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"It didn't bring the Iranian people to kneel in submission. And it will not now nor in the future."
Law & Politics
A nuclear agreement would make history, he said, adding Iran is
"willing to take concrete measures to guarantee that our nuclear
program will always remain peaceful."
But he added: "To those who continue to believe that sanctions brought
Iran to the negotiating table, I can only say that pressure has been
tried for the past 8 years, in fact for the past 35 years."
"It didn't bring the Iranian people to kneel in submission. And it
will not now nor in the future."
Zarif said both negotiating parties could put an end to "the myth"
that Iran is seeking to build a bomb.
So many People I meet believe this Deal was made a long time ago and
we are now watching a kind of Choreography.
However, I think its a lot more fluid than that and things could pivot
in multiple directions.
@Aiww What's in a Name?
Law & Politics
A name is the first and final marker of individual rights, one fixed
part of the ever-changing human world. A name is the most basic
characteristic of our human rights: No matter how poor or how rich,
all living people have a name, and it is endowed with good wishes, the
expectant blessings of kindness and virtue.
THE ROVING EYE Arab Spring, Jihad Summer By Pepe Escobar
Law & Politics
Welcome to IS. No typo; the final goal may be (indiscriminate) regime
change, but for the moment name change will do. With PR flair, at the
start of Ramadan, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, or ISIL
- the Islamic State of the Levant - to some) solemnly declared, from
now on, it will be known as Islamic State (IS).
"To be or not to be" is so ... metaphysically outdated. IS is - and here
it is - in full audio glory. And we're talking about the full package
- Caliph included: "the slave of Allah, Ibrahim Ibn 'Awwad Ibn Ibrahim
Ibn 'Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Badrial-Hashimi al-Husayni al-Qurashi by
lineage, as-Samurra'i by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdadi by
residence and scholarship". Or, to put it more simply, Abu Bakr
IS has virtually ordered "historic" al-Qaeda - yes, that 9/11-related
(or not) plaything of one Osama bin Laden - as well as every other
jihadi outfit on the planet, to pledge allegiance to the new imam, in
theological theory the new lord over every Muslim. There's no evidence
Osama's former sidekick, Ayman "the doctor" al-Zawahiri will obey, not
to mention 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. Most probably
al-Qaeda will say "we are the real deal" and a major theological
catfight will be on.
After all, in Syria, ISIL as well as Jabhat al-Nusra were initially
fighting under the banner of al-Qaeda, until the brand - in
spectacular fashion - decided to dump al-Baghdadi. He and ISIL went
too far - with all those videos of decapitations and crucifixions and
serial profanation of Shi'ite, Sufi and Christian sanctuaries.
Al-Baghdadi, born Ibrahim al-Badri in Samarra, is an average Sunni
Iraqi cleric with a degree in pedagogy from the University of Baghdad.
His alter ago was born after Shock and Awe in 2003, and soon
metamorphosed into a de facto serial killer - blowing up Shi'ite kids
at ice-cream shops or scores of women at Shi'ite weddings.
ISIL's track record in Syria includes banning every flag apart from
its own; the destruction of any "polytheist" temple or sanctuary
(except if it is Sunni); and strict imposition of Islamically correct
women wear. Most of all, it is a track record of terror. This is not
an army, rather a well-trained militia of professional mujahid,
European passport holders included, with battlefield experience in
Iraq, Afghanistan and, to a lesser degree, Chechnya. Heavy weaponizing
is petrodollar-financed - the usual, wealthy "Gulf donors", which does
not exclude official connections.
Sources of income diversified mightily when ISIL captured the
oilfields surrounding Deir Ezzor in Syria; and after the recent
offensive across Niniveh province in Iraq, they were able to lay their
hands on vast arsenals of heavy artillery, lots of cash and gold
bullion and, why not, US Humvees left behind. Their trademark, of
course, are those columns of brand new white Toyota Land cruisers -
free off road advertising Toyota HQ in Japan may not find particularly
Loaded with oil and profiting from tax revenue, IS is now firmly on
its way to provide (minimal) services and support a (mighty) Jihadi
Army - much like the Taliban from 1996 to 2001. One may be sure IS
will continue its massive "social engagement" strategy; talk about a
chatty Caliphate which loves YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. No wonder
they are a hit among Google generation recruits - as well as becoming
fund-raising aces via gruesome videos. In thesis, indoctrination
progresses hand in hand with "charity work"; residents of Aleppo, for
instance, can dwell on how ISIL (gruesomely) looks and feels on the
It's unclear how the new IS reality will play on the ground. The new
Caliph has in fact declared a jihad on all that basket of corrupt
and/or incompetent Middle East "leaders" - so some fierce "battle for
survival" reaction from the Houses of Saud and Thani, for instance, is
expected. It's not far-fetched to picture al-Baghdadi dreaming of
lording over Saudi oilfields - after decapitating all Shi'ite workers,
And that's just a start; in one of their Tweeter accounts IS has
published a map of all the domains they intend to conquer within the
span of five years; Spain, Northern Africa, the Balkans, the whole
Middle East and large swathes of Asia. Well, they are certainly more
ambitious than NATO.
