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Friday 01st of August 2014

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Macro Thoughts

Home Thoughts

“I don't want realism. I want magic!”
― Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

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The Lotos-Eaters Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)

There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,         50
Than tir’d eyelids upon tir’d eyes;
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
Here are cool mosses deep,
And thro’ the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,         55
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.

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Law & Politics

TEL AVIV — The United States and United Nations announced Thursday
that Israel and Hamas agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire that is to
start Friday morning for 72 hours.


Earlier Thursday, Israel had vowed to press ahead with its offensive
in Gaza, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country's
military would demolish Hamas' network of tunnels "with or without a



The post-Arab Awakening environment of the Middle East and North
Africa is so unsettling and unpredictable that no one knows when the
next political storm will develop and what or who will become its next


China kills suspects in Uighur imam murder


China says a leading pro-government Muslim cleric in the northwestern
territory of Xinjiang was murdered and police killed two suspects and
captured another.

The state media report on Thursday was the first official confirmation
of the murder of Jume Tahir at dawn on Wednesday.

Tahir had led the Id Kah mosque in the city of Kashgar and was a
strong supporter of government policy on Islam that critics say
imposes harsh restrictions.

Violence has sharply increased in Xinjiang, where radicals among the
native Turkic Muslim Uighur minority have long pursued a violent
campaign to overthrow Chinese rule.

On Monday, the government said a gang armed with knives and axes
killed or injured dozens of people in Shache county near Kashgar.
Police returned fire, with the death toll estimated to be as high as


Xinjiang might well morph into China's Afghanistan 02-DEC-2013


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China, America, and a New Cold War in Africa? Nick Turse
Law & Politics

Juba, South Sudan -- Is this country the first hot battlefield in a
new cold war?  Is the conflict tearing this new nation apart actually
a proxy fight between the world’s two top economic and military
powers?  That’s the way South Sudan’s Information Minister, Michael
Makuei Lueth, tells it.  After "midwifing" South Sudan into existence
with billions of dollars in assistance, aid, infrastructure projects,
and military support, the U.S. has watched China emerge as the major
beneficiary of South Sudan’s oil reserves.  As a result, Makuei
claims, the U.S. and other Western powers have backed former vice
president Riek Machar and his rebel forces in an effort to overthrow
the country’s president, Salva Kiir.  China, for its part, has played
a conspicuous double game.  Beijing has lined up behind Kiir, even as
it publicly pushes both sides to find a diplomatic solution to a
simmering civil war.  It is sending peacekeepers as part of the U.N.
mission even as it also arms Kiir’s forces with tens of millions of
dollars worth of new weapons.

While experts dismiss Makuei’s scenario -- “farfetched” is how one
analyst puts it -- there are average South Sudanese who also believe
that Washington supports the rebels.  The U.S. certainly did press
Kiir’s government to make concessions, as his supporters are quick to
remind anyone willing to listen, pushing it to release senior
political figures detained as coup plotters shortly after fighting
broke out in late 2013.  America, they say, cared more about a handful
of elites sitting in jail than all the South Sudanese suffering in a
civil war that has now claimed more than 10,000 lives, resulted in
mass rapes, displaced more than 1.5 million people (around half of
them children), and pushed the country to the very brink of famine.
Opponents of Kiir are, however, quick to mention the significant
quantities of Chinese weaponry flooding into the country. They ask why
the United States hasn’t put pressure on a president they no longer
see as legitimate.

While few outside South Sudan would ascribe to Makuei’s notion of a
direct East-West proxy war here, his conspiracy theory should, at
least, serve as a reminder that U.S. and Chinese interests are at play
in this war-torn nation and across Africa as a whole -- and that
Africans are taking note.  Almost anywhere you look on the continent,
you can now find evidence of both the American and the Chinese
presence, although they take quite different forms.  The Chinese are
pursuing a ruthlessly pragmatic economic power-projection strategy
with an emphasis on targeted multilateral interventions in African
conflicts.  U.S. policy, in contrast, appears both more muddled and
more military-centric, with a heavy focus on counterterrorism efforts
meant to bolster amorphous strategic interests.

For the last decade, China has used “soft power” -- aid, trade, and
infrastructure projects -- to make major inroads on the continent.  In
the process, it has set itself up as the dominant foreign player here.
The U.S., on the other hand, increasingly confronts Africa as a
"battlefield" or "battleground" or "war" in the words of the men
running its operations. In recent years, there has been a substantial
surge in U.S. military activities of every sort, including the setting
up of military outposts and both direct and proxy interventions. These
two approaches have produced starkly contrasting results for the
powers involved and the rising nations of the continent.  Which one
triumphs may have profound implications for all parties in the years
ahead. The differences are, perhaps, nowhere as stark as in the
world’s newest nation, South Sudan.

Starting in the 1980s, the efforts of an eclectic, bipartisan
collection of American supporters -- Washington activists, evangelical
Christians, influential Congressional representatives, celebrities, a
rising State Department star, a presidential administration focused on
regime change and nation-building, and another that picked up the
mantle -- helped bring South Sudan into existence.  “Midwife” was the
word then-chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry
chose to describe the process.

In recent years, no country in Africa has received as much
Congressional attention.  And on July 9, 2011, South Sudan’s
Independence Day, President Barack Obama released a stirring
statement.  “I am confident that the bonds of friendship between South
Sudan and the United States will only deepen in the years to come.  As
Southern Sudanese undertake the hard work of building their new
country, the United States pledges our partnership as they seek the
security, development, and responsive governance that can fulfill
their aspirations and respect their human rights.”

As the new nation broke away from Sudan after decades of bloody civil
war, the U.S. poured in billions of dollars in humanitarian aid and
pumped in hundreds of millions of dollars of military and security
assistance.  It also invested heavily in governmental institutions,
and built infrastructure (constructing or repairing roads and
bridges).  It sent military instructors to train the country’s armed
forces and advisors to mentor government officials.  It helped to beef
up the education sector, worked to facilitate economic development and
American investment, and opened the U.S. market to duty-free South
Sudanese imports.

The new nation, it was hoped, would bolster U.S. national security
interests by injecting a heavy dose of democracy into the heart of
Africa, while promoting political stability and good governance.
Specifically, it was to serve as a democratic bulwark against Sudan
and its president, Omar al-Bashir, who had once harbored Osama bin
Laden and is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes
against humanity in that country’s Darfur region.

