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Friday 15th of December 2017
 
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Macro Thoughts

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Nearly half of the atoms that make up our bodies may have formed beyond the milky way and travelled to the solar system on intergalactic winds driven by giant exploding stars.
Africa


I learnt last week that Nearly half of the atoms that make up our
bodies may have formed beyond the milky way and travelled to the solar
system on intergalactic winds driven by giant exploding stars.

“Science is very useful for finding our place in the universe,” said
Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, an astronomer at Northwestern University “In
some sense we are extragalactic visitors or immigrants in what we
think of as our galaxy.”

read more






Lake Elementaita is derived from the Masaai word muteita, meaning "dust place"
Africa


Elmenteita is derived from the Masaai word muteita, meaning "dust
place", a reference to the dry and dusty quality of the area,
especially between January and March. The town of Gilgil is located
near the lake. In the south-to-north sequence of Rift Valley lakes,
Elmenteita is located between Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. The major
Nairobi-Nakuru highway runs along the nearby escarpment affording
motorists a spectacular vista towards the lake.

At the southern end of the lake lie the "Kekopey" hot springs, in
which the Tilapia grahami breed. Very popular for bathing, the local
Maasai claim that it can cure AIDS. The reed beds nearby are fishing
grounds for night herons and pelicans.

The Lake Elmenteita area saw its first white settlement when Lord
Delamere (1879-1931) established Soysambu, a 48,000-acre (190 km2)
ranch, on the western side of the lake. Delamere gifted the land on
the other side of the lake to his brother-in-law, the Honorable
Galbraith Lowry Egerton Cole (1881-1929), part of whose "Kekopey
Ranch", where he is buried, is preserved today as the Lake Elementaita
Lodge.

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'Youthquake' named 2017 word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries @GuardianUS
Law & Politics


“Youthquake”, defined as “a significant cultural, political, or social
change arising from the actions or influence of young people”, has
been selected by Oxford Dictionaries as the 2017 word of the year.

The term saw a 401% increase in usage year-on-year as 2017 saw the
often-maligned millennial generation drive political change. The
publishers cited the UK and New Zealand general elections as examples
of young voters mobilising to support opposition parties.

Lexicographer Susie Dent said the 2017 shortlist showed that “there’s
not a lot of sunshine in the standout words this year. Words like
Antifa and kompromat speak to fractured times of mistrust and
frustration. In youthquake we finally found some hope in the power to
change things, and had a little bit of linguistic fun along the way.
It feels like the right note on which to end a difficult and divisive
year.”

read more


Youth turnout key in elections Jul. 31, 2017, 2:00 am By ALYKHAN SATCHU
Law & Politics


I learnt last week that Nearly half of the atoms that make up our
bodies may have formed beyond the milky way and travelled to the solar
system on intergalactic winds driven by giant exploding stars.

“Science is very useful for finding our place in the universe,” said
Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, an astronomer at Northwestern University “In
some sense we are extragalactic visitors or immigrants in what we
think of as our galaxy.”

Rumi said “We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like
dust.” I have digressed but the tangential point is that our politics
has been driven largely by a narrow ethnicity when we are all in fact
inter-galactic citizens.

The eighth of August now looms real close, and as it gets closer the
cacophony outside my window overlooking Waiyaki way gets louder and
louder. Most polls show this election as too close to call but
pollsters the world over have been getting it wrong from Brexit to
Trump. If you look at the United Kingdom, the youth vote slept in
during Brexit then woke up for the UK snap election and nearly carried
Jeremy Corbyn into 10 Downing Street. The newly enfranchised youth
vote is a big absolute number of first time voters, and is a very big
curve ball. Is this youth vote turned on? Will it turn out? And how
will it vote? My view is that this demographic actually has the
election in its hands. Will we see a youthquake and if so how does it
break?

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"The Riyadh 2 Communique is blackmail of the Geneva process," Ja'afari told reporters.
Law & Politics


“Those who drew up the Riyadh 2 statement were the ones who sabotaged
this round. I mean by that the other side. I mean the Saudis and the
Saudi handlers themselves who are the Western countries. They do not
want the Geneva process to succeed.”

“Nobody can exert pressure on us,” Ja‘afari told reporters.

