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South African logistics firm, Actis partner to build mega warehouse

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Stefano Contardo
Improvon group CEO Stefano Contardo. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

A South Africa-based logistics operator has launched a 103-acre product-specific warehouse development along Nairobi’s Eastern bypass eyeing bulk importation and repackaging business from increased intra-Africa trade.

Improvon Group chief executive Stefano Contardo confirmed breaking ground for the first 5,000 square metre warehouse development, Nairobi Gate Industrial Park, saying it had partnered with private equity fund Actis which sunk money to purchase the land as well as funding the development.

“Nairobi is vibrant and its links to other East African countries are efficient and diverse.

“Kenya’s business environment is conducive and has seen us set up shop fast compared to other markets we are eyeing in our planned expansion across Africa,” he said.

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Actis Real Estate Head (East Africa) Koome Gikunda declined to disclose the value of the land as well as individual shareholding stakes by the two companies, saying Actis chose Improvon as a partner due to its vast experience in the business since launching its first logistics centre in South Africa in 1995.

Mr Gikunda said they spent four years holding discussions with manufacturers as well as repackaging firms where the identified a need for purpose-built warehouses.

“We are targeting manufacturers and importers that want Special Economic Zone hubs with customised warehouse facilities close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), the Nairobi Inland Container Depot and easy access to Nairobi,” said Mr Gikunda.

Actis also owns Garden City Mall together with its residential complex and is currently developing high-end offices within the same facility.

The new development comes hardly a month after Africa Logistics Properties launched the first phase of its Sh10 billion modern warehouse in Ruiru.

The firm’s flagship project, ALP North with grade A warehousing of 47,000 square metres is also located along the Northern Bypass.

The bypass offers easy connection to the Western side of Kenya and JKIA without driving through Nairobi’s central business district.

Cargo movement along the bypass has reduced, taking as little as 20 minutes to transport goods from Mombasa Road to Limuru, from a previous five hours.

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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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