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Social entrepreneur wins Commonwealth Award for connecting farmers to global markets

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Oroko received the recognition for the work his innovative company is doing in integrating smallholder farmers, pastoralists and fishing communities into global supply chains.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10 – A Kenyan social entrepreneur whose company is connecting smallholder farmers across Africa into global supply chains has won the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Innovation Award for Sustainable Development.

John Oroko, the co-founder of Selina Wamucii, received the recognition for the work his innovative company is doing in integrating smallholder farmers, pastoralists and fishing communities into global supply chains.

The award was presented by the Commonwealth Secretary-General the RT Hon Patricia Scotland and the Vice-President of Seychelles Vincent Meriton in the Seychellois Island of Mahe.

The award ceremony event was held during the opening day of the Commonwealth Africa Innovation Ecosystem Workshop.

Speaking during the award ceremony, Oroko said that the award would go a long way in building the necessary momentum for transforming agricultural value chains across Africa.

“As challenging as our innovation journey has been, this award and recognition gives us much appreciated motivation to continue being at the forefront of agricultural innovation across Africa. I believe we have the best opportunity to transform Africa’s agricultural value chains while passing the benefits of an efficient chain to producer communities across the continent,” Oroko said.

Facing first-hand the realities that rural farmers grapple with in accessing markets and earning decent household incomes, John, who was brought up in a smallholder farming family, made a resolve to transform farmers’ earnings and found an ally in technology.

Upon graduating and after a short stint at employment, John quit to start Selina Wamucii, a company  named after his mother’s first name and his co-founder mother’s middle name as a way of honouring them for their hard work as smallholder farmers which saw them raise their families from their farm’s proceeds.

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“The story of our mothers as rural smallholder farmers is the story of tens of thousands more across the country and this inspired me to start Selina Wamucii. I believe that every human being who works hard deserves to have access to opportunities that enable them to live a life of dignity.  Smallholders are among the hardest working people on the planet yet remain most of the world’s poorest.  It matters to me because I believe we have the best opportunity to transform Africa’s agricultural value chains while passing the benefits of an efficient chain to producer communities across the continent,” John said.

John whose philosophy is driving initiatives that create lasting impact among communities loves spending time working to address society’s most pressing problems.

Since co-founding the company in June 2015 he has managed to enlist over 7,000 farmers across the country who grow high value food among them fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, spices and other agro commodities which find their way across markets in Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

To become part of the network, farmers sign up to join Selina through their mobile phones via USSD.

The system captures information relating to the geographical locations of smallholder farmers, what they are producing, the various stages of progress throughout the season, harvest timelines and projections and actual volumes at harvest.

This information makes it easy to estimate expected volumes in a year for different produce, which then enables buyers around the world to plan.

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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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