Being such a courageous bunch, the House of Saud is now tempted to
accept that imposing regime change on Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq is a bad
idea. That puts them in direct conflict with the Obama administration,
whose plan A, B and C is regime change.
Turkey - the former seat of the Caliphate, by the way - remains mute.
No wonder; Ankara - crucially - is the top logistical base of IS.
Caliph Erdogan's got to be musing about his own future, now that he's
facing competition. In theory, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan are all
saying they're ready to fight what would be a "larger-scale war" than
that gift that keeps on giving, the original, Cheney junta-coined GWOT
(global war on terror).
And then there's the future of the new $500 million Obama fund to
"appropriately vetted" rebels in Syria, which in fact means the
expansion of covert CIA "training facilities" in Jordan and Turkey
heavily infiltrated/profited from by IS. Think of hordes of new IS
recruits posing as "moderate rebels" getting ready for a piece of the
It's easier for Brazil to win the World Cup with a team of crybabies
with no tactical nous than having US Secretary of State John Kerry and
his State Department ciphers understand that the Syrian "opposition"
is controlled by jihadis. But then again, they do know - and that
perfectly fits into the Empire of Chaos's not so hidden Global War on
Terror (GWOT) agenda of an ever-expanding proxy war in both Syria and
Iraq fueled by terror financing.
So 13 years ago Washington crushed both al-Qaeda and the Taliban in
Afghanistan. Then the Taliban were reborn. Then came Shock and Awe.
Then came "Mission Accomplished". Then al-Qaeda was introduced in
Iraq. Then al-Qaeda was dead because Osama bin Laden was dead. Then
came ISIL. And now there's IS. And we start all over again, not in the
Hindu Kush, but in the Levant. With a new Osama.
What's not to like? If anyone thinks this whole racket is part of a
new live Monty Python sketch ahead of their reunion gig this month in
London, that's because it is.
So how vulnerable to a backlash from Isis is Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer and exporter?
Law & Politics
"You reap what you sow" seems to be the message coming out of Iran and
its allies in the Iraqi government, blaming Saudi for the success of
Isis on the battlefield.
"Saudi Arabia's support for the terrorist groups, including Isis, is a
plot which will eventually entrap that country too," Iranian
parliamentarian Mohammad Asafari said this week.
"Saudi Arabia is the spiritual, material and ideological supporter of
the Isis and the Saudi king had tasked the country's former
intelligence chief with a special mission to support Isis," he added.
Absolutely untrue, says Saudi Arabia, which in turn blames the Iraqi
Prime Minister Nuri Maliki for inadvertently enabling Isis to take
over so much territory by marginalising Iraq's Sunnis.
Admiral Zheng He is everywhere in China these days, even though he died almost 600 years ago. The government is promoting him to remind its people -- and Asia -- that China's destiny is to be a great naval power.
Law & Politics
Almost a century before Christopher Columbus discovered America, Zheng
in 1405 embarked on a series of voyages with ships of unrivaled size
and technical prowess, reaching as far as India and Africa.
The expeditions are in the spotlight in official comments and state
media as China lays claim to about 90 percent of the South China Sea
and President Xi Jinping seeks to revive China's maritime pride. In
doing so he risks setting up confrontations with Southeast Asian
neighbors and the U.S., whose navy has patrolled the region since
World War II. Geopolitical dominance of the South China Sea would give
China control of one of the world's most economically and politically
"The Chinese believe they have the right to be a great power," said
Richard Bitzinger, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of
International Studies in Singapore. "What we are seeing is a hardening
of China's stance about its place in the world."
