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Tuesday 23rd of October 2018
 
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Macro Thoughts

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Alberto Giacometti Spoon Woman (Femme cuillere), 1927 @MuseoGuggenheim @Guggenheim
Africa


“I had the feeling,” Giacometti said, “that all events existed
simultaneously around me. Time was becoming horizontal and circular,
it was space at the same time, and I tried to draw it.”

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Erdogan Seizes on Saudi Murder as Chance to Upend Middle East
Law & Politics


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to turn a horrific
murder in Istanbul into a catalyst for changing the balance of power
in Saudi Arabia and regaining influence across the Middle East.

Having remade the region’s largest democracy in his own image, Erdogan
is taking aim at rival Saudi Arabia’s leadership amid international
outrage over the death of insider-turned critic Jamal Khashoggi at the
kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. Erdogan has vowed to reveal what
happened to Khashoggi “in all its nakedness” on Tuesday, just as the
Saudis kick off a major investment forum in Riyadh. Directly refuting
the Saudi account of the slaying could dramatically raise the stakes
for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Conclusions

From Turkey to Maestro Reccip Erdogan.

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Bruce Reidel, writes that making al-Asiri "fall guy will send a very dangerous message to the crown prince's inner circle: You are not safe. No one is safe. That will increase the odds of a move against the crown prince"
Law & Politics


The pathetic Saudi explanation of the state-ordered murder of Jamal
Khashoggi reflects the fragility of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s
position. The cover-up is trying to put the blame for Khashoggi’s
brutal execution on the Saudi intelligence service, the General
Intelligence Directorate. America’s oldest partner in the Middle East
is increasingly a danger to regional stability and its own stability.

After 17 days of procrastination, the Saudis announced that Khashoggi
is dead, and that 18 Saudi officials have been detained, including 15
who flew to Istanbul and back Oct. 2 when Khashoggi was killed. Five
others have been removed from office, including Maj. Gen. Ahmed
al-Asiri, who is accused of being the mastermind of the operation in
Istanbul. Khashoggi’s body has not been recovered. The Turks are said
to have tapes that recorded the gruesome murder and will undercut
Saudi claims of a fistfight that got out of control.

A detailed examination of the Saudis who traveled to Istanbul on Oct.
2 shows almost all are security figures. They are royal guards,
special forces, intelligence and Royal Saudi Air Force. Usually
colonel level. The royal guards are the most represented. The Royal
Guard Regiment reports directly to the crown prince. It is
inconceivable that Mohammed would not know about what they were doing.

Using the passports of the 15 published by the Turkish press, The
Washington Post made a cross-check with US passport records. About
half show up entering and exiting the United States, always when
Mohammed or his father was also in the country. The connection to the
royal court and the crown prince is clear.

Asiri, who was removed as deputy chief of the General Intelligence
Directorate, was the spokesman for the Yemen war from the outset. That
puts him very close to Mohammed. They meet constantly. At the
beginning of the war, Mohammed was eager to be seen as the commander
of what was then called Operation Decisive Storm. When it became clear
it was not decisive, Asiri became the public face of the war. The war
has left 13 million Yemenis malnourished in what the United Nations
says is the worst famine in a century.

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"Why the outrage, MbS asked in English" in a call to Kushner. @ragipsoylu
Law & Politics


“He was really shocked that there was such a big reaction to it. He
feels betrayed by the West. He said he would look elsewhere and will
never forget how people turned against him before evidence was
produced”

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This is an unprecedented moment in the history of the Kingdom and the most perilous moment for the House of Saud that I can recall
Law & Politics


The then 30-year-old crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman
MBS, who is expected to ascend to the throne as early as this week,
arrived on the scene and immediately launched an unwinnable war in
Yemen. President Assad, with his Russian, Iranian and Lebanese allies,
resisted the regime changers in Syria. IS, which was a Sunni and Saudi
blade, has been eviscerated. Iraq, which was once firmly in the Saudi
camp, is now aligned with Iran completely. Qatar is lost (see the
intercept article which refers to a plan headlined “Control the yield
curve, decide the future” a plan to construct the ‘’Big Short’’ on
Qatar - Th e crown prince of Abu Dhabi should have spoken to me
because I could have told them how to do it).

