|Monday 28th of January 2019
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Overcoming massive challenges, he held an unwieldy empire together. He is a key player on the world stage, despite modest size of his economy, lack of brands and minimal soft power.
Law & Politics
“Russia has been a great power for centuries, and remains so,” Putin
declared in front of Duma, or parliament, deputies on August 16, 1999,
as he sought their approval for his prime ministership. “It has always
had and still has legitimate zones of interest abroad in both the
former Soviet lands and elsewhere.”
That turned out to be a policy declaration for years to come. The
would-be leader promised to completely reshape a humiliated country
that, after years of Boris Yeltsin’s chaos, was teetering on virtual
Africa in 2019: The youngest continent fights back @Africa_Conf
There are clear parallels between the wave of protests demanding
radical change across Africa this month with the early days of the
North African revolt in 2011, known as the Arab Spring. In most cases,
those protests had brought together activists outside traditional
party and civic structures.
Mostly under 30, the protestors were angry and brave, using digital
technology as an organisational tool.
They were taking on some of the world's most ruthless security states.
That is true for the current protests against economic devastation in
Sudan and Zimbabwe as well as misrule in Congo-Kinshasa and Uganda.
And as the anger of the youth grows in Tanzania and Zambia, the grip
of their security services will be tested too.
For today's dissenters, there are some harsh lessons from the 2011
wave. Most of the bright hopes of those determined protests in 2011 –
in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, and the milder ones in Algeria and
Morocco – were snuffed out within a year.
After regime change, Egypt has reverted to ultra-authoritarianism and
Libya is being ripped apart by rival militias.
In 2019 as in 2011, the spark for revolution has been anger at weak
and badly managed economies run for the benefit of vested interests in
business and the military.
The free-market mantra has little relevance in the many African
regimes where public assets have been taken over by local and foreign
private companies, either covertly or in some rigged privatisation
That is the background to the disputed elections in Congo-Kinshasa
whose official results could allow outgoing President Joseph Kabila
and allies to rule by proxy, and maintain a wrestler's grip on the
biggest reserves of cobalt, an essential component for electric cars,
in the world. That helps to explain strong support from China and
Russia for Kabila's 'negotiated election victory' with Félix
Tshisekedi, the more pliable of the two opposition frontrunners.
It also explains the lukewarm backing for fair and transparent
elections in Congo-Kinshasa by the European Union and the United
States. Feeling threatened by Beijing and Moscow's support for
autocrats, Western governments are reluctant to make new enemies in
Africa. That is another brutal lesson for young dissidents in Africa:
for regimes that slaughter their own people, the risk of sanctions is
On top of that leeching away of national resources, Africa's
economies, still projected to grow on average by 4% a year by the
African Development Bank's optimistic statisticians, will have to
navigate a downturn in the global economy, at least as bad as the
US-triggered crisis in 2007-2008.
In Sudan and Zimbabwe, it was the combination of state-imposed price
hikes worsening inflation, a currency crisis, rampant corruption in
the regime and a political-security cabal operating with impunity that
led to open revolt. Those regimes have sent security forces to round
up oppositionists, house by house, in many cases detaining and
torturing their targets.
Both regimes have used live rounds against protestors, with Sudanese
security forces aping the tactics of the Syrian regime under President
Bashar Al Assad with an armed raid on a hospital in Omdurman which had
been treating people with gunshot wounds.
A courageous team of Sudanese TV journalists got the footage on
international networks, prompting the World Health Organisation and
sundry Western governments to issue mild rebukes to the Khartoum
regime. The endgames in Harare and Khartoum are likely to play out
with little outside interventio
Electoral fraud and fake democracies are a global problem @FinancialTimes' @gathara
The international embrace of suspect election results in the
Democratic Republic of Congo and the stand-off in Venezuela between
its two “presidents” are signs of the demise of elections as
expressions of the will of the people. Elections have long been
regarded as signifiers of democracy and the way people select their
leaders. But their results today bear less and less relation to how
people actually voted.
It is not just in the global south where elections are routinely
stolen and the results subsequently sanitised. Many who live, as I do,
in countries where this is the norm have no trouble recognising
similar processes at work in the US, which used to be considered the
world’s premier democracy. Voter suppression laws, the gerrymandering
of congressional districts and the skewed distribution of polling
stations are clear markers of rigging.
The consternation expressed over allegations of Russian meddling in
western voting sounds hollow when juxtaposed with the hypocritical
stances the west has taken on other elections, particularly in Africa.
Few in Kenya will have forgotten the haste with which western (and
African) election observers declared their clearly problematic 2017
presidential elections free and fair.
