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Kenyan public debt hits United States $58
billion dollars on new Eurobond borrowing

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan public debt rose to a new high of 58 billion U.S. dollars at the end of June, pushed up by 2.1 billion dollars in Eurobond borrowing.

The debt rose from 56.1 billion dollars to 58.1 billion dollars, an increase of 2 billion dollars, new Central Bank of Kenya data showed on Monday.

Of the public debt, 28 billion dollars is domestic while 30 billion dollars is external, with the latter having recorded the highest jump, according to the central bank.

Kenya issued the Eurobond in May, which was the third, raising 2.08 billion dollars in tranches of seven years at a coupon of 7 percent and 12 years at a coupon of 8 percent.

The security was oversubscribed, with the country’s National Treasury noting that the money would be used to finance development projects, support the budget and refinance 750 million dollars in debt from the first Eurobond issue.

Capital market among choices for Kenya’s infrastructure development financing

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s capital market is positioning itself as one choice for the financing of infrastructure development, the capital market regulator said on Monday.

The capital market shall begin offering products such as infrastructure bonds, green bonds, social impact investment bonds and blue bonds as channels through which government entities and private-sector participants can leverage long-term market-based financing, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) said in a report.

"It may be of significant benefit for both the national and county governments of Kenya to consider the capital markets as a cheaper long-term financing option for integrated urbanization initiatives including the development of smart cities to bolster ongoing domestic and regional integration initiatives," according to the 11th edition of the Capital Markets Soundness Report for the quarter ended June 2019.

The east African nation’s capital market hopes to emerge as a platform through which Kenyans can increase their saving levels by purchasing securities that retain and grow the value of their investments, further creating a repository of capital supply that can be invested in capital market products and services.

According to the survey, the government has historically sourced for concessional and lately commercial loans, both local and international, to finance its infrastructure development agenda, and the capital markets has not been optimally used over the years.

"The size of the Kenyan capital market remains comparatively small in relation to its peers in the continent such as South Africa, Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria, most of whom have a much bigger role to play in mobilizing capital for the development of domestic infrastructure projects," the report said.

Kenya plans taxation of foreign online media services

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to begin taxing foreign online streaming media services such as Youtube and Netflix, the communication regulator said on Monday.

Francis Wangusi, director general of Communication Authority of Kenya, told journalists in Nairobi that the government is fast tracking the development of a policy that guide the taxation of the over the top technology that provides content over the internet thereby bypassing traditional distribution channels.

"We can only enforce payment of tax on the strength of a policy," Wangusi said during the launch of the Star Times local content channel.

Wangusi said that the proposed policy framework will require the foreign entities to declare income derived from Kenyan consumers.

"We can force them to declare and pay and if not, we can shut them down from being accessible in Kenya," the communications regulator said.

He revealed that the government is able to monitor all online transactions that take place in Kenya.

He observed that the only drawback will be to force foreign companies without local presence from paying taxes for services provided to Kenyans.

The communications regulator said that Kenya will benchmark with developed countries to learn how to successfully implement taxation so that can the country can share revenues accrued in Kenya with the content owners.

Wangusi added that it may not be a problem technically to enforce payment of tax by the foreign entities because other countries are doing it.

He noted that the proposed policy framework will also ensure that foreign advertisements that air in the Kenyan market are also subjected to taxation.

StarTimes unveils new investment to boost local content in Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- StarTimes, a pay-TV service provider, on Monday launched a channel with nearly 2 million U.S. dollars of investment, aiming to boost local content production in Kenya.

StarTimes chief executive officer Andy Wang told journalists in Nairobi that it will invest 200 million shillings (1.93 million U.S. dollars) for the development of Rembo TV to air content developed by Kenyans for Kenyans.

"The company has responded to the growing appeal for authentic Kenyan content that subscribers can easily relate with as it rolls out exciting fresh shows that are expected to sustain the channel’s subscriber appeal moving forward," Wang said.

StarTimes has partnered with over 30 content developers in the country towards the development of Rembo TV, an entertainment channel with a key focus on reality television shows targeting the women audience and with a language policy comprising of 60 percent Kiswahili, 30 percent English and 10 percent vernacular.

"Our investment in Rembo TV is a statement of our long term commitment to the Kenyan market. As the 24-hour channel goes live, we intend to be home of uninterrupted entertainment attending to our subscriber demand for reality TV shows," Wang said.

He noted that Rembo TV will be available across three East African countries - Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda - thereby presenting a enviable platform to market Kenyan productions across the region.

The channel will be available on all StarTimes bouquet options both on terrestrial and satellite platforms, with the company eyeing growth in subscriber retention, as well as listing new subscribers keen on the improved content towards growing the pay television company’s market share.



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