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US and China -- the great decoupling Nikkei Asian Review
Law & Politics


For evidence of this megatrend, look no further than the new phrase
that has become the talk of Washington, of a "decoupling" between the
U.S. and China.
Put simply, the U.S. has decided it should start to disentangle its
economic relationship with China in key sectors in its own national
interest and security.
Washington's new policy is to make its friends choose, between the
U.S. and China, the last thing many of them want to have to do,
particularly on the terms Trump is contemplating.
Trump envisages an extreme version of decoupling, to bring home to the
U.S. supply chains of all kinds, not just those involving technologies
integral to national security.
To take one example, Trump wants companies like Apple to relocate the
final assembly of its iPhones and other products, now done under
contract in factories in southern and central China, back to the U.S.
This is where decoupling comes in, the idea that the U.S. government,
either through tariffs or some other tax, will force U.S. companies in
key technology and industrial sectors to manufacture almost anywhere
but China.
The Americans argue, with much validity, that they are late to the
game of decoupling. Beijing's signature policies to build and protect
local industries, such as China 2025, are all aimed at displacing
foreign technology, especially from the U.S.

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United States sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Monday in the second such operation this year Reuters
Law & Politics


United States sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Monday in
the second such operation this year, as the U.S. military increases
the frequency of transits through the strategic waterway despite
opposition from China.
The voyage risks further heightening tensions with China but will
likely be viewed in self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support by
President Donald Trump’s government, amid growing friction between
Taipei and Beijing.
Reuters was first to report U.S. consideration of the sensitive
operation on Saturday.
“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S.
commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Nate
Christensen, deputy spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a
statement.
“The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere
international law allows,” he added.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1442
Dollar Index 96.04
Japan Yen 112.50
Swiss Franc 0.9967
Pound 1.2955
Aussie 0.7055
India Rupee 73.755
South Korea Won 1137.53
Brazil Real 3.6858
Egypt Pound 17.9233
South Africa Rand 14.3614

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Potential IHS on Brent Jan @TCommodity 79.27
Commodities


Elsewhere, crude oil traded near the lowest in almost five weeks

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Vanadium's astonishing rally is threatening its chances of being the next big battery metal. @business
Commodities


Prices have surged more than 800 percent in about two years, driven by
Chinese demand for stronger steel.
There’s also been speculation that vanadium will become a key metal
for the battery industry.
But with prices now at extreme levels, it could be too expensive,
according to Evraz Plc, a Russian steelmaker and one of the top
producers of vanadium.

Emerging Markets

Frontier Markets

Sub Saharan Africa

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The proxy battle for Africa's Indian Ocean states @issafrica's @RonakGopaldas
Africa