The same thing is now happening in Congo, with countries lining up to
recognise Felix Tshisekedi’s “election” despite strong evidence that
he did not actually win. The priority is not that elections deliver
the will of the people, but that they deliver “stability”. Despite
voicing doubts over the result, the EU and the US have accepted Mr
Tshisekedi and called on him to be a “unifier”.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa takes the cake, urging
Congolese stakeholders to “accept the outcome of the court and move on
to consolidate democracy and preserve peace, stability and security”.
Think about that. The Congolese are being asked to accept a fraudulent
election result in order to “consolidate democracy”. The obvious
question is whether there is still a democracy left to consolidate.
Writing in The Elephant, Seema Shah, an elections expert, asks: “How
do we know that elections themselves are still a broadly accepted and
publicly legitimate way to select leaders? And given that even
dictatorial leaders are often happy to hold elections, what is their
real value in advancing democracy?”
Ms Shah cites the 2010-2014 World Values Survey in which fewer than
half of respondents thought elections were essential for democracy.
Governing elites, she says, have effectively transferred power from
voters to candidates. This has “distanced electoral processes from the
people, and . . . created electoral contests that hinge on little more
than big money and elite strategy”.
In Africa, Kenya has pioneered voter manipulation and outright theft.
It was one of the countries where, at the invitation of the Jubilee
coalition, Cambridge Analytica perfected the tactics that it would
later apply to elections in the US. Kenya created the modern template
for stealing African elections. It involves a relatively peaceful
election day characterised by a failure of technology and the
announcement of results after a lengthy delay. An improbable victory
prompts regional and international bodies to urge calm, acceptance and
perhaps a power-sharing arrangement.
Usually, as in Congo and Venezuela today, electoral disputes focus on
the president, rather than parliamentary and local government races.
This testifies to the inordinate power that political systems vest in
heads of state and the weakness of accountability systems to check
Thus, there is no democracy to preserve. Rather than expressing the
people’s will, elections have become arenas for elite contestation for
power and resources. The people only exist to fill the seats. Which is
why, in our fake democracies, the ballot box changes little. And why,
while elections clearly matter, votes increasingly do not.
28-JAN-2019 :: Reasons for Optimism
I recall visiting a Carpet Weaver Collective somewhere in Cappadoccia
and one of the Weaver's explained to me that Knot density is the
thing. And Kenya certainly can feel like the rug with the highest knot
density which is a silk Hereke masterpiece by the Özipeks workshops,
having an incredible density of approximately 10,000 kpsi, with a
production time of about 15 years. Lets try and unpick some knots and
pull apart some threads.
Of course, what happened at the DUSIT complex was a shot across the
Bows. Don De Lillo wrote about this about Terror
''Terror's response is a narrative that has been developing over
years, only now becoming inescapable. It is our lives and minds that
are occupied now. This catastrophic event changes the way we think and
act, moment to moment, week to week, for unknown weeks and months to
come, and steely years. Our world, parts of our world, have crumbled
into theirs, which means we are living in a place of danger and rage''
“I used to think it was possible for an artist to alter the inner life
of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory.”
― Don DeLillo, Mao II
The Truth of the Matter is more people die on the roads everyday.
Terror is a Mind Game. The response was professional and effective.
The City moved forward. I extend my condolences to all who lost their
lives. A lot now depends on whether this was a one off or not.
The Politics which took a new Trajectory post the ''Hand-Shake'' and
always remains front, centre and frankly supersized in the scheme of
things culminated with this headline in Bloomberg [bye-lined by David
Herbling and Eric Ombok]
''Stroke of a Pen Upsets Kenyan Deputy's Presidential Ambitions''
History teaches us that incumbency has all the advantages and the
likes of the Africa Confidential are characterising it as ''Three's a
crowd'' Its a fluid political situation and a number of chess-pieces
are being moved.
Over the last few months, there has been a significant reduction in US
rate expectations. Expectations around growth have tilted lower. This
downshifting has seen the US interest curve shift significantly lower
and this in turn has boosted Frontier and SSA Sovereign debt prices
and lowered yields. For example, Kenya's 30 Year Eurobond denominated
in Dollars was close to 10% and has rallied about 100 basis points off
those levels. Therefore, from a tactical perspective it was good to
see the Treasury move with despatch to seize the opportunity. We
learnt last week that Kenya is seeking proposals for issuance of
$2.5bn Eurobond - source ''They want to assess whether it would be
cheaper to borrow in euros or dollars'' the source told Reuters.
Kenya also announced that it had picked Standard Bank and TDB for $1
Billion of Syndicated Loans. Thats a $3.5b call right there. Now its
obvious we are fully loaded and this is a phenomena that's not unique
to us. How we now deal with the balance sheet is key. However, a $3.5b
call now is tactically the right call, it kicks the can down the road.
