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Friday 05th of October 2018
 
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Africa

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Macro Thoughts

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Both the dollar and oil have been rising the last couple of weeks, which isn't the norm. @ReutersJamie
Africa


Daily correlation between the two has been negative most of this year
but is now the most positive since January. Does this continue, or
does one of them head south soon?

Home Thoughts

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IT IS a well-kept secret, but we know the answer to life, the universe and everything. It's not 42 - it's 1/137. @newscientist
Africa


This immutable number determines how stars burn, how chemistry happens
and even whether atoms exist at all. Physicist Richard Feynman, who
knew a thing or two about it, called it “one of the greatest damn
mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no
understanding”.

Now its mystery is deepening. Controversial hints suggest this number
might not be the universal constant we had assumed, instead varying
subtly over time and space. If confirmed, that would have profound
consequences for our understanding of physics, forcing us to
reconsider basic assumptions about the structure of reality. While
arguments about the true significance of the findings rage,
experiments looking both deep into the cosmos and at the fine-grained
structure of reality in the lab are now set to deliver a definitive
verdict – perhaps.

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03-SEP-2018 :: Belle at the ball
Africa


I remember a time my then 11 Year old daughter Layla attended the
school disco and when I picked her up, her eyes glittered and she
could scarcely stand still. I asked, ‘’Darling, how was it?’’ She
said, “Daddy, I danced and I danced and I didn’t stop!’’ I wanted to
pick her up, spin her as Jean Rhys wrote in her Novel ‘’Wide sargasso
sea’’: Only the magic and the dream are true - all the rest’s a lie.
And, “I must remember about chandeliers and dancing, about swans and
roses and snow.”

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Bruce Riedel, Brookings Institution's Intelligence Project, reported that the prince is so afraid for his life that he's taken to spending nights on his yacht in the Red Sea port of Jeddah.
Law & Politics


Reports are growing that Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s
hyperactive crown prince, is losing his grip. His economic reform
program has stalled since his father, King Salman, nixed plans to
privatize 5 percent of Saudi Aramco. The Saudi war in Yemen, which the
prince launched in March 2015, is more of a quagmire than ever while
the kingdom’s sword rattling with Iran is making the region
increasingly jumpy.

Heavy gunfire in Riyadh last April sparked rumors that MBS, as he’s
known, had been killed in a palace coup. In May, an exiled Saudi
prince urged top members of the royal family to oust him and put an
end to his “irrational, erratic, and stupid” rule. Recently, Bruce
Riedel, an ex-CIA analyst who heads up the Brookings Institution’s
Intelligence Project, reported that the prince is so afraid for his
life that he’s taken to spending nights on his yacht in the Red Sea
port of Jeddah.

As Ibn Khaldun put it:

[T]he life of a dynasty does not as a rule extend beyond three
generations. The first generation retains the desert qualities, desert
toughness, and desert strategy. … They are sharp and greatly feared.
People submit to them. … [T]he second generation changes from the
desert attitude to sedentary culture, from privation to luxury and
plenty, from a state in which everybody shared in the glory to one in
which one man claims all the glory for himself while the others are
too lazy to strive for glory. …  The third generation … has completely
forgotten the period of desert life and toughness, as if it never
existed…. Luxury reaches its peak among them, because they are so much
given to a life of prosperity and ease.

Decadence leads to collapse as fierce nomadic fundamentalists gather
in the desert and prepare to mete out punishment to the city dwellers
for their religious laxity. “[A] new purge of the faith is required,”
summed up Friedrich Engels, who evidently read Ibn Khaldun, “a new
Mahdi [i.e., redeemer] arises, and the game starts again from the
beginning.”

It’s a recurrent cycle that has held true for a remarkable number of
Muslim dynasties from the seventh century on.

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02-DEC-2013 The Pivot to Asia bares its Fangs
Law & Politics


I see the pivot to Asia as the encirclement of China, then the
shrinking of its operating theatre and then lighting the tinderbox
that is the periphery and Xinjiang might well morph into China’s
Afghanistan.

