The construction of a road linking the port of Mombasa and Burundi is now complete, with the road expected to cut distance to the landlocked country by 358 kilometres.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the 1,545 kilometre road links the port through Holili, Singida-Kobero border and finally to Bujumbura.
The road will reduce the distance from Mombasa to Bujumbura through the Northern corridor by 358 kilometres.
“That will enhance Mombasa port’s accessibility in the region,” said Mr Macharia during a Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) stakeholders’ luncheon in Nairobi.
“To ease traffic flow between the port of Mombasa and the hinterland, also construction of a dual carriage way between Mombasa and Mariakani is ongoing and will be completed in 2020. The government plans to eventually extend the dualing of the highway to Malaba via Nairobi,” added the CS.
A feasibility study on the Mombasa-Bujumbura route kicked off in 2014.
According to the East African Community website, the road is one of the two transit corridors that facilitate import and export activities in the region, with the northern corridor (1,700km long) commencing from the port of Mombasa and serves Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC.
“The central corridor (1,300km) begins at the port of Dar es Salaam and serves Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Eastern DRC,” said the website.
Last week, KPA managing director Daniel Manduku told stakeholders in Nairobi that between January and June, the port of Mombasa handled 4.6 million tonnes of transit cargo, up from 4.3 tonnes the same period last year.
In the first six months, the port handled 15.3 million tonnes compared to 15 million tonnes during the same period last year, which represents an increased throughput of 358,853 tonnes.
In the same period, container traffic also increased by 30,964 teus, from 583.661 teus to 614.625 teus.
“Similarly, cargo destined to our transit markets grew by 7.3 percent, from 4.3 million tonnes to 4.6 million tonnes while transshipment traffic recorded 54,692 teus compared to 38,072 teus during the same period last year. That is an increase of 43.7 percent,” Dr Manduku said.
He added that in last year’s ranking of the top global container ports, a strong performance by ports was reflected, with four new entrants achieving more than a million teus.
“The good news is that Mombasa maintained its position as being among the top 120 ports globally and number six in Africa after Tanger-med in Morocco, Durban in South Africa, Alexandria in Egypt and Lagos in Nigeria,” he said.
“On the other front, ships are getting bigger. Today, the biggest ship — OOCL Hong Kong built and delivered in May 2017 is 400 metres long and has a capacity of 21,413 teus.”
Many shipping lines have also come together to form mega alliances to enjoy the economies of scale. Experts have concluded that if this business realignment trend continues in the next decade, there might only be few container shipping lines with mega vessels controlling the market.
“This development puts pressure on ports and terminal operators to expand capacity and modernise facilities to accommodate this generation of vessels,” he said.
“Equally, the ultra-competitive environment and complexity of supply chains requires reliable actors notably; producers, logistics providers and ocean carriers, to provide services with few interruptions,” Dr Manduku added.
Already, the organisation is engaged in ambitious Sh120 billion expansion meant to cushion its position as the East Africa region’s biggest port facility.
Currently, KPA is undertaking the construction of the Sh20 billion Shimoni port, the Sh40 billion new Kipevu Oil Terminal, the construction of the Sh30 billion second container terminal at the port of Mombasa and the construction of the Sh30 billion Dongo Kundu free trade port.
“Everyone looks for good business opportunities and we know that the Rwandan market is growing. Since we are aware of that, then we have played role in making sure that we support the Rwanda business market,” said Dr Manduku.
He said that with the KPA aware that Tanzania is an alternative corridor for importers in the great lakes region, and that there was need to be competitive to ward off competition.
Dr Manduku said KPA has also started the construction of the second container terminal.
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.