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Prompt Board Next day settlement
Expert Board All you need re an Individual stock.
The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site
17-JUL-2017 Here comes Ma Yun aka Jack Ma founder of Alibaba and Tai Chi Master
My Dollar's worth is this. Jack, Africa is just as blank as a canvas
as the Internet was the day you typed in ''beer'' [by the way, the
first thing that most people do when they access the internet is type
in their name]. Africa is at a similar inflexion point. Come and
Paint big! For centuries, everyone has looked at Africa for what can
be dug out of the ground but the real economic value is in the human
capital that walks on the ground. Alibaba was all about unleashing
e-commerce amongst as many People as possible. Come unleash our most
valuable resource our human capital. Finally Africa is even younger
than the average age of your Employees.
Just imagine if Jack can ''open sesame'' and Alibaba Kenya and Africa!
If anyone can, You Jack Ma can.
Welcome to Nairobi Jack.
BOOK REVIEW / Of earthly delights: 'Paradise' - Abdulrazak Gurnah
IN Muslim east Africa in the early years of this century, a boy who
dreams strange dreams is taken to work for his 'uncle', a prosperous
merchant on the coast. One of the first things he learns is that the
merchant is not his uncle: Yusuf has been sold into bondage to pay his
father's debt. It is the beginning of a harsh apprenticeship to life,
tempered by haphazard kindness and glimpses of beauty. Unasked, just
for the love of it, Yusuf tends his master's garden, hidden behind
high walls and watered by four streams.
Both the garden and the great world outside it are equally mysterious.
The world is a dazzling but dangerous place civilised only by
religion; savagery lurks below the surface and in the interior of the
country, where the pagan peoples live. Tales are told of what lies
beyond the known world: seas that freeze, a wall built by the giants
Gog and Magog, the earthly paradise with its
gate of fire. From time to time ferocious and demanding alien figures
move across this brilliant, part-real and part-imagined backcloth.
They are want everything and seem incomprehensible. They are known as
When he is 17, Yusuf accompanies his master on an ambitious trading
venture into the interior. The journey, an act of hubris, assumes epic
proportions as sickness, wild animals and predatory local rulers take
their toll. Yet as they reach what will be the scene of the
expedition's disaster, Yusuf, the dreamer, glimpses the fiery walls
and turbulent waters that are said to guard paradise. Or perhaps
paradise is the garden he has tended? As he returns to that garden,
and his master's house, he learns their unhappy secret. It contains a
threat to him, but it frees him to make a desperate choice in a
direction for which the book has subtly prepared us.
"Some crimes were considered not worth wasting bullets on." North Korea Reuters
Law & Politics
North Korea carries out public executions on river banks and at school
grounds and marketplaces for charges such as stealing copper from
factory machines, distributing media from South Korea and
prostitution, a report issued on Wednesday said.
The report, by a Seoul-based non-government group, said the often
extra-judicial decisions for public executions are frequently
influenced by "bad" family background or a government campaign to
discourage certain behavior.
'Miscalculated' Qatar blockade has backfired, says former UK Middle East chief
Law & Politics
The Saudi-led Qatar blockade was a miscalculated move that lacked
strategy and backfired, the former the head of Britain's Foreign
Office Middle East desk said.
The decision to impose an all-out blockade and sanctions on the tiny
Gulf emirate backfired, Sir William Patey said, noting instead of the
intended regime change, the blockade had in fact boosted the emir's
support across the country.
“This has all the hallmarks of a policy that has not been thought
through. It does not smack of a considered strategy,” Patey said at
roundtable discussion in London organised by the Conservative Middle
East Council on Saturday.
“It is not a smart move even if you are sympathetic to their vision.
It is a short cut to achieve something quickly and I think they
miscalculated and I think they did think that with Trump behind them,
Qatar would back down.
"They raised these stakes because they thought Qatar would back down
in the end, so I think they were a bit surprised," he said, noting
"the Qataris are rallying round their leadership".
Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, imposed a boycott
on Qatar since June 5.
They have imposed sanctions on Doha, including closing its only land
border, refusing Qatar access to their airspace and ordering their
citizens back from Qatar.
The alliance issued a 13-point ultimatum to Qatar last month, which
included demands to close a Turkish military base, shuttering
al-Jazeera media network, and ending relations with Iran.
