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Kenyan Digital Taxi drivers protest poor rates

Price wars have been raging between ride-hailing firms for a long time and the little guy is now feeling the pinch. On Monday morning, digital taxi drivers from Little, Uber, Taxify, MondoRide among others, have gone on strike, demanding their firms raise prices

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Price wars have been raging between ride-hailing firms for a long time and the little guy is now feeling the pinch. On Monday morning, digital taxi drivers from Little, Uber, Taxify, MondoRide among others, have gone on strike, demanding their firms raise prices.

The Monday strike resulted in higher prices, longer waits and ejection of riders from taxis that continued to operate. The strike was later suspended amid negotiations between them and transport sector stakeholders.

The Digital Taxi Association of Kenya (DTAK) claims that prices have gone so low drivers are having a hard time maintain their cars, let alone earn a decent salary from them.

Read Also: Tunisia defends hike in fuel prices, three times in six months

In September of 2017, Uber drivers went on strike in September resulting in the company hiking ride prices to KES 42 per kilometer. However, in the absence of a written agreement, they have gradually been reducing them since. Uber takes the highest commission at 25% off the top. It is currently charging riders KES16 per Kilometre for Uber Chap Chap and KES27 per Kilometre for Uber X. Taxify charges KES14 per kilometer and a much lower 15% commission.

The drivers demand a hike to at least KES60 per kilometer and for commissions to be slashed to 10%, claiming most of the cars in operation cost at least KES45 per kilometer to fuel and maintain. DTAK Chairman David Muteru on Monday said the strike pushes for fair pricing in the industry and better terms from taxi hailing companies. “Recently there has been a price war are which has made this work untenable. When these guys entered the market it was Ksh60 per kilometer and Ksh4 per minute, today it’s only Ksh16 per kilometer and Ksh2 per minute,” Mr Muteru said.

Uber spokesperson said in a statement, “We constantly monitor fares and examine rider price sensitivities to ensure fares are correctly priced so that riders continue to take trips and drivers have access to more fare-paying passengers.”

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Farmers lament as wild fire, heat waves cut grain harvest in Tunisia

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Farmers union in Tunisia has forecasted that output will fall well short of government hopes following heat waves and fires that are badly damaging the country’s grain harvest.

Farmers union official Mohamed Rejaibia, pointing to fires that began raging over much of the country last month, said that was no longer possible.

“The grain harvest will not be more than 1.4 million tonnes,” said Rejaibia, a member of the union’s executive office. “Some of it will be lost to fires and some perhaps during collection.”

The North African country has struggled with food importation costs driven higher by the war in Ukraine. That is largely because Ukraine and Russia account for a great amount of the global supply for grains, particularly wheat.

Earlier this month, agriculture minister, Mhamoud Elyess Hamza forecasted the 2022 grain harvest would reach 1.8 million tonnes, that is 10% up from last year’s harvest.

Wild fire has had a devastating effect in Tunisia. According to a statement released by the Tunisian Federation of Insurance Companies (FTUSA), the insurance industry in the country paid fire insurance claims totalling TND25m ($8m) in 2015 and the quantum jumped over the years to TND107m in 2020. That represented an average increase over 30% a year.

Another farmer, Abderraouf Arfaoui, in Krib, revealed that most of his colleagues had to harvest their grains earlier than usual.

“Usually we begin the harvest season in July, but this year we started on June 18… we are afraid of fires. We must watch our land day and night.

“We must harvest without waiting, even if that reduces the quantity and quality of the wheat, and when we finish the harvest we must watch our haystacks, too.”

 According to Thinkhazard, wildfire hazard is classified as high with more than a 50% chance of encountering weather that could support a significant wildfire that is likely to result in both life and property loss in any given year.

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Zimbabwe’s central bank raises key rate to 200%. Will that help its inflation surge?

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Zimbabwe’s economic woes continue as the Southern African country’s central bank said it was raising its key rate to 200 percent.

The decision makes Zimbabwe’s rate the highest in the world as it battles with soaring inflation persist. The rate was last raised to 80% in April from 60%.

The central bank a statement said it had more than doubled the rate in the push to try to contain inflation, which has been further aggravated by the war in Ukraine, expressing “great concern”.

The key rate is the interest rate at which banks can borrow when they fall short of their required reserves. They may borrow from other banks or directly from the Federal Reserve for a very short period of time.

According to thecentral bank governor, John Mangudya,rising inflation has depressed demand and consumer confidence and if left unchecked will wipe out the significant economic gains made over the past two years.

Zimbabwe’s economy is in deep crisis, including a withdrawal of international donors because of unsustainable debt with inflation rate in Zimbabwe averaging 80.42 percent between 2009 and 2022.

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