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My Weekly Piece for the Star
Geopolitical Musings:Role of Information Flow
DON DeLillo in his book, Cosmopolis, says: "Everything is barely
weeks. Everything is days. We have minutes to live." And cer- tainly,
the 21st century is a world hurtling at a dizzying velocity.
Where once we were far away on the frontier of our world with less
than 15,000 landlines with which to connect to each other, today
millions of mobile phones connect us all to the world. This has
happened over the last decade. The mobile phone in my view has
flattened the world and has precipitated rapid convergence of
In some instances, and particularly in the Middle East and North
Africa, we saw these expectations simply explode and then get
throttled. I call it 'throttling', others might characterise it as a
'repression'. You can throttle only for so long but then history shows
that when the 'tipping point' arrives, everything simply gets blown
Gil Scott-Heron famously announced: "The Revolution Will Not Be
Televised" in his poem and song from 1970.
However, I recall the Iranian revolution of 1978/79 which was
televised and which I watched unfold on my TV screen. More than 30
years later, the US is still grappling with the Iranian theocracy and
the consequences of that revolution. Interestingly, there is a school
of thought that the kingdom is now as brittle as the 'Peacock Throne'.
It is this sense which might be informing the pivot (after a fashion)
to Tehran. The counter-revolutionary forces cannot keep a lid on
things for a meaningful time. It is a pressure cooker.
There is a canard propagated by the Right in the US that President
Barack Obama is somehow spineless when it comes to projecting American
power in the 21st century. The failure to bomb Bashar into the Stone
Age is always cited as evidence that Obama blinks and that this has
emboldened the likes of Vladimir to munch Crimea.
In my opinion, President Obama has been incredibly ag- gressive ( just
look at the drone fatalities chart and compare Obama's numbers to the
period under President Bush - Obama has been red in tooth and claw),
he has espoused a very sophisticated tool kit that has encompassed
currency war - take a look at something like the Iranian currency;
cyber war; and a number of other strategies which whilst they might
not serve the spectacle of the Iraq war are nevertheless just as
effective and more subtle. It is not Putin who has parked himself
somewhere right up against Obama's rear end, it is President Obama who
is parked on Russia's European corner. Various iterations of the
revolution from Benghazi to Kiev were largely manufactured in a
laboratory somewhere in the recesses of the US National Security
Putin, of course, is a formidable adversary and in a very cute move
inverted the R2P (Right to Protect) rule in his favour and over
Crimea. It was the right to protect civilians in Benghazi from the
wrath of Gaddafi rule which was used as justification to overthrow him
and his 'Green Book'.
And let's be frank, Crimea has always been Tatar and Russian. No one
really believes that Crimea is European, do they? This Crimea
Referendum business is a geopolitical conundrum for China. The problem
being, if you allow that periphery states can vote then you will
definitely see a whole lot of China peel off real quick, from Tibet to
Taiwan to Xinjiang.
Which brings me to my next point: the tone of US media when it comes
to advocating the US position is just too stri- dent and unipolar in
what is now a more diffuse and connect- ed world. It was Hillary
Clinton who alerted us to an information war and she thought the US
was losing it.
And finally, when Bouazizi self-immolated and triggered a brush fire
across North Africa, I recall everyone dismissing such a brush fire
could leap the Sahara and enter sub-Saharan Africa; out of hand. And
that's right for now, but for how long?
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
A Selection of Tweets tagged #Mindspeak
@carolinekere #Mindspeak "We have to catch up and compete, there is
an urgency, we cannot wait 50-60 years" cc @alykhansatchu @rsezibera
EAC-Afrika Mashariki @jumuiya #EAC Common Market Scorecard: Tanzania
slowest in removing NTBs, Kenya fastest in Removing & Reintroducing
NTBs @rsezibera #Mindspeak
@carolinekere @alykhansatchu @rsezibera his words are slow and
succinct , a lot to think about, we need to forget chasing flags
@ndettombalu @alykhansatchu @rsezibera very intellectually
stimulating discussions keep the conversation on #EAC #Mindspeak out
@maujjo"@alykhansatchu: Dont agonise Please organise says Dr.
@rsezibera to the Youth re involvement of Youth with EAC #Mindspeak
@carolinekere #WordOfTheDay >> "Look for a Language that will make YOU
Money,INVEST in it " cc @alykhansatchu @rsezibera #Mindspeak ...
@jamalabdihakim "@alykhansatchu:South Sudan has applied to join EAC
Somalia has applied says Sec Gen @rsezibera #Mindspeak"the fastr we
intergrate the bettr
EAC-Afrika Mashariki @jumuiya 1h DOWNLOAD: #EAC Industrialization
Policy 2012 2032
... #Mindspeak @rsezibera @alykhansatchu
@KyesubireThe East African Community has a National Anthem? Clearly
you learn something new everyday #Mindspeak @alykhansatchu @rsezibera
EAC-Afrika Mashariki @jumuiya Manufactureing contributes less than
10% to GDP, #EAC Industrializtion Poicy targets for atleast 40%
@rsezibera #Mindspeak @alykhansatchu
EAC-Afrika Mashariki @jumuiya ON A LIGHTER NOTE: #EAC has 135m people
and 135m chicken!! 1 Person, 1 Chicken! @rsezibera at #mindspeak
Ennuka Africa @jkkinoti EA has 135m people and 135m chicken!! The SG
@rsezibera is just too real up there #mindspeak @alykhansatchu
@jamalabdihakim "@alykhansatchu:Lets create wealth first but lets not
get into fights about sharing a non existent cake @rsezibera
#Mindspeak EAC"True that!