The Shilling has strengthened to 100.7 last. Every January every year
every Forecast about the Shilling predicts a 10%-15% devaluation. Its
mind boggling. The Key levers with regard to the Shilling are the
Price of Fuel [We have to write a cheque every month], inward
Remittances [flew off the chart last year and its not clear to me if
that Bump will turn out to be ''amnesty'' affected] and I think we
underestimate the regional ''safe-haven'' status that the Kenya
Shilling has earned. A move below a 100.00 would catch a lot of People
The Nairobi Securities Exchange has opened 2019 bright eyed and
bushy-tailed. The All Share is +4.31% in 2019 and at a 10 week high
and the NSE20 Index +2.6% in 2019 and at a 4 month high. There has
been a flurry of activity. India's Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy
Telkom Kenya. Bharti Airtel is keen to fatten up its Africa business
ahead of an IPO. Banking is seeing some consolidation with the planned
merger between CBA and NIC and a Buy Out of Jamii Bora. Private Equity
has taken a big bite of the Kantaria's Prime Bank. Digital Banking
stays red-hot. Safaricom, notched up one million users for its new
overdraft feature on the M-Pesa platform in just eight days, Safaricom
launched the new overdraft feature called Fuliza on Jan. 7 this year.
“We got a million (customers) by day eight and by day eight we had
lent $10 million. Now we are probably at $15 million,” CEO Bob
Collymore told Reuters in an interview.
“If you don’t have enough cash, you simply draw down from the
overdraft and you keep drawing down until you have got to your
overdraft limit, which is predetermined by an algorithm.”
I attended the East African Breweries Investor Briefing and
interviewed a very svelte and front foot CEO Andrew Cowan at the newly
minted Serena Nairobi. Buy Notes have been landing with some
regularity in my inbox of late. EABL reported a +18.256% headline
revenue gain to 41.574b and a +33.448% spike in H1 Profit before Tax.
They lifted the Interim dividend +25% and cash and cash equivalents
rocketed from 4.584b to 8.757b +91.034%. Plenty of Innovation and a
granularity around its offerings of which Uganda Waragi Pineapple is
an example but which I have yet to partake. Tanzania was also kicking
on with the Serengeti trademark at No.1 in country. Of course, they
placed a $140m bet on the Lake Economy via their Kisumu investment.
Performance will build through the second half I am sure and therefore
Fridays price surge is sustainable.
Kenya Picks @StandardBankZA TDB for $1 Billion of Syndicated Loans @economics
Kenya appointed Trade and Development Bank and Standard Bank Group
Ltd. to arrange syndicated loans of $1 billion.
“We have that mandate alongside Standard Bank,” Admassu Tadesse, the
president and chief executive of TDB, as the lender is known, said
Thursday by phone from the East African nation’s capital, Nairobi. The
bank plans to raise the financing by April, he said without giving
further details of the loan.
There will be three tranches -- a $250 million 10-year debt and two
seven-year loans of $410 million and 300 million euros ($340 million),
a person with knowledge of the transaction said separately. The
proceeds will be used to refinance loans, and fund some projects in
the national budget, the person said, asking not to be identified
because they are not authorized to comment on the matter.
The transaction features an accordion option to raise an additional
$250 million that will be used to help finance projects under the
2018-19 budget, the person said.
Kenya’s Treasury planned to raise about 280 billion shillings ($2.8
billion) of external debt to help plug the 2018-19 budget shortfall.
That’s even as more than $2 billion of debt is maturing this year, and
$1.28 billion in 2020, according to government documents.
The government is talking to banks separately to arrange a $2.5
billion Eurobond-offering, probably during the first quarter, Reuters
reported on Wednesday.
EABL surged +7.8% friday after releasing HY Earnings see here
Par Value: 2/-
Closing Price: 186.50
Total Shares Issued: 790774356.00
Market Capitalization: 147,479,417,394
EABL HY 2019 results through 31st December 2018 vs. 31st December 2017
HY Revenue 41.574b vs. 35.156b +18.256%
HY Cost of sales [22.402b] vs. [20.831b] +7.542%
HY Gross profit 19.172b vs. 15.969b +20.058%
HY Total costs [9.453b] vs. [8.686b] +8.830%
HY PBT 9.719b vs. 7.283b +33.448%
HY PAT 6.609b vs. 4.952b +33.461%
Basic EPS 6.52 vs. 5.21 +25.144%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period 8.757b vs. 4.584b +91.034%
Interim dividend per share 2.50 vs. 2.00 +25.00%