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09-JUL-2018 :: Tariff wars, who blinks first?
Law & Politics


President Trump after bashing on Justin Trudeau of Canada and Mexico’s
Enrique Peña Nieto [now upended, of course] and then firing a few
broadsides at Europe, has now turned his attention to Xi Jinping and
thrown him the Keys challenging him to a “Chickie Run.”

Evan Medeiros, a former top White House Asia adviser to Barack Obama,
said the speech marked a “turning point” in US policy towards China,
and “not for the better”. @FT https://on.ft.com/2IG5ThZ

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The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies
Law & Politics


“Having a well-done, nation-state-level hardware implant surface would
be like witnessing a unicorn jumping over a rainbow”

There are two ways for spies to alter the guts of computer equipment.
One, known as interdiction, consists of manipulating devices as
they’re in transit from manufacturer to customer. This approach is
favored by U.S. spy agencies, according to documents leaked by former
National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The other method
involves seeding changes from the very beginning.

One country in particular has an advantage executing this kind of
attack: China, which by some estimates makes 75 percent of the world’s
mobile phones and 90 percent of its PCs. Still, to actually accomplish
a seeding attack would mean developing a deep understanding of a
product’s design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring
that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain
to the desired location—a feat akin to throwing a stick in the Yangtze
River upstream from Shanghai and ensuring that it washes ashore in
Seattle.

But that’s just what U.S. investigators found: The chips had been
inserted during the manufacturing process, two officials say, by
operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army. In Supermicro,
China’s spies appear to have found a perfect conduit for what U.S.
officials now describe as the most significant supply chain attack
known to have been carried out against American companies.

One official says investigators found that it eventually affected
almost 30 companies, including a major bank, government contractors,
and the world’s most valuable company, Apple Inc. Apple was an
important Supermicro customer and had planned to order more than
30,000 of its servers in two years for a new global network of data
centers. Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of
2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards.

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By supplying Syria with modern S-300 missile system, the Russians have almost imposed a de facto no fly zone over Syria
Law & Politics


By supplying Syria with modern S-300 missile system, the Russians have
almost imposed a de facto no fly zone over Syria. The S-300 missile
system plus the automated air defence management system will certainly
prevent such “friendly fire” incidents in Syria, giving the Russians
and Syrians the necessary capability to have full command over Syrian
air-space. It will also put the Russians on a powerful negotiating
position vis-à-vis other actors of the war.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1507
Dollar Index 95.83
Japan Yen 113.95
Swiss Franc 0.9930
Pound 1.3011
Aussie 0.7066
India Rupee 73.515
South Korea Won 1130.37
Brazil Real 3.8751
Egypt Pound 17.8875
South Africa Rand 14.8619

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20 AUG 18 I believe we have embarked on a very big rally in the Dollar and that there is a lot further to go.
World Currencies


Essentially the US has been raising rates [making holding the Dollar
more attractive] and reducing the supply of Dollars. Previously emer-
ging and frontier markets had been showering in a golden flood of
cheap Dollar liquidity, had been borrowing Dollars like there was no
tomorrow but are now scrambling to find those Dollars because the
‘’Golden shower’’ has been switched off.

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World Currencies


Tesla shares drop as Elon Musk insulted SEC 5dys after settling fraud
lawsuit brought by the agency, potentially imperiling a settlement
that allows him to stay Tesla’s CEO. Called SEC ‚Shortseller
Enrichment Commission‘ & chastised regulator for “doing incredible
work” in tweet.

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ON THE campaign trail Paul Biya's motto is "La Force de l'ExpErience". It is a slogan that few would dispute. @TheEconomist
Africa


ON THE campaign trail Paul Biya’s motto is “La Force de l’Expérience”.
It is a slogan that few would dispute. Since Robert Mugabe was tossed
off Zimbabwe’s throne last year, the 85-year-old Mr Biya, Cameroon’s
president since 1982, has been Africa’s oldest head of state.

Still, as he tours his country ahead of presidential elections on
October 7th, two corners of Cameroon are unlikely to hear his pitch in
person. In the English-speaking south-west and north-west regions,
where separatists are waging an insurgency, the violence is so intense
that it would not be safe for Mr Biya to visit.

