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Elephant-lovers mourn the death of Tim, Africa’s largest elephant1 minute read

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Big Tim, one of Africa’s largest and last surviving super tuskers and an icon of Amboseli National Park in Kenya has died at the age of 50. Tim, who captured the hearts of many across the world died on 4th February of natural causes, Kenya Wildlife Service officials said.

While announcing his passing in a press release, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said that they had secured the remains of the elephant, which were transported to his final resting place, the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi. Here, he will be preserved by taxidermists and eventually put on display.

Cynthia Moss, the Founder and Director of Amboseli Elephant Trust said that Tim was an iconic large male, whose fame catalyzed many conservation collaborations between KWS and conservation organizations.

“We will miss him but we also hope that his legend lives on and he continues to inspire people to protect elephants. He has fathered many calves too, and we are happy he got to live a long life in the wild,” she added.

Elephants have a median lifespan of 56 years but can live up to the age of 70. Kenya has an estimated population of 35,000 elephants. Poaching and the extremely high demand for ivory in Asia however, remain a big concern for conservationists and the KWS alike. Big Tim himself survived a poaching attempt when poachers speared him in the neck, he defiantly survived.

The Big Life Foundation described Tim as an elephant that has since come to represent all of the different values, positive and negative, that humans place on an elephant’s life. “To poachers he is a target, to farmers he is a costly nuisance, to tourists he is a marvel, and to conservationists, he is a symbol of hope that our efforts are working.”

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Common Customs bond in East Africa will to reduce costs

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Importers in East Africa will from July, operate under a common Customs bond, to guarantee uniform import duties and taxes across all partner states.

Currently, the value of Customs bonds varies from country to country because of the application of different duty rates, valuation and sensitivity of goods.

Kenya requires importers of transit goods to secure a Customs bond issued by an insurance company, while delicate or sensitive cargo requires a bank or cash guarantee. In Uganda and Rwanda, the Customs bond is issued by an insurance company with rates based on the taxes charged by the destination country.

According to the East Africa Community Single Custom Territory Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, the common Customs bond will reduce the cost of doing business and goods turnaround time.

This common Customs bond is expected to be adopted during the Council of Ministers in July as part of the pillar to create a Customs Union. It is meant to create a level playing field for the region’s producers by imposing uniform competition laws, Customs procedures and external tariffs on goods imported from countries outside the EAC.

To secure cargo movement in the region, revenue commissioners from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda in attendance, say they are already implementing cargo tracking systems and before the end of this year, there will be one data control centre to monitor and track cargo.

The new data control centre involves computerisation of all Customs systems and it will help in enhancing online tools, which include a regional dashboard, transport observatory system and a geographic information system.

A regional cargo tracking system is already operational on the Northern Corridor and has reduced cargo loss to close to zero in 2019.

According to the committee, the EAC secretariat in collaboration with Trade Mark East Africa and other partner states particularly the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) are looking into the possibility of interfacing the TRA Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTs) platform with existing ECTS systems along the central corridor.

Kenya Revenue Authority regional co-ordinator Southern Region Kenneth Ochola said they are setting up internal mechanisms in consultations with the Kenya Bureau of Standards to monitor compliance.

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Carrefour faces Kenyan fines over unfair supplier deals

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Kenya’s competition watchdog has fined Carrefour and ordered the French retail giant to review all its supply agreements within 60 days after the supermarket chain was found to be exploiting traders who supply it with goods.

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) also ordered Carrefour through its franchise holder, Majid al Futtaim’s (MAF) to expunge six items from its supplier contracts that are said to give the store the power to offer ultra-competitive pricing to boost sales and increase market share.

The clauses include forcing suppliers to pay a non-refundable fee to do business with it and forcing merchants offering the retail chain goods to provide extra rebates or discounts.

Carrefour was found to be in breach of the law for forcing suppliers to post their own staff at its outlets at the expense of the suppliers. It was also accused of rejecting goods already delivered.

The retail giant has also been barred from delisting suppliers unilaterally without notice for failure to meet its stringent supply contract.

According to the CAK Director-General, Wang’ombe Kariuki, all current supply agreements of Majid Al Futtaim Limited relating to its Carrefour Hypermarkets in Kenya be amended forthwith and in any event within 60 days of service of this order to expunge all offending provisions.

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Tanzania’s gold, dollar reserves reach $5.5billion

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By the first half of 2019/2020, covering more than six months of imports, Tanzania accumulated $5.5 billion worth of gold and dollar reserves

The country’s benchmark is at least four months’ reserve of imports cover.

The Bank of Tanzania ( BoT), in its Monetary Policy Statement Mid-Year Review released last week, attributes the good run to the increase in value of exports specifically from the non-traditional goods counter of minerals and manufactured goods.

By the end of the first half of 2019/2020, data shows the value of non-traditional goods exports increased by 39.3 per cent to $2.363 billion, largely driven by manufactured goods and gold.

Exports of manufactured goods increased by 19.2 per cent to $518.6 million from $435.2 million in the same period in 2018/2019. The increase is attributed to a rise in exports of iron and steel products, glass and glassware, manufactured tobacco, sisal yarn and twine.

As of January 2020, manufactured goods recorded a 24 per cent increase of $984.9 million, driven by sisal yarn and twine, iron and steel products, glass and glassware, manufactured tobacco and fertilisers.

Gold, which accounted for 53.7 percent of non-traditional goods exports, increased by 59.6 per cent to $1.268 billion from $795.1 million in 2018/2019 on account of both volume and favourable prices at the world market.

Traditional goods exports also increased to reach $634.4 million compared with $322.1 million in the same period last year, driven by exports of cashewnuts.

Services receipts increased to $2.257 billion, boosted by a good performance in travel and transport receipts.

According to BoT, gross domestic product maintained an average growth of 6.9 per cent, same as in 2018, occasioned by scaling up of public investments, steady private sector activity, and stable consumption expenditure.

The main contributors to growth for the first half of 2019/2020 were the construction sector by 28.9 per cent, agriculture by 18 per cent and transport by 9.9 per cent.

With the ongoing public investments in social and physical infrastructure, continued improvement in power supply, expansion of credit to the private sector, and enhanced capacity utilization in the manufacturing industry real GDP growth is expected to remain robust at the end of the 2019/2020 financial year.

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