Stretching from Taiwan toward Singapore, about half of the world's
merchant tonnage flows through the region, carrying about $5.3
trillion of goods each year, from iron ore and oil to computers and
children's toys. Some 13 million barrels of oil a day transited the
Straits of Malacca in 2011, about one third of global oil shipments.
The sea lanes currently lack a dominant overseer, with the U.S., China
and neighboring nations all having a presence.
China's claim is based on a 1947 map, with a more recent version
following a line of nine dashes shaped like a cow's tongue, looping
down to a point about 1,800 kilometers (1,119 miles) south from the
coast of Hainan island. The area overlaps claims from Vietnam,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan. In the adjacent East
China Sea, China contests islands administered by Japan.
The ambitions of China's leaders don't stop at the nine-dash line.
"China's ultimate long-term goal is to obtain parity with U.S. naval
capacity in the Pacific," said Willy Wo-Lap Lam, adjunct professor at
the Centre for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
"This is a long-term proposition. At this stage the Chinese understand
they don't have the capacity to take on the U.S. head-on."
Sensing the U.S. is distracted by foreign policy challenges in the
Middle East and Ukraine, China has been ratcheting up pressure on its
neighbors, Lam said. It seized control of the Scarborough Shoal from
the Philippines in 2012 as Chinese ships "shooed away" their rivals.
China in early May towed a $1 billion oil exploration rig into
contested waters near the Paracel Islands off Vietnam, sparking
skirmishes between coast guard vessels, the sinking of a Vietnamese
fishing boat and anti-Chinese demonstrations. In an attempt to soothe
tensions, Premier Li Keqiang said June 18 that "expansion is not in
the Chinese DNA" and that talks can ensure stability in the region.
"The charm rhetoric is still there but the actions speak louder than
words and unfortunately the actions are scaring the hell out of
Southeast Asia," said Ernest Bower, senior adviser at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "It looks to
Southeast Asia like China has taken off the gloves," he said via a
podcast on June 11 as CSIS released its report "Decoding China's
Emerging 'Great Power' Strategy in Asia."
China is backing its assertiveness with a campaign of historical
justification based on Zheng's voyages.
The admiral's first fleet numbered more than 255 vessels and carried
27,000 crew, mostly soldiers. Flanked by his flotilla, Zheng
proclaimed China's glory and affirmed "China's dominant geopolitical
standing in the China Seas and Indian Ocean," according to the Hong
Kong Maritime Museum.
The project ended in 1433, after Zheng died and a new emperor bristled
at the cost of the expeditions amid threats to China's northern land
frontier. The move suspended China's state-backed long-range naval
aspirations for 500 years.
Liu Cigui, the head of China's coast guard, invoked Zheng in a June 8
article arguing that rebuilding maritime power is an essential part of
the "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation." Xi incorporated that
phrase in his "Chinese Dream" speech in March last year when he set
2049, the 100th anniversary of Communist rule, as a target for China
to restore itself to economic, political and cultural primacy in Asia.
"We should never forget this humiliating history," Xi said on June 27.
"We should remember our mission, and improve our land and maritime
frontier work in a steady way." Xi spoke at the fifth National Land
and Maritime Frontier Working Conference.
"National prestige matters particularly to the Chinese because they
have been a great imperial power," said Robert D. Kaplan, the chief
geopolitical analyst for Austin, Texas-based Stratfor Global
Intelligence and author of ''Asia's Cauldron,'' which examines the
risks to regional stability of China's rise. China is "promoting the
historical memory" of Zheng's voyages to justify its claims, he said.
The South China Sea is rich in resources, with the U.S. Energy
Information Administration estimating it contains 11 billion barrels
of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and
probable reserves. That would be enough to replace China's crude-oil
imports for five years and gas imports for the next century, according
to data compiled by Bloomberg. Reserves in disputed areas have yet to
be tapped in scale.
With an area of at least 3.5 million square kilometers, the seas
contain several hundred small islands, rocks and reefs, most located
in the Paracel and Spratly Island chains. Many are submerged at full
tide and are little more than shipping hazards.
In and around these rocks, shoals and islands lives another valuable
resource: enough fish to comprise about 10 percent of the globe's
total catch, according to the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development
Even with large swathes of the sea in dispute, other countries manage
to cooperate. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore work together to
maintain the security of the Malacca Strait. In May, the Philippines
and Indonesia resolved a disagreement over sea boundaries.