Today, a smouldering civil war afflicts much of English-speaking
Cameroon, with tit-for-tat atrocities by security forces and
separatists. Some 160,000 people have been displaced and 600 killed,
160 of them members of the security forces. Reports from Bamenda, the
north-western capital, say the hospital morgue is now filled to
capacity with unidentified corpses. Last week separatists staged a
mass jail break, freeing more than 100 prisoners.

Doing so would not be easy for a president who has adopted the
nickname “lion man” to symbolise his tenacity and ruthlessness.

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China's salami slicing takes root in Africa @ISSAfrica's @RonakGopaldas
Africa


Mass indignation greeted the revelation that South Africa was to
receive a R370 billion ‘gift’ from China, amid criticism about the
lack of transparency surrounding Eskom’s recent loan deal with the
China Development Bank. In the same week, reports emerged that two
Zambian parastatals were being considered as collateral for loans from
the Chinese government.
This was cited as evidence of China’s ‘predatory’ form of debt trap
diplomacy that threatens the sovereignty of African nations.
Speculation around which strategic assets and countries were next in
China’s crosshairs followed. Accusations were that governments of
South Africa and Zambia were mortgaging their futures to the highest
bidder.
Much of the discourse has been simplistic – painting China as evil and
African countries as naïve bystanders. The reality is far more
complex. Kenyan commentator Anzetse Were says the problem with this
narrative is that it infantilises Africa: ‘This debt trap narrative is
actually creating a scenario where African governments can pretend
they didn't know. It's very dangerous. African governments know
exactly what they're signing up for.’
The recent Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit offered
insights into China’s evolving relationship with Africa. It was
telling that over 40 African heads of states attended this years’
edition. The reasons were clear – China, the continent’s largest trade
partner, was going to be ‘sprinkling the proverbial candy’. Apart from
the usual pledges, two central themes emerged, namely Africa’s debt,
and where Africa features in China’s geo-political ambitions.
China was keen to push back against allegations that its Belt and Road
Initiative was deliberately overloading poor African nations with
debt. Through symbolic gestures like debt forgiveness, new financing
arrangements totalling US$60 billion, and stressing that there are ‘no
strings attached’ to its financing, China skilfully attempted to
reframe Sino-African relations as a partnership of equals. This is in
contrast to the methods used by the West which are deemed to contain
onerous political conditionality.
Geopolitically, the Belt and Road Initiative and infrastructure focus
was again the centrepiece of China’s strategy in Africa. With its
young population, growing consumer market and cheap labour Africa
provides complementary drivers for China’s economy. At the same time,
Africa faces a major infrastructure deficit and funding gaps, which
China is able to plug.
But despite China’s rhetoric about a win-win relationship, critics
point to a very subtle but deliberate strategy known as ‘salami
slicing’. It explains how China has been able to make significant
gains in Africa and beyond, without generating widespread public
outrage.
The practice involves the slow accumulation of small changes, ‘none of
which in isolation amounts to a casus belli, but which add up over
time to a substantial change in the strategic picture,’ according to
military analyst Robert Haddick. This incremental strategy has been
employed with considerable success for territorial gains in the South
China sea. There is now evidence that it’s taking root in Africa.
For example, the construction of a naval base in Djibouti is part of
an effort to establish a ‘string of pearls’ along the Indian Ocean. In
both Mauritius and the Seychelles, China has made steady advances –
muscling in on India’s sphere of influence.
In the past, China’s approach to Africa focused on economic issues,
leaving security engagement to the United States. But China's military
equipment is now being used by more than two-thirds of African
countries, according to the International Institute for Strategic
Studies. This reflects the growth in Beijing’s influence and
investment in the continent. Indeed, military exports rose 55% between
2008 and 2017 according to the Stockholm International Peace Research
Institute.
Until now, these actions have largely gone under the radar. But
China’s slow and patient approach to establishing dominance in Africa
is raising eyebrows. It is seen as clear evidence of ‘salami slicing’
being effectively used to achieve both geo-strategic leverage and
economic penetration.
The genius of the tactic is that it happens slowly, then suddenly. As
Haddick explains: ‘A salami-slicer puts the burden of disruptive
action on his adversary. That adversary will be in the uncomfortable
position of drawing seemingly unjustifiable red lines and engaging in
indefensible brinkmanship’. Simply put, China is only able to advance
as far as it’s given license to do so.
The pertinent question is how and why African governments continuously
find themselves in these compromised positions. Is it naivety, willful
ignorance or something more sinister? As Were and others argue, it’s
easy to blame China for the financial woes of the continent, but
nobody is being forced to accept shoddy deals.
‘Increased competition for African real estate and resources should,
in theory, enhance the bargaining power of African governments, which
is inarguably a good thing. The question, however, is whether African
leaders will rise to the occasion or whether they will settle for
deals that may deliver short-term gains but at significant long-term
costs’.

