26th June 2019
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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Monday 10th of June 2019
 
Morning
Africa

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Normal Board - The Whole shebang
Prompt Board Next day settlement
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The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site
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London to get 'world's first' infinity pool with 360-degree views @CNN
Africa


The designs for the 600,000-liter pool and 55-story building, named
Infinity London, have been unveiled by Compass Pools. The designers
claim the concept is a world-first, describing the structure as "the
only building in the world to incorporate a 360-degree infinity pool."

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Damon Baehrel, after its presiding wizard and host, who served as forager, farmer, butcher, chef, sous-chef, sommelier, waiter, busboy, dishwasher, and mopper @NewYorker
Africa


Around Christmas in 2013, a friend of Merrihue’s alerted him to a
Bloomberg News piece about an unranked contender, which Bloomberg
called the “most exclusive restaurant in the U.S.” It described a
gourmet operation—in Earlton, New York, a half hour south of Albany—in
the basement of a woodland home. Once called Damon Baehrel at the
Basement Bistro, the place was now simply called Damon Baehrel, after
its presiding wizard and host, who served as forager, farmer, butcher,
chef, sous-chef, sommelier, waiter, busboy, dishwasher, and mopper.
Baehrel derived his ingredients, except meat, fish, and dairy, from
his twelve acres of yard, garden, forest, and swamp. He made his oils
and flours from acorns, dandelions, and pine; incorporated barks,
saps, stems, and lichen, while eschewing sugar, butter, and cream;
cured his meats in pine needles; made dozens of cheeses (without
rennet); and cooked on wooden planks, soil, and stone. He had
christened his approach Native Harvest. The diners who got into the
restaurant raved about it online. But at the time it was booked
through 2020. “We spend our lives looking for places like this,”
Merrihue said.

The brother arrived early. The gate to Baehrel’s property was closed.
Once the others had arrived, the gate swung open. The driver left them
and headed into the nearby village of Coxsackie for some pizza. They
walked up a driveway to a house on a hill. Around back, they came upon
a manicured entrance to the basement. Baehrel, in an apron, greeted
them enthusiastically.

He told them that he had just served a fifteen-course lunch to
fourteen diners. Over the next seven hours, he served Merrihue and his
companions twenty-three courses. “I hate long meals,” Merrihue
recalled. “But we couldn’t believe it—it just flew by.” In the end,
they paid around four hundred and thirty dollars a head, including a
corkage fee. (They’d brought their own wine.

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A stunning picture! #HongKongers you're beautiful! #NoExtraditionToChina
Law & Politics


A stunning picture! #HongKongers you're beautiful!
#NoExtraditionToChina #反送中 #HongKong photo credit: @appledaily_hk /
李家皓

https://twitter.com/ohgkg/status/1137706954770354177

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10-JUN-2019 :: Hugh Masakela said "I want to be there when the People start to turn it around"
Law & Politics


“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where
decades happen.” said Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

The ''Zeitgeist'' of a time is its defining spirit or its mood.
Capturing the ''zeitgeist'' of the Now is not an easy thing because we
are living in a dizzyingly fluid moment.

Charles Onyango-Obbo @cobbo3 tweeted

''Police teargas Malawi protests against Mutharika’s election “theft
[aka the ''Tippex'' solution] In Liberia demos against corruption
–Weah shutters internet. In Sudan military slaughter 100 in continuing
pro-democracy protests – weeks after Bashir fell. In Algeria
Bouteflika ousted by protestors. What's up?''

Indeed What's up?

Lets start in Khartoum. The ''zeitgeist'' of the Revolution was as
intoxicating as the Oudh that the Saudi Arabian Ambassador once gave
me and I found myself semi delirious intoxicated on my own perfume.
The exquisite murals, the composition of the crowds, the element of
Girl Power which spoke to hope and a Future. As I watched events
unfold it felt like Sudan was a Portal into a whole new another
Normal. David Pilling in the Financial Times captured the Essence by
quoting William Wordsworth, who wrote of the French Revolution:

OH! pleasant exercise of hope and joy! For mighty were the auxiliars
which then stood Upon our side, we who were strong in love! Bliss was
it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!--
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields, Or some secreted island, Heaven
knows where! But in the very world, which is the world Of all of
us,--the place where in the end We find our happiness, or not at all!

And then Darfur came to Khartoum, he concluded or was it Tiananmen and
Tahrir Square? And now we have two visions of the Future. One Vision
played out on our screens, the Protestors could have been our Wives,
our Children, our Daughters and Sons. The Other Vision is that of MBS,
MBZ and Al-Sisi and its red in tooth and claw. Vladimir and Xi backed
the Gulf and America is below the radar.

Hugh Masakela said ''I want to be there when the People start to turn
it around'' Sudan is a Masakela Pivot moment,

Down South The Rand crossed 15.00 levels which were seen only
previously in extremis like when President Zuma conjured up Des Van
Rooyen as his Finance Minister. Essentially the Rand was [Ace]
Magashule-d. Magashule spooked the markets with his televised
declaration that the ANC had decided to broaden the mandate of the
Reserve Bank and told the government to implement quantitative easing.
(He referred to it as "quality easing")

Max du Preez wrote as follows in the  online Afrikaans weekly Vrye Weekblad.

ANC factions are waging war in public. The economy retracted sharply
in the first quarter. Populists in the ruling party are flirting with
radical economic concepts such as quantitative easing and are
determined to undermine the status of the Reserve Bank. It seems there
is an increase in violent crime and farm attacks. The rand is close to
R15 for a dollar. Eskom, Transnet and SAA are close to collapse''

The ANC is in open rebellion except as Thabo learnt the President
serves at the Pleasure of the ANC and not the other way round. I don't
see how this gets finessed in fact the direction of travel is for the
fissure to get wider, Add into the mix a very soft Q1 and a China
South Africa Feedback Loop which is undergoing a Trend reversal and we
have some ingredients in play and pointing to a further slide in the
Rand. I would be selling rebounds and out of the money Call Options
and buying Puts with the premium received.

Zimbabwe has finally dialled up Madam Lagarde but here too Mnanagwa is
not only in the habit of hitching rides on MBZ's I am sure well
appointed  planes but also leans to MBZ's vision of the Future.

