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Normal Board - The Whole shebang
Prompt Board Next day settlement
Expert Board All you need re an Individual stock.
The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site
We don’t have many strong images of Black Panthers, but the three that
I have from the last twelve years are all coveted. I don’t think there
is another animal that tests our camera systems and indeed our camera
work as much as these beautiful cats.
The US Navy could still send an aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait @Independent
The US Navy could still send an aircraft carrier through the Taiwan
Strait in spite of Chinese military technology advances which pose a
greater threat to American warships than ever before, the US chief of
naval operations has said.
Such an operation would inevitably increase the risk of military
conflict between the world's largest superpowers, which are currently
locked in an escalating trade war and ongoing disputes over
territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Washington sent ships through the strategic waterway, which separates
Taiwan from the Chinese mainland, three times last year, but has not
dispatched a carrier in more than 10 years.
“We don’t really see any kind of limitation on whatever type of ship
could pass through those waters,” Admiral John Richardson told
reporters in Tokyo, Japan, when asked if more advanced Chinese weapons
posed too large a risk.
“We see the Taiwan Strait as another [stretch of] international
waters, so that’s why we do the transits.”
Aircraft carriers, which are typically equipped with around 80
aircraft and crews of around 5,000 personnel, are key to the US
military’s ability to project power globally.
Saudi Crown Prince Shows a 'Chilling' Instability, @LindseyGrahamSC Says @business @bpolitics
Law & Politics
Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman has shown “a level of instability
that is chilling,” and U.S. lawmakers will take action against the
crown prince for his role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,
Senator Lindsey Graham said.
Sanctions are forthcoming, likely in the next few days or weeks, the
Republican senator said in an interview on Saturday in Ankara, without
providing any specific details on the penalties that may be imposed.
“Congress will send a very clear signal to the world and Saudi Arabia
that we would not be doing business as usual.”
The heir to Saudi Arabia’s monarchy, widely known as MBS, has so far
largely dodged any reprisals against himself, with President Donald
Trump opting in November to impose sanctions against 17 lower-level
Saudis implicated in the murder following global outrage. Critics in
Congress have said that was only an initial step, with a bipartisan
group proposing stronger penalties including suspending the sale of
arms to the Riyadh government in a challenge to the Trump
“We have to deal with bad people, but we don’t have to have special
relationships with bad people,” Graham told Bloomberg News. “There’s
strong bipartisan support not only to condemn the actions of Saudi,
MBS, but actually do something about it.”
Graham has been an outspoken critic of the crown prince amid Trump’s
efforts to maintain ties with the kingdom, which has been an important
U.S. ally in the Middle East. The Senator in October slammed MBS as a
“wrecking ball” and “toxic” figure who, he said, was directly
responsible for the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in
Istanbul earlier that month. The influential Republican said at the
time that he’d support efforts to “sanction the hell out of Saudi
“This is what we expect of rogues, barbarians,” Graham said in the
interview Saturday. “To give him a pass would be to open up a
Pandora’s box in a region already in turmoil.”
12-NOV-2018 :: the custodian of the two holy mosques after all.
Law & Politics
The king is called the custodian of the two holy mosques after all.
MBS is also the proud owner of Serene [the yacht] which he bou- ght
for 500m Euros in 2015, while vacationing in the south of France.
Bruce Reidel alleges MBS sleeps on the Serene off Jeddah because he
too lives in fear for his life.
Khashoggi was murdered in cold blood in an obviously ‘’Quentin
Tarantino’’ style operation. The facts that have been presented are
stran- ger than fiction and my question is if this is how they conduct
them-selves on foreign soil, just imagine what must be going on at
home. e image of Khashoggi’s son being compelled to shake MBS’s hand
is surely the most apposite metaphor for the House of Saud.
05-MAR-2018 :: China has unveiled a Digital Panopticon in Xinjiang
Law & Politics
Dissent is measured and snuffed out very quickly in China. China has
unveiled a Digital Panopticon in Xinjiang where a combination of data
from video surveillance, face and license plate recognition, mobile
device locations, and official records to identify targets for
detention [CDT]. Xinjiang is surely a Precursor for how the CCCP will
manage dissent. The actions in Xinjiang are part of the regional
authorities’ ongoing “Strike-Hard” campaign, and of President Xi’s
“stability maintenance” and “enduring peace” drive in the region.
Both men imagined future societies completely obsessed with sex, though in diametrically opposite ways: state-enforced repression and celibacy in the case of Orwell; deliberate, narcotising promiscuity in the case of Huxley. @FinancialTimes
Law & Politics
In Brave New World promiscuity is not just normal, it is actively
encouraged; total frankness in all aspects of sexuality, ditto. Sex is
a distraction and a source of entertainment, almost a drug. Huxley
would have looked at our world of dating apps and sexualised mass
entertainment — and perhaps especially shows such as Love Island and
Naked Attraction — and awarded his predictions a solid A+. (Naked
Attraction is a Channel Four dating show on which people choose a
partner based on whether or not they like the look of their genitals.
