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NEWS INDEPTH: Access to toilets still low despite sanitation push

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Only about half of the Kenyan population has access to improved sanitation facilities despite more than a decade of campaigns to upgrade the basic amenities, data showed, an indication of the negative effects of the country’s rapid population growth.

Access to improved the facilities that basically hygienically separate human excrete from human contact has remained statistic at an average 51.3 per cent over the 15 years to 2015, according to a joint report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Indicatively, more of these improved facilities are now shared in Kenya — a pointer to the rising population. In 2000, the number of shared facilities stood at about 20.5 per cent of the country’s population compared to 21.4 per cent in 2015, the data showed.

Contrastingly, the country’s population growth rate has been explosive over the period — a possible explainer of the increasing number of shared sanitation facilities. For instance, the country’s population was estimated at about 31.06 million in 2000 but jumped to about 40.06 million by 2015.

The strain of population growth and limited resources has seen a substantive rise in the number of Kenyans using unimproved sanitation facilities including open pits, hanging latrines, buckets and open bushes or fields.

An estimated 36.7 per cent of the population was using unimproved sanitation facilities by 2015, up from 31.7 per cent in 2000. According to the current Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, the situation has worsened with over 60 per cent of rural households presently relying on non-improved facilities.


Encouragingly, fewer Kenyans are relieving themselves on open grounds. Data showed that open defecation dropped to 12 per cent of the country’s population by 2015, down from about 16.8 per cent in 2000.

The number of Kenyans building septic tanks has also improved marginally from an average 1.3 per cent of the population in 2000 to about 1.8 per cent by 2015. Sewer connections, however, dropped from about 4.9 per cent of the population in 2000 to an average three per cent in 2015.

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Proper sanitation facilities are a primary prevention strategy for spread of diseases and intestinal worms (roundworms, whipworms and hookworms) as they are usually transmitted by eggs present in faeces of infected individuals, which end up contaminating the soil in areas where sanitation is poor.

In Kenya alone, the problem costs the economy over Sh32 billion ($320 million) annually, with nearly 20,000 Kenyans, including more than 17,000 children under the age of five, dying every year from diarrheal diseases directly attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene, according to a study by Lixil Corporation, Oxford Economics and Water Aid.

According to United States Agency for International Development (USAid), access to water and sanitation in Kenya has not been keeping pace with population growth, as only 58 per cent of Kenyans have access to basic drinking water and 30 per cent have access to basic sanitation currently.


Estimates suggest the population could double by 2050 relative to 2015 given current growth rates, while 30 million Kenyans (48 per cent of the population) are expected to live in urban areas by 2030.

Mr Victor Ouma, a coordinator of Kenya Water and Sanitation Network (Kewasnet) contends that universal healthcare cannot be achieved without proper sanitation and that there is an urgent need to improve sanitation in East Africa to reduce deaths and illnesses associated with poor hygiene.

“Our organisation strives to promote good governance in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector. We need an all-inclusive approach towards addressing issues like educating communities on the importance of observing hygiene and also pushing for improved policies.

“We are working at both national and county level to support policy development efforts to ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene and resource management are well captures and implemented,” said Mr Ouma.

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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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