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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 28th of May 2018

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The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site

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The 10 Best Global Road Trips to Try This Summer

So I’m dreaming about the best summer road trips I’ve ever taken

The U.S. Pacific Northwest Coast.
Start: San Francisco
End: Portland, Ore.
Fantasy car: Audi A3 Sportback
Mileage: 718 miles
We all know Highway 1 from Los Angeles to Big Sur is a must-do,
bucket-list drive.

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January 7th 2013 On The Road Nairobi Mombasa The Nairobi-Mombasa road arrows 'into immensities and is 'impossible-to- believe.'

It retains a near mystical hold on my imagination and connects me to
my childhood and beyond.

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Jack Kerouac, On the Road

“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going 'till we get there.'
'Where we going, man?'
'I don't know but we gotta go.”

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"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road" - Jack Kerouac @lewa_wildlife @SirikoiLodge

“I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East
of my youth and the West of my future.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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U.S. Navy Warships Sail Near Contested South China Sea Islands
Law & Politics

The two vessels sailed close to the Paracel Islands on Sunday — a move
likely to anger Beijing.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. Navy warships sailed near South China
Sea islands claimed by China on Sunday, two U.S. officials told
Reuters, in a move likely to anger Beijing as President Donald Trump
seeks its continued cooperation on North Korea.

The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees
as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic

Critics of the operations, known as a “freedom of navigation,” have
said that they have little impact on Chinese behavior and are largely

The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are
carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by
allies, and that they are separate from political considerations.

Satellite photographs taken on May 12 showed China appeared to have
deployed truck-mounted surface-to-air missiles or anti-ship cruise
missiles at Woody Island.

Earlier this month, China’s air force landed bombers on disputed
islands and reefs in the SouthChina Sea as part of a training exercise
in the region, triggering concern from Vietnam and the Philippines.


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Iran diary: bracing for all-out economic war @asiatimesonline
Law & Politics

The minute you set foot in the streets of Mashhad, the air smelling of
saffron, a fine breeze oozing from the mountains, it hits you; you’re
in the heart of the Ancient Silk Road and the New Belt and Road
Initiative (BRI).

To the east, the Afghan border is only three hours away on an
excellent highway. To the north, the Turkmenistan border is less than
four hours away. To the northwest is the Caspian Sea. To the south is
the Indian Ocean and the port of Chabahar, the entry point for the
Indian version of the Silk Roads. The Tehran-Mashhad railway is being
built by the Chinese.

A group of us – including American friends, whose visas were approved
at the highest levels of the Iranian government – have gathered in
Mashhad for the New Horizon Conference of independent thinkers. Right
after a storm, I’m in a van on the way to the spectacular Imam Reza
shrine with Alexander Dugin, which the usual suspects love to describe
as “the world’s most dangerous philosopher,” or Putin’s Rasputin.

We’re deep in debate not over geopolitics but … bossa nova. Exit Sun
Tzu and Machiavelli, enter Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto.

Persia traditionally has been a land of serious intellectual
discussion. At the conference, after a lunch break, a few of us decide
to start our own geopolitical debate, no cameras rolling, no
microphones on. Dugin expands on what multipolarity could be; no
universality; pluriversal; a realm of pluralistic anthropology; all
poles sovereign. We discuss the pitfalls of Eurasian identity, Islamic
identity, sub-poles, India, Europe and Africa.

Even before the proclamation of the “strongest sanctions in history,”
everyone wants details on the US Treasury’s new form of financial war,
even more deadly than a hot war. In slightly more than two months, the
purchase of US dollars, steel, coal and precious metals will be
banned; there will be no more Iranian imports to the US and aviation
and the car industry will be under sanctions.

Airbus may have to cancel multi-billion dollar orders from Iran. An IT
professor tells me Iran can buy excellent Sukhoi passenger jets
instead. No Peugeots? “We buy Hyundai.”