The audience sees the genitals too. When you describe this show to
people, they often think they’ve misunderstood, and that you can’t
mean that people stand with their faces concealed and their genitals
exposed and are chosen by a prospective partner on that basis — but
that’s exactly what happens. I recommend this programme to anyone who
doesn’t agree that norms around sexuality have changed.) Orwell saw a
future in which the state discouraged sex. In this respect he was
completely wrong and Huxley was completely right.
Huxley looked ahead, and saw a future in which life was very pleasant
— lullingly, deadeningly, numbly pleasant. Undemanding pleasures and
unchallenging entertainments are central to the functioning of
society. Sources of distraction play a vital role. The “feelies”, the
main source of mass entertainment, are all about escape from the self.
“When the individual feels, society reels,” is the motto, and every
effort is made to stop people from feeling strong emotion. The
preferred method for this is soma, a side-effect free drug which
guarantees dissociated happiness. Here, again, Huxley could look at
the modern use of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and sedative
medications, and conclude that he had nailed it.
Facebook, in particular, are anticipated by Brave New World. Facebook's mission statement "to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together" sounds a lot like the new world's motto "Community, Identity, Stabil
Law & Politics
One particular area of Huxley’s prescience concerned the importance of
data. He saw the information revolution coming — in the form of
gigantic card-indexes, true, but he got the gist. It is amusing to see
how many features of Facebook, in particular, are anticipated by Brave
New World. Facebook’s mission statement “to give people the power to
build community and bring the world closer together” sounds a lot like
the new world’s motto “Community, Identity, Stability”. The world in
which “we haven’t any use for old things” dovetails with Mark
Zuckerberg’s view that “young people are just smarter”. The meeting
room whose name is Only Good News — can you guess whether that belongs
to Huxley’s World Controller, or Sheryl Sandberg? The complete ban on
the sight of breast feeding is common to the novel and to the website.
The public nature of relationship status, the idea that everything
should be shared, and the idea that “everyone belongs to everyone
else” are also common themes of the novel and the company — and above
all, the idea, perfectly put by Zuckerberg and perfectly exemplifying
Huxley’s main theme, that “privacy is an outdated norm”.
A globally dominant society ruled by a party and a strong leader, a
society which uses every possible method of surveillance and data
collection to monitor and control its citizens, a society which is
also enjoying a record rise in prosperity and abundance, and using
unprecedented new techniques in science and genetics — that society
would look a lot like a blend of Orwell’s and Huxley’s visions. It
would also look a lot like modern-day China. The developing Chinese
“citizen score”, a blend of reputational and financial and
socio-political metrics, used to determine access to everything from
travel and education and healthcare, is such a perfect blend of
dystopias that we can only credit it to a new writer, Huxwell.
At the world’s best-performing stock market, things operate a bit
differently than they do on Wall Street. No one complains about short
sellers swooping in to drive down share prices or high-frequency
traders eking out an unfair edge, because neither exist here.
And forget about premarket or after-hours sessions that stretch the
trading day around the clock. At the Jamaica Stock Exchange on the
waterfront of Kingston Harbour, investors have just three and a half
hours a day to buy and sell.
So this market isn’t ready to plug into the hyperactive trading desks
of New York and London. Not yet. There are zero Jamaican stocks in
U.S. exchange-traded funds, even those tracking “frontier” countries
such as Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, the most emerging of the
Still, Jamaica’s stock returns are the sort that tend to be a beacon
for adventurous global investors—a flash of bright green digits on
computer screens that have lately been lit up in red.
In 2018 the nation’s main index rose 29 percent in U.S. dollar terms,
the most among 94 national benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg. Its
outperformance over the past five years is even more striking.
Jamaican stocks have surged almost 300 percent, more than quadrupling
the next-best-performing national benchmark and septupling the S&P
What explains these gains? A Caribbean economic miracle the world has
overlooked? Not exactly: Real growth in Jamaica has averaged less than
1 percent the past four years, and it’s expected to come in at 1.7
percent for 2018. The bull market is partly a matter of math. It
doesn’t take much investment to make a tiny market boom, and the total
value of the 37 stocks in the main Jamaica index is less than $11
billion, smaller than the valuation of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. But
it’s also a story about Kingston’s nascent attempts to reinvent itself
as a financial hub, even as it works to reduce the heavy debt load
that brought the country to the brink of crisis a decade ago.
“Clearly, capital goes where it’s comfortable,” says Paul Simpson, a
36-year-old banker and investor in Kingston. “To see capital coming
here means people must be comfortable.”
Jamaica’s financial industry is mostly headquartered in the
neighborhood of New Kingston, which is nothing like the caricatures
that dominate global perceptions of the island. You won’t see a lot of
hard-partying tourists, or the poverty of places like Trench Town.
