University of Nairobi confers honorary degree on Prof. Patrick Verkooijen

L- Prof Stephen Kiama, VC, University of Nairobi; Prof Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO, GCA; and Dr. Vijoo Rattansi; the Chancellor for the University of Nairobi is Dr. Vijoo Rattansi/(Mrs) at the 67th Graduation Ceremony of the University
By Favour Nnabugwu
Global Center on Adaptation CEO, Professor Patrick Verkooijen, was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Nairobi at the institution’s 2022 Commencement Ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya.
Professor Verkooijen was awarded a Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, of the University of Nairobi in recognition of his long career and achievements in championing climate action globally and shaping bold action at scale in Africa.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Stephen Kiama, presented the award, describing Professor Verkooijen as a “champion of causes…that make the world a better place”.
“Today, the University of Nairobi is proud to confer the degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, to Professor Patrick Verkooijen in recognition of his distinguished academic and leadership career in climate change and adaptation”
Professor Kiama said. “His impeccable personal character and high morals embody much of what we value and aspire to at our university as captured in our philosophy; and through this friendship, we will accelerate knowledge on climate adaptation for a more resilient Africa.”
Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, congratulated Professor Verkooijen on his award. “With this honorary doctorate, I believe the University of Nairobi is recognizing a very special contribution to fighting the climate crisis” he said.
 “Professor Verkooijen has been a global leader in the fight against the climate breakdown for over a decade. His work at the helm of the GCA shows his tireless dedication to the cause of building sustainable, resilient future for all of us.”
Previous recipients of honorary degrees from the University of Nairobi include Dr. Kofi Annan, 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Laureate Wangari Muta Maathai.
Verkooijen used the occasion to underline the climate emergency in Africa. He stated: “Africa is climate crisis ground zero. If Africa loses out to the climate crisis, the world will lose out. Adapting Africa to the climate crisis is not just about survival. It is about Africa’s growth agenda. It is about jobs, development, and prosperity.”
“The sooner we stand together as a global community, the quicker we will all see ourselves through the great storm of the climate crisis. This University – and its students – are pioneering adaptation solutions right here in Kenya and can be an inspiration for all the world.”
Recognizing his track record for transformative change, the University of Nairobi also appointed Professor Verkooijen as the Distinguished Chair of The Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies.
Pencom approves Guidelines on accessing RSA balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA Holders

By Favour Nnabugwu
In it’s efforts to make sure that the desires of stakeholders and the general public hold sway, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has approved the issuance and immediate implementation of the Guidelines on Accessing Retirement Savings Account, RSA balance towards payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA Holders.
The Guidelines also specifies that married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements
PenCom in a statement released yesterday saif the approval is in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014), which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage.
Highlighting some of issues in the Guidelines:
1. Eligibility: The Guidelines cover pension contributors in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person. Interested RSA holders (applicants) must meet the following conditions:
I.  Have an Offer Letter for the property duly signed by the property owner
and verified by the Mortgage Lender.
ii. The RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s
mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years).
iii. A Contributor under the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) is also eligible,
provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application.
iv. RSA Holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible
For married couples, the Guidelines state
vi. RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records
updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.
vii.Application for equity contribution for residential mortgage shall be in
person and not by proxy.
2. Maximum Withdrawal Percentage: The maximum amount to be withdrawn
shall be 25% of the total mandatory RSA balance as at the date of application,
irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.
Where 25% of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as
equity contribution, RSA holders may utilise the contingency portion of their
voluntary contributions (if any).
3. Eligibility criteria for mortgage lender: To qualify as a Mortgage Lender for
this purpose, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria
(CBN), comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and have valid
Pension Clearance Certificate (PCC). The Commission shall publish names of
the eligible mortgage lenders on its website.
The Commission, hereby, invites interested RSA holders to contact their PFAs for more information and guidance. The complete Guidelines can be found on
Nigeria, Egypt, 5 other countries record highest growth in pension fund assets

By Favour Nnabugwu
Nigeria, Egypt and five other countries in Africa have recorded the highest pension fund assets as global pension fund assets grew by over 10% to $38.5 trillion in 2021.
The other five countries are Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. This is according to a report by the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Pension funds are investment pools that accumulate wealth to pay for workers’ retirement. Typically, pension funds are contributed by both workers and their employers, especially in African countries where compulsory pension schemes exist.
Pension fund managers invest in different asset classes such as equities, fixed income assets such as bonds, treasury bills and corporate bonds, Collective Investment Schemes (CIS0, etc.
These seven countries altogether held 92.4 percent of pension fund assets in the OECD area.”
Business Insider Africa said the seven African countries that made it to the top list.
Nigeria’s pension fund assets grew by 9.1 percent to $32.6 billion, representing 7.6 percent of the country’s GDP.
Egypt’s pension fund asset grew by 8.0 percent to $6.2 billion, representing 1.5 percent of the country’s 2021 GDP.
The countries are: Ghana’s pension fund asset grew by 27.2 percent to $4.7 billion, representing 6.3 percent of the country’s GDP in 2021;  Kenya: The country’s pension fund asset grew by 10.6 percent to $13.7 billion, resenting 12.9 percent of the country’s 2021 GDP;  Namibia: This Southern African country’s pension fund assets grew by 17.6 percent to $11.8 billion, representing 103.0 percent of the country’s 2021 GDP.
The remaining two countries include: Uganda’s pension fund assets grew by 15.8 percent to $5.3 billion, representing 12.4 percent of the country’s GDP and
Zimbabwe’s pension fund assets grew by 285.8 percent to $2 billion, representing 7.6 percent of GDP.
The report focused specifically on pension fund assets in 68 countries or reporting jurisdictions, consisting of 38 OECD countries and 30 non-OECD countries in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.
“Overall, pension fund assets amounted to USD 38.5 trillion in a total of 68 reporting jurisdictions at end-2021.
Most of these assets were held by pension funds in the OECD area, totalling USD 37.7 trillion. The United States recorded the largest amount of assets in pension funds (USD 22.6 trillion), followed by the United Kingdom (USD 3.6 trillion), Australia (USD 2.3 trillion), the Netherlands (USD 2.0 trillion), Canada (USD 1.7 trillion), Japan (USD 1.5 trillion) and Switzerland (USD 1.2 trillion).