My interlocutors update me on investments by Total, Airbus, BASF,
Siemens, Eni – its branch Saipem signed a $5 billion deal with the
National Iranian Oil Company, NIOC, to develop oil and gas fields and
ultimately supply energy to Europe. They confirm that if Total pulls
out of the development of the 11th phase of the South Pars gas field,
the Chinese CNPC will take over.

Almost 70% of Iran’s oil exports go to China and Asia, 20% go to
Europe. Almost 90% of what the EU buys from Iran is oil, going mostly
to Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Germany and the Netherlands. Iran
remains THE Big Prize, as Dick Cheney well knew; an astonishing $45
trillion in oil and gas reserves.

Under the new rial devaluation, the median regional salary plunged to
about US$250 per month. One cannot rent a 40 square meter apartment
near Azad University for less than $200 per month.

I stop for a late night pizza in Mashhad. The bill reads a whopping
200,000 rials; that’s a little more than $3. The euro in the black
market spikes to nearly 80,000 rials.

Washington but actually on the ground, it’s clear that NSC Adviser
John Bolton’s plan to revive the Mujahedin-e Khalq, known as MEK, to
attempt a color revolution will fail miserably. MEK is universally
despised. The whole of Iranian society won’t blame either Khamenei or
Rouhani for the incoming economic war.

Meanwhile, a Chinese train is snaking along from Mongolia to Tehran
carrying sunflower seeds. While the dogs of war bark, the Ancient –
and New – Silk Road goes on forever.

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28-OCT-2013 @BarackObama and @HassanRouhani The Two Husseins
Law & Politics

THE recent rapprochement between President Barack Obama and Iran’s
Hassan Rouhani has certainly snapped a losing sequence in US-Iran
relations that goes all the way back to the Iranian revolution in 1979
when Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of
Iran. The Shah was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi
and otherwise known as the peacock throne. Hussein [Barack Hussein
Obama] and Hassan [Rouhani] share the same name as did Prophet
Muhammed’s revered grandsons. Those who pursue the study of
anthroponymy [personal names] especially in the Islamic World probably
view this as very fortuitous.

I was wandering around the Hirshhorn Gallery in Washington last year
and I came across this from the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei:

What’s in a name?

A name is the first and final marker of individual rights, one fixed
part of the ever-changing human world. A name is the most basic
characteristic of our human rights: No matter how poor or how rich,
all living people have a name, and it is endowed with good wishes, the
expectant blessings of kindness and virtue.

Hussein and Hassan are going to cut through a great deal of
interference. In this situation, there are powerful vested interests
fully invested in the status quo. If the pax Americana in the Middle
East were a three legged stool with the US the most important leg,
then Israel and Saudi Arabia are the other two legs of that stool.
Neither Riyadh nor Tel Aviv are aligned with President Obama’s Iranian
rapprochement and Saudi Arabia in particular has become increasingly
forthright and is even threatening its own pivot and away from the US.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Dollar Index 93.94
Japan Yen 109.42
Swiss Franc 0.9920
Pound 1.3300
Aussie 0.7570
India Rupee 67.415
South Korea Won 1073.90
Brazil Real 3.6517
Egypt Pound 17.9200
South Africa Rand 12.4575

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Netflix versus Disney @charliebilello
World Currencies

Netflix net income: $671 million
Disney net income: $11.5 billion

Netflix market cap: $152.7 billion
Disney market cap: $152.3 billion

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Army looms over Emmerson Mnangagwa's 'free' Zimbabwe @thesundaytimes

When Fadzayi Mahere organised a football tournament for young people
last autumn in the Harare constituency she is contesting, riot police
broke it up. She was arrested and held for eight hours.

Two weeks ago, the 32-year-old Cambridge-educated lawyer held a large
gathering, with free medical and legal advice and a DJ. Drinks and
biscuits were handed out by campaigners in yellow T-shirts proclaiming
“Be the Change”.

“We opposition can openly campaign in a way we never could before,”
she said. “But that’s not enough — you can’t give basic normal
freedoms and call that real change.”