Instead, Audi and Porsche dealerships are here, along with one of the
Starbucks stores that have sprouted up on the island, selling Blue
Mountain coffee brewed from beans grown on nearby hillsides. Over the
past decade, Jamaica’s financial sector assets have tripled and the
number of institutions has grown eightfold, according to International
Monetary Fund figures. While Kingston still regularly appears on
global lists of dangerous cities, the World Bank now ranks Jamaica as
the sixth-best nation in terms of ease of starting a business.
“If I could hold a megaphone and tell investors now’s the time, I’d do
it,” says economist Uma Ramakrishnan, the IMF’s Jamaica mission chief.
Some investors have already received the message. China’s Jiuquan Iron
& Steel plans to spend about $6 billion to expand output at an
aluminum refinery and develop an industrial park. Foreign corporations
have also bought the producers of Red Stripe beer and J. Wray & Nephew
rum in recent years. And the share of Jamaicans with brokerage
accounts has gone from less than 5 percent to more than 10 percent in
the past decade.
But for investors within earshot of Ramakrishnan’s megaphone, there
are still enormous limitations to consider, starting with the equity
market’s minuscule size. The number of shares available to the public
is even smaller, because many companies are majority-owned by
conglomerates, in particular foreign companies tapping into Jamaica’s
capital markets. NCB Financial Group Ltd., the dominant bank, which
accounts for almost a third of the stock index by market value, is
more than half-owned by Jamaican-Canadian billionaire Michael
Lee-Chin’s investment company. Scotia Group Jamaica Ltd., the
second-biggest stock, is about three-quarters-owned by Bank of Nova
Scotia. It’s common for some Jamaican stocks not to trade for days or
even weeks. When the list of gainers and losers is tallied on any
given day, the number of unchanged stocks often outnumbers both.
The exchange’s managing director, Marlene Street Forrest, has heard
the criticisms and says things are improving. The time it takes to
settle trades has been shortened to two days from three to comply with
international standards. The exchange is planning to introduce market
making this year, a way to ensure stocks have a ready buyer and
seller. It’s also exploring adding other tools familiar to traders in
bigger markets, from margin accounts allowing people to invest with
borrowed money to short selling so they can bet on prices falling. But
it’s approaching change gingerly. Street Forrest sees no need to
extend trading hours if the demand from investors isn’t there yet. “We
ensure that we are going to get it right before we move,” she says.
Street Forrest already has a lot on her plate. She’s preparing for
more than 20 new listings this year, including an initial public
offering for a government-owned power supplier, Wigton Windfarm Ltd.,
as part of a privatization effort, and several smaller companies
coming to the exchange’s junior market, which includes companies even
smaller and less liquid than those in the main index.
The exchange was created 50 years ago, spearheaded by Edward Seaga, a
Harvard-educated Jamaican who started his career as a record producer
in the 1950s and ’60s and was among the first to press ska music onto
vinyl. He later got into politics and was appointed finance minister.
In the ’70s, Seaga went on to lead the Jamaica Labour Party, the
capitalist rival to the charismatic socialist leader Michael Manley,
who was moving Kingston closer to Havana and further from Washington.
Jamaican politics in that era could be mistaken for civil war, with
frequent deadly confrontations between supporters of Seaga and Manley.
Such political violence is largely a thing of the past. Another
legacy—a buildup of debt—has been harder to shake.
Perhaps the key factor in the stock market’s rise has been the
country’s approach to taming that debt, a project not without cost for
many Jamaicans. For a long time, the most obvious way to earn a return
from Jamaica has been to lend to it. In the wake of a national banking
crisis in the ’90s and the global financial panic a decade later, the
government’s debt pile swelled to 145 percent the size of the economy.
Interest payments consumed more than half the government’s revenue,
choking off funding for important social and infrastructure projects.
Jamaican bonds paid such high yields, they crowded out other
investment options, making it more difficult for companies to raise
Jamaica had a perfect record of paying off government debt, but the
financial crisis of 2008 threatened that, as key pillars of the
economy—tourist spending, foreign remittances, bauxite and alumina
exports—all started to shrink. The country’s debt ratings were cut,
the Jamaican dollar plunged, and the interest rates demanded by
investors on short-term government bills jumped to a punishing 25
percent. To get help, the nation was forced to turn to the IMF, with
which it had had a dysfunctional, on-and-off relationship for most of
its five decades of independence.
IMF and World Bank financing comes with conditions, and they can be
harsh. In the 1970s they included opening up the economy to
international competition, which decimated the agricultural industry,
as Jamaican farmers struggled to compete with corporate American
producers. This time, the international financiers recommended
shrinking the government workforce and reining in wages. This led to
what the Center for Economic and Policy Research called “the most
austere budget in the world.”