Renowned for sunshine, tourism and beaches, the tiny island nations of
Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives are attracting the attention of
foreign powers for vastly different reasons. In recent years, the
Western Indian Ocean region has emerged as a new arena for strategic
competition between India and China.
As the two Asian powerhouses increasingly assert themselves both
economically and militarily in the region, the game of geopolitical
chess has now spilt over from Asia into Africa, to the Indian Ocean
coastline in particular.
The iconic headline ‘Xi sells Seychelles by India’s seashore’ by
Quartz earlier this year succinctly summed up these evolving power
dynamics. It wittily encapsulated a wider discussion around whether
India was losing dominance in the region. It referred to a case where
approval for India to build a naval base on Assumption Island was
reversed, ostensibly due to Chinese pressure. The decision was seen to
reflect China’s encroachment into India’s traditional sphere of
influence.
So why the sudden interest in the Indian Ocean? First it is important
to understand the region’s appeal. Although small in size, the island
nations are a key priority due to their geographic location.
Two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments, a third of bulk cargo and
half of all container traffic traverse the Indian Ocean.
Studies have shown that the Indian Ocean region will probably become a
leading source of new global growth over the next 20 years. Also,
strategic access, leverage and influence for energy resources and
national security are driving the security agenda for both countries,
says Chad M Pillai of the Military Writers Guild.
Second, India and China’s approaches to the region have traditionally
been vastly different. Now, a change in approach by China has placed
the two powers at odds over the lucrative maritime expanse. Given its
geographic proximity, and historical and cultural linkages, India has
traditionally been the pre-eminent power, especially in military and
specifically naval activities. Further, India’s activities in Africa
have generally been led by the private sector and are rooted in deep
commercial and cultural ties.
China’s engagement in Africa has largely focused on resources and
infrastructure and has assumed the form of government-to-government
lending. Recently China has been criticised for predatory debt lending
practices across Africa, and a perceived neo-colonial agenda, with the
example of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota cited as a cautionary tale for
nations attracted to Belt and Road Initiative benefits.
However, as evidenced by its establishment of its naval base in
Djibouti, China’s strategy is evolving – both in nature and geographic
scope. Efforts are under way to establish a presence in the Indian
Ocean with its String of Pearls strategy – which, in addition to
achieving economic and military penetration, also serves to contain
India.
Third, having seen China make inroads into its backyard in countries
like Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, India doesn’t want this to happen
in another region where it has a comparative advantage. So it is
redoubling its efforts to maintain ascendancy and dominance in the
Indian Ocean littoral.
It is telling that both Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi have prioritised
visits to the island nations in recent years. The launch of the
Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (in partnership with Japan) in 2017, as an
alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, adds another
intriguing dimension to this Sino-Indian rivalry. This high-stakes
contest is generating anxiety, with the possibility of being
outmanoeuvred in its own backyard too significant a risk for India to
contemplate.
While Mauritius argues that it hasn’t been asked to pick a side,
Seychelles has made its neutrality more explicit. This ‘friend of all
and enemy of none’ stance has been taken as a diplomatic fillip for
China, and an endorsement that its regional strategy is proving
successful.
Although illustrating dynamics in Asia rather than Africa, the
Maldives offers another interesting bellwether for the proxy battle,
with the recent presidential election acting as a timely boost to
India’s prospects.

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2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit: Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at the opening ceremony
Africa


In addition, for those of Africa’s least developed countries, heavily
indebted and poor countries, landlocked developing countries and small
island developing countries that have diplomatic relations with China,
the debt they have incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese
government loans due to mature by the end of 2018 will be exempted.

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06-AUG-2018 :: The Indian Ocean Economy and a Port Race. @TheStarKenya
Africa


Professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto explains ''The precocity of the
Indian Ocean as a zone of long-range navigation and cultural exchange
is one of the glaring facts of history'', made possible by the
''reversible escalator'' of the monsoons. The Indian Ocean Economy
preceded the Atlantic Ocean Economy, where the Europeans only learnt
how to ''crack the code'' of the Atlantic winds [and a new 'Western'
culture arose on both sides of the ocean] long after the Indian Ocean.

As we scan the Blue Economy it is worth appreciating that Maritime
shipping is the lifeblood of Africa, with over 90% of the continent’s
imports and exports transported by sea. Today from Massawa, Eritrea
[admittedly on the Red Sea] to Djibouti, from Berbera to Mogadishu,
from Lamu to Mombasa to Tanga to Bagamoyo to Dar Es Salaam, through
Beira and Maputo all the way to Durban and all points in between we
are witnessing a Port race of sorts as everyone seeks to get a piece
of the Indian Ocean Port action. China [The BRI initiative], the Gulf
Countries [who now appear to see the Horn of Africa as their
hinterland], Japan and India [to a lesser degree] are all jostling for
optimal ''geo-economic'' positioning.

