Connect with us

Business

MUSYOKA: Sights and sounds of Kampala traffic

Published

on

Loading...

[ad_1]

Ideas & Debate

Sights and sounds of Kampala traffic

 traffic jam
Reflection of a traffic jam in a side-view mirror. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

I was recently invited to give a keynote speech at beautifully orchestrated event in Kampala. The event was slated to start at 4 pm on a balmy Saturday afternoon in one of the premier hotels in Kampala’s central business district.

Now if you have ever visited Kampala on any given day, you will have noticed that their traffic makes Nairobi’s semi-permanent gridlock look like child’s play. Saturday is no exception. We had booked my flights on the assumption that all factors would remain constant and the function would start on time which would enable me to catch the evening flight at 21:30 back to Nairobi.

Well, fate threw a monkey wrench and the function started late. Depending on which side of Google your question lands on, the distance between Kampala and Entebbe, where the airport is located, is anywhere between 32 and 43 kilometres. But that’s neither here nor there.

The more important factor is that it can take anything from 50 minutes on a sun-kissed day to two hours when the gods have forsaken you in the viscous traffic trying to get out of Kampala’s central business district. The event organisers were thinking ten steps ahead and by the time I had finished my talk, a police patrol car was waiting to provide an escort to Entebbe. So first I stopped dead in my tracks: a police patrol car? Me? How?! The chairman of the event was extremely relaxed about it, like this happened all the time. “They will clear the path for you to Entebbe, you’ll be there in no time.”

Loading...

Now you must understand that the Kenyan in me only saw serikali (government)whenever a police escort showed up in the streets. These sorts of things were reserved for the political elite. So I shrank into the corner of my seat and watched the weather beaten dark blue Toyota, with a loosely perched siren on its roof, pierce its way through traffic cutting open a path that my cab driver, who was closely following behind, blazed through with unbridled relish. Thirty-five hair raising minutes later, we were at the airport. But this is what amazed me: Ugandan drivers respect authority. Every inch that the police escort negotiated in between lanes and off the road at times was done with the full knowledge that the drivers ahead and beside the escort would fall away and create a Red Sea parting that would make Moses proud.

The reason I write this story is precisely because of the realisation that the Nairobi driver has become cynical and immune to sirens, flags and the chest thumping tactics that many government vehicles use to sweep their way through Nairobi.

I’ve witnessed on several occasions the ubiquitous Subaru lead car overlapping traffic with a scrawny hand thrust out on both sides of the back seat windows pointing a walkie talkie at drivers in a bid to make them fall to the side and allow the flag bearing Toyota Landcruiser or Volkswagen Passat to shimmy past.

Sometimes the slack wrist pointing a purported symbol of authority, in the form of a walkie talkie, is effective. Most times, in my observation, it is not. Which has made pause quite often in wonderment.

When did we Kenyans become so blasé about authority? We see the symbols of power, shrug our shoulders and press on in the debilitating traffic, muttering to ourselves about how our own time is just as important as this officious government official who should have woken up half an hour earlier if he wanted to avoid traffic. I’ve seen an old gentleman calmly whip out a newspaper to read when confronted by an overlapping government chase car that is trying to force him off the road. I’ve seen drivers stick their heads out of the window and yell that they are also in a hurry, so people just need to get in line.

Is it our well entrenched Kenyan freedom of expression that has gotten us here or is it the fact that we have collectively reached a mixture of exasperation, disillusionment and repugnance for the symbols of power demonstrated by the political elite? When we, as a Kenyan people, are able to look authority in the eye and say you are not more important than me, we have arrived at a significant notch in the development belt. What we do with that emerging power is what will define our next decade of demanding accountability for our tax payments.

[ad_2]

Source link

Loading...
Continue Reading

Business

World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

Published

on

Loading...

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.

Loading...

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

Loading...
Continue Reading

Business

Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

Published

on

Loading...

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.

Loading...

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

Loading...
Continue Reading

Business

Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

Published

on

Loading...

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.

Loading...

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.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Trending