Former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos last month handed over the ruling MPLA party baton, effectively ending his long political career.
He had been at the helm of both the country and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola since September 21, 1979, having succeeded the liberation hero and first President António Agostinho Neto.
MPLA has ruled the oil-rich Angola since its independence from Portugal in 1975.
The 76-year-old dos Santos, who was one of Africa’s longest-serving heads of state, acknowledged during his farewell speech that he had made mistakes during the nearly 40 years’ reign. Nevertheless, he maintained that he was exiting with his head held high.
Having made up his mind to retire, Mr dos Santo had picked his Defence minister, the 64-year-old João Lourenço, as his heir. All expectations therefore were that under Mr Lourenço’s stewardship, Angolans would be treated to more of the same… no upsetting the old order.
However, President Lourenço soon moved fast to chart his own path, a development that has continued to cause quite a stir within the old power circles. In addition to replacing several dos Santos’s confidants from strategic state positions, President Lourenço has wedged an anti-corruption war that has thoroughly shaken the status quo.
Not even the veteran dos Santos himself has been spared the tumult.
“The sad end to a tyrant abandoned by his wife, without friends, hated by people and together with his children may be jailed,” screamed the privately-owned O Crime newspaper recently.
The former presidential couple has not been seen together for more than a year now, even when the occasion demanded. Mr dos Santos was alone at his successor’s inauguration and last August, the former first lady, Ms Ana Paula dos Santos, failed to turn up for her husband’s farewell celebrations.
That Mr dos Santos has not been in a particularly good state of health, has added to his tribulations and heightened the speculation about his marriage.
Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa, in in an interview with the Portuguese news agency Lusa, said that Mr dos Santos had ended up alone, without friends and followers.
“He was only followed because he had power and not charisma,” he said, adding that, “he has no friends in Angola and abroad”.
Many of the dos Santos’s loyalists have been sacked from critical and lucrative positions in the army, the police service and state-owned companies.
Among President Lourenço’s first targets was Ms Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of the former president, who lost her director’s seat at Sonangol, the state-owned oil company. Her half-brother, Mr José Filomeno dos Santos (Zenu) has been replaced from the leadership of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.
Ms Isabel dos Santos faces several graft investigations, while Filomeno is charged with misappropriating public funds. His business associate and the founder of the Swiss firm Quantum Global, Mr Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, has also been arrested and detained by the Angola authorities.
Also caught up in the Lourenço dragnet is the head of the President José Eduardo dos Santos Foundation (FESA), Mr Ismael Diego. He remains in detention at the São Paulo prison in Luanda, having been arrested for alleged misappropriation of $20 million.
“Mr Ismael Diogo, José Eduardo dos Santos’ close ally, was arrested following his failure to honour the Criminal Investigation Services summon,” the Angolan spy agency confirmed.
Angolan journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques recently published in his Maka Angola anti-corruption website that Filomeno and Mr Valter Filipe, the former National Reserve Bank head and a dos Santos ally, risked more than 20 years jail term over misappropriating public funds.
Angola’s new political dispensation may be a long way from turning a full circle, but the dos Santos expansive biological and political family, was surely on the losing momentum.
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.