The Postal Corporation of Kenya (Posta) and Safaricom yesterday launched MPost, a partnership tipped to revive the ailing postal sector and boost growth of e-commerce.
MPost allows subscribers to use their mobile phone numbers as digital addresses where they will receive notifications from Posta about their letters or parcels.
“Today, we have 450,000 physical post office boxes across the country and with 45 million mobile subscribers there is massive opportunity to expand this footprint through MPost,” said Postmaster General Dan Kagwe.
Subscribers will pay Posta Sh300 annually for the service that will also give them the option of selecting which post office to pick their deliveries from, with Posta looking to roll out five million digital post boxes across the country.
SEE ALSO :Jumia to use post offices for deliveries
This will see it net Sh1.5 billion annually compared to the Sh900 million the firm can potentially make from charging Sh2,000 annually on physical boxes.
“Posta’s logistical capabilities and post office branch network are well placed to meet this shift,” said Safaricom Chief Executive Michael Joseph, in a statement.
“We are therefore coming together to create value for our customers by empowering them to conveniently and affordably receive parcels and goods wherever they may be across the country.”
The deal is likely to give a boost to e-commerce service providers who have in the past cited the lack of a proper addressing system as an impediment to growth in the sector.
“We have invested in MPost to meet the shifting demands of our customers in a modern, digital world,” said Mr Kagwe.
“This partnership will enable Safaricom’s more than 34 million customers to access postal services from the 625 postal outlets spread across the country, directly from their mobile phones.”
Earlier this year, CitiBank estimated that Kenya’s e-commerce market could be worth Sh500 billion in the long term.
“We estimate e-commerce market size could reach Sh700million in the near term, assuming average revenue per user and user penetration levels comparable to India, and Sh4-5 billion in the longer term, assuming penetration level comparable to China,” said the bank in a report.
At the same time, Posta is betting on the new service to reverse fortunes that have been dwindling in recent years owing to increased competition from the various transport operators who also run courier services.
Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya indicates the number of letters sent in the first six months of this year fell 24 per cent from 11.2 million to 9.7 million.
Courier items over the same period went up 23 per cent from 716,000 to 885,000.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.
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.