The IMF worked with Jamaica on a “unique experiment” to restructure
its bond debts—but it didn’t reduce the principal owed, which could
have destabilized the Jamaican banks that held the securities.
Instead, starting in 2010, it did debt exchanges, reducing the average
interest rate while extending the life of the loans. Making payments
easier has helped to reduce the debt to about 100 percent of GDP over
the past four years, which is still a burden but a more manageable
one. The lower interest rates and shrinking supply of bonds have
boosted confidence in the country’s financial health and led to a
classic “search for yield”—with bonds offering less, investors are
looking for other opportunities. Including in the stock market.
Jamaica has also had some luck. The global economy keeps humming
along, and hurricanes have spared the island the worst of their wrath
in recent years. The result is a whiff of optimism in Kingston that
things might be turning a corner. Unemployment reached a record low of
8.4 percent in 2018. The Jamaican dollar has been relatively stable
over the past two years, after decades of depreciation. Inflation has
dropped from more than 9 percent to less than 4 percent in the past
five years. The central bank has been touting its success with a nod
to national pride, tweeting a music video with the lyrics “low and
stable inflation is to the economy what the bass line is to reggae
Simpson, the Kingston investor, is responsible for last year’s
best-performing stock. His Cornerstone United Holdings Jamaica Ltd.
took over a controlling stake in brokerage Barita Investments from the
latter’s 82-year-old founder, Rita Humphries-Lewin—the only woman
whose picture hangs in the exchange boardroom’s gallery of past
chairs. The changing of the guard fueled a 630 percent gain in
Barita’s shares. Simpson raised 8 billion Jamaican dollars—about $61
million—in the local capital market to fund the deal and expand Barita
as well as Cornerstone’s other holding, MF&G Merchant Bank.
Like millennial dealmakers the world over, Simpson thinks of business
opportunities in terms of “disruption”—his vision for Cornerstone is
to be a low-cost, high-tech upstart shaking up the island’s banking
industry. He’s also engaging in another, subtler form of disruption:
helping to halt the flow of people leaving the island in search of a
better life elsewhere. He’s recruited Jamaican bankers with Ivy League
and Wall Street credentials for his management team. “We feel the
fundamentals are strong here,” Simpson says. “We had 18 years of
stagnation. So what you see now is all that pent-up gray matter being
exposed through our capital markets, because people just want to have
their skill sets shown here.”
This type of talk is manna to the government and the IMF alike.
Remittances from the global diaspora of Jamaicans account for almost
one-fifth of the island’s GDP. “If you’re thinking of the potential of
an economy like this, imagine these people coming back,” says Constant
Lonkeng Ngouana, the IMF’s resident representative in Jamaica.
Gauging Jamaica’s economic potential is a common pastime for many
here, but not everyone is convinced the turnaround is real. At
Sterling Asset Management, trader Marian Ross’s computer is plugged
into markets all over the world—and she’s finding a lot to like
outside Jamaica. The firm, run by her father, largely avoided Jamaican
government paper because of the risk of currency depreciation—even
when it was yielding north of 20 percent. It put clients into
lower-yielding U.S.-dollar fixed income instead. Ross pulls up a chart
that shows how Jamaican currency worth $1 million in 1974 is now worth
less than $8,000.
While Sterling has its own equity listed on the exchange—it climbed 39
percent in 2018—Ross isn’t sure how sustainable the rally will be for
the index as a whole. Despite the success the government has had with
its finances, she says, “I am not necessarily convinced there’s a path
for real economic growth. What’s going to take this to the next
level?” She doesn’t see an obvious answer.
Vision 2030, a far-reaching national project embraced by both Prime
Minister Andrew Holness’s Jamaica Labour Party and the opposition
People’s National Party, aims to steer the country to developed-nation
status in 11 years by beefing up its services, mining, and
manufacturing industries, while capitalizing on its location along the
Panama Canal shipping route to expand Kingston’s role as a logistics
hub. It’s ambitious, to say the least, and will need to overcome
plenty of risks. Along with hurricanes, an oil-price shock or a U.S.
recession are lingering threats. And with IMF programs drawing major
protests in Argentina, Jordan, and other countries last year, there’s
no guarantee Jamaica’s people and politicians will continue to
countenance aggressive austerity. In its latest stability assessment,
the IMF concedes as much. (It also notes that economic growth is still
Andre Haughton, an economist at the University of the West Indies in
Kingston, says the government also needs to tackle the perception that
there’s too much crime and corruption in Jamaica for outsiders to do
business here. While the U.S. State Department ranks the country’s
homicide rate of 60 per 100,000 people among the five highest in the
world, Haughton points out that foreign visitors are almost never the
victims. He also notes that governance reform is possible, invoking
Lee Kuan Yew, the former leader of Singapore, who transformed that
country into an international financial center in large part by
weeding out corruption.