When South Sudan broke away, it took much of Sudan’s oil wealth with
it, becoming sub-Saharan Africa's third-largest oil producer behind
Nigeria and Angola.  In taking those resources out of Bashir’s hands,
it offered the promise of more energy stability in Africa.  It was
even expected to serve Washington’s military aims -- and soon, the
U.S. began employing South Sudanese troops as proxies in a quest to
destroy Joseph Kony and his murderous Lord’s Resistance Army.

That was the dream, at least.  But like Washington’s regime change and
nation-building projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, things soon started
going very, very wrong.  Today, South Sudan’s armed forces are little
more than a collection of competing militias that have fractured along
ethnic lines and turned on each other.  The country’s political
institutions and economy are in shambles, its oil production (which
accounts for about 90% of government revenue) is crippled, corruption
goes unchecked, towns have been looted and leveled during recent
fighting, the nation is mired in a massive humanitarian crisis, famine
looms, and inter-ethnic relations may have been irreparably damaged.

During the years when America was helping bring South Sudan into
existence, another world power also took an interest in the country --
and a very different tack when it came to its development.  After
having invested a reported $20 billion in Sudan -- a country long on
the U.S. sanctions blacklist -- China watched as the new nation of
South Sudan claimed about 75% of its oil fields.  In 2012, newly
inaugurated South Sudanese President Salva Kiir traveled to China
where he sipped champagne with then-President Hu Jintao and reportedly
secured a pledge of $8 billion to build up his country’s
infrastructure and support its oil sector.  (A top Chinese envoy later
dismissed reports of such a sum, but hinted that China was willing to
make even greater investments in the country if it achieved a lasting
peace with its northern neighbor.)

Two years later, the China National Petroleum Corporation, with a 40%
stake, is now the largest shareholder in the Greater Nile Petroleum
Operating Company, the top oil consortium in South Sudan.  It also
leads another important consortium, the Greater Pioneer Operating
Company.  During the first 10 months of 2013, China imported nearly 14
million barrels of oil from South Sudan.  That adds up to about 77% of
the country’s crude oil output and twice as much as China imports from
energy-rich Nigeria.  While South Sudanese oil accounts for only about
5% of China's total petroleum imports, the country has nonetheless
provided Beijing with a new African partner.  This was especially
useful as a U.S. and NATO intervention in Libya in 2011 created
chaotic conditions, causing China to suffer heavy losses ($20 billion
according to Chinese sources) in various energy and other projects in
that country.

“At the end of the day, China’s main interest is stability so that
they can function on a commercial basis.  And to achieve that
stability they’ve had to get more involved on the political side,”
says Cameron Hudson, director for African affairs on the staff of the
National Security Council at the White House from 2005 to 2009.  “They
have a very large presence in Juba and are doing a lot of business
beyond the oil sector.”

In fact, just days before South Sudan plunged into civil war late last
year, the deep-pocketed Export-Import Bank of China was reportedly
preparing to offer the country $2 billion in loans and credit to build
six key roads -- including a 1,500-mile highway to link the capital,
Juba, with Sudan's main port -- crucial bridges across the Nile River,
schools and hospitals in every county, a hydropower plant, a
government conference center, and a staple of Chinese construction
schemes in Africa, a stadium.

Recently, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang promised to expand cooperation
with South Sudan in trade, agriculture, construction of
infrastructure, and energy.  Meanwhile, a separate $158 million deal
to repair and expand the airport in Juba, financed by China’s
Export-Import Bank and carried out by a Chinese firm, was announced.
In addition, China has just shipped nearly $40 million in arms --
millions of rounds of ammunition, thousands of automatic rifles and
grenade launchers, and hundreds of machine guns and pistols -- to
Salva Kiir’s armed forces.

China’s interest in South Sudan is indicative of its relations with
the continent as a whole.  Beijing has long looked to Africa for
diplomatic cooperation in the international arena and, with the
continent accounting for more than 25% of the votes in the General
Assembly of the United Nations, relied on it for political support.
More recently, economics has become the paramount factor in the
growing relationship between the rising Asian power and the continent.

Hungry for energy reserves, minerals, and other raw materials to fuel
its domestic growth, China’s Export-Import Bank and other
state-controlled entities regularly offer financing for railroads,
highways, and other major infrastructure projects, often tied to the
use of Chinese companies and workers.  In exchange, China expects
long-term supplies of needed natural resources.  Such relationships
have exploded in the new century with its African trade jumping from
$10 billion to an estimated $200 billion, which far exceeds that of
the United States or any European country.  It has now been Africa’s
largest trading partner for the last five years and boasts of having
struck $400 billion worth of deals in African construction projects
which have already yielded almost 1,400 miles of railroad track and
nearly 2,200 miles of highways.

Resources traded for infrastructure are, however, just one facet of
China’s expanding economic relationship with Africa.  Looking down the
road, Beijing increasingly sees the continent as a market for its
manufacturing products.  While the West ages and sinks deeper into
debt, Africa is getting younger and growing at an exponential pace.
Its population is, according to demographers, poised to double by the
middle of the century, jumping to as many as 3.5 billion -- larger
than China and India combined -- with working-age people far
outnumbering the elderly and children.

With its ability to produce goods at low prices, China is betting on
being a major supplier of a growing African market when it comes to
food, clothes, appliances, and other consumer goods.  As Howard
French, author of China’s Second Continent notes, “a variety of
economic indicators show that the fortunes of large numbers of
Africans are improving dramatically and will likely continue to do so
over the next decade or two, only faster.”  According to the
International Monetary Fund, 10 of the 20 economies projected to grow
fastest from 2013-2017 are located in sub-Saharan Africa.  Last year,
the World Bank attributed 60% of Africa’s economic growth to consumer
spending.  Beijing may even fuel this rise further by relocating
low-skilled, labor-intensive jobs to that continent as it develops
more skilled manufacturing and high-tech industries at home.

One Chinese export integral to Beijing’s dealings with Africa has,
however, largely escaped notice.  In the space of a decade, as French
points out, one million or more Chinese have emigrated to Africa,
buying up land, establishing businesses, plying just about every
conceivable trade from medicine to farming to prostitution. These
expats are altering the fundamentals of cultural and economic exchange
across the continent and creating something wholly new.  “For all of
China's denials that its overseas ambitions could be compared to those
of Europeans or Americans," writes French, "…what I was witnessing in
Africa is the higgledy-piggledy cobbling together of a new Chinese
realm of interest. Here were the beginnings of a new empire."

