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Youth and Women to get Loans at 6% Interest Under the new Biashara Fund

A woman, youth or person with a disability shall be eligible to apply for a loan for business purposes if they are in a registered group where at least 70 per cent of the members are aged between 18 and 35 years.

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The Treasury has submitted regulations meant to guide its operations of the Sh 2 bilion biashara fund to the National Assembly for ratification.

The fund will see Women, youth and small business owners get loans from the State at six percent interest per. At six percent, the groups will borrow at half the prevailing commercial lending rate of 13 percent — a cap set by the Central Bank.

The Treasury revealed terms of the loan through Biashara Kenya Fund regulations.

Money borrowed from Biashara Fund will be used for business only, with applicants expected to prove that they have established businesses.

The Fund will also lend some of the money to intermediaries such as commercial banks and saccos, who will, in turn, lend to these special groups at a maximum rate of 10 per cent.

Biashara Fund will lend money to commercial banks at an annual interest rate of three percent.

Intermediaries who provide counterpart funding at least equivalent to the amount advanced by the Fund will, however, repay a minimum interest of one percent.

The regulations also add that not more than 25 per cent of the fund’s cash will be lent to intermediaries.

The rules cap the maximum amount that the banks or financial intermediaries can advance a single borrower at Sh3 million.

Upion approval, the fund will lead to the merger of Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEF) and Women Enterprise Fund (WEF). The three funds had been created to empower women and the youth in entrepreneurship but have not had the intended impacts due to lack of proper coordination.

A woman, youth or person with a disability shall be eligible to apply for a loan for business purposes if they are in a registered group where at least 70 per cent of the members are aged between 18 and 35 years.

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Africa

Jumia Silently Shut its Cameroon Operations on Monday, Firing its Entire Staff

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Jumia Technologies said on Monday it had suspended its e-commerce platform activities in Cameroon because they were “not suitable” for the African state. Reuters reported.

“We came to the conclusion that our transactional portal as it is run today is not suitable to the current context in Cameroon,” Jumia said in a statement.

An anonymous source at the company in Cameroon told Reuters that Jumia had chosen to prioritize growth over profitability. “We wanted to see how business evolved. We can come back, but for now we’re closing (to have) time to study the market.”

The shutdown which comes barely a week after its latest earnings which showed more losses despite the increased prominence of its payment platform is allegedly linked to an attempt by the Rocket Internet-backed company to arrest the cash deluge that has seen the company’s losses rise to nearly a USD 1 Bn since kicking of operations in 2012.

The firm’s shares have tumbled from its Wall Street initial public offering price of $14.50 in April, hitting a record low of $5.10 on Monday after third-quarter results missed revenue estimates for the second time in three quarters.

“Based on our review, we came to the conclusion that our transactional portal as it is run today is not suitable to the current context in Cameroon,” the company said in a statement, adding that its e-commerce operations there had been suspended.

The closure of its Jumia Cameroon is just the latest following the closure of its businesses in both Congo and Gabon, signalling a tough e-commerce terrain in Central Africa. In 2018, Jumia quit its core e-commerce business in Rwanda, continuing only its food delivery service, Jumia Food, in the East African country.

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Kenyan Banks Invested Close to Sh.7 billion into CSR Activities over the Last 3 years

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KCB-Group-CEO-Joshua-Oigara

According to the Kenya Banking Industry Shared Value Report released by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), Kenya’s banking industry has invested Sh.2.1 billion in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in 2018 and approximately Sh.6.7 billion over the last three years.

The KBA Governing council Representative and KCB Bank Kenya Managing Director Samuel Makome restated the role that the banking industry has played in creating shard value for the society. This he said at the release of the industry’s social responsibility report.

“Banks are heavily investing in engagements and activities that have a positive impact on the society, environment and economy. In addition to the CSR investments, banks have spent more than Sh3 billion in cause-related sponsorships in areas such as sports. As you know, our athletes are the pride of Kenya and our global ambassadors of whom we are all very proud,” he said.

In the report, Dr. Habil Olaka, the CEO Kenya Bankers that the role of the banking industry has also come about with it’s fair share of challenges such as global and regional geopolitics, technological disruption, social and environmental concerns. More to that, he stated that the biggest headwind met by banks has been the Banking (Amendment) Act, 2016 which introduced interest rate controls and stymied private sector access to credit.

“The interest rate ceiling set by Parliament has negatively impacted private sector access to credit, which has led to an estimated 1.4 percent decline in GDP,” said Dr Olaka.

Nonetheless, the industry has triumphant over innovative programs and have adopted new methods of lending money.

“Banks have devised creative approaches to knock down some of the barriers that have led to difficulty in credit access for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). Despite the interest rate caps, banks have been able to respond to credit needs through innovative approaches such as leveraging on the Movable Property Registry on ecitizen.go.ke. So far, over 183 thousand loans have been registered worth Sh3.65 Trillion which is very promising,” he said.

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Business

Eddy Njoroge Elected The First African Boss Of The International Organization For Standardization

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Eddy Njoroge has become the first Africa’s president of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) after inauguration ceremony held on 21st Sept 2019 at International conference centre in Cape Town, South Africa. Eddy Njoroge was elected as president during ISO‘s general assembly in October 2018 held in Geneva, Switzerland.

ISO is an international standard setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. It was founded on 23rd February 1947 and it seeks to promote worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards.

Eddy Njoroge has served as Chief executive of Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KENGEN) and a board chair for Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE). Eddy Njoroge took over from Canadian John Walker.

“I am fully prepared to champion use of standards in our everyday lives.” Eddy Njoroge affirmed. Eddy Njoroge has promised to spearhead participation  of developing economies on global trade by championing standards formulation.

“Standard formulation should no longer be a preserve of a developed countries that are later forced in developing countries denying them global market access. We will adopt a participatory approach that ensures developing nations are involved in standard formulation activities ” Eddy Njoroge added.

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