Lets turn our gaze to Zambia where President Lungu is seeking to
''nationalise'' Mr. Aggarwal's Copper Mines and the strategy seems to
be to flip it and probably clip the transaction for some juicy
brokerage. The Problem with this strategy is that the Price of Copper
is down -11.4% since Mid-April and there is simply nothing left of FX
reserves. Bond Yields are in default territory. This is a ''Hail
Mary'' Pass I am afraid and Lungu's Cashew Nut moment. What happened
to the cashew nut crop in Tanzania?

What I missed entirely however was the big spike in [SnapChat +155%
YTD] African rare Earth producers. Having spoken about it on my Show
on Metropol TV at least two weeks ago when I said this might prove a
''Hallelujah'' moment  a Geopolitical renaissance for President Pierre
Nkurunziza because there are rare earths in Burundi.  Reuters reported
that The Pentagon has held talks with both companies following threats
by Beijing to cut off supply to the country, Rainbow Rare Earths,
which is developing a project in Burundi, said it could neither
confirm nor deny the news. Mkango, which wants to build a mine and
processing plant in Malawi, did not immediately respond to a request
to comment. Rainbow Rare Earths last traded up 38 per cent at 7.69p,
while Mkango was up 42 per cent at 10.375p. Rare earths are a group of
17 niche minerals that are used in electronics, electric cars, and
some military equipment such as night vision goggles and lasers.

Which is the quandary. It is better to act than to say.

Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow

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"Trump's aggressive coercive foreign economic policy is the signature success of this administration. It is highly effective - Trump can keep It up. It's working a treat," @SputnikInt [September 2018]
Law & Politics


"Trump's aggressive coercive foreign economic policy is the signature
success of this administration. It is highly effective — look at
Venezuela to see its most extreme output. Iran is in a similar bind.
China is in retreat notwithstanding some bravura talk. Trump can keep
It up. It's working a treat," Mr. Satchu told Sputnik. [September
2018]

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One of Donald Trump's signature moves as president is to act as both arsonist and firefighter, taking credit for resolving pseudo-crises that he in fact initiated. @Medium
Law & Politics


Like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise, then, the president
will essentially be claiming credit for the weather itself — an
appropriate reductio ad absurdum of his credit-by-gaslighting style of
governance.

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Mheshimiwa Rais wangu @MagufuliJP, ukitaka kusikia ukweli wa mambo na hali halisi ya nchi, usiwasikilize watu wanaokuzunguka pekee. Huwa hawasemi ukweli wote @KennedyMmari
Law & Politics


Mheshimiwa Rais wangu @MagufuliJP, ukitaka kusikia ukweli wa mambo na
hali halisi ya nchi, usiwasikilize watu wanaokuzunguka pekee. Huwa
hawasemi ukweli wote. Pengine ni wakati wa kusikiliza makundi
mbalimbali; wapinzani wako wa kisiasa, CSOs, NGOs na wananchi wako.
肯尼迪 Ole Mmari Snr.

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Reckless in Riyadh @nybooks
Law & Politics


In February 1945 Franklin Roosevelt, on his way home from the Yalta
Conference—and just two months before his death—made a detour to Egypt
to meet Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman al Saud, the founder of the modern
Saudi state. Historians recall that the Saudi monarch brought aboard
the USS Quincy live sheep for roasting on deck and his astrologer,
while the American president introduced the seventy-year-old king to
ice cream and movies. Yet their concerns were serious: the United
States sought guaranteed access to the oil that had been discovered in
the kingdom seven years earlier; Ibn Saud, as he was known, wanted
protection from a challenge to his family’s rule that would be
backed—in his imagination—by Britain.

In the seventy-four years since it was conceived, the relationship
between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has shown
remarkable durability. One reason for its resilience has been the ease
with which it has evolved as the partners prospered and global
politics changed. Riding a tide of oil wealth, Saudi Arabia has been
transformed from a congeries of seminomadic tribes into one of the
twenty largest economies in the world, while US involvement in
regional security grew so dominant that for decades, analysts spoke of
the pax Americana in the Middle East. The relationship has also lasted
in no small measure because of American leaders’ disinclination to
criticize the Saudis’ domestic policies, especially their disregard
for human rights. Bruce Riedel, an adviser on the Middle East to four
presidents, has noted that the sole instance of an American leader
pressing the Saudis for internal change occurred in 1962, when, at the
urging of John F. Kennedy, then crown prince Faisal reformed the
judiciary, introduced free health care and education, and abolished
slavery.

The White House has long directly overseen the US–Saudi relationship,
as it has the US–Israel relationship, but generally not other
bilateral ties. The Saudi leadership has never taken the US Congress
or the State Department seriously and has always sought a direct link
to the president. The CIA station in Riyadh exercises a high degree of
control over dealings with the kingdom, guarding against intrusive
diplomats with big ideas about promoting human rights and obliging the
Saudi preference for secrecy. The arrangement works in a country where
historically there has been almost no foreign press presence or civil
society organizations. Saudi governance has traditionally been the
preserve of a small number of aged princes. Among US policymakers and
intelligence analysts, it is often said that no country is more
opaque, except for North Korea.

Today this long-running accommodation may be crumbling as a result of
the rise to power of the impetuous Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin
Salman. US congressional leaders of both parties have expressed
outrage at the thirty-three-year-old heir for his part in the murder
in Istanbul of the journalist and American resident Jamal Khashoggi in
October 2018, as well as for other misdeeds—particularly Saudi
intervention in the brutal war in Yemen that has turned that country
into the world’s foremost humanitarian disaster.

The recklessness of MBS, as he is known, has been abetted by the Trump
administration, which has boasted of its special relationship with the
young de facto ruler (his father, King Salman, is in poor health, and
MBS enjoys great latitude) and has avoided criticizing him for his
misadventures. Yet Democratic contenders for their party’s 2020
presidential nomination are lining up to see who can Saudi-bash the
loudest. The Democrats’ outrage has been further fueled by the
suspicion that behind the president’s uncritical embrace of the Saudis
are his hopes for personal enrichment from the relationship—a
reasonable surmise in light of the Saudi habit of booking entire
floors of his Washington hotel when delegations come to town. As the
de facto alliance approaches its seventy-fifth anniversary, some
American policymakers and scholars are questioning whether it still
makes sense for the US.

For a long time, it clearly did. The first major breach came during
the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Washington rushed arms to Israel that
helped it reverse the Arab states’ surprise attack. Angered by the US
action, King Faisal, probably Ibn Saud’s shrewdest son, succeeded in
pressing most OPEC nations to cut oil production at a time of
increasing global demand. Although the US imported little oil from the
Persian Gulf, prices almost quadrupled. Long gas lines made the rift
in the relationship a daily reality for Americans; over the next two
years, US GDP fell 6 percent.