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@HEBobiwine : 'The writing is on the wall in Uganda' @mailandguardian
Africa


In desperation, Museveni is pushing a narrative that Ugandans, who are
demanding redemption, are being funded by the West. His regime has now
begun to deport Americans doing charity work in Uganda, and a
large-scale crackdown on my supporters is underway. Those who dare
oppose this government are finding themselves kidnapped and
brutalised. The streets resemble those of a police state, with
military officers on alert to harass all those who raise their voice
in the face of injustice. Journalists and protesters are now forced to
choose between doing what is right, and escaping bodily harm.

Footage from the recent protests puts on stark display the nature of
ammunition deployed on the streets of Kampala, as though it was a war
zone in Mogadishu.  The writing is on the wall. Uganda cannot export
genuine peace to the region when it is not at peace with itself. My
appeal to the world is to solidly stand with the people of Uganda in
their aspirations.

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This outsized, overstuffed pleather armchair reveals more about Bobi Wine's presidential ambitions in #Uganda than anything he says (pic by @ikasamani)
Africa


overview of Africa's richest cities, based on the The @AfrAsiaBank
Africa Wealth Report 2018, indicates where clusters of wealthy cities
are developing across the continent @bigthink http://bit.ly/2NoguP1

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Govt spending shock: where did the billions go?
Africa


Treasury data shows government spent $3.86 billion in the first half,
$2.5 billion of this between April and June, against a target of $1.26
billion.

Although first half revenues of $2.5 billion exceeded the target by
14%, a staggering budget deficit of $1.35 billion was recorded in the
period, 408% above a target of $266 million. Government had initially
forecast a budget deficit of $700 million for the full year.

The huge deficit was caused mainly by unbudgeted spending on farm
inputs under the command agriculture scheme – $616 million, grain
imports – $81 million, road maintenance and dam construction – $312.2
million, as well as $212 million injected into state enterprises.

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Dozens of Angolans crowd the gates of the capital's main prison hospital, jockeying for a glimpse of an unexpected new inmate
Africa


Dozens of Angolans crowd the gates of the capital’s main prison
hospital, jockeying for a glimpse of an unexpected new inmate: the son
of the man who ruled the southern African nation for almost four
decades.
Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ son, Jose Filomeno, is only the most
high-profile prisoner at the facility in Luanda, as Angola’s new
president wages an anti-graft war that’s thrown the former ruling
elite into disarray. TV crews, relatives in expensive cars and
ordinary citizens have all flocked here, witnesses to a turning point
for the oil-producing country that’s long been ranked one of the
world’s most corrupt.
“I never thought I was ever going to see this,” Maria Fernanda, a
50-year-old local pharmacist, said of the high-profile detentions that
also include a former police chief and an ex-transportation minister.
“It’s unbelievable.”
“The arrest of Jose Filomeno dos Santos marks an important symbolic
step in President Joao Lourenco’s anti-corruption drive,” Fitch
Solutions Macro Research said in a note this week. While it shows the
government “is driving some moderate improvement in transparency and
in reducing corruption,” action against “a few high-profile individuals
will not be sufficient to resolve what many describe as endemic levels
of corruption within key Angolan institutions,” it said.
Not spotted visiting so far: Isabel dos Santos, the ex-president’s
eldest daughter and Africa’s richest woman. She’s the target of a
probe looking into a $38.2 million transfer that was made at
state-owned oil company Sonangol before she was fired as chairwoman
last year. She has called the allegations politically motivated.
Lourenco, 64, has said the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation
of Angola needs to lead the anti-graft battle. That’s “even if the
first to fall are militants or even senior officials of the party that
have committed crimes,” he told delegates on Sept. 8 as he replaced
Dos Santos as its head.
He’s also pushing for funds he said were illegally moved abroad to be
returned to Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, warning that
Angolans who don’t comply by year’s end will face prosecution. Central
bank Governor Jose Massano estimates at least $30 billion is held
abroad, including legal deposits.
Jose Filomeno vowed to cooperate with the investigations. He now
spends much of his time in the prison’s VIP section, where he and
others watch TV and eat food brought by their relatives, according to
a guard who asked not to be identified because he isn’t authorized to
speak to the media.
The guard said the ex-president’s son typically declines visitors and
responds to prison officials with single words. Former Transportation
Minister Augusto Tomas is more gregarious, spending time with his
relatives, friends and religious officials, he said.
On the day Dos Santos’ son was arrested, Lourenco presented what he
dubbed a “New Angola” to potential investors in New York.
“Angola has entered a new political cycle,” he said, touting economic
reforms and the war on corruption. “In only one year, this is the
Angola that I present to you, with a new business climate that is
investor-friendly.”

