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UK fund Actis closes Kipeto Wind power deal

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Turkana herdboy
A Turkana herdboy near turbines at the Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Loiyangalani. London-based private equity company Actis will fund the 100MW Kipeto Wind Power project, Kenya’s second largest wind farm. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

London-based private equity company Actis LLP has acquired the equity interests of both the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the African Infrastructure Investment Managers in the Kipeto Wind Power project, making it the largest shareholder in Kenya’s second largest wind farm.

Actis, which will now fund the 100MW project by 88 percent together with Kenyan partner Craftskills Wind Energy International at 12 percent, will also rope in senior debt from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”) – the US Government’s development finance institution.

The wind power plant located in Kajiado County will be Kenya’s second largest wind farm after the Turkana Wind Power project which has a generation capacity of 310MW.

The deal will now see the complete exit of the World Bank financing arm from the project originally conceived by Craftskills Wind Energy International, with support from US multinational conglomerate General Electric (“GE”).

The power plant already inked a power purchasing deal with Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC in 2016, meaning the country will soon benefit from cheaper wind generated power as Kenya continues to push for less expensive green energy sources.

Once operational, the project – which is now preparing for the construction of 60 GE 1.7-103 wind turbines and a 17km (220KV) transmission line to carry the power to Isinya substation in Kajiado County – is expected to supply at least 40 homes with power.

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Wind is, however, an intermittent source of power and fluctuates from time to time.

Actis Director in the energy business Lisa Pinsley said the project is expected to create jobs over and above its provision of the cheaper wind power in to the grid.

“We are excited about taking the Kipeto project forward and we are committed to maintaining the highest level of standards drawing on our 70 years of investing responsibly in Africa. The project will not only contribute significantly to the Government’s Vision 2030 agenda but will also have a positive impact on the local community through the creation of jobs and provision of over 80 houses,” Ms Pinsley said.

Kipeto Energy Limited Chairman Kenneth Namunje said land acquisitions are complete with the close collaboration of the local community.

Wayleave headwinds have been a major setback for mega power projects with critical transmission lines now stuck over land issues that have ended in litigation.

“We have leased and secured more than 60 plots within the project area for the wind turbine footprint and the transmission line through voluntary participation of land owners, which is a first for any project of this kind in Kenya, and we’re constructing new houses for the families outside the project’s 500m buffer zone, so local buy-in has been a vital component,’’ Mr Namunje said.

The firm says the local Maasai community will also receive 5 percent of annual dividends once the project is on stream from 2020.

OPIC is the principal lender to the project while the African Trade Insurance Agency will provide a 10-year standby on-demand insurance cover to protect the project against risk of payment delays by Kenya Power.

GE Renewable Energy will provide the wind turbines which the firm will also operate and maintain while the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) provides engineering, procurement and construction services.

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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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