The oil cuts ended after Khalid bin Abdulaziz succeeded Faisal, who
was assassinated by a deranged nephew in 1975, and Jimmy Carter became
president in 1977. A new channel of cooperation was established:
covert intelligence operations. Shortly after the Soviet Union’s
invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Deputy Secretary of State Warren
Christopher and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski enlisted
Khalid’s support for a secret effort to arm and train the Afghan
opposition. Acting as Washington’s off-the-books banker became a habit
for the Saudis. Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser Robert
McFarlane squeezed $32 million out of Riyadh to fund the Nicaraguan
contras, though the Saudis were not pleased to find that they had been
hornswoggled into a plot involving a secret US effort at rapprochement
with the Islamic Republic of Iran, in their view the greatest threat
to the kingdom. Saudi antipathy to Iran long preceded the 1979 Islamic
revolution, which intensified it: although ethnic and Sunni–Shia
divisions are partly responsible for the two countries’ mutual
hostility, rivalry for control of the Persian Gulf region and its
immense oil and gas deposits drives it, even though neither is
remotely capable of subjugating the other.

During the years following the oil embargo, security concerns shaped
the US–Saudi relationship. The invasion of Afghanistan exacerbated
fears that the USSR would seize control of the Persian Gulf and cut
off the flow of oil. The Carter Doctrine identified the region as a
vital interest for the United States and pledged to defend it with
force. After Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, President
George H.W. Bush offered to station US forces in the kingdom—forces
that eventually evicted Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

It would be difficult to overstate Saudi reliance on the US security
guarantee, despite the country’s slow push to remove US forces from
the kingdom following the terrorist attack on a US Air Force barracks
near Dhahran Air Base in 1996. That bombing, directed and financed by
Iran, heightened Saudi fears of being drawn into a conflict between
the US and Iran, while the size and visibility of the US presence were
seen as potentially provocative to Saudis, for whom reliance on
foreign troops raised questions about the competence and integrity of
the monarchy.

Years of multibillion-dollar arms purchases did not incline the
al-Sauds to invest in recruiting and training a competent military.
(These purchases were more about strengthening the relationship with
Washington by recycling petrodollars, pacifying the Saudi military
elite by supplying it with top-tier weaponry, and sending to hostile
neighbors signals of the US security guarantee implied by these arms
transfers than about building real military capacity.) They feared the
kind of ambitious generals who ran Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and Pakistan,
and sought a close defense relationship with the US and a coup-proof
military instead.

A second crisis reshaped the relationship after the September 11
attacks. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudis, and Osama bin
Laden was a scion of one of the country’s wealthiest nonroyal
families. The superannuated princes who ran the country could barely
acknowledge that their citizens were involved—some pointed the finger
at Israel—until attacks in Riyadh in 2003 gave them an opportunity to
present themselves as fellow targets of radical Islamists, and they
quickly pivoted into being allies in the US war on terror. US
intelligence chiefs forged close ties to Prince Mohammad bin Nayef,
the highly capable, pro-American counterterrorism chief.

America’s delicate treatment of the Saudis persisted: for example,
while the two countries were targeting terrorists, Washington said
little about the enormous Saudi NGOs that spread their
ultraconservative Wahhabi Islam around the globe. As the scholar Will
McCants remarked, when it comes to Islamist extremism, “the Saudis are
both the arsonists and the firefighters.” Still, the burgeoning ties
among spies produced real benefits. At least two plots that could have
killed significant numbers of Americans during the Obama
administration were disrupted because of Saudi tips. American
officials murmured approval when the Saudis took small steps to
alleviate the plight of the country’s Shia minority or to promote
women’s education and participation in the workforce, but their
criticism of human rights abuses—torture and other mistreatment of
government critics, harsh punishment of migrant workers, and mass
beheadings, whether of Shia “terrorists” or common criminals—remained
muted at best.

So what has gone wrong? Ties were strained during the Obama years by
Saudi anger at Washington’s refusal to stand by Egyptian president
Hosni Mubarak as his regime was upended by the Arab Spring; the tacit
US approval of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose espousal of democracy
implicitly challenged the Saudi political order; and the US refusal to
intervene militarily in the civil war in Syria, where the Saudis were
eager to see the Assad regime, Iran’s only long-term ally, removed
from power, even if it meant backing radical Islamist fighters. From
Riyadh’s perspective, this was to be payback for Iran’s swift rise in
influence in Iraq after the US deposed Saddam Hussein and for the
establishment of a Shia-dominated government in Baghdad.

Saudi disappointment in the US was exacerbated by the diplomacy that
led to the Iranian nuclear accord, which Riyadh saw as presaging a
broader rapprochement with Iran and paving the way for a US departure
from the Persian Gulf region. Tensions rose during this period because
of Iran’s support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and fears of a
Tehran-dominated “Shia crescent” stretching from Lebanon through Syria
and Iraq to Iran. Saudi diplomats, led by then ambassador to the US
Adel al-Jubair, disparaged Obama as a weak leader, when what they
really deplored was his refusal to go along with hard-line Saudi
hostility to Iran.

Further destabilization resulted from the death in 2015 of King
Abdullah, who had reigned for ten years after a decade as crown prince
and de facto ruler during the long illness of his half-brother and
predecessor, Fahd. Salman, the sixth son of Ibn Saud to ascend the
throne, did so in the traditional manner, having been designated crown
prince by Abdullah and a council of senior princes. But the new king
and his favorite son, Mohammad, quickly showed themselves to be little
beholden to tradition. Unlike many princes of his generation and even
the preceding one, MBS had been schooled entirely in Saudi Arabia. In
January 2015 he was appointed minister of defense after Salman’s
ascent and made second-in-line to the throne.

Less than two months later, MBS committed Saudi-led coalition forces
to a military campaign against the Houthi rebels who had captured
Sanaa, the Yemeni capital. But his expectations of a short and
glorious war evaporated: it has become the kingdom’s largest and
longest military commitment. This intervention was a sharp departure
from the kingdom’s habit of arming others while keeping its own forces
in the barracks, but that was not all that was new. The Saudi court
rapidly began an unprecedented effort to centralize power, eliminating
numerous government bodies that had been controlled by leading princes
and replacing them with committees staffed with nonroyal technocrats
loyal to MBS.