Six months after tanks came onto the streets of Harare, bringing 37
years of rule by Robert Mugabe to an unexpected end, Zimbabweans are
still trying to work out whether it is real change or more of the same
only with more generals.

Some differences are undeniable. Police roadblocks, which made life a
misery with their incessant demands for money, are nowhere to be seen
— though the flipside is some manic driving on potholed highways.

For the first time in 18 years reporting from Zimbabwe, I was able to
wander around openly with a notebook, and people spoke to me without
fear. Turn on the radio and you will hear the government criticised.
But state TV and The Herald newspaper remain mouthpieces for the
ruling party, with headlines such as “Zanu-PF manifesto gets thumbs

The new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, was Mugabe’s right-hand man
for decades and is believed to have been involved in some of the most
heinous acts of that regime, such as the Matabeleland massacres of the
1980s in which as many as 20,000 people were slaughtered.

He heads the oldest cabinet in Zimbabwe’s history and retains some of
Mugabe’s most notorious stalwarts including his long-time spokesman
George Charamba. The former army chief is vice-president and the
former air force commander is land minister. “It’s the same old bus,
just a new driver,” shrugged Gift Phiri, news editor of the Daily

Others fear it may be worse. “The reality is we’re being run by a
military junta with a thin civilian veneer,” said David Coltart, a
senator from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). “All
they’ve done is exchange Mugabe for Mnangagwa.”

Women feel particularly aggrieved. Only three of Mnangagwa’s 22-member
cabinet are women, as were just a tenth of Zanu-PF’s candidates in the
elections. Men dominate posters for both the main political parties,
and the MDC has sacked its female deputy leader.

“There’s no place in traditional politics for a young woman and a
fresh face,” says Mahere, who is running as an independent. “It’s all
about patronage and jobs for the boys. And they are failing to deal
with the problems.”

Mnangagwa has been travelling the world saying, “Zimbabwe is now open
for business,” wearing his colourful new trademark scarf and calling
himself ED, his first initials, as if he were someone different. The
aim is the removal of sanctions and the return of foreign investment.
His government requested readmission to the Commonwealth last week.

One of his biggest cheerleaders is the British ambassador, Catriona
Laing, who describes him as a pragmatist. Mnangagwa told a rally last
weekend that Britain had agreed a $100m (£75m) loan for banks. The
embassy quickly tweeted that the money was for the private sector.
Even so, it is the first direct commercial loan to Zimbabwe from the
UK in more than two decades.

While ministers try to claim Zimbabwe is so advanced that it is the
world’s first cashless economy, the reality is that it has run out of
money. Ten days ago a queue of hundreds stretched outside the National
Building Society in Harare. People waited from 4am to be able to
withdraw just $30.

Estimates for the unemployment rate are as high as 90%. The pavements
of Harare are crowded with people selling everything from boiled eggs
to rivets. Hospitals have no drugs and suffer frequent power cuts and
water shortages. Pregnant women have to take their own bucket, gloves
and cotton wool to be admitted to give birth.

“We know what needs to be done, but we can’t perform miracles,” argues
Terence Mukupe, a former Wall Street banker who is now deputy finance
minister. “We’ve had stagnant growth for more than 20 years, and it
could take a whole generation to change that.”

The key test for whether anything has really changed will be elections
expected in July. Mnangagwa has pledged they will be free and fair.
Few believe the generals went to the effort they did in November just
to let the opposition win.

Nelson Chamisa, 40, leader of the MDC, fears a return to old tactics
including “manipulation of ballot papers and polling stations. We need
transparency in who will print the ballot papers. Will we see the
voter’s roll? Is it full of dead people as [at the last election] in

He believes that “our chances were never this good. We have a weakened
and divided opponent in Zanu-PF, and with the departure of Mugabe the
coast is clear. The pillars of dictatorship are crumbling, the new is
coming and I represent that new. If we get less than 70%, this is not
a proper election.”

Not surprisingly, the man who announced Mugabe’s detention to the
world last November with the words “this is not a military takeover”
does not agree.