This mass influx of Chinese pioneers has bred resentment in some
quarters, as have heavy-handed tactics by Chinese companies that often
ignore local labor laws and environmental regulations, freeze out
local workers, mistreat them, or pay them exceptionally low wages.
This, in turn, has led to instances of violence against Africa’s
Chinese, as has Beijing’s support for unpopular and repressive
governments on the continent.  Such threats to the safety of Chinese
citizens and business interests, as well as general political
instability and armed conflicts -- from Libya to South Sudan -- have
given China still another reason to build-up its presence.

Traditionally, Beijing has adhered to a non-interference, “no strings
attached” foreign policy -- meaning no requirements on partner nations
in terms of transparency, corruption, environmental protection, human
rights, or good governance -- and, as opposed to the United States,
has avoided overseas military inventions.  While it has long
contributed to U.N. peacekeeping operations -- the only kind of
foreign intervention Beijing considers legitimate -- China has
generally operated far from the front lines.  But things are subtly
shifting on this score.

In 2011, after the U.S.-backed revolution in Libya imperiled 30,000
Chinese living there, the People’s Liberation Army coordinated air and
sea assets in the largest evacuation mission in its history.   And as
the war in Libya destabilized neighboring Mali and a U.S.-trained
officer overthrew that country’s elected president, China sent combat
troops -- for the first time in its history -- to join U.N. forces in
a bid to stabilize a nation that the U.S. had spent a decade
bolstering through counterterrorism funding.

Then, when U.S.-backed South Sudan slid into civil war late last year
-- and 300 Chinese workers had to be evacuated -- Beijing departed
from the hands-off approach it had taken only a few years earlier with
Sudan, ramped up diplomatic efforts and pushed hard for peace talks.
“This is something new for us,” said China's special envoy to Africa,
Zhong Jianhua.  This was, he noted, the beginning of a “new chapter”
in policies by which China would now “do more [in terms of] peace and
security for this continent.”

More recently, Beijing managed to broker an unprecedented arrangement
to expand the mandate of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan.  In addition
to “protection of civilians, monitoring and investigating human rights
abuses, and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance,”
according to Foreign Policy, “Beijing quietly secured a deal that will
put the U.N.'s famed blue helmets to work protecting workers in South
Sudan's oil installations, where China has invested billions of
dollars.”  Although protecting the oil fields is akin to taking the
government’s side in a civil war, the U.S., France, and Great Britain
backed the plan to protect oil installations under a U.N. mandate,
citing the importance of the energy sector to the future of the
country.  In return, China will send an 850-man infantry battalion to
bolster the U.N. mission, adding to the 350 military personnel it
already had on the ground here.

When it comes to protecting their infrastructure, “the Chinese have
gotten very good at deploying peacekeeping forces,” Patricia Taft, a
senior associate with the Fund for Peace, tells TomDispatch. “The
Chinese have, in East Africa and also West Africa, inserted themselves
as a security presence, mainly to protect their oil interests, their
infrastructure, or whatever economic projects they’re deeply invested

Yun Sun, a fellow at the Stimson Center and an expert on China’s
relations with Africa, doesn’t see these recent developments as a
militarization of China’s mission, but as a symptom of increased
investment in the countries of the continent.  “China cares more about
security issues in Africa… due to its own national interests,” Sun
tells TomDispatch. “It means China will contribute more to the peace
and security issues of the continent.”  And it seems that Beijing is
now doing so, in part on America’s dime.

U.S. taxpayers, who fund about 27% percent of the cost of United
Nations peacekeeping missions, are now effectively underwriting
China’s efforts to protect its oil interests in South Sudan.
Washington continues to pour aid into that country -- more than $456
million in humanitarian assistance in fiscal year 2014 -- while China
has pledged far less in humanitarian relief.  Meanwhile, Juba has tied
itself ever more tightly to Chinese energy interests, with plans to
borrow more than $1 billion from oil companies to keep the government
afloat as it battles the rebels.

Taft sees these deals with largely Chinese firms as both risky for
South Sudan’s future and potentially ineffective as well.  “It’s
putting a band-aid on a hemorrhaging artery,” she says.  David Deng,
research director for the South Sudan Law Society, echoes this: “We’re
mortgaging our children’s future to fight a pointless war.”

South Sudan seems emblematic of a larger trend in the race between
Washington and Beijing in Africa.  In 2000, China’s trade there passed
$10 billion for the first time and has been growing at a 30% clip
annually ever since.  Nine years later, China overtook the U.S. to
become the continent’s largest trading partner and, by 2012, its trade
was nearly double that of the U.S. -- $198.5 billion to $99.8 billion.
While the United States recently announced that $900 million in
unspecified “deals” with Africa will be unveiled at an upcoming
U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, it will nonetheless continue
to trail far behind China in terms of trade on the continent.

For the Chinese, Africa is El Dorado, a land of opportunity for one
million migrants.  For America, it’s a collection of “ungoverned
spaces,” “austere locations,” and failing states increasingly
dominated by local terror groups poised to become global threats, a
danger zone to be militarily managed through special operators and
proxy armies.  “In Africa, terrorists, criminal organizations,
militias, corrupt officials, and pirates continue to exploit
ungoverned and under-governed territory on the continent and its
surrounding waters,” reads the Pentagon’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense
Review (QDR).   “The potential for rapidly developing threats,
particularly in fragile states, including violent public protests and
terrorist attacks, could pose acute challenges to U.S. interests.”

“Recent engagements in Somalia and Mali, in which African countries
and regional organizations are working together with international
partners in Europe and the United States, may provide a model for
future partnerships,” adds the QDR.  But a look at those poster-child
nations for U.S. involvement -- one in East and one in West Africa --
instead provides evidence of America’s failings on the continent.

In 2006, the Islamic Court Union (ICU), a loose confederation of
indigenous Islamist groups seeking to impose order on the failed state
of Somalia, defeated the Alliance for Restoration of Peace and
Counterterrorism, a U.S.-supported militia, and pushed the U.S.-backed
warlords out of Mogadishu, the capital.  In response, the United
States green-lighted a 2007 invasion of the country by Ethiopia’s
military and secretly sent in a small contingent of its own troops
(still operating in Somalia to this day).  This succeeded only in
splintering the ICU, sending its moderates into exile, while its
hardliners formed a far more extreme Islamic group, al-Shabab, which
became the key Muslim resistance force against al-Shabab, Washington’s
Ethiopian proxies.

