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A teller serves a woman at Kacyiru SACCO in Kigali. / Photo: File.
 

More Rwandans have embraced the concept and importance of saving thanks to the Covid-19 circumstances that have proved that relying on day-to-day income is untenable, especially in times of crisis. 

According to the recent report of Rwanda Governance Scorecard (RGS), the saving rate as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 18.57 per cent from last year. 

This is despite the fact that the Economic and Corporate Governance pillar, an indicator that gauges the state of the country in terms of economy, has declined by 3.49 per cent making it the lowest-performing pillar in the RGS. 

Aimable Nkuranga, Executive Director of Association of Microfinance Institutions (AMIR), said people who managed to save before the pandemic coped better during lockdowns than those who didn’t. 

“We expected that during this pandemic that has shaken the economy, savings from people would be disrupted but contrary, people understood the need to save money in ways that appreciate over time,” he said. 

He explained that this also draws from the fact that some people who lost their jobs had to think and shift to other sources of income considering the responsibilities they carry.

This triggered the change in attitude towards the savings culture because they understood that any time, depending on circumstances, they might lose their jobs, he added.

Innocent Nkurunziza, a teacher at Groupe Scolaire Nyamugari in Nyamasheke District told The New Timers that during the period of lockdowns and other stringent measures, understandably there was no possibility of saving instead, heavy expenses with no revenue.

He, however, said, “when I discuss with my colleagues and friends in different fields, they resolved to have multiple sources of income and save part of the little they earn for any future crisis.”

According to the latest financial scope (2020) report from the central bank, 21 per cent of adult population save their money in banks, a rise from 13 per cent in 2016.

48 per cent of adult Rwandans have formal saving products in non-bank financial institutions such as credit and savings cooperatives and Mobile Money.

However, a large proportion of Rwandans, 64 per cent use informal saving mechanisms. By Alice Kagina, New Times

 

The Turkish president will leave on Sunday for a four-day diplomatic tour to three African countries, diplomatic sources have told Anadolu Agency.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has officially visited 28 African countries to date, and will now tour Angola, Nigeria and Togo.

The trip is significant as Turkey is hosting two important events in Istanbul: a two-day Turkey-Africa 3rd Economy and Business Summit on Oct. 21, and a two-day Turkey-Africa 3rd Partnership Summit on Dec. 17.

Turkey's African policy, which encompasses political, humanitarian, economic, and cultural spheres, is part of its multidimensional foreign policy.

Turkey aims to contribute to the economic and social development of the continent with peace and stability, as well as to develop bilateral relations on the basis of equal partnership and mutual benefit.

To this effect, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from just 12 in 2002 to 43 in 2021.

Turkey's trade with Africa was $5.4 billion at the end of 2003, which climbed to $25.3 billion by 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

According to sources, Erdogan is expected to meet his Angolan counterpart Joao Lourencho as well as attend a forum with businesspeople from both the countries.

Erdogan hosted Lourencho in July, and the two leaders inked agreements of cooperation on air transport, mutual promotion of investments, hydrocarbons and mining, renewable energy, and visa exemptions.

Sources said Erdogan will also meet Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and attend the Turkey-Nigeria Business Forum on his second visit to the West African country.

Steps will be taken to harness the true potential of the two countries' relations during the talks, which will include bilateral economic and regional developments. Three agreements in the fields of hydrocarbons, mining, and energy are also expected to be signed.

Nigeria is Turkey's top trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa with a trading volume of $754 million in 2020, which is expected to rise to more than $1 billion.

Fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, will also be discussed during the Turkish president's visit.

This will include a request to transfer FETO schools that continue to operate in several parts of Nigeria to the Turkish Maarif Foundation.

Togo will be President Erdogan's last stop, where he will discuss ways to improve bilateral relations and expansion of bilateral trade, which was $150 million in 2020. Source:Anadolu Agency

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Kanu leader Gideon Moi during a meeting with Oka officials and Mt Kenya delegates on October 7, 2021. Image: MERCY MUMO

 

Kalonzo says co-principals will pick him as flagbearer.

In Summary
  • The agreement will be inked at a public event by mid-November.
  • Kalonzo has criticised Raila, saying age has caught up with him and he should retire.

One Kenya Alliance principals could sign a pact binding them to work together in next year's polls, dampening hopes of a reunion with ODM boss Raila Odinga. 

It was hoped the Oka chiefs would agree to a political deal with Raila to cobble together a political movement that would face off against Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance. 

The Star has established that the Oka technical committee has prepared a coalition agreement that could be signed as early as mid-November, formally ushering in the third horse in the 2022 polls.  

Oka brings together Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kanu's Gideon Moi, Musalia Mudavadi of ANC and Ford Kenya chief Moses Wetang'ula. 

