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Water vs electricity: The true test of our economic progress : The Standard

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In the last 10 years, more people have been connected to electric power than in the previous 45 years. The same cannot be said of water, which is more precious than power. So many homes have been connected to power that battery manufacturers like Eveready have suffered. Innovators were quick to come up with rechargeable torches.
Why is less invested in life-giving water than in power? Why are independent water distributors less known than independent power producers (IPPs)?
Data on the number of Kenyans connected to piped water is less trumpeted than the number of homes connected to power. Why is there no last-mile connection in water? 

SEE ALSO :KenGen clinches deal in Ethiopia

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Water might be so familiar to us that getting it is no big deal. Scarcity creates value. Why else is gold so precious?
The uses of water are also so familiar that there are no incentives to show off the connections.
You either drink it, wash with it or use it to prepare food. For power, you can show off with floodlights and status-related gadgets, from many-inch TVs to computers, vacuum cleaners and fridges. Who cares about your water tank, which might even be underground?
On the supply side, water distributors are too many to have any noticeable clout. The number of boreholes is a good measure of independent water distributors. Water has also attracted lots of Government attention through water and sewerage firms in the counties. 
KenGen, Kenya Power and Ketraco have near monopolies in generation, distribution and transmission of power. Which Kenyan water company has such clout with national reach? Bottlers saw this gap and made lots of money . 
Water distribution is often a village affair, unlike power distribution, which even crosses borders. 
Maybe water doesn’t bring in as much money as electric power. Check your bills. The ease of entry into this sector takes away lots of money because of the resulting competition.
IPPs require lots of money, which keeps hustlers out. We see hustlers selling water on donkey carts. Water can be packaged into jerrycans or even tanks; power cannot. Water also lacks the flexibility of power. You can locate an IPP anywhere, while water is available only in specific places. Damming and piping are also expensive. 
Higher returns
The truth is that water has higher returns to society than power in the long run. Think of the reduction in water-borne diseases through better hygiene. Think of the increase in productivity when more citizens are healthy. 
Linking food security to water through irrigation makes water even more precious. We use water to generate power, too. The centrality of water to our lives has never been in doubt. Did civilisations not flourish by rivers?
The current drought reminds us of the centrality of water to our lives.
Yet, we’re still obsessed with electric power and the prestige that goes with it.
The number of homes connected to clean piped water is the best measure of economic progress; it’s better than the number of power meters. And why do rural folks pay a standing charge for water they never get from distributors?
Let me check if there is any water in my taps …. [XN Iraki; [email protected]]

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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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