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Mining firms say Zambia's tax hike plan would ruin economy
Africa


“More tax regime instability, massive increases, and novel taxes not
seen anywhere else in the world, will hurt the mining industry and all
those who rely on its success,” Chishimba said in a statement.

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Nigeria Seeks to Charge @MTNza 15% Interest on $8 Billion Claim
Africa


The transfers “may have been premeditated and contrived as a scam to
make and maximize profits, defraud Nigeria and to enjoy unlimited
foreign-exchange income perpetually from a single investment without
complying with the foreign-exchange laws and regulations of Nigeria”
@MTNza

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SBM of Mauritius Drops to Record Low After Uncovering More Fraud @business
Africa


SBM Holdings Ltd. slumped to a four-year low after the owner of
Mauritius’s second-biggest lender said its uncovered another fraud at
its operations.
The stock dropped as much as 7.7 percent and traded down 6.2 percent
at 6.10 rupees by 12:52 p.m. in Port Louis, the capital, the lowest
since the holding company began trading on the Stock Exchange of
Mauritius on Oct. 6, 2014. The shares have fallen 19 percent this
year, under-performing the benchmark Semdex Index, which has risen 2
percent over the same period.
SBM announced this week its Indian operations were the subject of a
cyber fraud that could result in a maximum loss of $4 million. It’s
the second time since August that the financial-services company has
had to deal with suspected embezzlement.
“The group is facing a series of unfortunate circumstances,” Neeraj
Umanee, manager of Mauritian brokerage Swan Securities Ltd., said by
phone. “Investors seem to grow weary of accumulation of such events at
the banking level, which is reflected by the steep decline of the
stock.”

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Tea earnings grow to reach Sh85.74 billion @dailynation
Kenyan Economy


Farmers are as such set to receive higher returns on account of
improved production despite lower price per kilogramme of green leaf
delivered which stood at an average rate of Sh52.51, a drop from
Sh58.61 earned in 2017.

“The increased earnings this year were due to high volumes of green
leaf produced by farmers as a result of improved rainfall and stable
tea prices,” KTDA group chief executive Lerionka Tiampati said. The
agency said the period saw a 21 per cent growth in green leaf
production as tea-growing areas received improved rainfall compared to
the dry conditions experienced the previous year.

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Kenyan Economy


“Initially, it was the capital gain tax, then we have the Robin Hood
tax, and they (investors) feel there was no enough consultation…there
was no clarity about it, how they will be affected, at what point does
it kick in….and that generally has an impact on investment portfolio,”
said Terry Adembesa, NSE derivatives market director.

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Kenya Shilling versus The Dollar Live ForexPros
Kenyan Economy


Nairobi All Share Bloomberg -12.08% 2018
http://www.BLOOMBERG.COM/quote/NSEASI:IND

Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg -22.50% 2018
http://j.mp/ajuMHJ

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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October 2018
 
 
 
 
 
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