Cyrus Jirongo has also joined Oka in what was seen as part of a bigger plan to ring-fence Western Kenya vote bloc away from Raila, who is believed to hold a firm grip. 

On Thursday, Kimilili MP Chris Wamalwa, a ranking member of the Oka political board, said the technical team has finalised the alliance's instruments, which also bind the chiefs together. 

“The principals have had an opportunity to look at the agreement and they will be signing it as soon as their dairies allow,” Wamalwa said. 

Kalonzo yesterday fired a salvo at Raila, saying he should retire with President Uhuru Kenyatta next year as "age has caught up with" him. 

“My thinking is that Uhuru should go home with Raila. If you look at the ages of all the others who want to contest for the presidency, Raila is way ahead of us,” Kalonzo said in an interview with Emoo FM. 

He expressed confidence that other Oka principals will pick him as the flagbearer.

“Oka is emerging everywhere. We now have Kadu Asili on board and before December, you will see wonders,” Kalonzo added.

Analysts say Raila has the best chance of taking on Ruto as opposed to any of the Oka principals.

It has emerged that apart from the coalition agreement, there is a detailed agreement committing the five principals to Oka until the 2022 election.  

The legally binding pact is part of a strategy to avert betrayal and deal with issues of trust that bogged down Nasa.  

Raila, Musalia, Wetang'ula and Kalonzo formally disengaged from Nasa at the end of August.  

Raila had been accused of ignoring a secret agreement to step down and support Kalonzo in the 2022 polls.  

This means that once Oka puts pen to paper with regard to the deal, neither of them will jump ship to any other coalition, including that led by Raila until a review is made after the next polls. 

“The agreement is ready and it legally commits our principals to work together under Oka with the view of forming the next government,” Wamalwa said. 

However, as Wamalwa skirted around on the nitty-gritty of the agreement, Kanu secretary general Nick Salat said the Oka leaders will soon commit themselves to their 2022 plans. 

“The agreement will provide that Oka will field a presidential candidate in the 2022 presidential election and for us as Kanu, we have already endorsed Gideon,” Salat said. 

The Kanu point man stressed that the agreement may not affect the party’s resolve to go all the way to the ballot, especially after its national delegates congress green-lighted the Baringo senator. 

Gideon was on September 30 endorsed by the party’s NDC to be the flag-bear and also given the mandate to negotiate with other like-minded leaders in light of the 2022 polls.  

The latest details come at a time when Oka has been seen as largely indecisive and lacking steam to compete with Raila and Ruto. 

Raila and Ruto are scouring for votes across the country, with analysts saying the Oka bandwagon is dithering and would be ‘donkey’ if it goes all the way. 

There have been reports that some Oka chiefs are quietly negotiating with Raila over their place in the 2022 power matrix. 

Last week, the Oka chiefs cried foul over what they claimed is a plan by the Mount Kenya Foundation—a panel of tycoons and influential businessmen from Uhuru’s turf—to favour Raila. 

The team said it was mandated by Uhuru to scout for his successor.  It has held separate sessions with Raila and Oka chiefs to listen to their views and agenda for Mt Kenya before recommending one of them to the President. 

However, there have been questions about why the group is not meeting all the 2022 presidential candidates. 

On Wednesday, religious leaders under the Federation of Evangelical and Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya asked the MKF to be fair and genuine as they search for Uhuru's successor. 

“Even those who have not been called to the meetings have a following too, and you never know how tomorrow will be. It’s wise to hear out everyone who is in that race,” Bishop Samuel Njiriri, the federation’s chairman, said.  Edited by A.N By James Mbaka, The Star

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured September 2021) is the first African leader invited to the White House under US President Joe Biden's administration

US President Joe Biden is slated to meet Thursday with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, the first African leader invited to the White House under the current administration.

The two leaders will discuss "the strong US-Kenyan bilateral relationship and the need to bring transparency and accountability to domestic and international financial systems," the White House said ahead of the meeting.

The agenda was published shortly after the release of the Pandora Papers, a journalistic investigation that exposed secret offshore accounts linked to politicians and businesspeople all over the world.

In the investigation, Kenyatta -- who has stated his intent to fight corruption -- is said to own, together with six family members, a network of eleven offshore companies, one of which is valued at $30 million.

Asked about the revelations and how they might affect Biden's meeting with Kenyatta, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: "The president has been quite vocal as you all know about the inequalities in the international financial system."

"That doesn't mean we don't meet with people you have disagreements on," she said. "We have a range of interests in working with Kenya and working with them on issues in Africa, in the region, and that will be the primary focus."

The two leaders will also talk about "efforts to defend democracy and human rights, advance peace and security, accelerate economic growth, and tackle climate change," according to the White House Statement.