”We have allies, we have friends, we have people on the ground
fighting with us. Therefore what the Special Envoy may mistakenly say
does not reflect our relationship with our allies.”

But Ja‘afari ruled that out while the opposition stuck to its Riyadh
statement, and dismissed a question about what he might say if he were
to meet the opposition face-to-face at a possible Syria meeting in
Sochi early in 2018, which Russia is trying to organise.

“We are politicians, we don’t work in science fiction,” he said.

Conclusions


Syria is a Fait Accompli. Riyadh has 0 leverage.

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MSF: More than 6,700 Rohingya killed in Myanmar @AJENews
Law & Politics


Conclusions

Well at least its being called out for what it is a Genocide.

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"It's as if life has stopped in its tracks," Mr. Stillhart said after his three-day visit to the area @nytimesworld
Law & Politics


Homes destroyed by fire observed along the road gave a clue to the
scale of the destruction, he said. “And then there is this pervasive
sense of absence,” he added.

About 300 Rohingya Muslims a day still cross the border from Rakhine
State to Bangladesh, international relief agencies report, swelling a
population of nearly 650,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled since
August. The refugees are cramming into squalid camps of improvised
shelters that lack basic sanitation.

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China builds up troop numbers close to Indian border flashpoint as soldiers prepare for first winter near Doklam via @SCMP_News
Law & Politics


China has started building up its military forces near the Doklam
plateau – the site of a protracted stand-off early this year, Indian
media has reported.

Analysts suggested the development would allow China to tighten its
control of its borders and prepare for any future problems in the
region.

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28-AUG-2017 :: China is also in Narendra Modi's face in the Doklam Plateau
Law & Politics


China is also in Narendra Modi’s face in the Doklam Plateau, which
sits at the tri-junction region of Bhutan, China and India. It’s as if
Xi Jinping is goading Narendra Modi, who would be seriously
ill-advised to take on the Chinaman in that remote plateau.

Conclusions

Xi Jinping has Narendra Modi surrounded from the Plateau to Gwadar to
the Hambantota Port.

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17-SEP-2012 "One of the defining bifurcations of the future will be the conflict between information masters and information victims."
Law & Politics


This information warfare will not be couched in the rationale of
geopolitics, the author suggests, but will be "spawned" - like any
Hollywood drama - out of raw emotions. "Hatred, jealousy, and greed -
emotions, rather than strategy - will set the terms of [information
warfare] struggles".

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Russia could cut off internet to Nato countries, British military chief warns
Law & Politics


Russia could pose a major threat to the UK and other Nato nations by
cutting underwater cables essential for international commerce and the
internet, the chief of the British defence staff, Sir Stuart Peach,
has warned.

Russian ships have been regularly spotted close to the Atlantic cables
that carry communications between the US and Europe and elsewhere
around the world.

Air Chief Marshall Peach, who in September was appointed chair of the
Nato military committee, said Russia had continued to develop
unconventional warfare. He added that threats such as those to
underwater cables meant the UK and its allies had to match the Russian
navy in terms of modernising its fleet.

“There is a new risk to our prosperity and way of life, to the cables
that crisscross our sea beds, disruption to which through cable-cuts
or destruction would immediately – and catastrophically – fracture
both international trade and the internet,” he said.

As well as conventional military involvement in Syria, Russia has been
accused of engaging in hybrid warfare, including cyberwarfare, aimed
at destabilising Nato.

Peach cited a battle in eastern Ukraine in 2014 that spooked Nato
planners. He said Russian artillery, working with drones, had wiped
out two brigades of the Ukrainian army within minutes.