@WillydeAfrican RT @alykhansatchu: The Opportunities are enormous for
East African Youth says Dr. @rsezibera EAC SG #Mindspeak
@kaburaR EAC GDP combined is smaller than Angola Alone @rsezibera
@alykhansatchu at #Mindspeak @InterConNairobi
@erastotle #mindspeak that's the biggest case I've heard for EA and
generally African integration @rsezibera @alykhansatchu
@Kyesubire Food security is Key; we need infrastructure to be able to
move the food @rsezibera @alykhansatchu @jumuiya #Mindspeak
@Kyesubire Invest in Kiswahili; it cements our unity @rsezibera
@alykhansatchu @jumuiya #Mindspeak
In 2007, the United States' economy was four times as large as that of
China; by 2012, it was only twice as large Foreign Affairs
Putin calls Obama to discuss situation as Russia positions 40,000 troops along border
Law & Politics
"President Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in
writing and the presidents agreed that Kerry and Lavrov would meet to
discuss next steps", the White House said. The telephone call was
placed by Mr Putin to Mr Obama who spent Friday on an official visit
to Saudi Arabia.
Mr Kerry abruptly diverted his flight on Saturday to attend the
talks in Paris
South Korea returned artillery fire after North Korea lobbed shells
over the two countries' western sea border, pushing tensions to their
highest in months.
South Korea's shells landed in North Korean waters, the South's
Defense Ministry said. North Korea earlier today notified Seoul of
planned live-fire drills, the South's Defense Ministry spokesman Wi
Yong Seob said in a briefing. Residents on the South Korean islands of
Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong were moved to shelters.
The exchange of fire comes after North Korea yesterday said it may
conduct a "new form" of nuclear test, and after South Korea President
Park Geun Hye in a speech last week in Germany proposed building
closer links with the North to spur reunification.
North Korea began its drills at about 12:15 p.m. and some artillery
shells landed in South Korean waters, the South's Defense Ministry
said in an e-mailed statement. South Korea returned fire into North
Korean waters "in line with proper counter-measures," and the military
will provide further details after the situation ends, the ministry
Turkey has ratcheted up its intervention in the Syrian war to an
unprecedented level, according to exclusive DEBKAfile military and
For the first time in the three-year conflict the Turkish army is
allowing Syrian rebel forces, including the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra
Front, passage through Turkish territory for their offensive to
capture the northwestern Syrian coastal area where the Assad clan's
lands are situated.
Ankara's support for the rebels is inclusive: Turkish troops are
posted at the roadside with supplies of ammo, fuel, food, mechanical
repair crews and medical aid for rebel forces as they head north. The
Turkish air force gives them air cover and Turkish agents arm them
with surveillance data on Syrian military movements ahead.
The Syrian fighter jet shot down on March 23 just inside the Turkish
border was in fact downed in a dogfight with Turkish warplanes, while
trying to bomb the rebel convoy heading for the new combat arena. Both
sides preferred to stay quiet about the incident and its causes.
Philippine ship dodges China blockade to reach South China Sea outpost
The Philippine government vessel made a dash for shallow waters around
the disputed reef in the South China Sea, evading two Chinese
coastguard ships trying to block its path to deliver food, water and
fresh troops to a military outpost on the shoal.
The cat-and-mouse encounter on Saturday, witnessed by Reuters and
other media invited onboard the Philippine ship, was a rare glimpse
into the tensions playing out routinely in waters that are one of the
region's biggest flashpoints.
It's also a reminder of how assertive China has become in pressing its
claims to disputed territory far from its mainland.
"If we didn't change direction, if we didn't change course, then we
would have collided with them," Ferdinand Gato, captain of the
Philippine vessel, a civilian craft, told Reuters after his boat had
anchored on the Second Thomas Shoal under a hot sun.
The outpost is a huge, rusting World War Two transport vessel that the
Philippine navy intentionally ran aground in 1999 to mark its claim to
There, around eight Filipino soldiers live for three months at a time
in harsh conditions on a reef that Manila says is within its
200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). China, which claims
90 percent of the South China Sea, says the shoal is part of its
Things were going smoothly for the Philippine ship until it was
spotted by a Chinese coastguard ship about an hour away from the
Second Thomas Shoal. The Chinese boat picked up speed to come near the
left of the white Philippine ship, honking its horn at least three
The Chinese ship slowed down after a few minutes, but then a bigger
coastguard vessel emerged, moving fast to cut the path of the
The Chinese sent a radio message to the Filipinos, saying they were
entering Chinese territory.
"We order you to stop immediately, stop all illegal activities and
leave," said the radio message, delivered in English. Gato replied
that his mission was to deliver provisions to Philippine troops
stationed in the area.
Philippine troops wearing civilian clothes and journalists then
flashed "V" for the peace sign at the Chinese.
Instead of stopping or reversing, the Philippine vessel picked up
speed and eventually maneuvered away from the Chinese, entering waters
that were too shallow for the bigger coastguard ships.
