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Opinion

Capping interest rates is not the solution, argues top World Bank official

 

By Johannes Zutt

When the Central Bank of Kenya raised the interest rate that it charges commercial banks last year, it was doing the right thing. It needed to raise rates to check inflation, which was then approaching 20 per cent.Capping interest rates can be harmful, argues bank officialCapping interest rates can be harmful, argues bank official

But then the commercial banks followed suit, charging their borrowers more and so creating new hardships for them. From October through December, commercial interest rates went from about 14 per cent to 25 per cent. The already high rates suddenly seemed punitive. How could Kenyans cope with such rates?

Africa looks to its middle-class consumers to drive prosperity

By Calestous Juma

ONE of the noticeable things across Africa these days is how many people have cell phones—71 percent of adults in Nigeria, for example, 62 percent in Botswana, and more than half the population in Ghana and Kenya, according to a 2011 Gallup poll.The middle class in Africa is expandingThe middle class in Africa is expanding

Cell phone use has grown faster in Africa than in any other region of the world since 2003, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Africa became the world’s second most connected region after Asia in late 2011, with 616 million mobile subscribers, according to U.K.-based Informa Telecoms & Media.

Step up efforts to fight trade in counterfeit goods, urges manufacturer's lobby

By Betty Maina

A two-year-old boy gets sick and is rushed to a hospital in Kwale. The clinical officer at the hospital diagnoses feverish convulsions and quickly rushes to the hospital’s pharmacy where he obtains a dose of medicine that will ease the boy’s suffering.Counterfeit medicines are common in KenyaCounterfeit medicines are common in Kenya

However, nothing happens, and the convulsions continue. As a result of this, the boy is given additional doses of the same drug to which he does respond.

Revisit railway transport, scholar urges African governments

 

By Paul Collier

THE coming decade could be Africa’s opportunity for investment. Globally, there is a massive pool of investable private resources. Railway transport is simple technologyRailway transport is simple technology

Prospects in the advanced economies look bleak, and in the major emerging economies—the so-called BRICs: Brazil, Russia, India, and China—the future is looking more uncertain.

Everybody must obey the constitution as it is, says Chief Justice

By Dr Willy Mutunga

There is an influential section of legal scholarship that has made the argument that, the crisis of governance in contemporary Africa, has been a deadly combination of bad Constitutions, often imposed and subsequently serially amended to create imperial presidencies, on the one hand, and an absence of constitutionalism – the absence of a culture to obey and respect rules, on the other.

Coupled with bad leadership, and general institutional malaise, the transition to democracy has been inchoate, dominated by reversals at every stage.

The Government raises Sh82 billion from infrastructure bonds but the bond market remains shallow

By Joseph Kinyua

The ability of governments to mobilize resources to achieve development objectives depends on the capacity to mobilize both short and long term financial resources for investment and sustained economic growth. 

Bond markets provide an important source of such funding and therefore, in many countries, development of vibrant bond market is often a key government objective.

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