Qatar called the demands "unreasonable" and said it infringed on its
But Patey, who also served as the former British ambassador to Saudi
Arabia, said the motive surrounding the dispute was not Qatar's
alleged funding to terrorism, but a region-wide political vision.
“This is about the Muslim Brotherhood. It is a battle for the future
of the Middle East,” he said.
23 MAY 16 :: Qatar Punching Beyond its Size, @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics
The ubiquity of al Jazeera (after a period when it was caught in
Donald Rumsfeld’s cross-hairs) gave the state outsize soft power
across the Middle East and beyond. Today, Qatar is a big player in the
region punching far beyond its absolute size (estimates are that there
are fewer than 300,000 Qatari citizens) both in terms of hard and soft
power. In a geopolitical context, Qatar played a big role in toppling
Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and its influence can be seen similarly in
the move to remove President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. In foreign
policy terms, Qatar has packed a big punch beyond merely hosting the
US military at al Udeid air base.
15 AUG 11 :: 'Soft Power Qatar and Al-Jazeera'
Law & Politics
What I want to look at is Aljazeera and how it is a preeminent example
of soft power in this 21st century of ours. Soft power is the ability
to obtain what one wants through co-option and attraction. It can be
contrasted with ‘hard power’, that is the use of coercion and payment.
Soft power can be wielded not just by states, but by all actors in
interna- tional politics, such as NGOs or international institutions.
The idea of attraction as a form of power dates back to ancient
Chinese philosophers such as Lao Tzu in the 7th century BC. “Water is
fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is
rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and
yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another
paradox: what is soft is strong.” Lao
Tzu. This idea was further developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard
University in his 2004 book, Soft Power: The means to success in world
politics and I happen to believe that Emir of Qatar is Nye and Lao
Tzu’s very best student.
China's railway diplomacy hits the buffers FT
Law & Politics
When Li Keqiang, China’s premier, took 16 European leaders on a
high-speed train ride in 2015, the trip revealed more than an
enthusiasm for rolling stock. It was also Beijing’s big sell for an
engineering technology that it hoped would spearhead the launch of a
grand geo-strategic ambition.
China’s ability to build high-speed railways more cheaply than its
competitors gave the technology a central place in “One Belt, One
Road”, Beijing’s ambitious scheme to win diplomatic allies and open
markets across more than 65 countries between Asia and Europe by
funding and building infrastructure.
Mr Li left his central and eastern European guests in no doubt of the
link between smooth diplomatic relations and securing Chinese
infrastructure. As their train hit 300km/h on the journey from Suzhou
to Shanghai, he told them that Beijing was ready to “share” its rail
technology since ties with the region were “like a train . . . that is
not only fast, but also comfortable and safe”, according to an
official account. He predicted that railway technology would become
China’s “golden business card”.
But less than two years after these hopeful words were uttered, a
Financial Times investigation has found that China’s high-speed rail
ambitions are running off the tracks. Far from blazing a trail for One
Belt, One Road, several of the projects have been abandoned or
postponed. Such failed schemes, and some that are under way, have
stoked suspicion, public animosity and mountains of debt in countries
that Beijing had hoped to woo.
“In the early days of OBOR, China put a lot of emphasis on high-speed
rail and mentioned it at almost every overseas state visit,
advertising it as a strategic export along with nuclear power,” says
Agatha Kratz, an expert on high-speed rail at the European Council on
Foreign Relations, a think-tank. “But the effectiveness of high-speed
rail diplomacy is actually very low, which is something that Chinese
leaders are realising.”
Xi Jinping, China’s president, has called One Belt, One Road his
“project of the century”, yet the tribulations that Chinese high-speed
rail projects have encountered overseas may suggest a challenge to the
intellectual foundations of that vision. So different is China with
its huge population, authoritarian system and ample debt capacity that
what works in the People’s Republic may be quite unsuited to many of
the countries it is trying to court.
In terms of scale, the rail push ranks as one of the biggest
infrastructure undertakings in history. The total estimated value of
18 Chinese overseas high-speed rail schemes — including one completed
(the Ankara-Istanbul service), five under way and 12 more announced —
amounts to $143bn, according to a study by the Center for Strategic
and International Studies, a Washington-based think-tank, and the
Financial Times. To put this number in context, the US-led Marshall
Plan, which helped revive Europe after the second world war, was
completed with $13bn in American donations, a sum equivalent to $130bn
The size of China’s grand design has made its many shortcomings all
the more eye-catching. The combined value of cancelled projects in
Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, the US and Venezuela is $47.5bn, according to
This is almost double the $24.9bn total value of the five projects
under way in Laos, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran, where two lines are
under construction, according to CSIS estimates.