These changes were part of a larger attempt to brand the new rulers as
reformists who would tackle Saudi Arabia’s looming challenges:
dramatic population growth (from less than 3.5 million at the time of
Abdulaziz’s death in 1953 to about ten times that today), an economy
wholly dependent on fossil fuels, and an unskilled workforce
accustomed to generous benefits that are fast becoming unaffordable.
In 2016 MBS rolled out Vision 2030, a far-reaching plan to modernize
and diversify the Saudi economy. It was developed by the consulting
firm McKinsey, which, along with Booz Allen Hamilton, another
consulting giant, functions as part of the Saudi government. Booz
Allen trained Saudi naval forces operating in Yemen; McKinsey also
briefed the Saudi government on dissidents within the kingdom,
essentially providing a target list for the security forces. Later
McKinsey declared that it was “horrified” that it might have
facilitated a crackdown.

At first, Vision 2030 gave MBS a real sheen. Donald Trump broke with
tradition and made the first overseas trip of his presidency to Riyadh
instead of visiting democratic allies. The New York Times columnist
Thomas Friedman wrote, “I never thought I’d live long enough to write
this sentence: The most significant reform process underway anywhere
in the Middle East today is in Saudi Arabia.” He praised MBS for
rolling back the power of the country’s clerical establishment and
proclaimed, “Not a single Saudi I spoke to here over three days
expressed anything other than effusive support for [his]
anticorruption drive.” During a visit to the US in April 2018, MBS was
feted by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos and, at a dinner party hosted by
Rupert Murdoch, entertained by the actors Michael Douglas and Morgan
Freeman, before having an audience with Oprah Winfrey.

The sheen faded quickly, though, as it became clear that MBS’s notion
of reform owed less to Western norms than to Xi Jinping and the
Chinese policy of pushing for economic growth without permitting the
expansion of political freedoms. There has been a degree of limited
liberalization, but in MBS’s view, reforms must be granted by the
crown, not elicited, let alone demanded, by his subjects. Hence the
imprisonment of women who pressed for the right to drive and for a
relaxation of the “guardianship laws” that give men control over the
lives of the women in their families—the very measures that MBS had
endorsed and, to some extent, enacted. Despite the reforms, there has
also been an increase in the pace of executions. Several are now
planned for well-known Sunni clerics who, though previously
incarcerated for opposing royal policies, were viewed as too popular
to be treated more harshly.

In June 2017 MBS was named crown prince, replacing Salman’s nephew
Muhammad bin Nayef. The following November, he had at least two
hundred of the country’s wealthiest men, including a number of the
kingdom’s wealthiest princes, rounded up and held in Riyadh’s Ritz
Carlton Hotel for what turned out to be an extended “anti-corruption”
shakedown. When the last of the captives were released or transferred
to a prison several months later—some, including the son of King
Abdullah, are still incarcerated—the government reported that it had
recovered more than $106 billion from them.

MBS’s foreign policy—even beyond the bloodletting in Yemen—has
astonished diplomats and Saudi watchers. In the summer of 2017, just
after Trump’s visit and with the backing of the United Arab Emirates,
Riyadh began a blockade of neighboring Qatar, accusing it of
supporting terrorism and Iran, and appeared poised to invade the
world’s only other Wahhabi state. The confrontation has destroyed in
all but name the Gulf Cooperation Council, the regional association
the US helped create in 1981 to strengthen defenses against Iran. In
December 2017 the Saudis hosted Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri.
On a morning when he thought he was going on a trip to the desert with
MBS, he was separated from his bodyguards and forced to read a
statement of resignation on television—his tolerance for Hezbollah had
angered the Saudis. Only after multiple world leaders demanded his
release could he fly back to Beirut, where he rescinded the
resignation.

When Canada protested the imprisonment of the Saudi human rights
blogger Raif Badawi and his sister Samar in the summer of 2018, Riyadh
recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, expelled Canada’s ambassador, and
blocked trade and cut off flights between the countries. More
recently, the Saudis have pumped money into the Sudanese military to
help it put down the demonstrations that toppled the longtime
strongman Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April. Saudi officials also appear
to be supporting the campaign of the Benghazi-based Libyan general
Khalifa Haftar against the UN-backed government in Tripoli—a campaign
backed, in an extraordinary turnaround, by President Trump.

Equally astonishing has been the kingdom’s open embrace of Israel. In
2015 a retired Saudi general, Anwar Eshki, participated in a
discussion of Israeli and Saudi mutual interests with Dore Gold, a
right-wing Israeli former diplomat, at the Council on Foreign
Relations’ office in Washington; in 2017 Saudi media broadcast a
lengthy interview with then Israeli chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot. In
November 2018 Israeli media leaked a diplomatic cable from the
country’s foreign ministry instructing its embassies worldwide to
advocate for Saudi foreign policy objectives, especially vis-à-vis
Iran. And Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended MBS
for his involvement in Khashoggi’s murder—in which the Saudi
go-between with Israel, General Ahmed Asiri, was implicated. It has
also been widely reported that the Trump administration expects the
Saudis to fund an Israeli–Palestinian peace agreement; according to
MBS, the Palestinians should either accept it or “shut up.”

Although all this has been a dramatic departure from decades of
practice—in their meeting aboard the USS Quincy, Ibn Saud requested
assurances from FDR that the US would oppose the creation of a Jewish
state in Palestine—there is evidence that at least some Saudis think
the time for it has come. They have long been advised by their public
relations firms in Washington and by US diplomats to soften the
kingdom’s stance toward Israel so that Congress would be more tolerant
of objectionable Saudi policies. But for MBS, this change is as much
the result of a shared enmity with Iran and affinity for a fellow
authoritarian in Jerusalem as it is a lobbying strategy. He has
affirmed more forthrightly than any other Saudi leader Israel’s right
to exist and has criticized the Palestinians for failing to make
peace. Intelligence cooperation between the two countries appears to
have increased dramatically. Yet for Washington, the new attitude
cannot be taken for granted. The opacity of the kingdom’s politics
makes it impossible to know how other parts of Saudi society view
overt ties with Israel, or the use to which opponents of MBS might put
this change in policy should they choose to challenge his legitimacy.

What kind of damage is MBS doing to the Saudi state? Three factors
were long thought to be essential to preserving al-Saud rule: generous
distribution of oil revenues as part of the authoritarian bargain
between the royals and their subjects, which might be described as no
taxation, no representation; the backing of an outside power, which,
in the case of the United States, has endured since Roosevelt’s
meeting with Ibn Saud; and family cohesion, which had been cultivated
over a century of consensual decision-making by senior princes.

