Since the Austrian scholar Joseph Schumpeter identified innovation as a disruptive economic force over six decades ago, the concept has acquired great significance in business.
Firms globally have since embraced innovation as the cornerstone of their competition strategy. With consumers becoming more demanding and sophisticated, innovation has truly become the paramount differentiator between businesses.
Innovation can be simply defined as new ideas or creative ways of doing things and conducting business. Talking innovation is however the easy part; leveraging its influence to keep up with ever-changing consumer demands and expectations requires hard work. Innovation has emerged as a key parameter in the personal care and beauty industry where consumer expectations are in constant flux.
The global personal care industry, estimated to hit $650 billion (Sh65 trillion) by 2024, continues to experience the disruptive force of innovation. Be it cosmetics, skincare products, detergents and fragrances, the influence of mutating consumer preferences is being felt across the industry.
Estimated at about Sh100 billion in 2015, Kenya’s personal care market is not an exception to the emerging global trends. The local market is becoming crowded with new entrants. Consumers are now spoilt for choice given that most personal care products come with colourful packaging and many different fragrances. This has spawned a whole new level of sophistication. Consequently, the barriers to entry into the business have risen as focus shifts to innovating beyond the functional needs of the consumer.
The shift is also being driven by the burgeoning youth market whose needs are completely different from those of the traditional consumer. Also, most products are now available through e-commerce channels, targeting youthful consumers. Image-conscious youth are now spending more on personal care products.
Another market trend worth noting is that consumers are now paying more attention to products that meet their health and fitness aspirations. As consumers become more aware of the health aspects of ingredients used in making products, there will be greater demand for products with natural components. Innovation to meet this demand dynamic will work at two levels namely, natural production of ingredients, and partnerships with local producers.
At Pwani Oils, we are particularly keen on making products and partnerships that drive this approach to innovation and meeting consumer demand for quality products that meet their functional, aesthetic and health needs. We are exploring ways to support local production of natural ingredients like aloe vera and neem as part of our agenda to sustainably grow our personal care business value chain.
Counterfeits, however, continue to pose a major challenge. Personal care is a lucrative business thus prone to counterfeiting. To grow the local market, the government needs to rein in rogue importers of products that are craftily packaged to resemble those of genuine manufacturers using fake wrappers and bottles.
Most of these counterfeits in fact do not conform to international and local quality and health standards and thus harm consumers.
Coupled with the fact that Kenya has emerged as the regional manufacturing hub, local innovation in the sector deserves support with the right mix of policy and incentives. Counterfeits should also be eliminated from the market.
Global personal care and beauty brands have seen the immense opportunity in the domestic and regional market. As a result, many international brands are eyeing the local market, evidence that the local consumer has come of age. Local manufacturers, Pwani Oils included, are ramping up their game to meet the growing demand.
This is precisely the reason why we should support indigenous firms that have over the years built a solid manufacturing base in this niche and created thousands of jobs while contributing significantly to Kenya’s economic growth. In doing so, we will be making positive progress toward making Kenya a global personal care manufacturing hub and realizing the Big Four Agenda pillar on job creation.
RAJUL MALDE, Commercial director, Pwani Oils.
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.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
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.
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.