A U.S. navy plane, a Philippine military aircraft and a Chinese plane
- all visible from their markings - flew above the ships at different
Filipino troops on the civilian vessel clapped as they came within a
few meters of the marooned transport ship, the BRP Sierra Madre.
Supplies of food and water were then hauled up to troops onboard.
"The United States does not seek to militarize cyberspace," Hagel he
told an audience at Fort Meade, Maryland, the home of Cyber Command
and the NSA signals spy service
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, pushing for openness ahead of a trip to
China, said on Friday in an unusual live broadcast from a secretive
base the Pentagon would exercise restraint in using the military in
cyberspace and urged other nations to do so as well.
He said the United States wanted to promote the qualities of the
Internet that have made it a "catalyst for freedom and prosperity."
The value of deals in the technology, media and telecoms sector hit $174bn during the first three months of the year, the highest level since 2006, as some of the world's largest companies battled to secure access to global consumers FT
Of the deals announced in the first quarter, the most valuable is
Comcast's $68.5bn proposed takeover of rival cable operator Time
Warner Cable. On Friday, Charter - the cable company that had spent
six months pursuing its own deal with TWC - filed legal documents
contesting Comcast's bid, claiming it was subject to a "flawed
process". However, the competition between the rivals only emphasises
the moves towards consolidation among "old" media companies in recent
At the other end of the TMT spectrum was Facebook's $16bn acquisition
of WhatsApp - the mobile messaging business that eschews advertising.
The purchase, the third-largest so far this year, raised eyebrows from
Wall Street to Silicon Valley as dealmakers struggled to justify the
pricetag for a company that, as yet, has little demonstrable revenues.
But the theme of technology's largest operators buying up businesses
whose prominence is rising - even if their profits are not - is one
that bankers and analysts expect to dominate the year ahead.
"It is the most interesting and disruptive time in the market I have
ever seen," said Gene Sykes, global co-head of M&A at Goldman Sachs.
"The value of the technology incumbents is more at risk than it has
ever been. The best way for the established tech companies to overcome
the challenge of new forms of technology is for them to be
venturesome, as some of the leading companies have recently
Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
Euro 1.3749 The euro was little changed at $1.3756 as of 8:35 a.m.
London time after reaching $1.3705 on March 28, the lowest since Feb.
Dollar Index 80.18
Japan Yen 102.97 The dollar rose 0.1 percent to 102.97 yen after
reaching 103 yen, the most since March 12. It has fallen 2.2 percent
against its Japanese counterpart this year.
Swiss Franc 0.8871
Aussie 0.9241 The Aussie declined 0.1 percent to 92.40 U.S. cents
after reaching 92.95 on March 28, a level not seen since Nov. 21. It
is set for a 3.6 percent quarterly advance.
India Rupee 59.90
South Korea Won 1064.70
Brazil Real 2.2540
Egypt Pound 6.9668
South Africa Rand 10.5817
The euro has declined 0.5 percent this year against, according to
Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes that track 10 developed-nation
currencies. The dollar has lost 0.6 percent, while the yen has risen
Dollar Index 3 Month Chart INO 80.18
Yellen is scheduled to deliver remarks at a conference in Chicago
today. The U.S. central bank head said this month borrowing costs
could rise "around six months" after officials end the Fed's monthly
bond-buying program, which currently stands at $55 billion. The
Federal Open Market Committee next meets on April 29-30.
Euro versus the Dollar 3 Month Chart 1.3749
The European Union's statistics office will say in an initial estimate
today that consumer prices in the region rose 0.6 percent this month
from a year earlier, compared with a 0.7 percent final figure for
February, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Dollar Yen 3 Month Chart INO 102.97
Barron's Cover | SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 2014 Here Comes $75 Oil
The long-term outlook for global oil prices is lower, perhaps much
lower, giving a strong boost to the U.S. economy while potentially
crippling the economy of Vladimir Putin's Russia. Vast new discoveries
of oil and natural gas in the U.S. and around the globe could drive
the oil price to as low as $75 a barrel over the next five years from
a current $100.
Zimbabwe urges AU boycott of EU summit
"We are waiting to hear if the African Union (AU) decides to go ahead
and postpone the summit," the European Union (EU) ambassador in Harare
Aldo Dell'Ariccia, told Business Day.
The highest-level encounter between European and African leaders has
been in the diary for months and is to be held on April 2 and 3 in the
But preparations were thrown into disarray on Thursday after a meeting
in Addis Ababa of the AU's Peace and Security Council. It ended with a
recommendation to the AU's 54 members not to attend the summit because
the EU was trying to dictate who should participate. The extraordinary
spat seemed to come out of the blue and it was unclear last night if a
compromise would be found.
South Sudanese rebels plan to capture key oil installations to force President Salva Kiir to step down and end more than three months of conflict in the world's newest nation, former Vice President Riek Machar said.
Fighters allied with Machar, known as the White Army, are "mobilizing"
to attack the Paloch oil fields that are the main source of revenue
for the country's military, the 60-year-old rebel leader said in a
March 27 interview at his bush hideout in Upper Nile state. Machar
fled the capital, Juba, in December after the government says he
attempted a coup against Kiir.
"We want to take control of the oil field," said Machar, dressed in
green military fatigues and wearing gold-rimmed sunglasses. "This is
our oil. We must take control of Paloch to deny Salva Kiir revenue to
buy more arms."