MBS’s changes have done little to alter the kingdom’s political
economy, although it is being reshaped, to a degree, through Vision
2030 reforms. Nor have they diminished the importance of US support,
as demonstrated by MBS’s courtship of the Trump family and Riyadh’s
lavish spending on American public relations firms, universities, and
think tanks, which have at times been co-opted through generous
contributions and endowments. The historical commitment to cohesion
and consensus within the royal family, however, has apparently been
abandoned. Thus far, the rapidity and brutality of MBS’s seizure of
power appear to have preempted open dissent. Yet over the long term,
his lack of judgment, defiance of tradition, and exceedingly narrow
circle of advisers could make him vulnerable to isolation, tunnel
vision, loss of elite support, and, finally, popular opposition. He
could occupy the throne for decades, however, before dissatisfaction
turns into effective resistance.

The crown prince’s economic reforms may also be suffering from a
growing anxiety about his reign. Vision 2030 is based on the belief
that Saudi Arabia must attract foreign investment, yet capital inflows
plummeted in 2017 and have only recently begun to inch back up.
Progress on diversifying the economy is halting at best, and efforts
to induce Saudis to take the jobs of foreign workers—1.5 million have
left the country—have yet to show results. The kingdom’s leaders are
confident that its oil industry will remain profitable for decades to
come: estimates of Saudi oil deposits continue to grow, while the
profitability of ARAMCO, the state oil company, swells: last year it
took in $111 billion. But low oil prices could make it difficult for
the Saudis to continue to pay for extensive social benefits—hence the
urgency of diversifying the economy.

MBS’s missteps have now imperiled the US embrace that constituted one
of the pillars of Saudi rule. Americans have never particularly liked
Saudi Arabia. Its use of oil as a weapon in 1973, spectacles of public
executions and reports of other human rights violations, suspicions
that Saudi leaders were complicit in the September 11 attacks, and a
widespread distaste for Islam have combined in a popular image of a
corrupt, cruel, anti-Semitic absolute monarchy. Gallup polls over many
years have shown that the majority of respondents have held
unfavorable views of the kingdom. It was only during Desert Storm,
when Washington went out of its way to portray Saudi Arabia as a
valiant ally in the campaign to liberate Kuwait, that expressions of a
very favorable view broke into the double digits—11 percent. For the
most part, it has hovered around 5 percent.

Yet the relationship between Jared Kushner and MBS is evidence of the
kingdom’s enduring influence in Washington despite the growing
revulsion against the crown prince. This resembles the chummy
relationship between the George W. Bush White House and Bandar bin
Sultan, the son of Saudi Arabia’s former defense minister and the
ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005. Endowed with
essentially unlimited resources owing to his father’s rapacious
corruption, Bandar courted the rich and famous. He had a winning
personality and the brio of the fighter pilot he had been as a young
man, and he flattered and seduced senior bureaucrats. The photo of
Bandar, Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice lounging on the White
House balcony shortly after the September 11 attacks illustrates the
cozy intimacy that then prevailed.

Kushner’s bond with MBS similarly reflects class affinity, shared
financial interests, and their self-conceptions as men who matter. In
policy, it reflects a disregard for human rights, a desire to curtail
Iranian influence across the region and to see the clerical regime in
Tehran crippled or replaced, and an impulse to recast Middle Eastern
politics not just by humbling Iran but by cutting the Gordian knot of
Israeli–Palestinian animosity. Their relationship also embodies the
self-dealing crony capitalism that keeps Middle Eastern regimes—and
increasingly the United States—afloat. One result is the subversion of
American strategic interests through bilateral deals that favor the
financial interests of their ruling elites.

A case in point, according to an investigation by the House Committee
on Oversight and Reform, is an ongoing secret Trump administration
effort to supply Saudi Arabia with nuclear power plants, despite the
opposition of its own lawyers and strategic planners. The Saudi plan
to develop nuclear power had been circulating for several years and on
its face is uncontroversial. Saudi oil is best sold on the hard
currency markets, while domestic power needs, especially for
electricity and desalinization, could be better met by nuclear energy
(but even better met by solar power). Russia, China, and South Korea
are competing for lucrative nuclear power–related construction
contracts in the kingdom. Westinghouse Electric—which declared
bankruptcy in 2017 owing to the high cost of its reactor design but
has since emerged from it—has been seeking a contract to build nuclear
plants in Saudi Arabia, but US firms are subject to stringent export
restrictions designed to prevent foreign countries from using US-built
reactors to produce nuclear fuel, which could be used for weapons. The
Saudis, however, have insisted that they want to produce their own
nuclear fuel; they turned to lobbyists in Washington to make their
case and pressed it more strongly after Trump became president.

Saudi interests have meshed with Trump family financial dealings. In
2007 Kushner’s company bought 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City, a
poorly timed and disastrously negotiated deal that eventually placed
him in serious financial jeopardy. In 2018 Brookfield Asset Management
Inc., an investment company with around $330 billion of assets under
management, including real estate, renewable power, infrastructure,
and private equity, took a $1.1 billion lease on the property, bailing
Kushner out. Brookfield also now owns Westinghouse Electric. To make
matters murkier, the disgraced former national security adviser
Michael Flynn, while an adviser to the Trump campaign—and apparently
during his brief tenure at the White House and after his departure—was
deeply involved in the lobbying effort to approve the sale of reactors
to the Saudis, although the extent of his formal participation remains
unclear, and he presumably stood to make a great deal of money if the
deal went through.

This would be a dangerous move. MBS pledged in a television interview
last year to secure a nuclear weapons capability if Iran were to do
so. A Saudi capacity would almost certainly provoke Iran to acquire
its own. Two new and adversarial nuclear powers separated by one
hundred miles of Persian Gulf waters are an alarming prospect. The
construction of a facility for producing ballistic missiles in the
kingdom has also provoked suspicion of Saudi nuclear aims. The Trump
administration has said that it will enforce the restrictions
governing the transfer of nuclear technology, while cautioning that if
they are deemed unacceptable by the kingdom, the Russians or Chinese
will construct Saudi reactors instead.