Al-Shabab experienced a great deal of military success before being
beaten back by the Ethiopians, troops from a U.S.-supported Somali
transitional government, and well-armed peacekeepers from the
U.S.-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  These forces
were, from 2009 onward, joined by proxies trained and armed by
U.S.-ally Kenya, whose own army invaded the country in 2011.  Their
forces in Somalia, eventually folded into the AMISOM mission, are
still deployed there.  On the run and outgunned, al-Shabab responded
by threatening to take the war beyond its borders and soon began to do

In other words, what started as a local Islamic group achieving,
according to a Chatham House report, “the unthinkable, uniting
Mogadishu for the first time in 16 years, and reestablishing peace and
security,” quickly became a transnational terror organization in the
wake of the Ethiopian invasion and other acts of intervention.  In
2010, al-Shabab carried out a bomb attack in Uganda as a punishment
for that country’s contribution to the African Union mission in
Somalia.  In 2011, it launched an escalating series of shootings,
grenade attacks, and bombings in Kenya.  The next year, the formerly
Somalia-centric outfit further internationalized its efforts as one of
its leaders pledged obedience to al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.  In
2013, the group carried out a devastating attack on the Westgate Mall
in Kenya that killed 67.

Earlier this year, al-Shabab extended its reach even further with its
first-ever suicide attack in Djibouti, the tiny Horn of Africa nation
that contributes troops to AMISOM and hosts French troops, a key
European proxy force for Washington on the continent, as well as the
only avowed U.S. base in Africa.  “The attack was carried out against
the French Crusaders for their complicity in the massacres and
persecution of our Muslim brothers in the Central African Republic and
for their active role in training and equipping the apostate
Djiboutian troops in Somalia," read an al-Shabab statement that also
highlighted a U.S.-backed French military mission in the Central
African Republic.

In the months since, the group has repeatedly launched murderous
assaults on civilians in Kenya and continues to threaten Uganda and
Burundi, which also contributes troops to AMISOM, with future attacks.
It has even gained regional affiliates, like Al-Hijra, an underground
group accused of recruiting for al-Shabab in Kenya.

After 9/11, on the opposite side of the continent, U.S. programs like
the Pan-Sahel Initiative and the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism
Partnership, pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into training and
arming the militaries of Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania, Nigeria,
Algeria, and Tunisia, again in order to promote regional “stability.”
While U.S. Special Operations forces were teaching infantry tactics to
Malian troops, the Chinese were engaging very differently with that
West African nation.  Despite Mali’s lack of natural resources, China
constructed a key bridge, a hospital, a stadium, a major government
building, several factories, miles of highways, and a $230 million
waterworks project.

The U.S. wasn’t, however, left totally out in the cold on the
construction front.  The State Department’s Millennium Challenge
Corporation (MCC), for example, spent $71.6 million to expand the
Bamako Airport.  The contract, however, went to a Chinese firm -- as
did many MCC contracts across Africa -- because American companies
were uninterested in working there despite guaranteed U.S. financing.

What Washington was trying to build in Mali came crashing down,
however, after the U.S. helped topple Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi
in 2011, causing that country to collapse into a morass of militia
fiefdoms.  Nomadic Tuareg fighters looted the weapons stores of the
Gaddafi regime they had previously served, crossed the border, routed
U.S.-backed Malian forces and seized the northern part of the country.
This, in turn, prompted a U.S.-trained officer to stage a military
coup in the Malian capital, Bamako, and oust the democratically
elected president.

Soon after, the Tuareg rebels were muscled aside by heavily-armed
Islamist rebels who began taking over the country.  This, in turn,
prompted the U.S. to back a 2013 invasion by French and African forces
which arrested the complete collapse of Mali -- leaving it in a
permanent state of occupation and low-level insurgency.  Meanwhile,
Islamist fighters and Gaddafi’s weapons were scattered across Africa,
contributing to greater instability in Nigeria and Libya, as well as
increased threat levels in Chad, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Niger,
Senegal, and Togo.  It evidently also spurred an audacious revenge
attack in Algeria that left more than 80 dead and an assault on a
French-run uranium mine and a nearby military base in Niger in which
at least 25 people were killed.

In 2000, a report prepared under the auspices of the U.S. Army War
College’s Strategic Studies Institute examined the “African security
environment.”  While it touched on “internal separatist or rebel
movements” in “weak states,” as well as non-state actors like militias
and “warlord armies,” there is conspicuously no mention of Islamic
extremism or major transnational terrorist threats.  Following the
9/11 attacks, a senior Pentagon official claimed that the U.S.
invasion of Afghanistan might drive “terrorists” out of that country
and into African nations, but when pressed about actual transnational
dangers on that continent, he admitted that even hardcore Somali
militants “really have not engaged in acts of terrorism outside

Despite this, Washington dispatched personnel to Africa in 2002 and
began pouring money into counterterrorism efforts.  Since then, the
U.S. has steadily increased its military footprint, its troop levels,
and its missions on the continent -- from night raids in Somalia and
kidnap operations in Libya to the construction of a string of bases
devoted to surveillance activities across the northern tier of Africa.

For all the time spent training proxies, all the propaganda efforts,
all the black ops missions, all the counterterror funds, the results
have been dismal.  A glance at the official State Department list of
terrorist organizations indicates that these efforts have been
mirrored by the growth of radical militant groups, including the
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group added in 2004, al-Shabab in 2008, Ansar
al-Dine, Boko Haram, Ansaru, and the al-Mulathamun Battalion in 2013,
and Libya’s Ansar al-Shari'a in Benghazi, and Ansar al-Shari'a in
Darnah, as well as Ansar al-Shari'a in Tunisia, and the Egyptian
militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, all in 2014.  And that’s hardly a
full list.  Not included are various terror organizations, rebel
forces, separatist movements, armed groups, and militias like the
Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, fighters from the group
formerly known as Seleka and their rivals, anti-balaka militiamen in
the Central African Republic, Taureg separatists of Mali’s National
Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, the Congolese Resistance
Patriots, Burundi’s National Forces of Liberation, and others.

Over these years, as the U.S. has chased terror groups and watched
them proliferate, China has taken another route, devoting its efforts
to building goodwill through public works and winning over governments
through “no strings attached” policies.

“Our goal is not to counter China; our goal is not to contain China,”
President Obama said during a trip to Asia earlier this year.  In
South Sudan, as in Africa as a whole, America seems increasingly
unable to even keep up.  “On certain levels, we can’t or won’t compete
with China,” says the Fund for Peace’s Patricia Taft.  “China will
continue to eclipse us in terms of economic interests in Africa.”  The
U.S. is, however, still preeminent in the political sphere and that
influence, she says, will continue to trump anything China can
currently offer.