The sea plays a strategic role for China: it's a natural security
shield for its densely populated southern regions and ports.
The distance may explain why China is building artificial islands in
the Spratlys area, by reclaiming land around the Johnson South Reef,
according to Philippine fishermen and officials in the area. Such
islands could help anchor China's claims and be developed into bases
from which it would be able to mount a continuous presence,
challenging the Philippines, a U.S. treaty ally.
"China is testing the limits of America's alliance relationships in
Asia," said Storey. "By pushing and probing and essentially showing
that the U.S. isn't willing to respond to these provocations, it is
undermining those alliances and hence ultimately U.S. credibility and
U.S. power over the long term."
There are two schools of thought on the eventual outcome of China's
ascendancy, according to Rory Medcalf, director of the International
Security Program at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in
One argues that dominance of the South China Sea is an inevitable
outcome of China's economic and military expansion. The other says
that China will have to curb its ambitions or risk provoking a
conflict, even war, which could draw in the U.S.
It's not possible to judge which scenario ends up proving right, said
Medcalf. "The story is only beginning."
I think we have moved a new and much more adversarial normal.
02-DEC-2013 The Pivot to Asia bares its Fangs
China had declared an Air Defense Identification Zone in an area that
included those rocky Islands which are called the Senkakus by the
Japanese and Diaoyu by the Chinese. The US responded to the
declaration of the ADIZ by flying 2 B-52s directly into it and that
message is kind of incontestable.
Colonel Steve Warren at the Pentagon said Washington had "conducted
operations in the area of the Senkakus".
"We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include not
filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering our
frequencies," he said.
''The Pentagon sent two strategic bombers (capable of nuclear strikes)
directly into an airspace which the Chinese have just declared an "air
defense identification zone" in which non-compliance with Chinese
rules would trigger "emergency defensive measures", and to make sure
to inflict the maximal amount of loss of face on China.''
Predicting that the US will continue to send flights through the area,
Francois Godement, senior policy fellow at the European Council on
Foreign relations, said, "What they are doing is dropping their
I see the pivot to Asia as the encirclement of China, then the
shrinking of its operating theatre and then lighting the tinderbox
that is the periphery and Xinjiang might well morph into China's
Afghanistan. You will recall that the architect of Russia's defeat in
Afghanistan was Zbigniew Brzezinski and he remains a foreign policy
eminence grise with the president's ear.
The US probably feels it holds a decisive hard power advantage at
this moment and given that the trajectory is one of gradual erosion of
that decisive advantage leads me to the view that this pivot to Asia
has a logic and momentum of its own. Therefore, I see the US being
increasingly determined to press its advantage. One might even posit
that calming down the Iranian front, allows the US to better
concentrate its energies on the pivot to Asia.
One of the key elements of the Pivot to Asia is the air-sea battle
concept. This concept envisages the battle beginning with a "blinding
attack" against Chinese anti-access facilities and incorporates
"distant blockade" operations. China's dependence on foreign oil is
increasing just as the US' dependency is decreasing. And
interestingly, given my belief that the Eastern seaboard is a fabulous
energy prize, that puts the Indian Ocean in many respects right into
the geopolitical frame. If you are considering ''distant blockade''
operations, one of those areas you will be blockading is this part of
the world, given the amount of energy that is likely to be sold into
Asia, in the future.
The Snake by @Aiww @Hirshhorn
19-AUG-2013 Of course, the first engagement between China and Kenya, occurred in the c15th, when the Chinese Admiral Zheng He [a Muslim and a Eunuch] visited the Swahili coast.
Law & Politics
Of course, the first engagement between China and Kenya, occurred in
the c15th, when the Chinese Admiral Zheng He [a Muslim and a Eunuch]
visited the Swahili coast. Naturally, the Chinese have been keen on
ventilating the story of Zheng He's c15th visit because it is a Soft
Power Gift Horse. You will recall the discovery of Chinese DNA on Pate
Island and the story is that the DNA belonged to Chinese Ming sailors
who were shipwrecked and then married the local women.
I have no doubt that the Indian Ocean is set to regain its glory days.
China's dependence on imported crude oil is increasing and the US'
interestingly is decreasing. I am also certain the Eastern Seaboard of
Africa from Mozambique through Somalia is the last Great Energy Prize
in the c21st. Therefore, the control of the Indian Ocean becomes kind
of decisive and with control China can be shut down quite quickly. A
Sine qua non of President Barack Obama's pivot to Asia is US/NATO
Power Projection over the Indian Ocean.
