach says.
Like with other house elements like art and furniture, wallpapers allow homeowners to express their tastes. Being made by machine, wallpaper provides uniformity as opposed to paint.
A common mistake Rach has seen many clients make is thinking that anyone can install a wallpaper. “You can purchase the most beautiful, expensive product in the world but if the installer doesn’t have an idea how it is supposed to turn out, then you have basically ruined the product and wasted your money. A properly, beautifully finished product is what catches someone’s eye,” she says.
Kenya to import mitumba after coronavirus pandemic
Kenya is set to lift the ban on imports of second-hand clothes once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, the Industry, Trade and Co-operatives Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina has said.
The Cabinet Secretary last Wednesday announced an immediate temporary suspension of the importation of second-hand clothes as a measure to stop importing the SARs-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19 disease.
Ms Maina said the action taken is in line with the conditions as set out by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).
“The government has suspended importation of second-hand clothes with immediate effect to safeguard the health of Kenyans and promote local textiles in the wake of coronavirus,” said Ms Maina.
“Most of the Mitumba imports come from China and Pakistan, countries which are the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision is intended to safeguard Kenyans against the spreading of the coronavirus and is therefore a health issue,” she said.
In an interview with the The EastAfrican, Ms Maina said the Kebs will enforce the suspension as we wait for the situation to improve.
“It is a requirement by the Kebs to take such an action in times of an epidemic like the Covid-19,” she said.
A recent study by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the virus can stay longer on different surfaces, including clothes.
Ms Maina, however, said the temporary ban will not in any way affect the policy on Mitumba imports from the US.
Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Kenya sold about Ksh40 billion ($400m) worth of textiles and clothing to the US.
“This does not in any way affect our policy on our imports from the US. The decision is strictly an urgent measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus,” added Ms Maina.
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.