Upper Nile is South Sudan's only remaining crude-producing state after
the insurgency forced oil companies to stop pumping in neighboring
Unity state in December. The country, which gained independence from
Sudan in July 2011, is producing about 160,000 barrels per day of oil
from fields in Upper Nile, according to the government. The state
produces Dar Blend, a low-sulfur crude that is prized by Japanese
buyers as a cleaner-burning fuel for power plants.
Current output is probably about 150,000 barrels per day, generating
about $15 million for the government and oil companies, said Luke
Patey, a researcher on South Sudan's oil industry from the Danish
Institute for International Studies. Production has declined from a
pre-conflict level of 240,000 barrels per day, he said.
Capturing Paloch would "basically shut down" the economy, Patey said
in a phone interview on March 29 from Copenhagen. "It's really the
choke point for South Sudan government earnings. It's a major piece in
the struggle strategically."
Rebel forces have massed in Upper Nile and may advance on Paloch by
the end of this week, Major-General Gathoth Gatkuoth, commander of
rebel forces in Upper Nile, said in a separate interview on March 27
in the town of Nasir.
"As long as Salva is still in the seat in Juba, then I don't think we
are going to realize peace in the country," Gatkuoth said.
White Army fighters and defected soldiers are now ready to capture
Paloch, which should have been taken a month ago, said Machar, who is
from Unity state.
"We had our own difficulties," he said. "We didn't do enough
mobilization, enough sensitization of the importance of the oil
The violence in South Sudan has pitted members of Kiir's ethnic Dinka
community against members of Machar's Nuer group. The targeting of
Nuer people in Juba by security forces loyal to Kiir has divided South
Sudan into "tribes" and "discredited" the president, said Machar, who
denies Kiir's allegations he tried to stage a coup.
"I think he should be honest to himself and see that getting a
solution would mean him stepping down," Machar said. Capturing Paloch
after retaking Malakal will force Kiir to "talk," he said.
The proposed forces from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi would
also secure vital infrastructure such as oil installations, IGAD said
The deployment would be "hostile" and treated the same as Uganda's
army fighting alongside South Sudan's military, Machar said.
"They've no right to deploy in our oil fields," he said. "If they want
to colonize us we will fight them."
Glaxo to invest millions in factories and jobs for Africa
Sir Andrew Witty, the chief executive, will make the announcement at
the EU-Africa Business Summit in Brussels. He will also announce
investment in research and development activities in Africa.
GSK considers Africa to be at an economic "tipping point" and believes
it will be one of the world's most important growth drivers within 20
GSK currently brings in around £500m in revenues from the Sub-Saharan
region, a tiny fraction of its £26.5bn sales.
South Africa All Share Bloomberg +4.67% 2014
Dollar versus Rand 3 Month Chart INO 10.5808 [Rand is Right at
Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 6.9673
Egypt EGX30 Bloomberg +20.14% 2014
Nigeria All Share Bloomberg -6.17% 2014
President Jonathan is safe and well - Presidency assures
Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati has denied speculations that the
Aso Rock Presidential Villa was under attack early Sunday morning
after prolonged gunshots were heard.
The usual quiet and heavily militarised area was a picture of
confusion after elements suspected to be affiliated with the dreaded
Islamic militant sect, Boko Haram reportedly launched an attack
against the Headquarters of the State Secutity Service (SSS) in close
proximity to the Presidential Villa.
Abati tweeted that President Jonathan is "safe and well".
"What happened at the SSS HQ this morning was an attempted jailbreak
which has been effectively foiled. There is no cause for alarm.
"What happened at the SSS HQs has nothing to do with the Villa.
President Jonathan is safe & well. Thank you for your concern &
support," he tweeted.
We shall bring you more details as the story unfolds.
Detainees suspected of being members of Islamist militant group Boko
Haram overpowered their guards at a prison near Nigeria's presidential
villa in Abuja, seizing a rifle and triggering a gun battle that
killed 21 people, security officials said.
The prisoners struck on Sunday as the guards from Nigeria's State
Security Service (SSS) came in to feed them at their headquarters'
prison near the residence of President Goodluck Jonathan, SSS
spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said.
The military was deployed to quell the unrest. Ogar did not say how
many of the dead were inmates or security personnel.
A security source said at least one guard was killed in the gun fight
before the military turned up.
An increase in attacks by Boko Haram and uncontrolled reprisals by
Nigeria's security forces has seen the death toll in North East
Nigeria rise to at least 1,500 people, more than half of whom are
civilians, in the first three months of 2014, Amnesty International
Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg +11.32% 2014
Ghana's debt outlook was lowered to negative from stable by Fitch
Ratings, which said the government's policy credibility is at risk
from above-target budget deficits for the past two years.
Ghana's fiscal deficit last year expanded to 10.8 percent of gross
domestic product, from an estimate of 10.2 percent in November, as tax
revenue declined and spending on wages increased, according to the
Finance Ministry. The gap had ballooned to 12.1 percent of GDP before
elections in 2012, exceeding the government's 9 percent target.
"Policy credibility has been significantly weakened following two
years of double-digit and larger-than-expected budget deficits," Fitch
said in a note today.