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Netflix Inc.'s rising popularity provoked Walt Disney Co.'s Bob Iger to seize $52 billion of TV and film assets from its rival 21st Century Fox Inc @gadfly
International Trade


Disney agreed Thursday morning to pay Fox shareholders 0.2745 Disney
shares for each Fox share.  In return, it will gain the 20th Century
Fox and Fox Searchlight film studios, Fox's television production, FX
and National Geographic networks and Fox's regional sports networks,
along with valuable stakes in international assets such as pay-TV
provider Sky Plc and a bump to majority ownership of Hulu. This is
subject to regulatory approval, of course, which we know will be a
long road as the Justice Department fights AT&T Inc.'s effort to
consolidate power in the media and communications space with its Time
Warner Inc. takeover.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1785
Dollar Index 93.59
Japan Yen 112.19
Swiss Franc 0.9885
Pound 1.3440
Aussie 0.7674
India Rupee 64.115
South Korea Won 1088.01
Brazil Real 3.3418
Egypt Pound 17.8655
South Africa Rand 13.4979

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The region's median government debt level will probably exceed 50 percent of gross domestic product this year from 34 percent in 2013
Africa


The region’s median government debt level will probably exceed 50
percent of gross domestic product this year from 34 percent in 2013,
while the cost of servicing the liabilities will average almost 10
percent compared with half that four years ago, the International
Monetary Fund said. There are no investment-grade dollar-debt issuers
in sub-Saharan Africa after Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch
Ratings Ltd. cut Namibia to junk this year.

The region’s growth may average 2.6 percent this year, almost double
2016’s level but barely above population expansion, with delays in
making policy changes risking this, the IMF said in October.

“Rising debt levels present a major risk to progress in sub-Saharan
Africa, especially if there is another major shock in the global
commodity market and if African markets are still in a recovery stage
in the economic cycle,” Gaimin Nonyane, London-based economic-research
head at Ecobank Transnational Inc., said by email.

The number of sub-Saharan African countries in or at risk of debt
distress almost doubled to 12 over the past four years, while
Mozambique -- which defaulted this year -- is among those engaging
creditors to restructure debt. Gabon, Ghana and Zambia are most
susceptible to the risk of financing stress given large Eurobond
maturities in the next decade, according to Moody’s, which said
sub-Saharan Africa sovereign downgrades outnumbered upgrades 20 to two
since 2015.

“We don’t envisage a debt crisis, but it’s clearly a risk for a
handful of countries,” William Jackson, a London-based economist at
Capital Economics, said by phone.

With no long track record of repaying international bonds, it will be
a test for nations like Ghana, scheduled to make a principal payment
of $2.75 billion through 2026, Moody’s said in a report last month.
Gabon owes $2.2 billion by 2025, and Zambia $3 billion from 2022 to
2027.

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Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa calls for end to Western sanctions
Africa


“We call for the unconditional lifting of the political and economic
sanctions, which have crippled our national development,” Mnangagwa
told a meeting of the ZANU-PF central committee in downtown Harare.

“We realise that isolation is not splendid or viable as there is more
to gain through solidarity, mutually beneficial partnerships.”

The international community will be closely watching the next
elections in 2018, which Mnangagwa said would be free and fair and
would be held nearer than most people expect.

The vote is due at the end of July in 2018 but there is talk it can be
brought forward as early as March.

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African cities - time for urgent reform
Africa


Over the next 20 years the total number of city dwellers across Africa
will increase from around 400 million to more than 1.26 billion,
according to UN Habitat. Lagos, for example, has surged from five
million inhabitants in 1980 to around 20 million today – making it
already one of the world’s 10 mega-cities.

According to World Bank urban specialist Somik Lall, African cities
share three features that frustrate their development.

They are crowded “but not economically dense”. That means low
investment in infrastructure, business, and affordable housing. It’s
an urbanisation of people, not capital.

Asian cities have ploughed double the rate of investment into roads,
sewerage, policing, and healthcare than African countries have
achieved over the past four decades.

African cities are also disconnected. They are collections of small,
fragmented neighbourhoods poorly served by unreliable transportation.

New development expands the margins of the cities, but poor roads
makes commuting a test of resolve, reducing workers’ access to job
opportunities.

African cities are also costly, both for residents and businesses.
Lall argues this is a consequence of being inward-looking rather than
export-orientated.

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What is certain, therefore, is that the ruling party's conference will be a binary moment for South Africa's political and economic future
Africa


An era of inflows, fixed capital investment and a broad rally in asset
prices can be expected to follow a market-friendly outcome.

Like 23 years ago, when Nelson Mandela opened South Africa for
business, leading to two decades of over 3% average economic growth
rates, a positive outcome stands to once again make South Africa a
favoured destination for global investors.