The question is: For how long?

Cameron Hudson, formerly of the National Security Council and now the
acting director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the
U.S. Holocaust Museum, thinks strengthening partnerships with the
Chinese could lead to major dividends for the United States.  “They
have more skin in the game,” he says of Beijing’s relationship with
South Sudan.  “They have a growing set of interests there.”

Benediste Hoareau, head of political affairs for the East African
Standby Force -- a rapid intervention force in-the-making, consisting
of troops from the region’s militaries -- expresses similar
sentiments.  He believes in the often repeated axiom of finding
African solutions to African problems and says that the foreign powers
should provide the funds and let African forces do the fighting and
peacekeeping in South Sudan.

Hoareau, in fact, sees no need for a contest, new Cold War or
otherwise, between the foreign titans here.  There are plenty of
opportunities for both the United States and China in Africa and in
South Sudan, he tells TomDispatch.  A rivalry between the two powers
can only bring trouble.  “They’re elephants,” Hoareau says of China
and America, “and you know just who will get trampled.”


It seems to me Sudan has become the epicenter of the US and China's
collision in Africa and that we are watching a 21st-century,
high-stakes proxy war. JANUARY 30, 2012


Nairobi, Kenya - June 18, 2012 CCTV "I think they finally woke up. I
don't know when the penny dropped'' Aly-Khan Satchu


Taking a broader Sweep, it is clear that the United States and
@USAfricaCommand has carved out a much more forward Position on the
African Continent. In some respects, @BarackObama 's Pivot to Asia
detours through Africa. China has made a Parabolic Advance across the
African Continent and one of the 'desired' Side Effects of staunching
the 'Al-Qaeda' Advance is that it also counters the Chinese Advance
via The Insertion of US Hard Power. The US cannot challenge China's
Extreme Dollar Diplomacy but it can insert Hard Power with which it
can tilt the African Pitch.

I think the interesting Point is how Africa has now become Front and
Centre of the Geopolitical Global Puzzle and the Collision between US
Hard Power and China's Soft Power

A Sine qua non of President Barack Obama's pivot to Asia is US/NATO
Power Projection over the Indian Ocean. 19-AUG-2013


read more

Barack Obama aims to re-engage with Africa
Law & Politics

Africa had high hopes for the presidency of Barack Obama.
Not only was he the first African-American to reach the White House,
but he draws relatives from the continent. Yet Mr Obama’s first term
was a disappointment for Africa, with the continent largely absent
from the political agenda and the president spending less than a day
there during the whole four year period.

Now two years into his second term, Mr Obama is seeking to make up for
lost time in the face of strong competition from emerging countries
such as China, India and Brazil eager to build economic links with one
of the world’s fastest growing regions.

It is in recognition of the changing times that the White House has
invited 50 African heads of state to Washington next week for the
first summit between the US and Africa.

It is in recognition of the changing times, and the work required to
gain influence in a continent in the throes of turbulent
transformation, that the White House has invited 50 African heads of
state, alongside hundreds of diplomats and business leaders, to
Washington next week for the first summit between the US and Africa.

With Africa’s potential having until now been often ignored by
Washington, African officials are quick to point out that there is an
element of catching up to do.

“This summit is an opportunity, perhaps late, to really show that the
US recognises Africa not only as a recipient of preferential trade but
also as an investment destination – a market in its own right,” says
Moeketsi Majoro, minister of development planning in Lesotho.

The tiny, landlocked country has been a leading beneficiary of
previous efforts to improve US-Africa relations, notably via the
Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, or Agoa, a trade treaty inked
during Bill Clinton’s presidency that has been vital in boosting its
textile industry.

African leaders already hold regular summits with countries such as
China and Japan. More problematic are the gatherings held with EU
countries, which are usually overshadowed by colonial legacy issues
such as whether to invite Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s ageing autocrat.

China in particular has been at the forefront of a purposeful
investment drive across the African continent over the past decade and
a half, leading to a 20-fold increase in trade to $200bn in 2013.

By contrast, the US has been slow to move on from the development
initiatives of the Clinton and Bush administrations to produce a
coherent response to the continent’s rapidly evolving markets,
increasingly assertive governments and aspirational populations.

This was the disappointment for Africans who hoped the Obama
presidency would recalibrate relations on a more equal footing.

Leading businesses  are . . . urging the White House to engage more
with Africa. As many as 200 prominent US chief executives will be on
the sidelines of the Washington summit, including the bosses of
Walmart, General Electric and Bechtel, who are attracted by the
emerging scale of markets such as Nigeria

Compared with China’s 150 or so commercial attaches, the US has just
eight in sub-Saharan Africa. By their own admission, US-Africa envoys
tend to devote most of their time on flashpoints and crises than to
build long-term relations.

“We are focused on putting out forest fires and we should be spending
a lot more time planting trees and growing forests, building stronger
relationships,” says Johnnie Carson, a veteran US diplomat whose
career with the Foreign Service began in Africa at the height of the
cold war and ended last year when he stood down as assistant secretary
of state.
In part the new direction has been forced on Washington.

China’s aggressive pursuit of markets and resources, meanwhile,
together with its hands off approach to debt financing and aid, has
helped rewrite the ground rules over the past decade. Beijing has also
courted African political leaders with several summits while its
leaders have travelled extensively through the continent.

Jennifer Cooke, head of Africa at the Brookings Institution, a
US-based think-tank, says the US “must increasingly compete in Africa
for influence and appeal with a new set of emerging powers,
influences, and ideologies”.


Its difficult to know exactly when the Penny dropped but dropped it
has. President @BarackObama was essentially politically hamstrung in
his first term in that the US was emerging from a vicious recession
and it would have played very badly at home to be seen to be cavorting
on the African Stage. Ben Rhodes previously mentioned that the US
Corporate Sector was sending a loud signal [re Africa] through the
noise and it is evident that the Likes of General Electric, Google and
others are hard charging.

Now of course, China looms very large and its dependency on Africa
Crude [and other raw materials] is accelerating. On the other side the
US' dependency on external sources of crude Oil has cratered. The
Pivot to Asia speaks to ''distant blockade operations''. Therefore, it
brings the Indian Ocean right into geopolitical Focus. The US via its
naval dominance essentially maintains a Gatekeeper status over China.
The Pivot to Asia therefore detours through Africa.

Aly-Khan Satchu

read more

High Stakes in Africa: Can the U.S. Catch China? @hofrench @BW
Law & Politics

To be attentive to history is to be on the lookout for pivotal
moments, and in the geopolitics surrounding Africa, the 1990s stand
out as a hugely pivotal time.