In the case of Venezuela, a project once touted by the late president
Hugo Chávez as bringing “socialism on rails” to the Latin American
nation, has become what locals call a “red elephant” — a dilapidated
and vandalised line of stations and tracks.
“China is hitting an implementation wall in its efforts to promote
high-speed rail abroad,” Ms Kratz says.
The problems have been compounded by broader suspicions over Chinese
investment, according to Xue Gong, an analyst at the S Rajaratnam
School of International Studies in Singapore. She says Chinese
state-owned companies, built on backroom deals with government
officials, are not used to the levels of political unpredictability
and scrutiny encountered in Indonesia. “To what extent are they open
to the public in a country where public opinion may influence the fate
of the investment?” she asks.
In Europe, the high-speed rail technology that Mr Li lionised during
his 2015 train ride has hit administrative buffers. Far from bearing
out the premier’s prediction that it would showcase China’s
“advantageous production capacity, advanced technology and high
cost-performance”, the inaugural Chinese high-speed rail project in
Europe has stoked official suspicion.
The European Commission has launched an investigation into the 350km
line slated to run between Serbia’s capital Belgrade and Budapest in
Hungary, European officials say. It will assess the financial
viability of the $2.89bn railway and look at whether it has violated
EU laws stipulating that public tenders must be offered for large
transport projects, the officials add.
The investigation’s findings are not available, but any administrative
setback for the Serbia-Hungary line would resonate beyond the
initiative itself. The project was touted as evidence of the benefits
that broad diplomatic engagement with China can bring.
Bitcoin Jumps After First Solution to Major Ideological Divide
Bitcoin reversed steep losses as miners began using new software which
aims to bridge an ideological gap that has threatened to divide the
Bitcoin’s community has been at bitter odds for more than two years
about how to solve its scaling problem, which has hampered the
cryptocurrency’s growth and allowed rivals like ethereum to steal some
of the spotlight.
The new software, known as SegWit2x, is seen as a compromise for the
two sides of the debate: miners who deploy costly computers to verify
transactions and act as the backbone of the blockchain, and developers
known as Core who uphold bitcoin’s bug-free software. While both sides
have incentives to reach a consensus, bitcoin’s lack of central
authority has made reaching agreement difficult.
The price of bitcoin rose to as high as $2,356 before trading at
$2,348 as of 2:22 p.m. in New York. The digital currency slumped to as
low as $1,758 over the weekend on Coinbase’s exchange. Bitcoin, which
has more than doubled this year, climbed to just shy of $3,000 on June
Congo cbank announces penalties for miners that fail to repatriate revenue
Democratic Republic of Congo's central bank has announced stiff new
financial penalties for companies that fail to repatriate at least 40
percent of their revenues from mineral exports, a decree seen by
Reuters on Tuesday showed.
Congo, Africa's top copper producer, has been hit hard by low
commodity prices over the last two years and is seeking emergency
financial support from international donors to contain inflation
expected to top 30 percent this year.
The decree, signed by central bank governor Deogratias Mutombo,
imposes a penalty of 1 percent of the non-repatriated sum for each day
that it is not repatriated. It also decrees a fine of up to 200
million Congolese francs ($125,000) for failure to communicate to the
central bank details of a foreign bank account.
Exclusive: Murdered U.N. experts talked travel with Congo militia family - report Reuters
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Two United Nations sanctions monitors in
Democratic Republic of Congo discussed their travel plans with family
representatives of a late militia leader the day before they were
murdered while investigating the group, according to a confidential
report seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
American Michael Sharp, coordinator of the independent monitoring
group, and Swede Zaida Catalan were killed in central Congo on March
12 while carrying out investigations for the annual report to the U.N.
Security Council, dated June 30.
The remaining members of the monitoring group wrote that they had
retrieved an audio tape, dated March 11, of Sharp and Catalan speaking
with representatives of the family of the late Kamuina Nsapu militia
leader Jean-Pierre Mpandi, who they said was killed by Congolese
troops last August. This is the first time the existence of this tape
has been reported.