Fitch maintained Ghana's credit rating at B, five steps below
investment grade, after cutting it by one level in October.
The International Monetary Fund said last month the West African
nation may miss its goal of narrowing the gap to 8.5 percent of GDP
this year if action is not taken to boost sluggish economic growth and
tame inflationary pressure.
Fitch said it forecasts a budget deficit of 9.3 percent this year and
8.2 percent in 2015. Inflation is projected to average 15 percent in
2014, it said.
The cedi declined 20 percent against the dollar last year and has
fallen a further 12 percent this year, according to data compiled by
Bloomberg. The currency weakened 0.1 percent to 2.6925 per dollar by
4:44 p.m. in the capital, Accra.
Ghana's cedi, the worst-performing African currency in the first
quarter, could depreciate another 20 percent this year as
foreign-exchange reserves recede and inflation accelerates, according
to JPMorgan Chase & Co
The U.S. investment bank, which cut Ghana's gross domestic product
forecast for 2014, said lower growth will affect revenue generation
and widen the budget deficit to 10 percent of GDP against the
government's target of 8.5 percent. Inflation quickened to 14 percent
in February, climbing for a sixth consecutive month, as the government
stopped utility subsidies and the cedi weakened. It climbed from 13.8
percent in January, above the central bank's target of 9.5 percent
plus or minus 2 percentage points.
"Bank of Ghana has revised up its inflation forecasts," Pellegrini
said. "It sees inflation staying above the target band until 2015,
with risks tilted to the upside on the weakening cedi and
slower-than-planned fiscal consolidation."
JPMorgan cut the economic growth forecast to 5.2 percent given the
West African nation's erratic power supply and uncertainty around
commodity prices, Pellegrini said. The government's GDP estimate for
this year is 8 percent.
Ghana's gross foreign-exchange reserves dropped to $5.3 billion in
January from $5.6 billion the previous month, the central bank said
The currency of the world's second-biggest cocoa producer slumped 20
percent against the dollar last year. It is 12 percent weaker in the
first quarter, the most among 24 African currencies monitored by
Bloomberg. The cedi slipped 0.1 percent to 2.6925 per dollar by 4:40
p.m. in Accra, the capital, declining for a second day.
24-MAR-2014 :: Mixed Performance continues to be witnessed in Africa's Markets
This year there has been a great deal more differentiation, more
nuance. Egypt is the stand-out in 2014 with the benchmark EGX30 at a
more than five-year high plus a blistering 25.29 per cent so far.
Egyptian markets had become very oversold and Saudi and GCC support
[ex Qatar] for Egypt has evidently tipped the scales.
Ghana has posted a +11.4 per cent return in 2014 but nearly all of
that has been eroded by the Cedi [Ghana Currency] in free fall.
Ghana's Eurobond has a 9 per cent handle and sentiment has soured so
much, it is entirely feasible that Ghana might print a double digit
yield. Ghana is a near perfect harbinger of what can go wrong when you
front load your recurrent expenditure in the expectation that revenues
are a rising tide. The open question is whether, Ghana is in the
cockpit or whether the markets will simply elbow the Government aside.
The Zambia Kwacha is the worse performing currency versus the dollar
so far in Africa in 2014 and had retreated 13 per cent through Friday
The Kwacha [70 per cent of Zambia's revenues are received from copper]
had moved in near perfect lockstep with copper which had retreated by
nearly the exact same amount in 2014 i.e 13 per cent. The Zambian
authorities took some dramatic steps on Friday and scrapped two laws
restricting foreign-exchange trade, triggering the kwacha's biggest
gain against the dollar in 15 months.
Both the Ghana and the Zambia debacles are informing us that the
markets once so benign are now baring their fangs and how easy it is
for policy makers to lose control to the markets. Ghana and Zambia are
a shot across a lot of African bows.
The Monetary Policy Committee increased the key lending rate to 12
percent from 10.25 percent, the Lusaka-based central bank said in an
e-mailed statement today. Last month the MPC increased the rate by
half a percentage point.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda a week ago scrapped two laws
restricting trade in foreign currency in a bid to support the kwacha.
Inflation quickened for the fifth straight month to 7.7 percent in
March, the highest since November 2011, the Lusaka-based Central
Statistical Office said yesterday.
Papers printed headlines like "Mwani is money", "A gift from the
ocean" and "Mama, mwani and money".
It transformed the lives of the women in Zanzibar. They were able to
support their families.
According to the government, the sector used to employ 23,000 people -
90% of whom were women.
But lately, Ms Jidawi says, "a lot of women are complaining that the
seaweed is dying. A lot of women have therefore left seaweed farming".
But exports fell by 4,000 tonnes last year from the 2012 high of 15,000 tonnes.
"The quality of seaweed in Zanzibar is much better than the others,"
says Khamis Issa Mohammed, secretary-general of the Zanzibar Exporters
But he concedes that his competitors have the advantage of being
closer to the market.
Seaweed from Zanzibar is exported to China, Korea, Vietnam, Denmark,
Spain, France and the US.
It is used as a base for cosmetics, lotions, toothpaste, medicines and
food - in China, for instance, it is eaten as a vegetable.
At its peak, the trade contributed almost $8m (£5m) a year to the
Zanzibar economy. Half of that, says Mr Mohammed, went straight into
the pockets of the farmers.