In the US, outrage at the murder of Khashoggi continues to be strong.
In Senate testimony last November, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
derided senators for “caterwauling” about human rights when the
Iranian wolf was at the door. Secretary of Defense James Mattis denied
that there was a “smoking gun” that indisputably proved the crown
prince had ordered Khashoggi’s death, but the circumstantial evidence
was convincing enough for Congress to dismiss his assessment as a
cover-up and for the Senate to pass a resolution holding MBS
personally responsible.

The question of how to punish the kingdom and distance the US from it
is not easily answered. Washington has already sanctioned most of the
individuals identified by the Saudis or others as having been
implicated in the plot to murder Khashoggi by freezing their assets
and barring Americans from doing business with them, though it has
balked at targeting MBS, whose denials of involvement are wholly
unpersuasive. The Treasury Department also did not sanction General
Asiri, MBS’s confidant and the former deputy head of Saudi
intelligence. In the meantime, dismay in Washington has not induced
caution in MBS. The US intelligence community recently exercised its
“duty to warn” three regime opponents that their lives were at risk.

Ending US support for the war in Yemen has been the goal of a
bipartisan coalition in Congress, and the unpopularity of the Saudi
campaign led Mattis to curtail important elements of the US assistance
program in 2018, including air refueling of Saudi jets. President
Trump, who has made extravagant and false claims about Riyadh wanting
to buy $100 billion in arms, seems determined to thwart legislative
action to curtail military aid to the Saudis. Earlier this year,
Congress approved legislation demanding a halt to all such aid,
including most weapons sales, logistics, and intelligence support, but
it was unable to override Trump’s veto.

The White House recently announced its intent to proceed with $8
billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and
Jordan by invoking a seldom-used clause in the Arms Export Control Act
that allows the executive branch to bypass Congress in emergency
circumstances. This has infuriated legislators, who have vowed to
prevent the sales, though it is doubtful that they can do so. As the
White House builds up forces in the Persian Gulf and prepares for a
possible confrontation with Iran, it is determined to avoid punishing
its friends in the kingdom.

In consequence neither the Trump administration nor Congress has much
leverage over the crown prince. Eight million barrels of oil per day
generate enough cash to pay for a public relations campaign that casts
Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist and Saudi Arabia as an indispensable
partner of the US. President Trump has frequently called MBS a “great
ally.” More broadly, international interest in sanctioning him or his
regime is uneven. Vladimir Putin’s support has been vigorous, while
the French and British are unwilling to forgo lucrative arms sales to
the kingdom. Germany has been the lone exception, halting all arms
exports to Riyadh since Khashoggi’s murder.

Stirred up by the controversy surrounding the secret nuclear
deal-making and the execution in April of thirty-seven Saudis, most of
them Shias, on terrorism charges, Congress will continue to protest.
Despite the unusual degree of bipartisan agreement on the issue—and
Senator Lindsey Graham’s unusual break with Trump over renewed arms
sales to the kingdom—this is unlikely to have any real effect.
Significant action, if there is any, will come only when the White
House changes occupants.

How far might a Democratic administration go toward redefining US ties
with Saudi Arabia? Bureaucratic resistance from within the defense and
intelligence establishments could be significant, and oil companies
and financial institutions have been clear about their long-term
support for the relationship. Yet MBS has tilted so far toward the
Republican Party that some Democrats will see no reason not to push
for substantive change. Their argument will be strengthened by the
somewhat diminished US reliance on Saudi oil—as a result of the rise
in domestic production—and by American weariness of costly engagement
in the region.* Saudi encouragement for the US to take armed action
against Iran will add to the alienation growing among Democrats, whose
leading candidates for the party’s presidential nomination want the US
to rejoin the nuclear agreement repudiated by Trump.

The Trump administration has embraced the Saudi hard line against
Iran, but Democrats remain justifiably critical of a policy that seems
designed to drive Tehran to abrogate the nuclear accord that it
continues to abide by. If a Democratic president is elected in 2020
and decides to lift sanctions on Iran and restore US adherence to the
nuclear deal, that would have a profound impact on Riyadh. Its
reaction, as well as the likely caution of a new administration, will
have a significant effect on any effort to reshape the US–Saudi
relationship.

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08-APR-2019 :: The petro dollar economy was symbolically born on February 14, 1945 when King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia met with President Franklin D Roosevelt aboard the USS Quincy in Great Bitter Lake
Law & Politics


In 21st century geopolitics, this is the ‘’grand daddy’’ of all
geopolitical red lines. Let me explain why. The petro dollar economy
was symbo- lically born on February 14, 1945 when King Abdul Aziz Ibn
Saud of Saudi Arabia met with President Franklin D Roosevelt aboard
the USS Quincy in Great Bitter Lake, Egypt.
Zbigniew Brzezinski said, “The three grand imperatives of imperial
geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence
among the vassals, to keep tribu- taries pliant and protected, and to
keep the barbarians from coming together.''

read more


08-APR-2019 :: The c21st Oil Economy is a very big deal
Law & Politics


Trading in derivatives such as oil futures and options is mainly
dollar denominated. The top two global energy exchanges, ICE and CME,
traded a billion lots of oil derivatives in 2018 with a nominal value
of about $5 trillion [Reuters].
The c21st Oil Economy is a very big deal and Ryszard Kapuściński who
wrote as follows about the oil and petrochemical dollar economy in
Shah of Shahs.
“Oil creates the illusion of a completely changed life, life without
work, life for free. Oil is a resource that anaesthetizes thought,
blurs vision, corrupts.” Ryszard Kapuściński, Shah of Shahs.
“Oil kindles extraordinary emotions and hopes, since oil is above all
a great temptation. It is the tempta- tion of ease, wealth, strength,
fortu- ne, power. It is a filthy, foul-smelling liquid that squirts
obligingly up into the air and falls back to earth as a rustling
shower of money.”

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12-NOV-2018 :: MBS, alleged owner of Leonardo Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi which is a painting of Christ as Salvator Mundi (Latin for "Savior of the World") dated to c. 1500.
Law & Politics


The painting shows Jesus, in Renaissance dress, giving a benediction
with his right hand raised and two fingers extended, while holding a
transparent rock crystal orb in his left hand. The rock crystal orb of
course reappeared during Trump's visit to the Desert Kingdom. The
Painting is currently in the Louvre in Abu Dhabi because the
''optics'' of this $450m purchase did not sit well with being the son
and heir to the Kingdom.  The King is called the Custodian of the Two
Holy Mosques (خادم الحرمين الشريفين) after all. MBS is also the Proud
Owner of the Serene [yacht] which he bought 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 of his
life.