“Free and fair elections don’t necessarily mean the opposition win,”
said Sibusiso Moyo, the retired general who is now foreign minister.
“Zimbabwe is lucky in that it has a leader who has experience, who
walked the road, who knows where all the corners were, and so can
create a vision which avoids previous mistakes. If you bring in new,
you are bringing in new mistakes.”

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Understanding Madagascar's latest political crisis African Arguments

When Madagascar’s opposition organised a rally on 21 April, its
objective was simply to denounce some proposed new electoral laws. But
when police opened fired in the capital Antananarivo, killing two and
injuring several, the situation quickly escalated.

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina claimed the demonstrations were a
coup attempt. Meanwhile, the opposition ramped up its demands, calling
for the president to resign and for elections to be held early.

In a matter of days, a dispute over electoral minutiae had spiralled
into a full-blown political crisis. A month on, the situation seems

Razafimanantsoa rejects this prospect and stands by her group’s
demands. “It is the whole regime we object to: the president, the
senate, the prime minister. It was them who brought these laws,” she
says. “The laws were the straw that broke the camel’s back. [We need]
a whole systemic change.”

Annie Rakotoniaina, Sefafi’s spokesperson, says that the only way out
of the current impasse is to find a consensus to re-examine the
electoral laws, although time is of the essence given the electoral
calendar. “No one wants to see elections postponed,” she says.

In theory, the first round of the presidential elections should take
place on 28 November, but the electoral commission CENI says elections
could be organised for as early as 29 August. On the other hand, if
planning is stalled and gets nowhere before the start of the rainy
season in December, the polls could legally be delayed until May 2019.

Yet without some kind of resolution, it will be impossible to hold
“serene polls”, as Rakotoniaina puts it. Rather than consolidating
Madagascar’s electoral democracy, the elections would likely open the
door to more contestations – and more political crises.

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South Africa All Share Bloomberg -4.35% 2018

Dollar versus Rand 6 Month Chart INO 12.4575


Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 17.9200


Nigeria All Share Bloomberg +2.83% 2018


Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg +27.75% 2018


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28-MAY-2018 :: The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle of history @TheStarKenya
Kenyan Economy

Let me start with a quotation from Ryszard Kapucinski's Shah of Shahs P. 106

''It is authority that provokes revolution....This occurs when a
feeling of impunity takes root among the elite: We are allowed
anything, we can do anything. This is a delusion, but it rests on a
certain rational foundation. For a while it does indeed look as if
they can do whatever they want. Scandal after scandal and illegality
after illegality go unpunished. The people remain silent...They are
afraid and do not yet feel their own strength. At the same time, they
keep a detailed account of the wrongs, which at one particular moment
are to be added up. The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle
of history''

"Kenya's budget is now approaching 2 trillion shillings; a third of it
is being wasted through corruption," said Kinisu [Reuters]. The Figure
is in excess of $6b. It is a mind-boggling figure. It is a disease and
the symptoms of this disease are seen just about everywhere in our

As you are no doubt aware, the following changes have been tabled in
parliament through various tax bills, including the Income Tax Bill,
2018 and the Tax Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018:

35.0% tax on individuals earning Kshs 750,000 per month and above as
well as large corporations with a monthly taxable income of more than
Kshs 500 mn, and, Amendments to the VAT Act that include changing the
status of various products such as milk and cream, maize (corn) flour,
bread and wheat among others from zero-rated to exempt, meaning that
producers of these products cannot claim Value Added Tax (VAT) on
inputs from the government, thus increasing their retail prices. These
changes as well as the expected 16.0% VAT on petroleum products as
from September 2018 is aimed at increasing revenue collections. [via

Essentially if you were seeking to demolish our credentials as an
Investment decision for ourselves because ultimately Kenyans are the
biggest single Investor in Kenya Inc. This is the way to proceed.
Jacking up Tax rates will in my view produce meagre gains for the
Treasury, if any. What happens is that Folks will expend all their
energy on Tax mitigation and avoidance. This happens the World over.
All my analysis shows that Kenya inc. needs to be cutting Tax at this
point. Cutting Tax will increase compliance levels and will in fact
increase The Tax Take. I urge Mr. Muthaura, the newly invested
Chairman of the KRA to dial up Mr.Nikhil Hira [who did a lot of this
modelling during his time at Deloitte]. The disease is not addressed
by taxing honest and hard-working Kenyans more. This disease is dealt
with by tackling the disease at its source.

