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New law seeking to regulate mobile loan rates on the way to be approved by MPs

Kenyan parliament has finally given a nod to a bill seeking to put several digital lenders under the watch of the central bank of Kenya. The new law is seeking to tame what MPs call predatory lending by having the CBK regulate loan rates as well as on how defaulters are treated. During last Thursday’s session, members of parliament allowed the bill for review and possibly passed into law, effectively opening the path for the central bank to have a say on how digital mobile lenders calculate their interests.

As of this writing, the Central Bank of Kenya Amendment bill of 2020 has now been forwarded to the National Assembly Committee on Finance and National Planning proving room for Kenyans as well as concerned stakeholders to air their views before its handed over to the house for debate and possible vote.

While the central bank of Kenya regulates financial institutions such as banks and micro-lenders, digital lenders have thus far escaped its influence and have run wild, some offering some ludicrous interest rates to Kenyan. On the other hand, they’ve appealed to more Kenyans looking for short term loans without security, only for them to end up hooked on their platforms for ever due to exorbitant interest rates.

By passing the new bill, hundreds of digital lenders will now be under the watchful eye of the financial regulator, especially in determining interest as well as how defaulters are treated.  

According to the nominated member of parliament, Gideon Keter, if the bill is passed, then these objectives will have been met; prohibit any person, institution or firm from lending money to Kenyans unless licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya.

OPPO Reno5 launches in Kenya alongside its cheaper sibling Reno5 F

Oppo has finally launched new entrants on its popular Reno series lineup with the Reno5 and Reno 5 F in the country, the devices were unveiled in Kenya in a colorful event that saw the company take a new direction with a new “F” category rather than the usual known and expected Reno models.

We’ve seen tech companies take a similar approach in the past, such as Samsung than unveiled a Fan edition of Galaxy S20 with close specifications only cutting corners in areas that don’t really matter to bring down prices for flagship hopefuls. And while the Reno5 cannot be officially categorized as a flagship, given there are a ton of devices that cost twice as much with superior features, they aren’t as cheap as well.

OPPO Reno5 F features and price

The OPPO Reno5 F is the first handset to make a debut in the popular Reno series that comes as a backup to a pricier model for those who don’t have as much to spend. And it should be noted, this is actually the first time OPPO has decided to launch a new device here in Kenya, probably aligning with the new device’s price that hopefully most Kenyans will be in a position to buy.

While we don’t have exact specifications of the Reno 5 F which is expected to go on sale later on in March, we don’t expect it to stray far away from the regular Reno5. Notably, the phone maker might decide to cut corners in areas that don’t cut it far away from its pricier sibling.

On the other hand, we know exactly how much you’ll need to part with for the new model. Pre-ordering the Reno 5 F will land you interesting freebies such as OPPO Enco W11 TWS as well as a 6 month’s screen protection plan. The device is up on sale for Ksh 31,999.

At the moment, we know just enough on the Reno 5 F to help you make a decision whether this should be your next pocket companion. It flaunts a 6.4-inch AMOLED panel and a punch-hole camera that houses a 32MP selfie camera. While we haven’t received any credible intel on the chipset at the moment, and maybe won’t matter after all, a sneak peek on the internals reveals 8GB Ram and 128GB internal storage.

OPPO Reno5 Features and Price in Kenya

While we don’t have everything on the F variant, we have just about everything you’ll need to know on the regular Reno5. It comes in two colors: Starry Balck and Fantasy Silver with a price tag of Ksh 41,999. And just like customers who will pre-order the F variant, offline buyers will also get goodies alongside such as OPPO Enco W11 TWS, OPPO I’m Reno Backpack, and a 6-month screen protection plan. On the other hand, online pre-orders will include a Bluetooth speaker instead of the screen protection plan.

The OPPO Reno5 flaunts a 6.43 AMOLED panel capped at 90Hz refresh rate. It also makes room for a 44MP selfie camera, both protected in a Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The display resolution is capped at 1080 x 2400, and at least for the regular model we know it comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor and Adreno 618 GPU under the hood.

At the back is a quad-camera setup consisting of a 64MP main rear camera, an 8MP ultrawide, 2MP depth and 2MP macro sensor.  Both handsets will be shipped with Android version 11 installed.

Spotify finally enters Kenyan market with some interesting premium packages

After years of absence in East Africa’s largest economy, world leading music streaming service – Spotify is finally here in Kenya. Kenyans can now download the app on various platforms such as windows computers, android phones as well as on iOS devices. There have been years of anguish from music lovers who have even gone as far as creating a community on the Spotify website requesting for its presence in the country.

Previously, Kenyans could only stream the service via VPNs, but fortunes changed once the service announced expansion into additional 80 markets including Kenya. the service will join a few international alternatives such as Deezer and Apple music which are already available in the country.

Spotify Kenya Premium packages

For those who’d like to join their premium packages, Spotify has plans ranging from Ksh 149 for a student plan that includes a single account and a discounted price for University students. You can also opt for an individual plan that goes for Ksh 299 a month with one account included. On a higher side, there’s a Duo account for two accounts that goes for Ksh389 and a family plan that includes 6 accounts for Ksh479.  