Lately the Jamaican news has been dominated by a scandal at the
state-run refinery Petrojam, where tens of millions of dollars’ worth
of oil went missing and a variety of questionable spending has come
under scrutiny. How the probe is handled could send a signal that
Jamaica is holding important people accountable. “It’s all good and
well we have a very good stock market,” Haughton says. But “if we
don’t deal with the level of corruption, then we won’t be able to
solve our problems. It’s going to continue to be a country with
different assets, different facets, but never a properly coordinated
Its the End Game in Harare, in Khartoum and in Kinshasa.
I was reading the @AfDB_Group #2019AEO Economic release which is
rather a well put together report and in that report the AfDB
pronounced that Africa’s average inflation fell from 12.6 percent in
2017 to 10.9 percent in 2018 and is projected to further decline to
8.1 percent in 2020.
''Inflation is highest in South Sudan, at 188 percent, due to the
lingering economic crisis. Inflation is lowest, at 2 percent or less,
in members of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community and
the West African Economic and Monetary Union and particularly in
members of the CFA zone because of its link to the euro''
There is a ubiquitious Meme that Africa is not a Country and that
Inflation continuum 2%-188% confirms as much. A further dive into the
Inflation data and you will note some serious, non-linear inflation
spikes. In Bashir's Sudan Inflation rose to 72.94% in December. In
Zimbabwe, Inflation clocked 42.1% in December [nothing close to The
peak month of hyperinflation which occurred in mid-November 2008 when
the rate was estimated at 79,600,000,000% per month]. DR Congo is
somewhere around 25% but data is difficult to gather as you would
i have been reading Yuval Noah Harari and in his best-seller he says
this about money;
"Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any
system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient
system of mutual trust ever devised." -
“Cowry shells and dollars have value only in our common imagination.
Their worth is not inherent in the chemical structure of the shells
and paper, or their colour, or their shape. In other words, money
isn’t a material reality – it is a psychological construct. It works
by converting matter into mind.”
The Point I am seeking to make is that There is a correlation between
high Inflation and revolutionary conditions, Zimbabwe is a classic
example where there are $9.3 billion of Zollars in banks compared to
$200 million in reserves, official data showed. The Mind Game that
ZANU-PF played on its citizens has evaporated in a puff of smoke.
President Mnangagwa was cavorting around the World with his scarf [As
violence unfolded on the streets, Mnangagwa traveled to Russia. He’s
also scheduled to visit Kazakhstan, Belarus and Azerbaijan before
flying to the World Economic Forum in Davos] at the very moment that
his Citizens like Roberto Durán II in his fight with Sugar Ray Leonard
turned away from Leonard towards the referee and quit by apparently
saying, "No más" (Spanish for "No more"). The Petrol price hike was
the proximate cause and ''ignited the already dry tinder on the
ground'' [Piers Pigou International Crisis Group] Samm Farai Monro
told the Guardian “The government can switch off the internet but not
the frustrations of millions of people.”
I said to Aljazeera "What we're watching across this continent -
whether it's Gabon, Sudan, or DR Congo [I should have added Zimbabwe
and Chad and Cameroon and others] - is a kind of tipping point
moment," Ryszard Kapuxcinski characterised the revolutionary moment
''The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle of history’’ and
also said "If the crowd disperses, goes home, does not reassemble, we
say the revolution is over."
What is clear to me is that Zimbabwe is at a Tipping Point moment. At
the time of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunis the crowds chanted
"We are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God." In
Tunis, it was the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi (Arabic: محمد
البوعزيزي; 29 March 1984 – 4 January 2011) on 17 December 2010, which
became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution. I don't know where the
match is coming from but what I do know is that not even Dr. Benedict
Oromah's Afreximbank [who have taken an enormous punt on Zimbabwe] can
save the situation. There was a Trend Change on the street last week
and it strikes me that the long-suffering Citizen has thrown off their
In Sudan I saw this Tweet from @daloya
Singing an old Sudanese revolutionary song: “we sing in our prison as
you tremble in your castle” "نغني و نحن في اسرك و ترجف وأنت في قصرك"
President Bashir whose Prop is not a scarf but a Jig is hanging on by
his fingertips. He has managed to claw his way back into position
before and is a political Harry Houdini otherwise he would not have
lasted more than three decades but its clear these are “the last days”
or “end times.”
In DR Congo, the Constitutional Court has declared Félix Antoine
Tshisekedi Tshilombo the President. It is widely accepted that he
received 20% or thereabouts of the Vote versus Martin Fayulu who
received about 60%. Martin Fayulu told the FT's @thomas_m_wilson
“I won’t let the victory of the Congolese people be stolen. If they
don’t get the truth now, no one will trust any election ever again.”
