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Royal-Like Carriage, Art Paradise at Tafaria

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A Percheron horse imported by the Waititus to
A Percheron horse imported by the Waititus to pull the Landau chariot and guests around the castle grounds. PHOTO | COURTESY | NMG 

Tafaria is no longer just the name of a castle built by a Kenyan, George Tafaria Waititu.

“Tafaria is now what the neighbours call the area that used to be known as Deighton Down,” says Mr Waititu, the statistician and former owner of Steadman Group, a company which he sold, and after which he retired to develop his mother’s home village.

The Waititus, Eunice and George, have not stop developing their grandiose vision of a cultural complex that includes everything from the castle that contains over 60 rooms (including two wedding suites), three conference halls (one called the Think Tank, one the Round Table and the third called the Horse Shoe), a health centre featuring a tennis court, an archery range, a yoga-facilitating gym (complete with 16 yoga-posed metal statues) and a multi-faceted centre for the arts.

Mr Waititu says he recently imported a Landau carriage from the UK, which is drawn by a rare breed of horses brought in from South Africa, but originally coming from France.

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In the carriage, one can tour a portion of the 20 acres on which is located the castle complex.

But as of now, it can only take one to the edge of the extra 100 acres of bush which Mr Waititu plans to transform into a ‘statue forest’ with the assistance of visiting sculptors.

The artists have begun coming to Tafaria to take part in the Castle’s Artist Residency Programme that he started several years ago with assistance from what was then known as Kuona Trust.

Kuona is now known as the Kuona Artists Collective/Alliance, but it’s still helping Mr Waititu to carry out his grand vision which keeps evolving even as it started from humble beginnings.

Mr Waititu himself came from humble root. The last born in a family of nine, he started school walking barefoot but now he has created a virtual paradise.

He studied mathematics yet he has cultivated a love of the arts.

He has also built an open air amphitheatre for the performing arts, a giant exhibition hall that he intends to make into a combination art gallery and ‘museum of experiential philosophy’ and what he is calling a collector’s paradise.

“I know there are many people with private collections who would love to share them with a wider audience. The collections wouldn’t be for sale, but it would be an opportunity to broaden our appreciation of art and the reasons for collecting in the first place,” says Mr Waititu who has become quite a collector himself.

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Kenya to import mitumba after coronavirus pandemic

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LUKE ANAMI

By LUKE ANAMI
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Kenya is set to lift the ban on imports of second-hand clothes once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, the Industry, Trade and Co-operatives Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina has said.

The Cabinet Secretary last Wednesday announced an immediate temporary suspension of the importation of second-hand clothes as a measure to stop importing the SARs-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19 disease.

Ms Maina said the action taken is in line with the conditions as set out by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).

“The government has suspended importation of second-hand clothes with immediate effect to safeguard the health of Kenyans and promote local textiles in the wake of coronavirus,” said Ms Maina.

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“Most of the Mitumba imports come from China and Pakistan, countries which are the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision is intended to safeguard Kenyans against the spreading of the coronavirus and is therefore a health issue,” she said.

In an interview with the The EastAfrican, Ms Maina said the Kebs will enforce the suspension as we wait for the situation to improve.

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“It is a requirement by the Kebs to take such an action in times of an epidemic like the Covid-19,” she said.

A recent study by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the virus can stay longer on different surfaces, including clothes.

Ms Maina, however, said the temporary ban will not in any way affect the policy on Mitumba imports from the US.

Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Kenya sold about Ksh40 billion ($400m) worth of textiles and clothing to the US.

“This does not in any way affect our policy on our imports from the US. The decision is strictly an urgent measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus,” added Ms Maina.

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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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