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DEPTH OF FIELD: THE SPOOKY SYMMETRY OF @jaredkushner AND @IvankaTrump @WIRED
Law & Politics


SYMMETRY DISQUIETS. SO often people, objects, or circumstances align
too perfectly, too terrifyingly for our comfort. Order can feel
unsettling and foreign when chaos is the sole unchanging factor. This
week, nothing brought that notion to light more starkly than the image
of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner standing, uniformly framed, in a
window at Buckingham Palace. Captured by Samir Hussein, the inanimate,
spooky tone of the photograph evokes an immediate emotional reaction.
There's a strange emptiness to it all, and yet the picture is rich in
metaphorical dimension. Its composition carries a dark tenor,
reflective of present and lurking evils. What is it trying to tell us?

Ivanka Trump's look is expressionless, ghostlike, her eyes devoid of
feeling. Kushner stands by her side, cut evenly by the pane of the
window, offering a faint, robotic smirk. The white of Trump's suit top
and dress blend with the white of the curtains, which stuff the photo
with an added eeriness. As the image made rounds, it didn't take long
for Twitter to accentuate the similarities shared with horror staples
The Omen and Flowers in the Attic.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner emerged from a darkness. The image
promises they might retreat to it once this long political nightmare
is over.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1307
Dollar Index 96.807
Japan Yen 108.64
Swiss Franc 0.9905
Pound 1.2710
Aussie 0.6969
India Rupee 69.4475
South Korea Won 1184.04
Brazil Real 3.8813
Egypt Pound 16.788
South Africa Rand 15.2692

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China is letting value of yuan slide to offset trade war tariffs, US Trade Secretary @stevenmnuchin1 says @SCMPNews
International Trade


“It’s not coincidental in my mind that the currency has moved from
approximately 6.30 [yuan to the US dollar] to 6.90,” the official said
on the sidelines of the G20 finance leaders’ meeting in Japan.

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27-MAY-2019 :: If this all turns ballistic, then this is going to fly through 7.00 and the Chinese will surely use the value as currency as push-back.
International Trade


Chinese currency which is -8.8% year on year basis is surely a very
visible proxy.
If this all turns ballistic, then this is going to fly through 7.00
and the Chinese will surely use the value as currency as push-back.
If they do, they will be pushing an open door.
It is clear that directionally money wants to leave China and a great
deal of the 2019 surge in Bitcoin is surely correlated to Chinese
Flight Capital.
Therefore, my prediction is when the currency slides it is going to
slide real quick and Dollar Call Options are an interesting
risk-adjusted trade.

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Crude Oil Chart INO 54.31
Commodities


Emerging Markets

Frontier Markets

read more


The murals that mushroomed on the walls around the military headquarters in #Khartoum, Hemeti's gangs are spraying all over with paint @SaadAbedine
Africa


Remember all the murals that mushroomed on the walls around the
military headquarters in #Sudan's 🇸🇩 capital, #Khartoum, as
THOUSANDS of Sudanese protested PEACEFULLY calling for a civilian
rule?
Hemeti's gangs are spraying all over with paint

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The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street, where for a moment it becomes a motor (machine of attack), in other words a producer of speed
Africa


The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place
of production, but in the street, where for a moment it stops being a
cog in the technical machine and itself becomes a motor (machine of
attack), in other words a producer of speed

The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle of history - Ryszard
Kapuściński Shah of Shahs.

https://www.rich.co.ke/rctools/wrapup.php?dt=MjAxOC0xMC0xNw%3D%3D#B88882

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"Africa is a market @Huawei had identified and which they conquered thanks to a very aggressive strategy based on cheap financing and speed of execution," @AFP
Africa


"For African countries this trade war may end up a binary choice. It
will be very difficult for Africa to just ignore" it, said Aly-Khan
Satchu, an independent economic analyst based in Nairobi.

read more


Africa


In Ghana, gold output jumped 12% in 2018, according to data from the
Ghana Chamber of Mines. Small producers account for the largest share
of the total, although Ghana also hosts some of the world’s biggest
gold miners, including No. 1 producer Newmont Goldcorp Corp. Although
Newmont is exploring in Ethiopia, Ghana is the only place in Africa
where it operates.
“Gold is an old sector and naturally it will decline,” Mantashe said.
“New minerals that are discovered are becoming more important.”

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The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle of history Ryszard Kapucinski
Africa


It is authority that provokes revolution....This occurs when a feeling
of impunity takes root among the elite: We are allowed anything, we
can do anything. This is a delusion, but it rests on a certain
rational foundation. For a while it does indeed look as if they can do
whatever they want. Scandal after scandal and illegality after
illegality go unpunished. The people remain silent...They are afraid
and do not yet feel their own strength. At the same time, they keep a
detailed account of the wrongs, which at one particular moment are to
be added up. The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle of
history. Shah of Shahs, Vintage International edition, p. 106

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RDC: quand Joseph Kabila utilisait des anciens du Mossad contre l'opposition @RFIAfrique @RFI
Africa


Uvda, une émission d'investigations de la télévision israélienne
Channel 12, livre les secrets de l’entreprise de renseignement privée
Black Cube, impliquée ces dernières années dans des opérations souvent
à la limite du légal et de l'éthique. Au Congo, affirme l'émission,
les agents de Black Cube ont franchi toutes les limites.

Avec notre correspondant à Jérusalem,  Michel Paul

Nous sommes fin 2015. L’opération Coltan est lancée par Black Cube ;
un des plus importants projets menés par cette entreprise de
renseignement privée dont la majorité des employés sont des anciens
des services secrets israéliens. Le Mossad, le Shin Bet et aussi
8.200, l’unité de cybersécurité de l’armée israélienne.

Son directeur Dan Zorella rencontre le président congolais Joseph
Kabila. Des entretiens qui selon l’émission Uvda vont devenir de plus
en plus réguliers. Sous couvert d’anonymat un ancien employé de Black
Cube explique : «  Kabila voulait tout savoir ce qui se passait lors
des réunions de l’opposition. Qui participe et qui s’attaque au
président. Il voulait savoir s’il y a des proches qui le trahissent.
Qui étaient les traîtres. Et il y avait des traîtres. »

Toujours selon Uvda, une dizaine d’agents de Black Cube font d’un
étage d’un grand hôtel de Kinshasa le quartier général d’un service de
renseignement officieux.