Airport security stepped up after US warns of new threat
Law & Politics
The UK is to step up security at airports after a request to do so
from the US based on intelligence reports that militant groups in the
Middle East are preparing a new generation of non-metallic explosives
that could be carried undetected on to commercial flights.
ABC News quoted a defence source as saying the threat is "different
and more disturbing" than previous plots, which involved explosives
hidden in toothpaste, shoes and ink cartridges. The US is increasing
security at its airports and has asked other countries to do the same.
A UK Department for Transport spokesman said Britain had decided to
"step up some of our aviation security measures", but declined to
comment on the detail "for obvious reasons". The spokesman denied the
extra measures would cause delays, saying: "The majority of passengers
should not experience significant disruption."
President Barack Obama has said his administration is particularly
concerned by the presence of foreign militants fighting in Syria and
Iraq, who could board flights to the US without a visa, using their
European passports. In an interview with NBC, Mr Obama said: "We've
seen Europeans who are sympathetic to their cause travelling into
Syria and now may travel into Iraq, getting battle-hardened. Then they
U.S. military advisors have secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007 and Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant group al Shabaab, U.S. officials said.
The deployments, consisting of up to 120 troops on the ground, go
beyond the Pentagon's January announcement that it had sent a handful
of advisors in October.
Those U.S. plans include greater military engagement and new funds for
training and assistance for the Somali National Army (SNA), after
years of working with the African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM,
which has about 22,000 troops in the country from Uganda, Kenya,
Sierra Leone, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia.
"What you'll see with this upcoming fiscal year is the beginning of
engagement with the SNA proper," said a U.S. defense official, who
declined to be identified. The next fiscal year starts in October.
An Obama administration official told Reuters there were currently up
to 120 U.S. military personnel on the ground throughout Somalia and
described them as trainers and advisors.
"They're not involved in combat," the official told Reuters, speaking
on condition of anonymity, adding that until last year, U.S. military
advisors had been working with AMISOM troop contributors, as opposed
to Somali forces.
The comments expand upon a little noticed section of a speech given
early in June by Wendy Sherman, under secretary of state for political
affairs. She publicly acknowledged that a "small contingent of U.S.
military personnel" including special operations forces had been
present in parts of Somalia for several years.
Congo Catholic bishops urge Kabila to step aside in 2016
The influential Roman Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of
Congo urged President Joseph Kabila on Tuesday to respect
constitutional terms limits and not seek reelection in the 2016
Speculation has been rife that Kabila will seek to modify the
constitution, which limits a president to two consecutive five-year
terms, but he has not said whether he will run.
The Congo Catholic bishops conference (CENCO) warned him that any
attempt to change the constitution and remain in power could
destabilize the mineral-rich nation which is still recovering from
decades of political turmoil.
"To seek to violate these provisions would set a dangerous precedent
on the long road to peace (and) national unity," read a CENCO
statement published a day after Congo's fifty-fourth independence
anniversary celebrations. The message comes less than a month after
international envoys from the United States, European Union, African
Union and United Nations also urged Kabila to respect his
constitutional obligations and to publish an elections timetable.
Catholics make up about half of Congo's population. In the absence of
a coherent political opposition, the Church has been one of Kabila's
more vocal and influential critics, especially following reports of
ballot stuffing and voter intimidation during his 2011 election
In their statement, the bishops urged Congolese to "be vigilant in
opposing by all legal and peaceful means any attempt to modify the
locked articles," referring to constitutional provisions that cannot
Having won elections in 2006 and 2011, Kabila's final mandate expires
in late 2016, but his political opponents fear he will seek to change
article 220, which bans any change to the article setting out term
The Catholic Church has previously been a Pillar of Support for Kabila.
This is therefore a big and important Break.
South Africa All Share Bloomberg +12.1649% 2014 [Record Highs]
51,883.71 +403.52 +0.78%
Dollar versus Rand 6 Month Chart INO 10.7447
Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 7.1494
Egypt business activity expands in June, PMI hits 6-month high
Business activity in Egypt grew in June after three months of
contraction, a survey showed on Thursday, a tentative sign the economy
may be picking up after elections that catapulted former army chief
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi into the presidency.
The HSBC Egypt Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the non-oil private
sector stood at 51.5 points in June, reaching a six-month high and
rising from 48.7 in May. Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while
those below 50 point to contraction.