The announced result is the equivalent of overturning @anc_party's
@CyrilRamaphosa [who will surely win the election in 2019] and
investing @Our_DA's @MmusiMaimane as President. It was a clever ruse
by the outgoing President Kabila but it wont stand.
We are in the End Game now. It might be tomorrow, it might be months
away but make no mistake Its the End Game in Harare, in Khartoum and
UAE Lending $300 Million to Crisis-Hit Sudan, Official Says @business
The United Arab Emirates is giving Sudan $300 million in financing and
about 1.12 million tons of fuel, a Sudanese ruling party lawmaker and
a local newspaper said, a potential boost for the government of the
economically troubled country rocked by a month of protests.
The agreement with the U.A.E.’s government will provide for Sudan’s
needs during its “agricultural season,” the Khartoum-based al-Intibaha
newspaper reported, citing people in Sudan’s Finance Ministry. It also
said that 26 shiploads of fuel from the U.A.E. have arrived in the
African nation, enough supply for three months
Widespread discontent with soaring living costs and shortages of fuel
and other commodities has spurred a wave of nationwide protests in
which at least 24 people have died and that have posed one of the
greatest challenges to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir since he took
power in a 1989 coup. Inflation climbed to 72.9 percent in December,
the statistics bureau said Friday.
"Shadary's defeat was so blatant that not even the most sophisticated of the rigging was going to turn the results in his favor," he said. "This is when Plan B kicks in: Felix President." @ReutersAfrica
Kabila’s aides feared that a Shadary win could provoke a violent
backlash from opposition supporters who dominate in Kinshasa, the
capital, and in several eastern regions of Congo, source of much of
the country’s vast mineral wealth.
A Tshisekedi win, on the other hand, would be more likely to garner
international approval and might help keep the opposition divided, the
Accusations of vote rigging are not new to elections in Congo. Foreign
powers have overlooked alleged irregularities in the past for the sake
of insuring relative stability in a country where two wars in the
1990s and early 2000s sucked in other regional armies.
The African Union and Southern African Development Community held
emergency meetings in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday,
to discuss the election. The African Union called for the final
results to be postponed, citing “serious doubts” about their
credibility. But the Congolese government rejected the call on Friday.
“He is beating us everywhere,” one coalition official wrote in a
message seen by Reuters. “We don’t organize elections to lose them. We
can always cheat.”
Representatives of Kabila sought a deal with Tshisekedi’s team,
Kinshasa-based diplomats and Congolese sources said.
An agreement was reached, they said, under which Tshisekedi would be
president, Kabila would be guaranteed protection for himself, his
family and assets, and his supporters would retain significant control
over parliament and the financial and security apparatus.
“What is certain is that Kabila will keep a seminal role,” a senior
Congolese government official said.
Top officials instructed Nangaa, the electoral commission chief, to
award the vote to Tshisekedi, two Congolese government officials told
Reuters. Denying this, Nangaa told Reuters that no one put pressure on
him to change the results.
They emerged & declared his Trojan horse opposition candidate Felix
#Tshisekedi winner of disputed Dec vote. That’s how you do it!
Revolt and Repression in Zimbabwe @CrisisGroup @PiersPigou
On 12 January, in response to persistent fuel shortages compounded by
manipulation and mismanagement of a currency crisis, President
Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a fuel price hike of over 200 per cent to
$3.31 per litre – making the country’s petrol price the highest in the
The massive rise sparked a general strike, along with widespread
protests, which in many areas was characterised by violence and
considerable destruction of property. Those behind the strike did not
call for demonstrations, but thousands, especially young people, took
to the streets, with many looting shops and burning cars or buildings.
Protests were concentrated in and around the main opposition
strongholds, the capital Harare and Bulawayo, but also appeared in
cities elsewhere across the country. In turn the government ordered a
vicious clampdown – deploying soldiers as well as police.
At the end of the second day of protests on 15 January, Zimbabwe’s
Doctors for Human Rights released a statement saying “hundreds shot,
tens estimated dead in rampant rights violations across Zimbabwe”.
Anger at the government has been building for some time. On my last
visit to the capital Harare in December 2018, the country’s economic
woes were plain to see. Prices in shops were soaring, retailers were
closing down and queues for petrol were lengthening as the country
struggled to juggle payments for competing import priorities. Control
over the country’s fuel supply is in the hands of the ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), and the huge
financial benefits that come with it are reportedly causing factional
rivalry. There is widespread public speculation that the shortages are
caused by inter-elite squabbles or even deliberately engineered.
The price hike thus ignited the already dry tinder on the ground.
After an election in 2013 in which it ran on a platform of job
creation and economic recovery, the ZANU-PF government demonstrated
astonishing levels of financial delinquency. It “financed” its own
systematic over-expenditure with massive borrowing. Domestic debt,
which stood at just $442 million in 2013, surged to $10.5 billion by
February 2018 and has climbed further over the last year. In 2016, as
more and more dollars drained out of the economy, the government
introduced a new “bond note” currency, nominally at parity with the
dollar, in an attempt to make up for cash shortages, as well as direct
electronic payments into bank accounts for goods and services. These
payments included the salaries of civil servants, the last bastion of
formal employment. It was the equivalent of printing money over and
above the value of the reserves in the central bank.
