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Kenya protests show citizens don’t trust government with their tax money: can Ruto make a meaningful new deal?

Kenya protests show citizens don’t trust government with their tax money: can Ruto make a meaningful new deal?

EACH year, the Kenyan government tables a finance bill outlining measures for funding the national budget. In the past, these bills have scarcely attracted public attention. This changed dramatically in 2023, with President William Ruto’s first budget following his election victory the year before. Ruto inherited an economy battling high food and fuel prices in addition to a heavy debt burden. His budget policy response, however, added to the crisis by doubling the tax on fuel, increasing income taxes and introducing a levy to fund his pet project of affordable housing. He justified higher taxes as a necessity imposed by…
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TikTok in Kenya: the government wants to restrict it, but my study shows it can be useful and empowering

TikTok in Kenya: the government wants to restrict it, but my study shows it can be useful and empowering

EVERY day, 750 million people around the world engage with TikTok – the short-video sharing app. Kenyans are among its top users. According to a Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2023, 54% of Kenyans sampled used TikTok for general purposes, the highest proportion among the countries in the survey. They also use TikTok to express themselves and connect with others. The app, launched in 2018, has become an integral part of social media culture, offering a space for creativity, entertainment and community interaction. It’s particularly known for its memetic videos, which often feature lip-syncing, dance routines and comedic skits. But…
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Designer calls for rebrand of youth sex education

Designer calls for rebrand of youth sex education

A decade ago, the Kenyan government withdrew its TV advertisement promoting condom use after an outcry from religious leaders and citizens who believed the advert encouraged infidelity. The Kenyan Anglican Church's Bishop at the time, Julius Kalu, told the country's Daily Nation newspaper that the advert on free-to-air TV stations had promoted extra-marital affairs and sex among school children. "The advertisement depicts this nation as Sodom and Gomorra and not one that values the institution of marriage and family," Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa, from the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, also said. Fast-forward to 2023, and speaking about sexuality…
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Chinese hackers attacked Kenyan government as debt strains grew

Chinese hackers attacked Kenyan government as debt strains grew

CHINESE hackers targeted Kenya's government in a widespread, years-long series of digital intrusions against key ministries and state institutions, according to three sources, cybersecurity research reports and Reuters' own analysis of technical data related to the hackings. Two of the sources assessed the hacks to be aimed, at least in part, at gaining information on debt owed to Beijing by the East African nation: Kenya is a strategic link in the Belt and Road Initiative - President Xi Jinping's plan for a global infrastructure network. "Further compromises may occur as the requirement for understanding upcoming repayment strategies becomes needed," a…
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Kenya puts in place tougher labelling for baby foods, bottles, teats and pacifiers

Kenya puts in place tougher labelling for baby foods, bottles, teats and pacifiers

THE Kenyan government has provided more stringent measures for the labelling of feeding bottles, teats and pacifier packages. It wants the labels of these products to include a warning that their use can have negative effects on breastfeeding. The new regulations show the government’s commitment to revisiting a law passed in Kenya in 2012 that laid the ground work for key regulations around the marketing of breast milk substitutes. These substitutes include infant formulas, follow-on formulas and any other food or drink, alongside feeding bottles and teats, intended for babies and young children. Author ANTONINA MUTORO, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, African…
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Kenya gets $750 mln World Bank loan to help recovery from COVID-19 effects

Kenya gets $750 mln World Bank loan to help recovery from COVID-19 effects

DUNCAN MIRIRI KENYA has received a $750 million loan from the World Bank to support its budget and help the East African economy recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the multilateral lender has announced. The Kenyan government has been pushing hard to secure foreign funding to fill a wide budget deficit before its financial year closes at the end of this month. The $750 million disbursement is part of World Bank's Development Policy Operations (DPO), which lends cash for budget support instead of financing specific projects. The bank said some of the funds would go towards setting up…
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