The index had been below 50 for 13 months through October.
"It would be dangerous to read too much into a single month's data,
but the June readings provide the first concrete signs that political
stabilisation may finally be opening the way for an improvement in
economic performance," said Simon Williams, Chief Economist for the
Middle East at HSBC.
Egypt EGX30 Bloomberg +20.053% 2014
8,142.25 -19.95 -0.24%
Nigeria All Share Bloomberg +3.097% 2014 [More than 5 year highs]
42,609.47 -1.85 0.00%
"We have never been confronted with butchery on this scale, even
during the civil war," Soyinka
"We are in your city," he said, addressing Nigeria's President
Goodluck Jonathan 22-APR-2014
Foreign investors shrug off Nigeria security risk: Citibank
- Worsening security in Nigeria has not deterred foreign investors
from buying its assets, Citigroup's (C.N) country head said on
Wednesday, citing $1.1 billion worth of Eurobonds it had traded for
three local lenders so far this year.
But any spread of attacks further south or to the commercial hub of
Lagos could start to put even established investors off, Omar Hafeez
told Reuters in an interview.
"The investment community is very well informed ... Nigeria is a loan
market and financial investors have been tapping into treasury bills
and bonds for a very long time," Hafeez said.
"The way the market looks at Boko Haram ... it's still relatively
restricted in terms of geographic presence ... but an increase (of
attacks) to anywhere in the major centres will have consequences," he
Hafeez said Nigeria was witnessing an increase in both foreign direct
investments and portfolio flows.
Hafeez said Citi was the largest arranger of Eurobonds in Nigeria and
had sold $500 million for Zenith Bank (ZENITHB.LG), $400 million for
Access Bank (ACCESS.LG) and $200 million for Diamond Bank (DIAMONB.LG)
in the first half of the year.
FCMB (FCMB.LG) last week mandated Citi and Standard Chartered Bank
(STAN.L) to raise Eurobonds. Hafeez said he expected more to follow.
"The demand for long-term dollars is increasing in Nigeria as
industries such as oil and gas and power develop," he said, adding
that the demand could not be met locally.
He said banks were tapping Eurobonds to bolster their capital bases
and also to finance big-ticket deals in the oil and gas and newly
privatised power sectors.
Elections next year could become a worry if they affect the naira
exchange rate to the dollar and interest rates.
"I think we could expect a certain amount of volatility pre-election
but have I seen people sitting on the fence? Not really," he said.
"Commercial realities determine the strategies, so it's really not
elections per say, it's what elections will do to the FX, interest
Incoming central bank governor has said he will work to maintain a
stable exchange rate and will not lower interest rates before 2015.
He said Nigeria was Citibank's biggest operation across sub-Saharan
Africa and that it was expanding its footprint to bank more local
firms, especially as multinational oil firms divest from the oil
industry to domestic companies.
Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg +10.675% 2014
2,374.61 +1.23 +0.05%
28-APR-2014 :: Rising Fiscal Imbalance is Region's Achilles Heel
My takeaway is; the tailwinds remain favourable but that the markets
are no longer as benign and that we would be wise to look very closely
how policy makers are getting crunched in places like Ghana. A more
than 30 per cent collapse in a currency is a direct cause-and-effect
of poor policy making. Putting Humpty Dumpty together again is not an
World Investment Report released on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, revealed
that Ethiopia was the third largest recipient of foreign direct
investment (FDI) in Africa in 2013, with a 240pc increase from the
amount in 2012
The report released last Tuesday, June 24, 2014, by the economic think
tank, United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD),
stated that the FDI inflow to the country had reached 953 million
dollars in 2014, up from the 279 million dollars it was in the
Tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe sold about 205.5 million kilograms (453
million pounds) of the crop in the marketing season that ended June
27, breaching the 200 million-kilogram mark for the first time since
Farmers earned more than $651.9 million from sales of mainly
flue-cured or Virginia tobacco, compared with more than $569.5 million
a year earlier, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, the state
regulator, said today in an e-mail from the capital, Harare. Tobacco
is traditionally sold in Zimbabwe from late February through June.
Mop-up sales, to purchase any tobacco remaining on farms, will be held
Deliveries of the leaf grew 33 percent on the previous season, while
the average price declined to $3.17 a kilogram from $3.70 last year,
according to the TIMB. The regulator had earlier predicted a crop of
about 185 million kilograms.