With the Cold War scarcely over, the West turned its attention away
from the continent, largely defining its problems as humanitarian
issues, which are traditionally the lowest station of foreign policy
priorities. Western Europe, which had colonized Africa decades
earlier, reoriented its focus to Eastern Europe, attracted by what it
saw as large, capital-starved markets with well-educated workers who
would nonetheless be satisfied being paid bargain-basement wages by
the standards of that continent.

The U.S. took a different route. With a focus dominated by security,
it invested its energy and treasure in a series of interventions in
the greater Middle East, leading to a series of costly and
inconclusive wars in the Islamic world.

In the 1990s, China’s economic reforms were just beginning to rev up,
and the People’s Republic was able to survey the world with the fresh
eyes that an emergence from a long period of relative isolation
brings. The leadership understood that the good run the country had
enjoyed since opening its economy to foreign investment in the 1980s
could carry it only so far, and that to sustain growth, China had to
hold its own in the global economy by finding new international
markets. In 1996 the Chinese committed to a policy known simply as
Going Out and selected Africa as a priority zone for expansion.

Many people who have focused on China’s burgeoning ties with Africa
since then have made the easy mistake of believing the country’s
strategy is mostly a natural resources play. They’ve missed the big
picture of why Africa has become so important to China and of why this
is so relevant to the U.S. and other big, globalized economies that
may now have to hustle to get into the Africa game.Africa’s resource
wealth is certainly of huge importance to China, a manufacturing
superpower that is urbanizing and building infrastructure on an
unprecedented scale. Unlike Western powers, however, China sees raw
materials as only one of the three pillars of its Africa strategy. The
second pillar involves using Africa as a springboard to help Chinese
businesses emerge as global players.

Over the past decade, Chinese companies have built bulging order books
in Africa, cutting their teeth in a part of the world where Western
competitors, when present at all, have not brought their A team. The
Chinese astutely calculate that the wealth they accumulate in Africa
and the lessons they learn will serve them well as they push into
bigger, richer, and tougher markets. Examples of this strategy are
particularly abundant in telecommunications, where companies such as
Tecno (cell phones) and ZTE (000063:CH) (mobile phone infrastructure)
have relied on Africa in part to launch themselves globally.

Boasting scores of already mature multinational corporations, Western
countries would not be mistaken to think they had relatively little to
learn from this aspect of China’s expansion into Africa. The third
pillar of Beijing’s strategy, though, could well become the game
changer. Understanding that, for the remainder of the century, the
bulk of global population growth will take place in Africa, China is
making a long bet on the emergence of vibrant, high-consuming middle
classes there, and with each year this wager is looking smarter and

read more

The facts speak clear and loud and are beyond the realm of speculation: The cockpit shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes. #MH17
Law & Politics

The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the
smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely
that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile.

read more

Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.3386 The dollar headed for a third weekly gain versus the euro,
the longest stretch in two months
Dollar Index 81.50
Japan Yen 102.92 The dollar rose for an 11th day versus the yen, the
longest stretch since 2001
Swiss Franc 0.9090
Pound 1.6872
Aussie 0.9290 Aussie was little changed at 92.91 U.S. cents after
rising as much as 0.2 percent. It has slumped 1.1 percent this week.
India Rupee 60.845
South Korea Won 1036.35
Brazil Real 2.2629
Egypt Pound 7.1501
South Africa Rand 10.7273

The dollar strengthened 2.4 percent in the past month, the best
performer of 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg
Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The yen gained 0.8 percent, while the
euro weakened 0.1 percent.

Dollar Index 3 Month Chart INO 81.50 [This Move has been brewing
for quite a while]


Euro versus the Dollar 3 Month Chart 1.3386

“Our business has faced macroeconomic and market-specific challenges,”
Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes said in the statement. “But we
have gained share and expanded margin.”


“The truth is that while the Espirito Santo Group looked solid, it had
feet of clay.”


read more

Commodity Markets at a Glance WSJ

Gold 3 month Chart INO 1282.85 [could fall towards 1250.00]


Gold for immediate delivery fell as much as 0.3 percent to $1,279.30
an ounce, the lowest level since June 19, and was at $1,283.85 at 2:20
p.m. in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal
declined 3.4 percent in July to post the biggest monthly loss this
year as the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index completed the largest advance
since May 2013.

Crude Oil 3 Month Chart INO 98.01 [lowest level in more than four months]


Emerging Markets

Frontier Markets

read more

Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine epicentres of Ebola on Thursday

Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency and called in troops to
quarantine epicentres of Ebola on Thursday, joining Liberia in
imposing tough controls to curb the worst ever outbreak of the virus
amid fears it could spread beyond West Africa.

Ebola has been blamed for 672 deaths in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra
Leone, according to the World Health Organization. It has also reached
Nigeria's biggest city Lagos, where authorities said on Friday a man
had died of the virus.

In a measure of rising international concern, Britain on Wednesday
held a government meeting on Ebola, which it said was a threat it
needed to respond to.

But international airlines association IATA said the WHO was not
recommending any travel restrictions or border closures due to the
outbreak, and there would be a low risk to other passengers if an
Ebola patient flew..

The outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever, for which there is no known
cure, began in the forests of remote eastern Guinea in February, but
Sierra Leone now has the highest number of cases.

Liberia shuts schools, considers quarantine to curb Ebola


read more

What does it mean to think about life as an epidemic? Why does thinking in terms of epidemics change the way we view the world? Malcolm Gladwell

Because epidemics behave in a very unusual and counterintuitive way.
Think, for a moment, about an epidemic of measles in a kindergarten
class. One child brings in the virus. It spreads to every other child
in the class in a matter of days. And then, within a week or so, it
completely dies out and none of the children will ever get measles
again. That’s typical behavior for epidemics: they can blow up and
then die out really quickly, and even the smallest change — like one
child with a virus — can get them started. My argument is that it is
also the way that change often happens in the rest of the world.
Things can happen all at once, and little changes can make a huge
difference. That’s a little bit counterintuitive. As human beings, we
always expect everyday change to happen slowly and steadily, and for
there to be some relationship between cause and effect. And when there
isn’t — when crime drops dramatically in New York for no apparent
reason, or when a movie made on a shoestring budget ends up making
hundreds of millions of dollars — we’re surprised. I’m saying, don’t
be surprised. This is the way social epidemics work.

read more

Ebola via @WHO

Key facts

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever,
is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West
Africa, near tropical rainforests.
The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in
the human population through human-to-human transmission.
Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural
host of the Ebola virus.
Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed
specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or

Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact
with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected
animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling
of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest
antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human
transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through
broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or
other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with
environments contaminated with such fluids. Burial ceremonies in which
mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can
also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Men who have recovered
from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for
up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness.

