In August 2016, two fishermen were trapped in Lake Naivasha after their boat failed to navigate through the water hyacinth.
The duo were on a fishing expedition when they got trapped. They sought help through mobile phones, and were rescued three days later.
Two journalists on an assignment suffered a similar fate in 2018 after their hired boat was arrested by the invasive plant. It took the rescue team more than eight hours to free them from the firm grasp of the weed.
And on the New Year’s eve, at least 20 boat operators were trapped in the fresh water lake for close to five hours before getting help.
These episodes highlight the danger fishermen plying their trade in the fresh water lake are exposed to as they eke out a living.
Boat operator Jeremiah Waraga said the insidious plant is also destroying their fishing nets.
“I lost nets worth more than Sh50,000 due to the presence of the weed in areas we had cast the fishing gears,” said the fishermen.
An aquatic biologist Mbogo Kamau blames the rampant presence of the weed to increased human activities that have led to the proliferation of nutrients that the invasive plant feeds on.
“The weed is anchored on floating papyrus mats,” he said, adding that the mats are a consequent of human activities that provide nutrients for them.
Mr Mbogo said hyacinth is a “notorious aquatic weed which greatly hinders navigation and access to fishing grounds within infested water bodies as is the case in Lake Naivasha.”
He said there are various ways — some of which have been applied at the Naivasha basin — of stemming the spread of the weed, but noted that so far these efforts have failed to achieve desired objectives.
“It can be controlled using host specific biological agents,” said Mr Mbogo.
However such a measure, he said, had failed at the lake due to the low population build-up of the biological agents to a level that could hamper the spread of the weed.
“Harvesting of the water hyacinth for economic use is an alternative and practical way of regulating the spread of the weed,” he said.
In 2011, Imarisha Naivasha, a government initiative, was launched with the aim of addressing the challenges facing the Lake Naivasha Basin, with removal of the hyacinth being a top priority.
The immediate objective of the programme was to conduct a pilot project of generating biogas using the weed. The project was being implemented by the Lake Naivasha Beach Management Unit (BMU) with financial support from Imarisha Naivasha Trust.
Despite the initial success of the plan, fishermen have been largely reluctant to manually harvest the weed, slowing down its anticipated benefits of the initiative.
The project, according to Mr Mbogo, was intended not only to control the water hyacinth in the lake but also promote green energy production and utilisation among the local community as a strategy to reduce environmental degradation and cutting down of trees on the shorelines of the lake.
The Lake Naivasha basin attracts great attention both nationally and internationally due to its socio-economic and environmental significance. It is also a tourist destination site with the main attraction being the millions of flamingoes flocking the lake in their magnificent pink colour.
Aside from the assault by the hyacinth, the basin also faces multiple challenges arising from improper utilisation of natural resources and diverse stakeholder interests which sometimes conflict.
Key among this challenges include deforestation and loss of vegetation cover especially along the lake and river shores leading to alteration of hydrological flow regimes, increased siltation and sedimentation of the water bodies.
The water hyacinth found its way into Lake Naivasha in the late 1980s and has chewed up the entire shoreline of the water basin.
With the current level of the spread of the weed, the magnitude of the degradation of Lake Naivasha basin and the deterioration of economic base of communities living in Lake Naivasha basin, Imarisha Naivasha and conservationists face a daunting task in their efforts to return the area’s ecosystem to its lost glory.
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.