Kenyan premium packages can be checked here: https://www.spotify.com/ke-en/premium/#plans

How to Subscribe and Pay for Spotify in Kenya

To subscribe for the service, all you need to do is signup on their website below;

Website: https://www.spotify.com/

And as expected, users will have an option to pay via MPESA, PayPal or either a Mastercard or Visa card. To pay via MPESA, you’ll be requested to enter your MPESA number, after which an authentication request will be sent on your phone to enter MPESA PIN and complete the transaction.

Safaricom to learn on its Ethiopia license application by May this year

Official reports indicate that Safaricom will now know on its Ethiopia entry bid by May this year, this comes after some contradicting reports from the telco’s Chairman Michael Joseph and head of Ethiopian telecoms commission about the current status on the license application. Ethiopia is considered as one of remaining major closed telecoms market and its entry might pose some opportunities for successful bidders.

According to reports from the country, two operators will be offered licenses to operate in the country this coming May, following an extension on the deadline set earlier for bidding. According to the Ethiopian Communications Authority director Balcha Reba, bidders will now have until April 5th to submit their bids after some aspirants pushed for an extension.

The process will effectively allow the Authority to select successful candidates that would compete with state run operator. The government will proceed to scrutinize the bids for a period of one month after which it’ll announce successful bids the following Month – May.

The country initiated request for proposals on November 27th last year, a period that followed prospective firms buying bid documents. They are now preparing their bids according to Mr Reba which are expected to be presented before April 5, just a month from the initial deadline of March 5, 2021. The new process will be open and competitive, according to Mr Reba, and will now give an opportunity to other firms that were not included in the initial process.

The county’s telecoms Authority had earlier listed 12 firms including Safaricom last November as among firms that had expressed interest in entering the Ethiopia’s telecommunications market. Safaricom had signed an agreement to borrow $500 million from America’s Sovereign Wealth fund International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to fund the Ethiopia expansion of successful.

Lack of CRB access has dipped digital lender’s monthly loans by half

Once vibrant digital lenders market segment is now facing uncertain future especially after they were denied access to credit reference bureaus. The move consequently meant they could not forward defaulters to the CRB’s, making it even harder for them to compel borrowers to pay for the loans. According to the chairman of digital lenders association, Kevin Mutiso, members in the sector were lending close to 4 billion monthly before the pandemic, but now have cut spending to just 2 billion after the financial regulator denied them access to the CRB listings.

Since they cannot access CRB’s, they are unable to make those quick loan decisions as was the case before and lack a way of forcing borrowers to pay for their loans like before. The central bank of Kenya kicked unregulated digital lenders out of CRB’s making their businesses difficult as they now lacked recourse on making borrowers to pay. Some of these unregulated lenders were accused of using exorbitant interest rates that left borrowers hooked on loans forever, and in some cases were using illegal means to force borrowers to pay such as sending text messages and making calls to contacts.

Speaking on the current status, DLAK chairman said they were issuing close to 4 billion loans in pre-COVID-19 era, but have now halved that amount since 2020 after the Kenyan government unveiled a raft of new regulations to manage digital lenders. According to the association which consists of Tala, Zenka, MyCredit, Lpesa, Four Kings Investment, Kuwazo Capital, Stawika and Alternate Circle, an average of six million Kenyans borrow around KES 4,000 for a period of 3 months.

There were as many defaulters in pre-COVID-19 era since most of them took low value loans for a short repayment period. According to official figures at the CRB’s, 90 percent of blacklisted borrowers were those who had taken loans from digital lenders.

Manage your pdf documents online: Learn more reasons to convert word to PDF

Word is a popular platform used for the creation of new docs. You must know that word is the most used platform for creating content, and people still prefer to convert their word files to pdf after creation.

The word to pdf conversion is the most common type of document conversion you must make today. In this post, we will put some light on the common reasons that would help you understand why word to pdf conversion is important.

You will also learn about the different ways and tools that can help you manage content online.

Common reasons to convert word to pdf!

There are plenty of reasons considering which you can convert word to pdf, but we will not waste your time on the unimportant rather, we would focus on the most important and common reasons!

Word files are unable to keep their original format

One of the main reasons people convert word to pdf is that the word documents cannot keep up their original format. The word file format would change if you opened it on a different computer, smartphone, and even on the same device but a different version of the word. Most of the time in word document creation is spent setting its format, but all your efforts would waste if you do not focus on its conversion to the portable document format. To keep the document format intact, you must go for the online word to pdf conversion tools!

 References can get jumbled

Another common reason you must avoid saving your files in word format is that they can ruin the contents’ table. If you open your word file on any other device, then a 90% chance is that the table of content and the headings you have used in the document would become messy. Page numbers can also change if the size of the document is large. You might have seen that usually, eBooks and reports are saved in pdf format, and this is just because their format can get shattered if they are saved in word.

MS word has different versions

There are more than six to eight different versions of Microsoft word. You must know that if you open the same word file in different versions of word, they would see a different format and style in every version. For instance, if you have created a word file in MS Word 2016 version and are opening it in 2010, you can ruin the file in seconds.