Another issue on the agenda is trade.

Former president Donald Trump's administration had started discussions with Kenya on a free trade agreement but, according to Nairobi, Biden's team so far hasn't resumed the negotiations, causing much frustration.

"To our American friends, I would like to say that you know you cannot start and stop a discussion with partners on the basis of one administration after another," Kenyatta said earlier this week in New York. "Relationships are between countries and people, not between administrations."

Kenya is worried that a trade agreement that largely exempts its exports to the United States from customs duties will expire in 2025.

Washington, for its part, is concerned by the growing economic influence of major rival China in Africa.

But unlike Trump, who eagerly engaged in trade negotiations, Biden has so far shown restraint on that front.

For example, he gave no promises to Britain, which is also eager to sign a free trade agreement with the United States. Mail Online

Image: Gerardo Menoscal/Agencia Press South/Getty Images 

The offshore links of presidents Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador and Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine will be officially scrutinized, while Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is due to discuss financial transparency with U.S. President Joe Biden. 

For a second week, findings drawn from the largest-ever leak of offshore data are roiling parliaments, tax authorities and transparency groups.

And in a remarkable coincidence, U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, this Thursday, Oct. 14, to discuss “the need to bring transparency and accountability to domestic and international financial systems”.

Kenyatta is one of more than 330 current and former politicians and high-level officials named in the Pandora Papers as beneficiaries of secret accounts.

The Associated Press reported that the Pandora Papers revelations are expected to be brought up during the Oval Office meeting.

Since the weekend, new countries joined more than a dozen nations that had already vowed investigations stemming from the Pandora Papers, a groundbreaking investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 150 media partners in more than 110 countries around the world. 

On Sunday, Ecuador’s legislature voted to launch an investigation into the offshore finances of President Guillermo Lasso to determine whether the head-of-state may have broken the law by moving money into tax havens, according to news reports.

Reporting by ICIJ and its partners showed that Lasso has had ties to 10 offshore companies and trusts in Panama, South Dakota and Delaware.

In response, Lasso told ICIJ that “all past use of any international entity” was legitimate and none of the offshore entities were related to his public service. Lasso also reportedly said that he dissolved his offshore entities in order to enter the presidential election.

The legislature said that the investigation of Lasso’s offshore activity would examine whether Lasso went against the norm that “prohibits candidates and public officials from having their resources or assets in tax havens,” according to AFP. The investigation will reportedly occur over the next 30 days.

In Ukraine, the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption is examining declarations by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the head of Ukraine’s Security Service, Ivan Bakanov. NAPC Chairman Oleksandr Novikov said the agency would take into account information published as part of the Pandora Papers investigation. 

The Pandora Papers revealed that Zelenskyy and some of his close associates owned shares in an anonymous offshore entity. Documents show that Zelenskyy owned a stake in a shell company registered in the British Virgin Islands called Maltex Multicapital Corp, which is described in leaked records as holding shares in film-production and distribution companies. Zelenskyy did not respond to ICIJ partners’ repeated requests for comment during the reporting of the Pandora Papers.

In Canada, national tax authorities announced they were examining Pandora Papers information about local taxpayers. The Canada Revenue Agency said it was currently “identifying how to integrate Pandora Papers information” with the agency’s data and was “working with our international partners to pool resources and share information to develop an accurate picture of what the data is telling us,” according to Canada’s CTV News.

Last week, the Toronto Star, one of ICIJ’s partners in Canada, revealed the offshore holdings of numerous high-profile Canadians, including billionaires, an Olympian, and a pornography magnate. The CRA’s announcement follows calls from Ottawa legislators for investigations in response to those reports.

“According to the parliamentary budget officer, we lose over $25 billion each and every year to overseas tax havens,” said finance critic Peter Julian of the New Democratic Party, according to the Toronto Star. “It’s simply an untenable situation when you have the ultra-rich getting away with so much, and so many Canadians struggling with so little.

In Costa Rica, authorities announced that the local tax agency will address the involvement of Costa Rican taxpayers using offshore maneuvers revealed in the Pandora Papers.

In authoritarian Azerbaijan, where elections are rigged and political opponents repressed,  an opposition party is demanding an explanation  from the country’s president, Ilham Aliyev, over the naming of Aliyev and some of his family members in the Pandora Papers

According to the website JAMnews, the Movement for Democracy and Prosperity, an Azerbaijani opposition group led by a U.S. based activist, has called on the Aliyevs to publicly explain significant real estate deals with offshore connections.

“No one doubts that dirty corruption money is the source of this business. For the reason that it would take Ilham Aliyev 3,070 years to accumulate such an amount, given his average salary for the reporting period,” said the statement from the group. By  and , ICIJ

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