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11-DEC-2017 :: This Man [Christo Wiese] with a Midas Touch #Steinhoff
Africa


As I scrambled to catch up with the story, I was amazed at how it was
being reported in South Africa, which proudly advances the idea that
it is the most liquid market in Africa. SABC News was reporting the
story from the Angle of black disempowerment, that Steinhoff did not
have sufficient BEE-correlated representation and this was the
fundamental flaw.
The JSE was arguing that the primary listing was in Frankfurt and
therefore the primary investigation was being led by the Europeans.
No-one seemed keen on establishing the facts and sizing the hole other
than opining on the share price collapse and Christo’s exponentially
reducing fortune.
This forensic intellectual cul-de-sac seemingly across vast swathes of
South African Media [Alishia Seckham of Business Day TV deserves a
shout-out for bucking this trend] was very curious and made me wonder
if the Zuptas linguistic onslaught over the years had not dumbed
things down big.
As I scanned the Internet for some serious beef and something I could
tuck into, I finally came across a report authored by the Viceroy
Research Group headlined ‘’Viceroy unearths Steinhoff’s skeletons –
off-balance sheet related party entities inflating earnings, obscuring
losses.
‘’ This is reflected by the fact that 85 per cent of Steinhoff’s EBIT
is not translated into free cash flows.
The above facts indicate that Steinhoff appear to be running a Ponzi
scheme, as these non-cash earnings are disguised through issuing fresh
equity. The report is worth reading in full.

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Legendary Stan Druckenmiller was short Steinhoff @Leopard1345
Africa


Legendary Stan Druckenmiller was short Steinhoff. "The ECB is keeping
zombie companies like Steinhoff alive" and "Half the Street knew" says
he. Thanks to @Leopard1345

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a little jewel of a game reserve that lies on South Africa's north western border, right up against Botswana. It's called Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Africa


Discovery: When most people think of a safari they think of Africa’s
vast savannahs, of Kenya’s Maasai Mara, of South Africa’s bushveld.
Far fewer know of a little jewel of a game reserve that lies on South
Africa’s north western border, right up against Botswana. It’s called
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and it was created by the late Stephen Boler
out of what were essentially arid, subsistence farms. I had been
entranced by its austere beauty when I first saw it some 25 years ago
alongside Boler. Out of the degraded land he had created a wonderful
game reserve. He reintroduced wildlife that had once belonged there,
most particularly the endangered desert black rhino, which love its
dry thorny bush, and the black-maned Kalahari lion. And then one sad
day he had a heart attack, and so in 1998 Nicky and Strilli
Oppenheimer took it on.

This year I saw it again for the first time since they bought it. What
a transformation. They stopped the hunting (Boler had kept a small
section aside for that purpose) and they’ve bought more land, which
gives it more biodiversity as well as the grand beauty of the
Korannaberg mountains.

Today it ranges over 110,000 hectares, the largest private game
reserve in South Africa. The Oppenheimers see it as primarily a
conservation project, the aim being to “restore the Kalahari to
itself”, with some (very upscale) tourism thrown in to help it on its
way. Here there are never more than 30 tourists roaming its landscape
at any one time. Tswalu is way off the usual tourist routes but it is
worth taking the path less travelled, for here is a much less
conventional grandeur, an utterly different landscape, more remote,
more wild, as well as animals that are hard to see elsewhere (roan,
sable, the desert black rhino and the black-maned Kalahari lion).
Stephen Boler would be proud.

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Sweet secrets in the Horn of Africa
Africa

A new DIIS Working Paper entitled ‘Sweet secrets: sugar smuggling and
state formation in the Kenya-Somalia borderlands’ explores the role of
Somali militants and the Kenyan army, bureaucrats, politicians,
businessmen and truck drivers in the lucrative but dangerous smuggling
of sugar between Somalia and Kenya. Jacob Rasmussen, an anthropologist
and Associate Professor at Roskilde University, highlights the many
vested interests in sugar smuggling in northern Kenya. Sugar smuggling
is a ‘sweet secret’ that is publicly known in Kenya, but cannot openly
be talked about. It is part of illicit trade networks that not only
span the Horn of Africa region, but go hand in hand with state
formation dynamics in Kenya. 