The President is self-evidently seized of the problem. The Folks who
are making off with $6b every year are not the smartest Folks on the
Block. They walk into our Public Institutions and walk out with cash
in gunny sacks. It insults our intelligence. Just look at Social Media
where there has been a sea change [The People are no longer silent].
We can certainly go and pay millions to Consultants to tell us what we
need to do and throw in a few weekends in Mombasa [Mombasa is passe
now, in fact and Folks brazenly go to the ends of the Earth now for
their off-sites] and come up with absolutely nothing.

We are at a Fork in the road. We need to ''uber'' ise otherwise we
will look back at and call this our ''Kodak'' moment.

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Kenya moves to regulate fintech-fuelled lending craze @Reutersafrica
Kenyan Economy

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya built a reputation as a pioneer of financial
inclusion through its early adoption of a mobile money system that
enables people to transfer cash and make payments on cellphones
without a bank account.

Now, a proliferation of lenders are using the same technology to
extend credit to the banked and unbanked alike, saddling borrowers
with high interest rates and leaving regulators scrambling to keep up.

This week, the finance ministry published a draft bill on financial
regulation which covers digital lenders for the first time. A key aim
is to ensure that providers treat retail customers fairly, it said.

“We have a lot of predatory lending out here, which we want to
regulate,” Geoffrey Mwau, director general of budget, fiscal and
economic affairs at the treasury, told reporters on Thursday.

As it was for mobile cash, Kenya is something of a test case for the
new lending platforms. Several of the companies involved, including
U.S. fintech startups, have plans to expand in other frontier markets,
meaning Kenya’s regulation will be closely watched.

From having had little or no access to credit, many Kenyans now find
they can get loans in minutes.

George Ombelli, a salesman for a company importing bicycles who also
owns a hair salon and cosmetics shop with his wife, has borrowed
simultaneously from four providers over the past year.

He took small loans from two Silicon Valley-backed U.S. fintech firms,
Branch and Tala, to see what rates he would get, as well as from a new
mobile app launched by Barclays Kenya in March and a business loan
from Kenya’s Equity Bank.

Citing a slowdown in his business due to elections-related political
turmoil last year, Ombelli said he has fallen behind on some of his
payments. He fears he will be reported to one of Kenya’s three credit
bureaux, jeopardizing his chances of being able to borrow more to grow
his business.

“I’ve realized having too many loans is a problem,” the 38-year-old
father of three said in an interview in a coffee shop in Nairobi’s
business district.

He is not alone. In the last three years, 2.7 million people out of a
population of around 45 million have been negatively listed on Kenya’s
Credit Reference Bureaux, according to a study by Microsave, a
consultancy which advises lenders on sustainable financial services.

For 400,000 of them, it was for an amount less than two dollars.

Some of the fintech lenders are expanding into other African countries
and into Latin America and Asia, saying their aim is to help some of
the billions of people who lack bank accounts, assets or formal
employment climb the economic ladder.

Tala says it has granted more than 6 million loans worth more than
$300 million, mainly in Kenya, since it launched in Kenya in 2014. It
is expanding its newer businesses in Mexico, Tanzania and the
Philippines and is piloting in India.

Tala and Branch argue that their technology, which relies on an
algorithm that builds a financial profile of customers, minimizes the
risk of default. They say they strive to play a helpful role in
planning for tighter regulation.

“We believe that credit bubbles and over-indebtedness will be a
challenge over the next decade. (Credit Reference) Bureaus and
regulation will be a big part of the solution,” said Erin Renzas, a
Branch spokeswoman.