There are tons of word processors

You must know that word is one out of hundreds of writing platforms. If you create a word file that you need to share with another user, you cannot guarantee that the person would also be using the word. Word files cannot be utilized in any other format, and if you try to do so, you are surely going to face loss in data.

PDF files are friendlier for mobiles

Today people are more interested in managing their work from their smartphones. For this reason, word-to-pdf conversion is considered as important. Word files can surely be opened on smartphones, but you must know that they are not at all friendly to utilize and manage. On the other hand, PDF format is perfect for smartphones as it works the same as an image.

PDF files are lower in size

You must also know that pdf files are lesser in size if you compare them with the word. Especially if you talk about the word files filled with graphic content, you would see a major difference in their size. For this reason, word to pdf conversion is recommended the most. If you are low on storage space, then you should convert the word to pdf.

Managing word files online!

There is no doubt that you can save the word files in pdf at the time of creating the document, but at the same time, you must know that this is a process that takes some time and is based on a few steps. If you want to save your time and efforts and want to enjoy online management, we would suggest using the online word to pdf converter tools. Some many online websites can help you manage word files, and we have listed out the most useful ones for you:

  • You can convert word to pdf with plagiarismdetector.net that is a relatively new online tool but it has gathered a lot of positive fame because of its friendly and accurate conversions.
  • Small PDF can also provide you different utilities that would help you change a word to pdf and vice versa.
  • The word to pdf converter by smallseotools is also known to be best for limitless conversions.
  • PDF element is the best platform for converting a complete batch of word files to pdf, link here.

To get more information about this conversion, we would suggest you stay tuned!

Google announces a massive visual overhaul of android 12 with developer preview

Google has finally unveiled a developer preview to the next iteration of Android operating system. While the developer preview is available to most phones on the pixel lineup released at least from 2018, it should be received with caution and not be used for day-to-day operations as its prone to have bugs that need fixing. Something that’s quite overlooked is just how important it is to own a Google Pixel, while other manufacturers are expected to bring their beta versions before the OS is finally deployed in masses, Pixel devices usually get these updates on day one.

And as seen from leaked images, the OS will have a major visual overhaul at the end of the year when it’ll be officially released alongside some handful privacy options. The developer preview was announced today, and as such, public beta should be expected anytime in a month’s duration. Android 12 will make it the sixth year when the tech giant gives the public a glimpse on the next iteration of android before its finally unveiled.

Looking at pandemic stricken 2020, the developer preview was announced in February, followed by a public release later on. The pandemic impacted on the dates, where Google changed from traditional March date to February, a move that was meant to give developers an ample time to make adjustments on their apps to work correctly with the OS.

Android 12 brings new tools for developers to build apps that offer great experiences to users. The overhaul starts from the notifications, which now has a new layout that provides more information when checked. Additionally, the OS has smoother transitions as well as animations and things like alerts should launch faster in Android 12.

In comparison with earlier versions of the OS, it’ll be now easier to copy and paste images, videos as well as other rich content, thanks to a new unified API that allows applications accept content from any source. We now have support for AV1 image file format (AVIF) which allows for better media quality without necessarily occupying more space. Additionally, immersive mode received a nice touch to play nice with Games, Videos and other apps using gesture navigation as well as single swipes.

Audio also received some touch-up under the hood to have haptics correctly correspond to audio playback. This will allow for per-contact vibrations or simply simulating rough terrain in racing games. Better part of the OS will now be updated via the Google Play Store.

Since I have an old Pixel 3, I can’t wait to get the preview so I can explore more features hidden underneath. It should also be noted some of these features may not end up in the final release, and some features may be added along the way. If you have any of these devices, Pixel 3 and 3XL, Pixel 3a and 3Axl, Pixel 4 and 4XL, Pixel 4a and 4a 5G or Pixel 5, then you’re in luck, they are all supported.

How to purchase international calls voice bundles on the Safaricom network

Making those international calls from Kenya can be both expensive or relatively affordable if you do some things first. While Safaricom does not have the cheapest calling rates to make calls outside Kenya, it provides some voice bundles that users can utilize to ease the burden of making those international calls.

At the moment, Kenya’s largest service provider only allows users to purchase voice bundles that can be utilized to make calls to four countries; China, Canada, USA and India. The bundles are given in minutes with expiry periods ranging from 24hrs, 7days and 30days.

Something worth noting, the voice bundles have to be used within the stated expiry period and cannot be reactivated for further use. However, if another bundle is bought before the expiry of a previous bundle then its reactivated and rolled over for another period.

How to purchase international voice bundles on Safaricom network

  • On your phone, either dial *100# or *200# then press call
  • Next choose Products & Services then press send
  • Proceed to select International Calling Bundles
  • You can then choose from;
  • 6 Minutes at Ksh 19 valid for 24hrs
  • 40 Minutes at Ksh 99 valid for 7days
  • 170 minutes at Kshs 399 valid for 30days

 How to check remaining voice bundle for international calls

  • Users can check by dialing *100# or *200#
  • Or by just sending the word “Balance” to 144