A Belgian woman was wounded in a machete attack in a Mozambican region
which is being transformed by a rush of foreign investment in newly
found natural gas, police said on Saturday.
The woman nearly had her hand chopped off in the overnight attack at a
house in a village near Pemba, a city in north Mozambique.
"Police registered a case yesterday (Friday) of an assault on a
property in which a woman of Belgian nationality was injured," Capo
Delgado province police spokesman Chaaguro Momad told AFP by
Crime has been very rare in the area, according to locals.
"In the seven years we have been living here we have never had an
incident of this kind," the owner of the tourist Ilala Lodge, George
Korb, told AFP.
The face of Pemba city, a previously remote, palm tree fringed coastal
town, is changing fast due to billions of dollars pouring into the
building of plants to process recently discovered natural gas.
Pemba Airport #Mozambique #Africa 663 days ago
Pemba #Mozambique from the Air #Africa 663 days ago
A Bull Market of a Different Kind WSJ Subscriber
NORMAN ADAMI IS bouncing down a dirt track in the back of a safari
truck when he spots his prized possession: a cape buffalo with what
happens to be $2.6 million worth of hoof, hide and recurved horn on
its one-ton frame. He quickly grabs the Leica camera hanging around
his neck. "Beautiful," Adami says.
Wealthy investors in South Africa are jumping into an especially
exotic asset class - big game animals. Prices for trophy animals are
up more than 50% over the last six years. WSJ's Patrick McGroarty
Thirty yards away in the acacia scrub stands Horizon, the big bull
that three wealthy breeders bought for that record sum at a game
auction in 2012. Horizon wrinkles his nose at the truck, full of
tanned men in khaki, then squares his shoulders and shakes his horns.
They stretch nearly 4 1/2 feet across his head.
Picture taken, Adami cracks open a beer, and the truck turns back
toward a thatched lodge on the 3,700-acre ranch, about 120 miles north
of Johannesburg in South Africa's Limpopo province. When he is not on
safari, Adami is chairman of SABMiller's operations in South Africa.
But on this occasion, he and Horizon's two other owners have come,
each in his own helicopter, to hash out a business plan for the trophy
bull and his herd of 40 buffalo cows. Altogether, it's quite a pricey
gathering of animals, worth an estimated $7 million.
"We're busy negotiating everything tonight," says Adami, a
chain-smoking 59-year-old with a salt-and-pepper mustache and the even
keel of a hostage negotiator. "There's huge potential," he says. "Huge
opportunity that lies before us."
Adami is bullish on what must be one of the world's more exotic
investments: African-game breeding. With a steady flow of hunters from
around the globe drawn to the romance of the African wild, hunting
ranches here are reporting a brisk boost in business. But a select
pack of well-off investors say the real sport--and the real money--is in
breeding the animals that stock those ranches. The more impressive the
specimen from a sought-after species, the more impressive the money.
It's a business that takes some getting used to; some animal lovers
can think of few things more appalling than supplying rare and
majestic African creatures to ranches for the sake of sport hunting.
Biologists argue as well that investors trying to breed animals with
special attributes like long horns or unusually colored hides could be
exposing some of these species to harmful side effects.
And yet, from a purely financial standpoint, it's hard to argue with
the returns that supersized breeding can bring. According to
Vleissentraal, a top South African livestock auction company, prices
for the biggest cape buffalo, sable antelope and other prized species
rose 50 percent over the past six years. Total turnover at wildlife
auctions was more than $100 million last year, a huge jump from $18.3
million in 2009, says Flippie Cloete, a professor of agricultural
economics at North-West University in South Africa, who studies this
curious corner of breeding.
While big-game breeding was never a middle-of-the-road business, these
days $1 million is barely enough to get started in the big leagues. A
run-of-the-herd buffalo bull costs about $200,000, and those with the
biggest horns sell for well over $1 million. In 2013, the six-month
auction season set new records for the purchase of four of the species
breeders covet most: buffalo, roan antelope and two rare color
variants prized by hunters--impala with black rather than tan hides,
and wildebeest with golden pelts rather than the standard
Kenyan president says tourism sector 'on its knees' after attacks
"We all have a responsibility to bring this to an end. Tourism has
been greatly affected by these terror activities. The industry which
contributes 10 percent to the GDP is virtually on its knees," Kenyatta
Tourist arrivals in Kenya in the first five months of 2013 were down
15 percent on the previous year as visitors stayed away, worried by
attacks blamed on Somalia's al Shabaab rebel group and by fears of
trouble around elections in March, which in the event passed off
peacefully. Full-year tourist figures have not been published yet.
The tourism sector employs 150,000 people in a country hard up for
jobs. Kenyatta's own family owns the Heritage Group of hotels that
range from a beach resort in Mombasa to an Indian Ocean island
hideaway in Lamu, and others in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in
the great Rift Valley.
Kenyatta ordered police to stop taking bribes from suspects arrested
on suspicion of being linked to the attacks. He said action would be
taken against "the fools who take bribes and allow criminals to commit
Kenya Grants Conditional Approval for Sale of Essar Telecom
Kenya's telecommunications regulator granted conditional approval to
Safaricom Ltd. and Airtel Kenya Ltd.'s joint offer to buy Essar
Telecom Kenya Ltd., two days after Safaricom threatened to pull out of
The acquisition can proceed subject to conditions including the
payment by Safaricom and Airtel of license fees totaling $5.4 million
each, Communications Authority of Kenya Director-General Francis
Wangusi told reporters today in the capital, Nairobi. Essar Telecom is
also required to pay all outstanding regulatory fees, he said.