Branch says it expects to grant about 10 million loans worth a total
of $250 million this year in Kenya and its other markets, Nigeria and

The current status of the sector, outside the direct remit of the
central bank, allows providers, both banks and others, to skirt a
government cap on interest of four points above the central bank’s
benchmark interest rate, which now stands at 9.5 percent.

Market leader M-Shwari, Kenya’s first savings and loans product
introduced by Safaricom and Commercial Bank of Africa in 2012, charges
a “facilitation fee” of 7.5 percent on credit regardless of its

On a loan with a month’s term, this equates to an annualized interest
rate of 90 percent. The shortest loan repayment period is one week. A
Safaricom spokesman referred Reuters to the CBA for comment. Calls to
their switchboard and an email were not answered on Thursday.

Tala and Branch, number four and six in a ranking based on usage data
by FSD Kenya, offer varying rates depending on the repayment period.

Their apps, downloaded by Reuters, each offered a month’s loan at 15
percent, equating to 180 percent over a year. Both companies say rates
drop dramatically as people pay back successive loans.

Barclays Kenya launched an app in March offering 30-day loans with an
interest rate of just under 7 percent, still a hefty 84 percent annual

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Car & General (Kenya) Ltd reports H1 2018 EPS +254.945% +11.905% 2018
Kenyan Economy

Par Value:                  5/-
Closing Price:           23.50
Total Shares Issued:          40103308.00
Market Capitalization:        942,427,738
EPS:             1.71
PE:                 13.743

Franchise holder for leading automotive and engineering products.

Car & General (Kenya) PLC H1 2018 results through 31st March 2018 vs.
31st March 2017

Total Assets 9.142266b vs. 9.065850b +0.843%
Total Equity 3.373231b vs. 3.206091b +5.213%
H1 Revenue 5.071865b vs. 5.187895b -2.237%
H1 Cost of sales [4.311823b] vs. [4.432614b] -2.725%
H1 Gross profit 760.042m vs. 755.281m +0.630%
H1 Other income 19.520m vs. 31.426m -37.886%
H1 Operating profit 255.932m vs. 227.272m +12.610%
H1 Finance costs [167.987m] vs. [206.160m] -18.516%
H1 Net foreign exchange gains/ [Losses] 11.587m vs. [54.211m] +121.374%
H1 Profit/ [Loss] before taxation 101.748m vs. [33.099m] +407.405%
H1 Profit/ [Loss] for the period 56.414m vs. [37.058m] +252.232%
Basic and diluted EPS 1.41 vs. [0.91] +254.945%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period 205.546m vs.
96.739m +112.475%
No interim dividend

Company Commentary

Like for Like Sales +24%
1b shillings of positive cash flow


A strong rebound which gained momentum in Q2 versus Q1

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The key concern remains the low private sector credit growth, which declined slightly to 2.1% in February 2018 from 2.4% in December 2017 @CytonnInvest
Kenyan Economy

The key concern remains the low private sector credit growth, which
declined slightly to 2.1% in February 2018 from 2.4% in December 2017,
which is well below the 5-Year average of 14.0% @CytonnInvest

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Kenya Shilling versus The Dollar Live ForexPros
Kenyan Economy

Nairobi All Share Bloomberg  +2.44% (-10.785% since record high of
196.57 set on April 5th)


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Kenyan Economy

DTB experienced a deterioration in asset quality, with gross
non-performing loans (NPLs) rising by 82.4%, to Kshs 15.4 bn from Kshs
8.4 bn in Q1’2017. This was largely due to major clients such as
Nakumatt defaulting on a Kshs 3.7 bn loan issued to the retailer by
the bank. However, provisioning levels failed to rise in tandem,
increasing by 9.7%, leading to a decline in the NPL coverage to 68.0%
in Q1’2018 from 87.0% in Q1’2017.

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@DTBKenya share price data here 0.00% in 2018
Kenyan Economy

DTB touched a high of 220.00 on March 19th and has since traded -12.727%.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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May 2018

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