The Ebola Virus


The death toll from an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has risen to
729, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday, after 57 deaths
were reported between July 24 and 27 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and
Sierra Leone.


Doctors Without Borders has given warning that the Ebola crisis in
West Africa is "unprecedented, absolutely out of control"

read more

South Africa All Share Bloomberg +11.11% 2014

51,396.07 -374.52 -0.72%

Dollar versus Rand 6 Month Chart INO 10.7276


Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 7.1503


Egypt EGX30 Bloomberg +30.138% 2014 [Fresh more than 5 year highs]


8,826.28 +91.04 +1.04%

Nigeria All Share Bloomberg +1.858% 2014


42,097.49 -271.53 -0.64%

Nigeria has world’s deadliest insurgency (killing an average 24 people
per assault, versus two in Iraq), Maplecroft


Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg +7.226% 2014


2,300.35 +0.44 +0.02%

read more

Off the coast of Mozambique Eni found one of the biggest gas fields ever, enough to meet the demands of all of Italy for 30 years.

Mozambique Could Be the Next Qatar BY ALY KHAN SATCHU, 2 JUNE 2014


Addis Ababa Doubling in Size Gives Africa Another Hub


Planners predict the population of Addis Ababa and five satellite
towns will more than double by 2040 to 8.1 million, highlighting
United Nations estimates that Africa’s global share of urban dwellers
will double to 20 percent in the next 35 years. Planners envisage
developing an area 20 times the current boundaries of the city.
Ambitions for mass transport match the standard of central Paris,
ensuring every resident lives within 500 meters (0.3 miles) of a bus
or train ride to the center.

read more

Centum share price data here +55.371% 2014
Kenyan Economy

Par Value:                  0.50/-
Closing Price:           47.00
Total Shares Issued:          665441775.00
Market Capitalization:        31,275,763,425
EPS:             4.54
PE:                 10.352

Financial Results for the Year ended 31st March 2014

Full Year Investment Income 4.883b versus 3.906b +25.012%
Operating and Admin costs [0.796b] versus [0.520b] +53.076%
FY Finance Costs [0.469b] versus [0.401b]
FY Share of Associate Profits 0.393b versus 0.263b
FY Profit before Tax 4.011b versus 3.248b +23.491%
FY Profit after Tax 3.055b versus 2.509b +21.761%
Other Comprehensive Income 3.576b versus 1.092b
FY Earnings Per Share 4.54 versus 3.77 +20.42%
No Dividend

read more

Kenya Commercial Bank Announces Expansion Plan as Profit Climbs Businessweek @BW
Kenyan Economy

Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd., the East African nation’s second-biggest
lender by market value, announced an expansion plan that may include
opening branches in Somalia as it posted a 14 percent increase in
first-half profit.

The lender, based in Nairobi, is considering expanding into other
countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and
Zambia, Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara told reporters today in
the city. The bank already operates in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania,
South Sudan and Uganda, in addition to its home market.

“Our vision is to be in more than 10 African countries,” Oigara said.
“We want to have more than 5 million customers by the end of the year.
That means getting 2,000 customers daily. This is achievable.”

Kenyan lenders including Equity Bank Ltd., Co-Operative Bank of Kenya
Ltd. and NIC Bank Ltd. are expanding into the wider region to
capitalize on accelerating economic growth as competition among the
country’s 43 lenders increases. Countries including Uganda, Mozambique
and Tanzania are developing oil and gas finds, while Somalia is trying
to restore stability as African Union peacekeepers help combat a
seven-year insurgency by al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Kenyan banks have a “good understanding” of East African markets,
Aly-Khan Satchu, CEO of Nairobi-based Rich Management Ltd., an adviser
to companies and wealthy individuals, said in a phone interview.

“East Africa is seen as a growing market and there are opportunities
for oil and gas in particular,” he said. “Local banks are up close,
they are witnessing the growth story and thats why they are expanding
into the region.”

Kenya Commercial Bank posted net income of 8.1 billion shillings
($92.2 million) in the six months through June, compared with 7.1
billion shillings a year earlier, Oigara said. Net interest income,
the amount banks earn from interest charges on loans, increased 6
percent to 17.1 billion shillings, he said.

KCB, as the lender is known, is Kenya’s largest by outlets and units
outside the country. Its shares advanced 0.9 percent to a record 54.50
shillings by 11:35 a.m. in Nairobi, bringing gains this year to 14

read more

@KCBGroup Kenya Commercial Bank reported a 16% Acceleration H1 PBT 2014 here closed at 54.50 a Record High
Kenyan Economy

Par Value:                  1/-
Closing Price:           54.50
Total Shares Issued:          2984137017.00
Market Capitalization:        162,635,467,427
EPS:             4.82
PE:                 11.307

First Half Earnings through 30th June 2014

Loans and Advances Net to Customers 244.014013b versus 227.721781b
H1 Total Assets 439.700996b versus 370.911015b
H1 Profit before Tax 11.674049b versus 10.096422b +16%
H1 Profit after Tax 8.171834b versus 7.192232b

Kenya Commercial Bank 1st Half Earnings Release #KCBHYResults
@KCBGroup @HiltonNairobi @JoshuaOigara


It's a social media World @bobcollymore tweeting @JoshuaOigara at
#KCBHYResults @Kcbgroup @SafaricomLtd


read more

TPS Eastern Africa Ltd. (Serena) reports First Half Earnings here
Kenyan Economy

Par Value:                  1/-
Closing Price:           37.25
Total Shares Issued:          182174108.00
Market Capitalization:        6,785,985,523
EPS:             3.45
PE:                 10.797

First Half through 30th June 2014 versus 30th June 2013

First Half Sales 2.711993b versus 2.921193b
Profit before exchange loss, interest, depreciation and Taxation
335.441m versus 486.343m
First Half profit before Income Tax 58.247m versus 205.079m
First Half Profit after Tax 41.475m versus 141.077m
H1 Earnings Per Share 0.13 versus 0.69

Company Commentary

''a challenging business landscape in Kenya''
''Serena Tanzania and Serena Uganda recorded good performances during
the period under review''
Peak Season [July to October 2014] is at satisfactory levels
No Interim Dividend


Those results are better than I in fact expected. Serena is a
diversified Franchise - sure Coastal Tourism is soft and expected to
remain so but there is diversification and the business is worth a
great deal more than its current 6.785b valuation.

read more

The Serena The Star
Kenyan Economy

MY memories of the Serena start in Mombasa years back when the
managing director Mahmoud Jan Mohamed was the manager. I was then a
teenager and remember losing my heart to a girl, who would beat me at
table tennis, in a bikini. That table tennis Table is still there. The
Serena brand has always been sprinkled with a fairy dust and reminds
me of happy; joyful; carefree: halcyon days of youth. That brand
equity was appreciated last Thursday at the Grosvenor House where The
Serena Hotels won the “ Best Hospitality, Travel and Tourism in
Africa” award at the African Business Awards.