Tobacco is Zimbabwe's biggest agricultural export and second-biggest
earner after minerals. About 106,000 mainly small-scale growers farm
the crop on Zimbabwe's sandy northern and eastern soils.
South Sudan to borrow about $1 bln from oil firms in 2014/15: budget
Nairobi Stock Exchange @NSEKenya plans an IPO: Aly-Khan Satchu @sikimgabadeli @moneyweb
SIKI MGABADELI: The Nairobi stock exchange is set to become the second
African exchange to be demutualised after the JSE. The Nairobi bourse
will sell 31% of its shareholding in the bourse after receiving
regulatory approval, aiming to complete the sale during the second
half of this year.
We go to Kenya now and speak to Aly-Kan Satchu, CEO of Rich
Management. Aly-Kan, thank you so much for talking to us today. What's
your view on the proposed NSE IPO?
ALY-KHAN SATCHU: I think it's a uniquely positive thing. For a long
time the issue around the Nairobi Securities Exchange was the fact
that it was controlled essentially by the broking community. And I
think when we had that very tough time post Lehman, and when the
market sold off, that ownership structure came into sharp relief. So I
think this IPO was begun more than five/six years ago - the thinking
behind it. I think it's a very positive thing and I'm all for it. It's
going to distribute ownership and create a better governance structure
in the medium term around the securities exchange.
SIKI MGABADELI: What do you think are the positives when it comes to
just the influence that currently the stockbrokers have on the
bourse's management? Some people think that it's a good idea to do
this right now because it means that more people have a say in the
running of the stock exchange.
ALY-KHAN SATCHU: Absolutely. I think that for too long the stock
exchange was quite a small little club where the club members set
their own rules. And I think that as the African capital markets have
grown, Nairobi in particular, that sort of way of governing such an
important component of your capital markets, such an important
component of the national interest, really was sub-optimal. And
therefore by diversifying ownership I think there are many positive
benefits, one of which is that you are fundamentally restructuring the
governance around the stock exchange, and in a positive way.
SIKI MGABADELI: That 31% seems small - could they not have gone for
more? What do you think about that?
ALY-KHAN SATCHU: I would have gone for more, but we haven't had that
many IPOs on the market. I think it's informed by that you want to
sell everything out. Another key thing to remember is a lot of the
brokers essentially have a stake. They will receive shares and this is
going to be a way for them to value their shares better and on a
mark-to-market basis. A lot of people feel that the price that's been
put on the balance sheet at some of these stock brokerages is a bit
rich. So I think the NSE is cognisant of that fact and more keen on
extracting a higher price by not flooding the market with paper.
SIKI MGABADELI: Is the timing right, though? Has the stock market been
ALY-KHAN SATCHU: Absolutely. Like South Africa, where I think your
all-share hit an all-time high, the same story in Nigeria, where it's
more a 60-month high. The all-share here probably closed at an
all-time high today.
African markets remain in a sweet spot and, if you look at the
Nairobi Securities Exchange, because the money is made on the volume
of business that's conducted, volumes have been significantly higher
this year than they were in previous years. I think that's increased
the profitability and the sort of outlook for the business. And
therefore the timing makes sense and if it goes well they can
obviously sell more stock.
SIKI MGABADELI: Well, the exchange has also said that part of the
funds that are going to be raised in the offer are going to be used to
develop new products like ETFs, derivatives and Shari'ah-complaint
products. Is there an appetite for that in Kenya?
ALY-KHAN SATCHU: That's an interesting question. I think you like your
securities exchange to be innovative and ahead of the curve, so I
think when I listen to that list, that smorgasbord of new products,
I'm glad that they are setting their ambitions high. But right now I'm
not so sure that there is that much demand.
For example, we've recently launched a secondary market at the
securities exchange. Very few companies have been listed so far and
the volumes have been very, very thin. So it's good to have them
thinking about this. I haven't seen a ton of liquidity come out of
these more esoteric-type things yet. And I still see our markets
across the continent - really it's about North American, European and
British investors buying more African equity more than anything else.
And therefore I think this is a bit of an ahead-of-the-curve move .
But I think it's a financially more stable [move] - they have a
structure around them when they are listed, they've got to deliver
profits. This makes sense - that they should be making investments and
making sure that they are a 21st century securities exchange,
notwithstanding the fact that they are in Nairobi.