Kenyan artists are always scouting the countryside to find new venues where they can exhibit their art for receptive audiences.
The latest art space they found is in Garden Estate down Marurui Road where there’s a cream-colored gate marked 45. That’s the only indication of what’s happening inside. First and foremost, there’s an amazing boutique restaurant behind that gate called 45 Degrees Kitchen. But equally significant is the group exhibition currently underway inside.
It was nameless until I saw Evans Ngure’s ingenious sculptures which he calls ‘Circles of Life’. But before I knew that name, I called them ‘Wheels of Fortune.’
‘Wheels of Fortune’ can do for 45 degrees’ first otherwise untitled art exhibition since the owners opened up the eatery in 2015. That’s somewhat surprising since one of the five artists exhibiting is Rose Wahome who’s also a co-owner of 45 Degrees Kitchen with her gourmet chef husband, Harold Sena-Akoto.
“We’ve been so busy with the restaurant that I haven’t had much time to devote to my art,” says Rose whose mosaic tile mirrors and tables are indeed works of art. One might call them functional art. But in addition to their being of practical use, they reflect attractive geometric designs and a thoughtful use of earthen colours.
Rose might not have launched 45 Degrees as a new art venue if she hadn’t known the Kenya-based German artist Milena Weichelt whose paintings she loves. Milena was happy to consider exhibiting her art in the restaurant, especially as the people who appreciate Harold’s food tend to be art lovers.
“Many embassy people like to come to 45 Degrees,” says Harold who has been serving continental cuisine for most of his life. Or at least since he went off to study culinary science in Italy for several years. After that, he’s set up restaurants everywhere from Australia to Canada to San Francisco in the US.
Milena was keen to show her paintings at 45 degrees, only she knew another artist who she felt would do well to exhibit there too. Evans Ngure creates colourful sculptures which currently hang from the outdoor panels that partition the cosy nooks where guests tend to eat when the weather permits.
He’s a specialist in assembling ‘found objects’ into artworks that surprise for their unprecedented style of artistry. For instance, Evans’ latest creations are his Wheels of Fortune. These are bicycle wheels whose spokes he beads, creating lovely and colourful abstract designs.
In one nook, he has a pair of Wheels, one he calls ‘Atomic Bubble Gum’; the other which is larger he’s named ‘Heartbeat’ since it veritably pulsates with colour.
He’s also exhibiting a series of three-dimensional ‘paintings’ which he creates out of everything from an old tennis shoe, discarded keys and an array of spare parts from typewriters and computers to bicycles and buttons. His wind chimes are also unique. They hang around the restaurant’s terrace.
Meanwhile, inside three more artists’ works are on display. Milena’s paintings like those of Anwar Sadat Nakibinge and Samuel Njuguna are to be found beautifying the solid brick walls of the dining room. They also hang on the other side of the same wall, brightening up the building that had once been a poultry holding room where Rose’s father once kept his freshly-laid eggs before they went off to market.
Milena’s paintings are decorative in the best sense of being beautiful to look at, whether she’s painted bougainvillea or oceanic tides. Sam Njuguna specializes in creating vibrant scenes of rural Kenyan life which reflect the way many local people in rural areas live their everyday lives.
Anwar on the other hand is a specialist in painting wildlife but puts them on his large canvases in attractive ways. Be it a giraffe, elephant, cheetah or buffalo, he treats them as iconic forms that serve as essential elements of his attractive semi-abstract designs.
The new year is likely to see 45 Degrees hosting many more exhibitions since the artworks serve to beautify the space and enhance the feeling that one’s arrived at a very special place which is unique not just for amazing food but for attractive artworks as well.
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.