, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29 – World Vision and Britam General Insurance have launched a water insurance innovation that seeks to enhance the sustainability of rural water projects.
The innovation, which is the first of its kind in the Country, was conceptualized by World Vision and will be serviced by Britam in Kenya. It will shield communities from inconveniences caused by the sudden failure of mechanized water projects through an insurance cover.
The sustainability of rural water systems poses a challenge to many African countries. In Kenya specifically, research has shown that many water projects established for communities in rural areas, especially boreholes, fail after two to three years of operation.
The nature of the failures is usually as a result of malfunctioning pumps or powering systems such as generators. Through the insurance, communities will be able to address such challenges swiftly, in a cost-effective manner.
When components of a water source (such as borehole pumps or generators) break down, the insurer will move in quickly to finance repairs or the replacement of malfunctioning components.
“Most water projects usually function well when they are still being managed by private, non-governmental organizations and other agencies that supported their establishment. But once they are handed over to communities, many collapse as beneficiaries may be unable to afford maintenance costs involving repairs or replacement of malfunctioning parts,” said Enock Oruko, the Associate Director for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for World Vision in Kenya, at the launch of the insurance innovation in Nakuru County (Wema).
He added: “This is a major challenge affecting rural water projects. So we conceptualized the idea of a water insurance that would cushion communities from the high cost of repairs. We then searched for an insurer that was willing to take up the challenge and develop the product. Britam came through.”
“This is an area that we want to venture into, as we believe it will make a difference in people’s lives,” said Daniel Mugao, the General Manager for Britam Kenya.
“We want to assure communities that we will always be there to finance required repairs and replacement of malfunctioning parts of their insured water projects,” stated Mugao.
The premiums will be calculated at 0.75 percent of the total sum of the insured components of the water source, with the minimum charged being Sh15,000 annually.
Rural communities will generate the amount from revenues collected by Water Users Committees who usually sell water and manage boreholes on behalf of communities they serve.
Four water projects – using boreholes that serve over 6,000 community members in the Wema area of Nakuru County (Wema) – have already paid the premiums and taken up the water insurance cover. They include: Chepkulul, Mbogoini, Marana and Tuyotich.
“When a pump fails or something breaks, you are forced to part with a lot of money that might not be available at that time. We recently had to pay Sh500, 000 when the mortar in our pump stopped functioning, It was a difficult time for the community who stayed without water for nine months before we could raise the funds for the repairs,” said Joseph Ongori, the chair of the Wema Umbrella of Water Users Association.
He stated: “Now we have taken the water insurance cover that we are so happy about. If we get problems with our boreholes in future, we will no longer face financial challenges.”
The sustainability of rural water projects goes a long way in promoting universal access to safe and clean water that is within easy reach for communities
The 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS), which has the most current data on water in the country indicates that about 40 (39.2) percent of rural households rely on non-improved sources of drinking water compared to just 10 percent in urban areas.
This predisposes them to a myriad of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera. In addition, communities – especially women and children – are forced to walk over long distances to get alternative water sources. Indeed, figures from the KDHS show that 40 percent of rural households spend an average of 30 minutes or more (round trip) to obtain drinking water.
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.