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More Africans have electricity, but they are using less of it @TheEconomist
Africa


TOURISTS have long been drawn to Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya by
its steep cliffs, plentiful zebras and spectacular canyons. Recently
there is a new attraction; a spa set amid the cliffs, with a huge pool
heated by the energy stored in the Earth’s crust. Curiously, it is not
run by a tourist company, but by KenGen, the national electricity
generator. It abuts the Olkaria geothermal power plants, from which
plumes of steam pour into the sky. Since 1982 four power stations have
opened here; a fifth is being built and work on a sixth will begin
soon. Energy harvested from volcanic heat now provides almost half the
power Kenya needs.

Electrification has been one of the country’s great successes over the
past few decades. It is not just new generators; the number of people
connected to the power network has also soared. According to the Kenya
Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), nearly three-quarters of Kenyans
are now connected, up from barely a quarter in 2013. The trend in many
African countries has been in the same direction. According to the
World Bank, the proportion of Africans with access to electricity
increased from 19% in 1991 to 37% in 2014.

Yet this achievement is not quite as impressive as it sounds. More
people than ever may be connected to electricity, but they are not
using it much. In 2014 each African consumed, on average, just 483
kilowatt hours (kWh). That is less than in the 1980s. Americans, for
comparison, used almost 13,000kWh each. In Kenya electricity use per
person rose by just 10% between 2010 and 2014, even as the number of
people connected more than doubled.

The weakness of demand is, on the face of it, somewhat puzzling.
Sub-Saharan Africa, with a billion people, generates less electricity
than South Korea. Nigeria, the region’s most populous country,
produces less than half as much as Romania despite having almost ten
times more people. This had long been assumed to be because of weak
supply. All over Africa, rich residents of big cities keep generators
fuelled with diesel and large firms build their own power stations
alongside new factories. A lack of electricity is widely thought to be
one of the main obstacles to economic growth.

Yet producing more power does little if people are unwilling or unable
to pay for it. Earlier this year officials at KPLC said that almost 1m
customers who are connected to the grid have bought no power at all.

Worldwide, power consumption is strongly correlated to GDP, but in
Africa most countries use less power than their incomes would predict.
That is largely because Africa has so little manufacturing and heavy
industry. If electrification programmes continue to focus on rural
areas, utilities may be too cash-strapped to maintain the grid where
it really matters: in cities and industrial regions where investors
are building factories. Without industrialisation and good jobs, few
Africans will be able to afford much more electricity. That is real
powerlessness.

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Today has been a happy day to see the smiles on the faces of our staff and customers as we restock our shelves @Uchumi_COO
Kenyan Economy


Today has been a happy day to see the smiles on the faces of our staff
and customers as we restock our shelves. Now we ask our customers to
vote with their feet and shop at our newly stocked stores.

read more


Uchumi Kenya share price data here
Kenyan Economy


This news encouraged an +8.571% rebound in the price which closed at
3.80 and traded 91,600 shares. There were Buyers for 8x the volume
traded.

read more


Uchumi targets Sh3bn land sale to boost comeback
Kenyan Economy


Retail chain Uchumi is betting on the sale of its prime land in
Nairobi’s Kasarani to fuel a comeback bid that started yesterday in
earnest with the restocking of its stores countrywide.

Andrew Dixon, the company’s chief operating officer (COO), said that
the land, which is now valued at Sh3 billion, had attracted very
competitive bids that should come through in due course.

“We have a willing buyer and we are closing in on the Sh3 billion land
deal, hoping it will help us bounce back,” Mr Dixon said.

Proceeds from the land sale will be used to settle part of the retail
chain’s huge debts, including money owed to suppliers and landlords.

“We hope to settle our liabilities and use the money to refurbish some
of our stores in order to improve the retail environment,” said Mr
Dixon during the restocking of Uchumi’s Capital Centre branch in
Nairobi.

read more




Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg +16.33% 2017
Kenyan Economy


3,706.37 -4.46 -0.12%

Every Listed Share can be interrogated here

http://www.rich.co.ke/rcdata/nsestocks.php

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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December 2017
 
 
 
 
 
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