Kenya and Uganda will set up more border posts to facilitate faster movement of people and goods.
Speaking at a joint press briefing after holding bilateral talks with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni in Mombasa on Wednesday. President Uhuru Kenyatta said increasing border posts would boost trade between the two East African countries.
“We have agreed to open more border posts along the common border to facilitate movement of people and goods,” he said.
To this end, Uhuru and Museveni agreed to remove trade barriers.
“There is no other way our economies will grow if we won’t solve the hurdles on the movement of cargo and people,” said Museveni.
Uhuru sought Museveni’s commitment that the two countries would implement joint infrastructure projects.
“We want Uganda to join us in joint development infrastructure projects to ensure the line (Standard Gauge Railway) moves to Kampala as initially envisioned,” said Uhuru.
However, the Ugandan leader was cagey on construction of the standard Gauge Railway.
Uganda is refurbishing the old railway line between Kampala and Malaba as “an alternative” to lower transport costs for traders.
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Museveni said talks on joint infrastructure projects and trade barriers were “at initial stages” but reaffirmed that Uganda was for “a cheaper, faster and safer” transport system.
“We have had fruitful and profitable deliberations. We have covered a lot of ground,” he said.
“I’m told that once the SGR reaches Malaba, it will take 24 hours to travel from Mombasa to Kampala. SGR reinforces Kenya’s commitment to facilitate transportation of Ugandan cargo,” he added.
The two leaders also discussed ways to improve efficiency at the port of Mombasa to facilitate faster movement of Ugandan cargo.
Museveni hailed Uhuru’s effort to streamline operations at the port, saying time taken to clear and transport cargo from the port to Uganda had dropped drastically.
“In the past people at the port thought handling Ugandan cargo was a favour they were doing for us. They were sabotaging both the Kenyan and Ugandan economies,” he said.
He said efficiency at the port of Mombasa was good for business and economies of both countries in the hinterland.
On the disputed Migingo island, Uhuru said a new joint border commission (JBC) would be formed to help settle the dispute.
Kenya and Uganda established the first JBC in 2016. Yesterday, Uhuru said the new JBC would look at the entire border between Kenya and Uganda.
The Migingo dispute started in the Mwai Kibaki reign, and in 2016 the two countries set aside Sh140 million for surveyors to determine location of the densely populated rocky island.
Yesterday, Uhuru said the new JBC would not only resolve the border dispute but also come up with mechanisms on how the two nations could jointly exploit the resources in Lake Victoria.
“The delegation has worked very hard to ensure renewed cooperation. They have briefed us on the progress. We want to facilitate trade, movement of goods and people,” said Uhuru.
Uhuru and Museveni were briefed on the progress of the inter-ministerial meeting.
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.