Nor has the country seen a comparable level of violence, looting and
destruction by ordinary Zimbabweans. Some of it is undoubtedly
orchestrated, but most appears to be spontaneous. More than ever,
young people are willing to confront the government in the streets,
reflecting desperation and their deep-seated frustration. Anecdotes
are surfacing of huge sections of road being shut down and railway
carriages being dragged off the rails and into the streets, signaling
new levels of revolt. Such actions suggest a growing number of
Zimbabweans are less risk averse in terms of a confrontational
approach, adding a highly dangerous new element into the mix.
Questions are also surfacing over President Mnangagwa’s judgment. He
left the country immediately after announcing the fuel price hike,
ostensibly to search for trade deals in Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan
“the light at the end of the tunnel has gone out”. He meant that
Mnangagwa’s government, while consolidating its authority politically,
would be unable to deliver a sustainable, broad-based economic
For almost two decades, observers of Zimbabwe have warned of pending
economic collapse, mass hunger and social implosion. Conditions
steadily worsened, but Zimbabweans employed an impressive array of
survival strategies, from emigration producing diaspora remittances to
work in the informal sector, where “making a plan”, as per a common
expression, has become something of an art form. The apparent
stability has fed complacency, a sense that Zimbabwe can keep on
bumping along the bottom. But evidence on the streets now suggests
that may no longer be true.
08-OCT-2018 :: One Domino that has suddenly tipped over is Zimbabwe
Reuters reported that People again formed long queues to fill up their
cars in the capital, with others panic-buying basic goods like
cookingoil and sugar. There are $9.3 billion of Zollars in banks
compared to $200 million in reserves, official data showed, a mis-
match that creates a premium for the U.S. dollar and fans the black
market. On the black market, the premium for the U.S. dollar spiked to
a new record on Saturday, reaching 165 percent from 120 percent on
Monday, traders said that means buying $100 in cash via a bank
transfer cost $265, up from $220 earlier this week. The Government’s
''’Voodoo Economics’’ where it spent $1.3b pump-priming the economy
ahead of the election [money it did not have] was the straw that broke
the camel’s back.
East Africa, the fastest growing region, is projected to achieve growth of 5.9 percent in 2019 and 6.1 percent in 2020 @AfDB_Group #2019AEO
Between 2010 and 2018, growth averaged almost 6 percent, with
Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania recording above-average
rates. But in several countries, notably Burundi and Comoros, growth
remains weak due to political uncertainty. In South Sudan, GDP
continues to fall due to political and military con icts and because
the 2015 peace agreement has not been implemented.
"We are starting to see much more granularity coming into the pricing [of African bonds]," @theafricareport @NickNorbrook
Many African governments took advantage and floated eurobonds. They
have that extra money now, but will pay the price further down the
line. Moody’s says that between 2022 and 2030, financing costs in
emerging markets will jump from $7bn to $9bn per year, driven in part
by repayments in sub-Saharan Africa.
As the US economy continued to improve and interest rates rose, those
QE yield refugees have started to head home. And as that tide of
liquidity has receded, we now know who’s been swimming naked, to
paraphrase veteran US investor Warren Buffet.
“We are starting to see much more granularity coming into the pricing
[of African bonds],” says Aly-Khan Satchu, a Nairobi-based analyst.
“This is a big challenge for little countries. A lot of policymakers
need to adjust to the new normal – currently, if you look at
debt-to-GDP ratios, everyone is running on empty.”
Madagascar's New President Pledges Investor-Friendly Policies @business
Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina pledged to invest in renewable
energy and make it easier for investors to do business in the island
nation after winning last month’s elections.
Rajoelina, 44, whose victory in the Dec. 19 runoff was followed by
days of violent protests before rival Marc Ravalomanana accepted
defeat, was sworn in Saturday at a fully-packed 42,000-seater stadium
in the capital, Antananarivo.
“We will establish real competition and stability to attract
investors,” said Rajoelina, adding that he will announce new policies
to support agriculture and factories. The economy was forecast to
expand by 5 percent in 2018, according to the World Bank.
Rajoelina garnered 56 percent of the vote against businessman
Ravalomanana, who secured 44 percent, according to the electoral
commission. Ravalomanana led the Indian Ocean nation, the world’s
biggest producer of vanilla, from 2002 to 2009 before being overthrown
in a coup by Rajoelina.
