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Kenyan and Rwandan secure funding to boost urban sanitation

By Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Two social enterprises in Kenya and Rwanda have secured new funding to improve access to affordable sanitation services to low-income urban dwellers.

A statement from multilateral agencies and philanthropies behind the new funding issued on Thursday said that Sanivation of Kenya and Pivot Works from Rwanda will each receive 290,000 U.S. dollars and 1 million dollars respectively to promote access to basic sanitation in low-income urban settlements.

The two enterprises are part of five projects spread across Africa, Asia and Latin America that will benefit from a multi-million financing program called Urban Sanitation Challenge launched at the ongoing UN General Assembly to address global sanitation crises.

“New funding from the Urban Sanitation Challenge will enable Sanivation, a social enterprise, to scale up its sanitation services in Naivasha, Kenya, reaching 2,500 users with affordable and serviceable toilets,” read the statement.

Sanivation has been installing modern and hygienic container based toilets in Naivasha residential premises for free and only charges a modest monthly fee to service them.

The social enterprise pioneered conversion of human waste into high-performing fuel briquettes hence reducing environmental pollution in the resort town located 70 kilometers northwest of the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

On its part, the Pivot Works of Rwanda pioneered innovative management of human waste in the Rwandan capital Kigali by converting it into renewable fuel.

The new funding will enable the social enterprise to scale up its sanitation services to an estimated 700,000 low-income Kigali residents.

“Pivot works will refine its fecal sludge conversion process and extend operations of its pit latrine emptying service citywide, reaching a capacity to empty 12,000 pits annually,” noted the statement.



Kenya and China sign tax treaty to boost bilateral ties

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya and China on Thursday signed an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation that aims to boost bilateral commercial ties, Kenyan officials said.

Cabinet Secretary in the National Treasury Henry Rotich told a media briefing in Nairobi that the deal will create certainty to the tax payers on the taxation of various cross-border incomes derived from either country.

“The agreement aims to boost trade and investments between China and Kenya by ensuring investors who pay tax in one jurisdiction should not pay tax again in the other jurisdiction,” Rotich said.

The tax treaty was negotiated and concluded during a meeting by top officials of both nations that was held in Beijing in November 2016.

Rotich said that the deal will increase the flow of Chinese capital into Kenya as Chinese investors will find Kenya as a favorable taxation regime.

He noted that the agreement comes at an ideal time when Kenya is wooing Chinese investors looking for low cost manufacturing destinations.

“Through the National Trade Policy we have developed polices that aim to create incentives for foreign manufacturers including those from China to set up operations in Kenya,” he said.

The Treasury official noted that benefits of the agreement will far outweigh the loss of tax revenue.

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa said that the tax agreement will enhance Kenya’s position as a favorite destination for Chinese investments.

“I believe more Chinese will invest in Kenya and in the process create more employment opportunities and skill transfer to locals,” Liu added.

Liu noted that the agreement will strengthen existing cooperation between the tax administrations of both nations through capacity building and exchange programs.


Uganda eyes China to fast track mineral sector development

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda says it has vast amounts of minerals and is now looking at China to finance the rapid development of the sector.

Peter Lokeris, Uganda’s minister of state in charge of the sector, told Xinhua on Tuesday that he is scheduled to travel to China where he will highlight the east African country’s potential.

He will be making a presentation at China Mining Congress and Expo 2017, scheduled for Sept. 23-25 in Tianjin.

The conference will be hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources and bring together government and business experts in the mineral sector from across the globe.

“We have made investment friendly,” Lokeris said. “Where we see weaknesses in our legal framework, we always amend in order to make sure we attract investment.”

Lokeris said there are already positive results from China.

A Chinese company, Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Ltd., is constructing a 620 million U.S. dollar fertilizer factory in the eastern Ugandan district of Tororo.

Once completed, the factory will create over 1,000 jobs and also earn the country millions of dollars, according to government figures.

“They have diversified... They are going to have about four plants (factories) within the same complex,” Lokeris said, referring to the Tororo fertilizer project.

Lokeris said that although Uganda’s minerals sector is strong, it needs to be fully developed in order to fast track the country’s development.

“There are a lot of opportunities in this country. It is the natural resources which should enrich this country since we have them in abundance,” he said.

According to Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP), a non-governmental organization, Uganda enjoys a wealth of mineral deposits including gold, vermiculite, copper, graphite, iron ore, tin, tantalite, tungsten, nickel, platinum, graphite, limestone, and phosphates among others.

Lokeris said Uganda and other African countries must seize the opportunity of the continent being the choice of investment on the international fora.

“All pointers are to Africa. People from the West, East are coming to Africa. This is the new-found land. It is a green field,” he said.


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