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Poetry, dance and comedy lined up for weekend

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Mel (Joe Kinyua) and Edna (Mwajuma Belle)
Mel (Joe Kinyua) and Edna (Mwajuma Belle) in ‘Prisoner in Us’. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU 

Night, Mother’ wasn’t the only show to cope with depression last weekend. However, at Alliance Francaise, the Friends Ensemble’s Prisoner in Us fortunately blended angst with boisterous, over-the-top madness to allow us to take Mel’s (Joe Kinyua) despair as a passing cloud.

Mel is desperate, having lost his job after working there for many years; but he’ll eventually bounce back. He has to, after his devoted wife Edna (Mwajuma Belle) returns to work in his stead but then gets laid off herself. In the interim, Mel’s siblings show up, headed by Harry (Sam Psenjin) accompanied by his three sisters.

Harry genuinely wants to help Mel get back on his feet; the sisters not so much. They don’t like Edna and apparently the feeling is mutual.

In the end, what we find in Prisoner in Us is that depression can be overcome when there’s communication and trust among friends. Edna does it for Mel and he in turn does it for her. Each is able to break through the other’s despair with a bundle of tender loving care.

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It was good to see Kinyua and Psenjin back on stage as they’ve been off making movies and hit TV shows. They’ve promised to be back on stage soon, which is good to know.

Meanwhile, this is the last weekend to see Tinga Tinga Tales the Musical. The shows may be already sold out but it’s worth getting on a waiting list just to see this glorious extravaganza of music, light, dancing and delightful stories all based on African folklore.

It stars an outstanding, multitalented Kenyan cast including Eric Wainaina, who composed all the music.

Soon to be heading to New York’s Broadway stage at the New Victory Theatre, no theatre-lover should miss this production. It’s supposedly meant, especially for children, but it’s such an upbeat, professional show, no adult should miss it if you can help it.

This Saturday will also see the Dance Centre Kenya staging a newly choreographed production, entitled Freedom.

Directed by Cooper Rust, DCK’s founder-artistic director, the show will be on at GEMS International School from 7pm. That same day, Kenya’s Slam Poetry champion Kikete FM will perform at Goethe Institute with the Dash Band from 3pm.

The show is entitled Maybe You will Relate. Kikete will then represent Kenya at the World Cup of Slam Poetry in Chad.

Finally, Heartstrings returns next Thursday to Alliance Francaise in Last Man Standing.

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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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