"From a purely operational point of view, if the toll remains as it is, it is almost a miracle. We know how complicated it is, even with exceptionally well-trained people" @AFP
Kenya's security response to the Islamist assault on the Dusit hotel
complex in Nairobi shows the numerous lessons learned since a chaotic
intervention when the Westgate mall was attacked in 2013, according to
The swift reaction, under a single chain of command, with the site
rapidly cordoned off and procedures put in place to deal with
survivors, has received widespread praise in the aftermath of the
assault which left 21 dead, 28 injured and saw some 700 people
"It was an operation which appeared well-executed," said a regional
security analyst, requesting anonymity.
"From a purely operational point of view, if the toll remains as it
is, it is almost a miracle. We know how complicated it is, even with
exceptionally well-trained people," he added, highlighting the tricky
layout of the Dusit complex with its numerous buildings and parking
"Across the spectrum, we've seen greater seriousness in all aspects of
counterterrorism, both prevention and response," since Westgate, said
Matt Bryden, director of the Sahan think-tank in Nairobi.
AFP journalists covered both attacks from the inside and while the
first hours of the operation against Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab
in Westgate were marked by total confusion, the deployment of police
forces and sealing off of the DusitD2 complex were done in an ordered
and rapid manner.
In both cases, it was plainclothes police officers and armed civilians
-- mostly from the Indian community -- who were the first to intervene
and help rescue those caught inside.
At DusitD2 a number of heavily armed westerners, from private security
companies and members of diplomatic security, were also present from
Very quickly, elite Kenyan police units took over, while officers
attached to the presidency also rapidly showed up.
Black-clad members of the anti-terrorist unit and members of the
paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) with their red berets quickly
deployed as did a bomb squad.
"It was much more efficient, and it seems to have been better
co-ordinated and the tactics they employed were better practised, they
had better equipment so all in all, a much better performance," said
The perimeter was quickly cordoned off and secured, in contrast to
Westgate where it took until nightfall to seal off the area after the
attack which began at lunchtime.
An AFP journalist at the scene in 2013 recalls onlookers asking police
officers who lingered outside the mall as gunshots rang out inside, to
give them their weapons so that they could go in and save lives.
Those who managed to flee the mall disappeared without a trace. At the
Dusit those rescued were registered to be able to track their
relatives while also ensuring the attackers were not taking advantage
of the evacuations to escape.
Kenyan security forces managed to neutralise and kill all four gunmen
in the Dusit -- while a suicide bomber blew himself up earlier -- by
Wednesday morning after an operation of almost 20 hours.
At Westgate it took four days for the attack to be declared over,
during which time a police officer was shot dead by a member of the
army (KDF) in a friendly fire incident, power struggles raged, and
soldiers were found to have looted stores in the mall. The attack left
On Tuesday and Wednesday at the Dusit, all deployed units reported to the GSU.
In the five years separating the attacks, Kenya's security forces were
reorganised, elite units were better trained with the help of foreign
partners, and a focus was placed on sharing of intelligence.
Before, there was KDF intelligence, the NIS (National Intelligence
Service) and at least one other police unit. So there were at least
three agencies gathering intelligence but who were not communicating
between themselves," said the security analyst.
Since Westgate, there has been a reorganisation of the National
Counter Terrorism Centre, which has been relocated to the office of
the president to put it in a more central and influential position,
These efforts have allowed Kenyan security services to foil several
attacks in recent years.
"Since we know that they have been trying and trying and trying, I
think it was inevitable that at some point, they would find a gap,"
@SafaricomPLC share data
Closing Price: 23.70
Market Capitalization: $9.336b
@Citi ''We see an opportunity for M-Pesa revenue growth in FY19-24F to
double from our base case assumption”
HY Mpesa Revenue 35.52b vs. 30.05b +18.2%
The mobile application with 3.0 mn subscribers has seen the bank
venture into a target market that doesn’t have the requisite
documentation and is in need of faster processing of loans. Commercial
banks have increasingly been focusing on the adoption and promotion of
mobile applications in a bid to leverage on the alternative channel,
to boost lending activities with the high number of low-value loans,
and consequently increase transactional income. Examples of
applications by banks include Commercial Bank of Africa’s Mshwari and
Loop, Equity Group’s Equity EazzyApp, Equity EazzyBiz and Equitel,
KCB’s KCB Mpesa, Co-operative Bank’s MCo-op cash, and HF Group’s HF
Whizz. We maintain our view that continued focus, and increased
adoption of these alternative channels will continue to see banks
increase their Non-Funded Income (NFI), which contributed 34.5% of
total operating income as at Q3’2018, an increase from the 33.3% in
Q3’2017 for listed banks, while at the same time aiding banks in
improving their operational efficiency, with the Cost to Income Ratio
(CIR) of listed banks declining to 56.3% as at Q3’2018 from 59.4% in
Q3’2017, owing to the relatively lower cost demands of these channels
compared to the brick and mortar model of operation. Revenue expansion
and cost containment will aid banks in achieving sustainable growth