Business Briefs: July

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M-Akiba is popular, but it missed target

When Kenya launched M-Akiba last year, the goal was to offer ordinary citizens access to the nation’s capital markets. A study by FSD Africa, a non-profit focused on finance sector development, shows while it recorded some success, the bond launch also had some failings: the government only raised 8% of its target as less than 5% of the over 300,000 people who registered for the bond actually made a purchase. The study blames the low uptake on a confusing purchase process which “gave no clear, immediate instruction for how to complete the purchase”, and a lack of understanding of its key details, including interest rates.

M-Pesa is pushing against a tax hike on mobile money

A proposed tax increase on mobile money transfers has drawn protests from several services, including M-Pesa. As part of a new tax proposal to raise government revenues, government is pushing to raise duties on mobile cash transfers by 2%. The government expects to net around Sh27b in additional revenues. But M-Pesa says the move will “negatively impact mobile-led transfer services and payments” and reverse the gains of financial inclusion by making it more expensive to transact using mobile money services.

Rise of supermarket shopping is growing risk of poor nutrition

The middle class boom in many African cities has resulted in several life style changes but one is proving particularly dangerous. A rise in supermarket shopping has resulted in locals eating higher amounts of processed food than fresh food typically found at traditional markets. But it’s a habit that could prove costly on the long-term, a new study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows. Across the continent, the rise of fast food chains is having a similar effect on increasing overweight and obesity levels.

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