And now, Serena is clearly staking out a much more forward and
offensive position across the region and as you know by now, I sense
the Eastern sea board of Africa is at a tipping Point [The oil and gas
refers but just as important is the late cycle arrival of the
information century which is the entry ticket for Africa to join in
the c21st - That Arrival of the Information Century is very grass
roots because anyone with an Internet enabled mobile phone has an
entry ticket and therefore, I see the expansion of the brand as timely
and riding a rising tide. The brand is established. Its got breadth,
its not a ‘mom and pop’ operation. Sure, lots of folks are coming for
Serena’s lunch but their longevity, their ability to navigate has been
proven and their DNA make them a formidable competitor.

read more

Kenya Shilling versus The Dollar Live ForexPros 87.801
Kenyan Economy

Nairobi All Share Bloomberg +11.006% 2014


151.69 +0.12 +0.08%

Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg -0.406% 2014


4,906.09 +15.06 +0.31%

Every Listed Share can be interrogated here


read more

N.S.E Today

The Securities Exchange had been signalling that a period of treading
water and circumspection was coming to an end.
Today the Nairobi All Share rallied 0.9822% to close at 153.18.
The All Share is +12.096% in 2014 and within striking distance of an
all time closing High of 153.64 reached on the 2nd of July and 4 weeks
The Nairobi NSE20 ran 36.19 points and 0.7376% higher to close at
4942.28 and turn this index positive for the Year.
Equity Turnover picked up speed as Buyers looked for lines of stock
and clocked 812.022m.
I believe we have now embarked on the 2nd Leg of the Rally in 2014 and
todays price action is an important signifier.

N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

TPS Eastern Africa [Serena Hotels] remains the only Tourism Proxy at
the Securities Exchange and as such gives Investors an up close and
personal Look at the Industry via the release of its First Half
Earnings yesterday. First Half Sales whilst lower at 2.711993b [versus
2.921193b previously] was I thought more than respectable given the
backdrop. TPS Serena reported a sharply lower H1 PAT of 41.475m versus
141.077m last time. TPS Eastern Africa Ltd. (Serena) spoke to ''a
challenging business landscape in Kenya'' but signalled ''Serena
Tanzania and Serena Uganda recorded good performances during the
period under review'' Too often TPS Serena trades like a Coastal
Tourism Pure play in part because i think it is the only pure tourism
correlated equity at the Exchange.
Peak Season [July to October 2014] is at satisfactory levels. The MD
in a private briefing whilst recognising the challenges was on balance
and hedged with a number of caveats, constructive. TPS is a very cheap
share all things considered and including accounting for the near term
coastal soft patch. TPS Serena closed unchanged at 36.75 and traded

Safaricom rallied 2.049% to close at 12.45 and was trading 12.60
+3.28% session highs at the finale. Safaricom traded 6.180m shares
with Buyers outpacing Sellers by a Factor of 3 versus 1 at the Finish.
Safaricom rallied 21.198% start of the year through late April and to
a record High. Peak [13.15 in April] to Trough [11.95 on July 22nd]
represented a 9.125% correction. A Less than 10% correction is seen as
a bullish chart signal and pattern. The Correction was long drawn out
but ultimately shallow. The Bull Trend is very much intact and I
expect Fresh All Time Highs in due course.

ScanGroup rebounded 4.347% to close at 48.00 and traded 223,800 shares.

N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment

Kenya Commercial Bank was the most actively traded share at the
Securities Exchange and closed unchanged at a record High of 54.50 and
traded 6.045m shares worth 332.204m, the day after releasing First
Half 2014 Earnings. Kenya Commercial Bank grew Total Assets to
439.700996b from 370.911015b and accelerated Half year Profit before
Tax +16% to 11.674049b. I learnt from the CEO Joshua Oigara that KCB
is considering expanding into other countries including the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Zambia. The bank already operates in
Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda, in addition to its
home market.

"Our vision is to be in more than 10 African countries," Oigara said.
"We want to have more than 5 million customers by the end of the year.
That means getting 2,000 customers daily. This is achievable."

Joshua also spoke to being very keen to tap the international bond
markets in particular to leverage the Mortgage Book. Kenya Commercial
Bank is +15.34% in 2014 and at an all time High.

Equity Bank firmed 1.1% to close at 45.75 and traded 936,700 shares
worth 42.853m. Equity Bank has rallied 48.78% this year.
CFC Stanbic Bank traded 2nd at the Securities Exchange and closed
unchanged at 128.00 and traded 662,000 shares worth 84.746m. CFC
StanBic has rallied +47.126% this year and would in fact be higher but
that Foreign Investors are at the Limit and it is this fact that has
capped the share recently.

Centum rallied 1.6% to close at a fresh record closing high of 47.75
and traded 1.690m shares worth 80.718m.  Pre-opening, Centum
announced a ''Proposed acquisition of additional 66% shareholding in
K-Rep Bank Ltd''  and this quite rightly excited Buyers. Centum has
rallied +44.696% this year.

N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied

EABL rallied +2.39% to close at 299.00 and was locked at 300.00 +2.74%
for most of the session. EABL's parent Diageo reported FY Earnings
yesterday. Chief Executive Officer Diageo PLC Ivan Menezes said "Our
business has faced macroeconomic and market-specific challenges" "But
we have gained share and expanded margin." EABL will be reporting Full
Year Earnings imminently. I look for Fresh 2014 highs above 306.00 in
reasonably quick time.

BAT rebounded 4.62% to close at 680.00 and 6,500 shares were traded
and all at that price. I expect BAT to hurdle 700.00 as its dividend
paying policy attracts in a lower rate environment.

Transcentury traded 1.002m shares worth 24.32m and all at 24.25 +5.43%.

by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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August 2014

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