Kenya is an increasingly youthful nation. The Youth is the single largest percentage of the country’s population. Indeed, the term the youth bulge is an accurate depiction of the country’s demograghics. Those below 35 years of age is about 80 percent of the country’s population. It, consequently means that plans, policies and strategies must be alive to and respond to this reality in the country’s demographics.
A few weeks ago, while attending a passout parade at the National Youth Service, President Uhuru Kenyatta mentioned an aspect of the youth bulge that raised eyebrows amongst the youth. Responding to a concern on why he had appointed former vice-president Moody Awori to a board dealing with youth issues, he quipped that with young people having disappointed him by looting those resources, he had no option but to entrust the responsibility for stewardship to an older person. Expectedly several young people were not amused.
Was the President indicating that corruption had become a preserve of the youth? The misuse of public resources in the country has reached alarming proportions. To the extent that a survey undertaken by the Aga Khan Institute showed that majority of young people had no qualms about get rich schemes, seeing as their role model people who had made money quickly even if the source of the wealth was corrupt practices. Consequently, the public action in 2018 to try and curb the rampant corruption in the country is commendable. However, it cannot be that this corruption resides amongst the youth.
However, the President may have been passing a different message. It may be a message of frustration with the youth and young leaders. For long, the mantra used to be that the youth were the leaders of tomorrow. Until around a decade ago, the age of the country’s leadership was both old and tired.
I remember being part of a process to develop the first strategic plan for the Kenyan Young Parliamentarians Association (KYPA). The retreat for this purpose had an invitation list for members who fit into the ‘age bracket” then loosely defined as those below 45 years of age. Even with this expanded definition we still could not identify more than 50 members. The organisers even became more flexible allowing a few extra years as long as one was below 50 years of age.
The drive towards increase in the number of young people in leadership has borne fruit. Currently, KYPA has more than fifty members and the age bracket respects the constitutional definition of youth, being those below thirty-five years of age. We have made this progress as a country in only one decade.
Despite these developments, it is necessary to remember that the quest for youth leadership was not solely to increase the numbers of young people occupying leadership position.
It was a desire to improve the quality of leadership in the country. For a country, where the majority of its population was young, for a world which was increasingly technology driven, leadership required to reflect this demographic reality and respond to this technological status.
The hope was that this would lead to more responsive leadership and faster and equitable development in the country. However, the reality points to a different picture.
The NYS scandals have demonstrated that even youth programmes are not spared of graft. While it is not just young people who have been culpable in this and other financial misappropriations, the fact that even when they have been entrusted with the custody of public resources, they have not been good stewards, leads to the frustration that the President expressed recently.
The solution though is not to pass blanket condemnation of the youth. Neither is it for the youth to dismiss the President’s concerns. Rather, it is to recognise that graft knows no age barrier and has to be fought consistently. In addition, since the youth form the bulk of the population, strategies to address this malaise must appreciate and take into account the reality of the youth bulge in Kenya.
Young leaders have the responsibility of setting a more ethical standard to be emulated. They must recognise that engaging in plunder of public resources is not just criminal, it also gives the entire youth fraternity a bad name. It denies the youth positive role models, compromises the future of the country and justifies the appointment of people who are past their retirement age.
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.