Safaricom, 40 percent owned by Vodafone Plc, and Airtel, a unit of New
Delhi-based Bharti Airtel Ltd. (BHARTI), plan to spend "in the
hundreds of millions of dollars" acquiring Essar, which operates
Kenya's third-biggest mobile company, Safaricom Corporate Affairs
Director Nzioka Waita said March 26. Safaricom threatened to to
withdraw from the acquisition after the regulator failed to
acknowledge receipt of the companies' application, he said.
"The matter has received due attention from the authority," Wangusi
said today. "The parties have been notified of the decision of the
Safaricom plans to buy Essar's network base stations and transmission
equipment. The company failed to meet the regulator's
quality-of-service criteria in 2012-13, achieving a compliance level
of 50 percent compared with the minimum of 80 percent, which the
company must meet to obtain a new license, the regulator said in July.
Safaricom's permit expires in June and will cost $27 million to renew,
according to the CAK.
Airtel, the second-biggest operator, is set to take over Essar's 2.75
million subscribers and licenses. That would boost Airtel's Kenyan
market share to 26.4 percent from 17.6 percent, according to Bloomberg
Other conditions listed by the regulator include Safaricom and Airtel
submitting a plan on implementing a national roaming service and a
written commitment on how mobile-phone users will benefit from the
service, Wangusi said. In addition Safaricom has to share both its
"passive and active" infrastructure with its competitors, he said.
"We have not given them difficult conditions that should make them say
no," he said.
Shares in Safaricom have gained 13 percent so far this year to 12.30
shillings at the close in Nairobi today.
Kenya police kill 2 suspects in church killings
A Kenyan official says police have killed two men suspected of being
terrorists who fatally shot six people in a church.
Mombasa County police chief Robert Kitur said Friday the gunmen were
killed by officers after a gunfight in the Likoni area of the coastal
city of Mombasa.
Three gunmen opened fire inside the Joyland Church in Likoni on
Sunday, killing two people on the spot while four others died in
hospital from bullet wounds.
Kenya has experienced dozens of small attacks, many on churches, after
al-Qaida-linked Somali militants known as al-Shabab vowed to avenge
Kenya sending troops to Somalia in October 2011 to fight the
The body of the a worshipper lies on the floor inside Kenyan
Joyland church in Likoni, near Mombasa, Kenya Sunday, March 23, 2014.
Kenya in Talks With Standard Bank, AfDB on Airport Project Funds
Kenya's government is in talks with four companies, including Standard
Bank Group Ltd. (SBK), Africa's biggest lender, about funding the
construction of a $653 million airport terminal, the Kenya Airports
The state is in discussions with the African Development Bank, China
Development Bank Corp. and Sunnyvale, California-based AAE Systems
Inc. about funding 85 percent of the project cost, Managing Director
Lucy Mbugua told reporters today in the capital, Nairobi. The first
phase of construction of the new terminal in Nairobi will begin in
July and is expected to end in 2017, she said.
"They have already given us their terms and we are in discussion," Mbugua said.
Kenya is expanding its Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as it seeks
to boost arrivals of tourists who are the second-biggest source of
foreign-currency earnings in East Africa's largest economy. The new
terminal will have the capacity to handle 20 million passengers a
year, compared with the 7 million that the existing terminal, built in
1978, can process.
Telecoms sector regulator the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK)
on Friday set 13 conditions that Safaricom, Airtel and Essar's
yuMobile must meet to complete the planned takeover of assets - key
among them the opening up Safaricom's M-Pesa agency network to rival
Francis Wangusi, the CAK director-general, told a Press conference
that approval of the deal now depends on "Safaricom and Airtel
submitting to the authority, for approval, a framework for sharing
agent outlets for various mobile consumer services including money
transfer services and SIM registration centres."
"Approval of the buyout now depends on the three operators. Unless
these conditions are met we are not going to approve the transaction
and the faster they respond to the conditions the quicker we will
conclude the matter," he said.
I cannot see Mr. Collymore accepting this as a condition precedent.
He should just let Yu expire, in my humble opinion.
Africa's digital money heads to Europe March 30, 2014 9:32 pm
The mobile payment system that has revolutionised business and banking
in sub-Saharan Africa is to come to Europe as Vodafone seeks to spread
the popular digital currency outside emerging markets.
Vodafone has acquired an e-money licence to operate financial services
in Europe, with plans to launch M-Pesa (which means mobile money in
Swahili) in Romania as a first step to potential expansion in the
M-Pesa has become so popular in parts of Africa that it is now a
virtual currency, offering a secure means of payment for people who do
not have easy access to banking services. A mobile phone text message
is all that is needed to pay for everything from bills and schools
fees to flights and fish, and means that the mobile phone can double
as an office for the continent's smaller entrepreneurs.
Vodafone now hopes to win over an estimated 7m Romanians who mainly use cash.
Michael Joseph, Vodafone director of mobile money, said that the
European e-money license would allow Vodafone to operate M-Pesa in
other markets, although he indicated that the focus would be on
central and eastern Europe.
