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Unending conflicts cost Laikipia billions in missed investment

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Laikipia County
A man sweeps a section of a road in Nanyuki town, Laikipia County on July 4, 2018. The town has received a major facelift. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Perennial clashes in Laikipia County have resulted in billions of shillings in losses to investors denting the image of a region that boasts of many untapped investment opportunities.

The over two decades confrontations many times revolve around the huge chunks of leased land with the fight pitting smallholder farmers, group ranch owners and white settlers on one side against herders from surrounding communities with illegal arms also contributing to escalation of violence.

Laikipia, occupied by both farmers and pastoralists in the northern, eastern and western constituencies, has mostly witnessed clashes in the northern parts which often spill to the west and the east.

While the volatile situation has scared away investors and frozen business activities in some areas, there are indigenous and foreign landowners in the area who are looking to tap into the region’s opportunities.

Mr Wahome Muotia, an investor who is putting up an eco-lodge in Laikipia’s Ol Moran, explains that “there is so much potential in Laikipia” that a lasting peace would mean greater investments, job opportunities to locals and economic growth for the county.

“When I bought this land in 2006, it was my goal to put up a resort city to attract tourists from around the globe, as well as Kenyan professionals living in towns but would love a break from the hustle and bustle of the city,” he says.

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He states that his goal is to have a mixed-use development complete with residential houses, a golf course, racetrack and commercial animal farming that would produce beef and mutton for export. However, he says that this would take a lot of effort with the recurrent bloody clashes in the area.

Almost 50 per cent of the county land mass is owned by large-scale ranchers — less than 30 of them. The county borders the pastoralist counties of Baringo, Samburu and Isiolo, where farmers own large herds of cattle. The herders perceive a lot of land owned by the ranchers as being idle.

Poverty, poor infrastructure and divergent cultural values have also been cited as contributors to the flames of discord among local people besides unoccupied land owned by absentee landlords who leave their land lying fallow for years which has proved tempting to pastoralists in search of open spaces.

However, just like Mr Muotia, other investors have seen opportunities in manufacturing and industrial processing that the area has.

The vastness of the region and the weather is favourable for large-scale livestock farming. There are opportunities that can be tapped in food, meat and leather processing. This is besides the beautiful landscapes and high concentration of wildlife that makes the area a good tourist attraction site.

The area also has a great potential for commercial fish farming which some people such as Mr Wahome have been doing. There are large dams in the area populated with catfish and tilapia.

Laikipia has animal conservancies and large ranches that many agree can be of import to the area’s wobbling economy.

“We have been set aback by the clashes that hit this place from time to time. They (pastoralists) come looking for pasture and water from our farms but in the process leave a lot of destruction,” says Mr Francis Kihara, Ole Moran Lodge manager.

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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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