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World Bank cuts Kenya’s 2017 economic growth estimate to 4.9 pct

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The World Bank has cut its 2017 growth estimate for Kenya’s economy to 4.9 per cent, due to drought, sluggish credit growth and a prolonged election season, the bank said on Thursday.

This would be the slowest annual expansion in five years.

The lender had already cut its initial forecast by half a percentage point in April to 5.5 per cent, citing the severe drought in the first half and the drop in private sector growth.

The Kenyan economy has since been buffeted by political risks after the Supreme Court nullified an Aug. 8 election and ordered a re-run that was boycotted by the opposition.

“Private sector activity weakened over the first three quarters of 2017 on account of the election induced wait-and-see attitude,” the World Bank said in its report on the economy.

The drought drove up inflation and cut consumer demand. The main Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing and services plunged to a new low in October, due to the political uncertainty.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second five-year term but main opposition leader Raila Odinga has said he will hold a parallel “swearing-in” ceremony next week.

Growth is expected to rebound to 5.5 per cent in 2018 and 5.9 per cent in 2019, the World Bank said.

The rebound would be, provided the government implements policy remedies like the removal of a cap on commercial lending rates.

Private sector credit growth slipped to 1.6 per cent in the year to August, its lowest level in over a decade.

“Removing the interest rate cap can help jump-start domestic credit to the private sector,” the bank said in the report.

The government also needed to boost revenue collection in order to cut its budget deficit.

“Safeguarding macro-economic stability — a foundation for robust growth — will require fiscal consolidation,” the World Bank said.

It said Kenya, whose budget deficit climbed to nine per cent in the year to the end of June, can cut recurrent expenditure to reduce pressure on public finances.

The East African nation issued its debut Eurobonds in 2014 and has asked banks for proposals for more dollar bonds to be issued in the first quarter of next year.

Economists say Kenya’s recent annual growth rates of 5 to 6 per cent are respectable.

However, it needs to increase them to the upper single digits on a sustained basis to have a meaningful impact on job creation and poverty reduction.

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Twin sisters want one man to impregnate them

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The twin sisters with their shared boyfriend Ben Byrne

The twin sisters with their shared boyfriend Ben Byrne

Two sisters self-described as “the world’s most identical twins” aim to get pregnant by their shared boyfriend and, if the law would allow it, marry him.

Anna and Lucy DeCinque, who made their announcement on an Australian morning show last month, confirmed to Fox News this week that their communal boyfriend is “very happy” with the plan.

The DeCinque twins, 33, appeared on the show Dec. 3 to discuss their decision to eschew plastic surgery despite embracing such procedures in the past, but they soon doubled down on claims that they were planning to marry and get pregnant by their boyfriend Ben Byrne.
“If we can change the law in the government, we’d love to marry Ben,” one of the women said in a clip from the show, which the DeCinque sisters shared to their YouTube channel on Jan. 2.

“This is what works for us. People need to get that. We’re not hurting anyone,” said the other sister.

The twins then revealed that it was their own mother’s idea for Byrne to try to get them both pregnant naturally, though they said they don’t know if they can pull that off.

“Our mom is actually convincing us to go naturally, give birth naturally, so I don’t know how that’s going to work because we need to be pregnant at the same time,” one of the women said.

“Ben will be a busy boy,” responded “Today” presenter Deborah Knight.

The twins had previously revealed that they both wanted to become pregnant by Byrne in a YouTube video they posted in 2017, though they said they were considering using a surrogate or IVF treatments, Yahoo! Lifestyle reported at the time.

“It is a bit of a dilemma,” said Lucy. “We know that’s where nature comes in, we can’t control these things. You can’t force these things.”

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Nigerian drowns in South Africa

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The Nigerian Union, South Africa (NUSA) has announced the tragic demise of Mr Udebuani Chidokweanaukwu, who drowned in that country.

Chidokweanaukwu, a native of Nando in Anambra, drowned in a beach in Swellendam near Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
The Publicity Secretary of the Union, Mr Habib Miller, confirmed the accident in a statement issued to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

“With sorrow and heavy heart, we have received the news of the death of Udebuani Chidokweanaukwu from Nando, Anambra State.
“According to the information from an eye witness, Chidikweanaukwu got drowned on the beach at Swellendam on Dec. 17.

“He is survived by his wife and children. NUSA sympathises with his family and friends at this difficult time of grief and pray God comfort them,” he said.

Miller urged members to be cautious as well as obey safety rules when visiting the beach and other hazardous places.

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Yaba traders jeer and harass protesters calling for end of sexual harassment

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