"There are one or two [countries] we are looking at but [these are]
unlikely to be in western Europe in the next year or so," he said,
adding that countries with a large migrant population such as Italy
were potential markets.
There was also the chance to extend the platform into savings, loans
and insurance in the same way Vodafone had done in Africa, he added.
Within little more than a year of launching its M-Pesa-based loans and
savings platform, M-Shwari, at the end of 2012, Vodafone's Kenyan
operator banked more than $270m.
Vodafone has also considered expanding M-Pesa to countries where it
has partnership arrangements with the local telecoms groups but no
mobile telecoms business.
In Kenya, where M-Pesa launched in 2007, the platform is so widely
used that a third of the country's $44bn economy washes through the
system, sold by 79,000 agents nationwide. It has since been extended
to Tanzania, Egypt, Lesotho and Mozambique.
More recently, M-Pesa has been introduced in India, where Vodafone is
seeing rapid growth given the large numbers of people without bank
accounts. More than 1m people have registered in India, although
Vodafone expects that will accelerate if revised regulations being
considered by the Reserve Bank of India ease restrictions on such
The launch comes amid controversy over other digital means of payment
such as Bitcoin. However, M-Pesa is not a digital currency rather a
means of exchanging money already on mobile phone accounts.
Romanian M-Pesa customers will be able to transfer as little as one
new Romanian leu (0.22 euro cents) up to 30,000 lei (EURO 6,715) per day.
"The majority of people in Romania have at least one mobile device,
but more than one-third of the population do not have access to
conventional banking," Mr Joseph said.
M-Pesa had about 16.8m active customers at the end of last year,
generating about EURO 900m in transactions per month. While M-Pesa was
originally conceived as a means to retain customers in Kenya's mobile
phone market, it is now profitable in its own right with $143m in
revenues from the 18.2m M-Pesa customers in Kenya alone, or about 18
per cent of overall country sales
Safaricom share price data and Earnings Releases here +13.364% 2014
Par Value: 0.05/-
Closing Price: 12.30
Total Shares Issued: 40044601000.00
Market Capitalization: 492,548,592,300
First Half Earnings for the Period ended 30 September 2013
H1 Revenue 69.201287b versus 59.118149b +17.1%
H1 Cost of Sales [30.215501b] versus [27.529922b] +9.8%
H1 Gross Profit 38.985786b versus 31.88227b +23.4%
H1 Operating Expenses [22.829488b] versus [19.206278b] +18.9%
H1 PBT 15.908812b versus 11.509998b +38.2%
H1 PAT 11.260242b versus 7.7774849b +44.8%
H1 EPS 0.28 versus 0.19 +47.4%
BOC Kenya reports FY EPS 2013 +2.97% Earnings here
Par Value: 5/-
Closing Price: 150.00
Total Shares Issued: 19525446.00
Market Capitalization: 2,928,816,900
FY 2013 versus FY 2012
FY 2013 Revenue 1.242602b versus 1.294550b -4.00%
FY EBITDA 231.125m versus 230.068m
FY Net Finance Income 77.267m versus 56.624m
FY Profit before Tax 308.392m versus 286.692m +8.00%
FY Profit after Tax 202.636m versus 197.374m
FY EPS 5.20 versus 5.05 +2.97%
FY Dividend of 2.60 a share making that a Total Dividend of 5.20
FY Dividend worth 1.733% of Yield at a Price of 150.00
Looks richly priced on a PE Basis but that might be a mistake.
East African Portland Cement Company reports H1 PBT 2013 -54.576% Earnings here
Par Value: 5/-
Closing Price: 93.50
Total Shares Issued: 90000000.00
Market Capitalization: 8,415,000,000
First Half Earnings through 31st December 2013 versus 6 months through
31st December 2012
First Half revenue 4.567292b versus 4.549385b
First Cost of Sales [3.247919b] versus [3.204266b]
First Half Gross Profit 1.319373b versus 1.345119b
First Half Other operating income 126.428m versus 42.447m
First Half Administration and selling expenses [1.260462b] versus
First Half Profit from operations 185.339m versus 387.268m
First Half Finance Income 130.630m versus 158.750m
First Half Finance Costs [144.939m] versus [169.498m]
First Half Profit before Tax 171.030m versus 376.520m -54.576%
First Half Full Year Profit after Tax 183.460m versus 327.193m -43.92%
First Half Earnings per share 2.03 versus 3.68 -44.83%
Fair Value of Loan Swaps 177.504m versus 148.692m [Portland benefits
from a weaker Yen]
No Interim Dividend
soft earnings with a +26.008% spike in Admin and Selling Expenses
taking a big bite.
Lots of Talk around the Value of Real Estate which could be sold to
make EAPC debt free and have some left over.
It is this chatter which has seen EAPC rally 36.49% through 2014 upto March.
Kenya Shilling versus The Dollar Live ForexPros 86.501
Nairobi All Share Bloomberg +5.656% 2014
Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg +2.68% 2014
4,972.45 13.83 +0.28%
Every Listed Share can be interrogated here
MO JILLO @emmjeey @Ma3Route: What remains of the Prado that hit a
pedestrian.. So sad for both the pedestrian n motorist.
Riding along the Shore Lake Elmentaita @SerenaHotels