"Parts of the discussion concerned a field visit scheduled for the
following day," they wrote in the 35-page report. "The tape confirmed
that the investigation aimed at a better understanding of Kamuina
Nsapu's structure, its support networks and the potential recruitment
and use of children."
On March 12, Sharp and Catalan left the provincial capital of Kananga
to travel toward Bunkonde. At about 4 p.m. they "were executed by a
heteroclite group of individuals not yet identified," wrote the
monitors, who said they did not yet have the enough evidence to lay
blame for the killings.
"However, the available evidence does not preclude the involvement of
different actors, such as (pro or anti-government) Kamuina Nsapu
factions, other armed groups, as well as members of state security
services," said the report.
Speculators against Kenya's shilling in the run-up to national elections should "chill" @CBKKENYA @NjorogeP
Speculators against Kenya's shilling in the run-up to national
elections should "chill", and a fall in its foreign exchange reserves
is no cause for alarm, the head of its central bank said on Tuesday.
The bank's hard currency reserves dropped to $7.80 billion - or 5.2
months of imports - last week, and traders said the central bank had
sold dollars in the market at least twice since Thursday to support
the local currency.
"We believe that our (reserves) cover is adequate," Njoroge said,
adding that some of the recent pressure on the shilling was due to
bets on the outcome of the election, which takes place on Aug. 8.
"There is a lot of speculation out there... and frankly some of those
speculators need to chill," he told a news conference at the central
He said he expected annual inflation to drop into the government's
preferred band of 2.5-7.5 percent within two months as food prices
continued to fall.
Headline inflation raced to a five-year high of 11.7 percent in May
following a drought, but it fell to 9.21 percent last month after
rains boosted supplies.
"We expect (inflation) to breach 7.5 (percent) within this quarter,"
the central bank head said.
He linked the fall in currency reserves to government payments of just
over half a billion dollars that were included in the budget.
Njoroge said concerns about the recent closures of at least 10 bank
branches by Barclays Kenya and other lenders was "overblown," saying
technological innovations such as mobile phone banking were reducing
the need for physical branches.
"We cannot just be stuck on brick and mortar," he said.
The Charts That Show Kenya's Economy After Four Years of Jubilee
In less than a month, Kenya’s Jubilee party will bid for a second term
in office after ruling East Africa’s biggest economy since 2013.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a renewed mandate to see off a
challenge from former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Jubilee has
promised to boost investment in public infrastructure and technology
to transform Kenya into a middle-income nation, and the five-party
opposition coalition pledged possible tax cuts to woo foreign capital.
Whoever wins the Aug. 8 vote will take charge of an
agriculture-dependent country that avoided much of the recent downturn
that caused the continent’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South
Africa, to contract. They will also face the challenge of ballooning
debt, inflation exceeding its target band and shrinking exports.
Kenya’s government debt has surged to more than 50 percent of gross
domestic product from less than 40 percent eight years ago as the
government borrowed to plug a budget deficit that widened to a revised
estimate of 10.2 percent of GDP in 2016-17. Half of the debt is owed
to external creditors. While the Treasury forecast the shortfall may
narrow to between 6 percent and 6.5 percent this fiscal year, the
nation must monitor its debt sustainability, according to the
International Monetary Fund.
“It’s important they return to fiscal consolidation as that will
reduce pressure on rates on domestic financial markets,” Armando
Morales, the lender’s resident representative in Kenya, said in a July
10 phone interview.
Kenya’s farming industry contributes about 30 percent of gross
domestic product and that has helped the economy to avoid much of the
fallout of the drop in global mineral and oil prices since 2014.
However, the worst drought in three decades has curbed agriculture
output and is weighing on economic growth. Kenya’s GDP expanded at the
slowest pace in three years in the first quarter after agriculture
contracted for the first time since 2009.
"We will use @SafaricomLtd to enter other markets where neither @Vodacom nor Safaricom are" CEO Shamble Joosub
Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company
Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the
fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed about 891 billion
shillings ($8.5 billion) in the three months through March, or more
than 75 percent of Kenya’s total, according to the country’s
telecommunications regulator. Entering markets through its financial
services platform will allow Vodacom to access countries without
having to purchase a voice license, Joosub said.
Mobile-payments are popular in countries with limited banking
infrastructure, which includes much of sub-Saharan Africa outside of
South Africa, Vodacom’s biggest market. The company plans to compete
with the mobile-money services of Millicom International Cellular SA,
Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Orange SA, Joosub said.