En 2016, fait remarquer l’émission d’investigations, 17 opposants au
régime congolais sont tués par balle lors de manifestations.
Parallèlement une agente de Black Cube tente d’enquêter, mais sans
succès semble-t-il sur les relations entre Kabila et l’homme
d’affaires israélien Dan Gertler.

Black Cube ne réagit pas sur l’affaire congolaise, mais l'entreprise
qui possède des bureaux à Londres a porté plainte en diffamation
devant un tribunal britannique contre l'émission Uvda et la
journaliste Ilana Dayan, et exige 15 millions de livres sterling de
dommages et intérêts.

Uvda, an Israeli Channel 12 TV show, reveals the secrets of private
intelligence firm Black Cube, involved in recent years in operations
that are often borderline legal and ethical. In Congo, says the show,
agents of Black Cube have crossed all the limits. With our
correspondent in Jerusalem, Michel Paul We are at the end of 2015.
Operation Coltan is launched by Black Cube; one of the most important
projects led by this private intelligence company whose majority of
employees are former Israeli secret service. The Mossad, the Shin Bet
and also 8,200, the cybersecurity unit of the Israeli army. Director
Dan Zorella meets Congolese President Joseph Kabila.  "Kabila wanted
to know everything that was going on at the opposition meetings. Who
participates and who attacks the president. He wanted to know if there
are relatives who betray him. Who were the traitors. And there were
traitors. " Under cover of anonymity, a former Black Cube employee
explains:According to Uvda, a dozen Black Cube agents make one floor
of a large hotel in Kinshasa the headquarters of an unofficial
intelligence service. In 2016, notes the issuance of investigations,
17 opponents of the Congolese regime are shot dead during
demonstrations. Meanwhile a Black Cube agent is trying to investigate,
but apparently without success on the relations between Kabila and the
Israeli businessman Dan Gertler. Black Cube does not react on the
Congolese affair, but the company with offices in London filed a
defamation suit in a British court against Uvda and journalist Ilana
Dayan, demanding £ 15 million in damages and interests.

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1.2 billion reasons Singapore tech firms think Africa is next big thing @SCMPNews
Africa


Africa has become the new frontier for Singapore’s start-up movement
as more technology and venture capitalist firms eye the continent’s
largely untapped market for the next wave of growth
From ride-hailing to e-commerce to trade finance and infrastructure,
companies from the city state have in recent years been drawn by the
sheer size of the African market of 1.2 billion people, and the
opportunities it presents as it seeks to keep pace with Asia and the
rest of the world. One such budding firm is Gozem, a Singapore-based
transport company with ride-hailing services in West African nations
Togo and Benin, and plans to enter 15 more African markets within five
years.

“We targeted West and Central Africa first, as fibre optic and 4G
systems are deployed; 90 per cent of phones sold are smartphones and
an open regulatory framework for fintech services is in place,” he
said. “Despite the boons, these regions are relatively neglected by
investors and entrepreneurs yet present an equivalent potential as
Africa’s top three economies.”

For providers like CrimsonLogic, a Singaporean company that started
working with Rwanda in 2014, Africa’s development at a government
level has proved a boon for the firm and Rwandans alike.
In 2015, the company launched IREMBO, an eCitizen portal helping
Rwandan people to get more than 89 government services online, with
the ultimate aim of turning the country into a paperless,
knowledge-based economy by 2020.
Thunes, a business-to-business cross-border payments network for
emerging markets, in 2017 helped give millions of Africans the ability
to top up PayPal and M-pesa accounts so they could access digital
marketplaces.
“Africa is pivotal for us, as over 35 of our 80-plus global markets
are expected to originate from Africa in 2019,” said Aik-Boon Tan,
chief commercial officer for payments at Thunes.
 “The region is estimated to contribute 25 to 30 per cent of our
global revenue, slightly shy of Asia, our top market.”

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Activists urge banks not to finance Ugandan oil pipeline @ReutersAfrica
Africa


group of 30 international and local campaign groups have petitioned
two banks to abandon plans to raise funds to build an oil pipeline to
export Ugandan oil, saying the project would damage local livelihoods,
water resources and wildlife. The 1,445 km (900 mile) pipeline, which
will run from fields in the west of Uganda to Tanzania’s Indian Ocean
port of Tanga, is vital to developing the East African nation’s oil
reserves.
South Africa’s Standard Bank Group and Japan’s Sumito Mitsui Banking
Corporation are helping to raise the debt needed to finance the $3.5
billion pipeline.

“We consider this project to present unacceptable risks to local
people through physical displacement and threats to incomes and
livelihoods,” Global Witness and 29 other groups from Britain, the
United States and elsewhere told the banks.

In a letter urging the banks not to arrange financing, the groups said
the project posed “unacceptable risks to water, biodiversity and
natural habitats, as well as representing a new source of carbon
emissions the planet can ill afford.”
Uganda found oil reserves estimated to hold 6 billion barrels in
western fields in 2006. But progress on development has been slow,
partly due to disagreements between the government and oil firms about
strategy. Uganda also took several years to decide on a pipeline
route. France’s Total, China’s CNOOC and Britan’s Tullow Oil control
the Ugandan fields.The pipeline, which will cross rivers and swampland
that act as a catchment for Lake Victoria and areas rich in wildlife,
is expected to transport about 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) when oil
production peaks.

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Trend of debt to GDP from 48.4% in 2013/14 to 58.1% in 2017/18. Via @IEAKenya H/T @MihrThakar
Kenyan Economy


Kenya's debt/GDP ratio had an upward trend during the Moi regime
(consistently above 55% from 1999-2002). However, Kibaki managed to
whittle it down to below 40% during the peak of his regime.

read more




Murang'a plans 10m Hass avocado trees @BD_Africa
Kenyan Economy


Murang’a targets to plant 10 million trees of Hass avocado by 2022.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria says the county already has six million trees
and wouldprovide local farmers with a million seedlings annually. It
will also give the farmers inputs to raise productivity.
The county is currently reported to be earning Sh2.5 billion from Hass
fruits, an amount it seeks to maximise by 2025.
“Given that a Hass avocado seedling takes three years to post first
harvest, all the efforts we have put in place will mature by 2025,
factoring in the seedlings that we will issue in 2022,” he said.
The Hass tree has an optimal production of 1,000 fruits per year,
meaning that of the 10 million trees that he aspires to have in the
county, production will hit one billion fruits by 2025.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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June 2019
 
 
 
 
 
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