Overlay the Geopolitics and its worth noting that the Geopolitics has
become much more fluid. Fluidity has been engendered by the
spectacular arrival of Prime Minister Abiy in Ethiopia [which is
land-locked, of course but a key Future Taker of Port facilities] who
has made peace with President Afawerki's Eritrea and is surely set to
undercut Djibouti and even LAPPSET, both Projects which seem to me to
have been predicated to some degree on a permanent Freeze between
Ethiopia and Eritrea. Investments in Ports have a long lead time and I
am not certain that those same investments are able to re-calibrate at
the speed with which the Geopolitics is moving. The Big Risk is that
some these Port investments will be ''Hambanota''-ed.

Bloomberg reported that Hambantota Port has 'become a cautionary tale
for Xi’s Belt and Road aspirations. The idea was to take an
inconsequential harbor visited by fewer than one ship a month on
average and turn it into a modern, bustling seaport adorning a
southern Belt and Road maritime route. It hasn’t turned out so well.
Hambantota (population at the time 11,200) got a new port. The port at
Hambantota, was partly funded during the Rajapaksa administration by a
loan from the Export-Import Bank of China. By the time Rajapaksa was
voted out of office in 2015, more than 90 percent of Sri Lanka’s
government revenue was going toward servicing debt. Last year, with
Xi’s Belt and Road plan in full flow, a new Sri Lankan government
moved to ease the debt. In return for $1.1 billion, it basically
handed the seaport over to China.

 “All these huge projects are a waste,” says Sisira Kumara
Wahalathanthri, a local politician who opposes the current Sri Lanka
government. “No ships are coming to the port. No flights are coming to
the airport.”

I am bullish on the Blue Economy and in particular the Indian Ocean
Economy which is set to relive its glory days. Unlike the marvellous
song ''Everyones a Winner'' by Hot Chocolate, but There will be
Winners and Losers. Everyone is drinking the Indian Ocean ''Kool-Aid''
right now.

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August 19 2013 I have no doubt that the Indian Ocean is set to regain its glory days
Africa


Professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto explains why ‘The precocity of the
Indian Ocean as a zone of long-range navigation and cultural exchange
is one of the glaring facts of history’, made possible by the
‘reversible escalator’ of the monsoon.’
I have no doubt that the Indian Ocean is set to regain its glory days.
China’s dependence on imported crude oil is increasing and the US’
interestingly is decreasing. I am also certain the Eastern Seaboard of
Africa from Mozambique through Somalia is the last Great Energy Prize
in the c21st.

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Zimbabwe's economy is collapsing: why Mnangagwa doesn't have the answers @TC_Africa
Africa


A “big-bang” sharp break with Zimbabwe’s recent past is essential to
reassure consumers and capitalists. Yet Mnangagwa and his cronies have
so far rejected anything forward-looking and sensible.
Mnangagwa’s administration is struggling to overcome the national
economic destruction wreaked on Zimbabwe over two decades under Robert
Mugabe. This included profligate spending, immense debt pileup,
colossal corruption, and ravaging of the country’s once immensely
productive agricultural sector.
As a result, Zimbabwe now lacks foreign exchange with which to buy
petrol and ordinary goods to stock the shelves of its supermarkets. In
the last few weeks many shops – such as Edgars, a long-time clothing
store; Teta, an eatery; KFC, a fast food outlet – have simply shut
their doors. Queues for petrol stretch for miles.
Banks have no US dollars, or South African rands or Botswana pulas
(the notional national currency), and therefore cannot supply stores
or customers with the funds to carry on business as usual.
This week the locally created Zimbabwe bond note, officially supposed
to trade 1 to 1 with the US dollar, has traded as high as 10 to 1 on
the Harare black market. Sometimes it trades for a little less. It is
unofficially called the zollar.
The new administration has naturally resorted to printing its own faux
money. That inevitably has led, as always, to hyperinflation and
monetary collapse.

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08-OCT-2018 :: One Domino that has suddenly tipped over is Zimbabwe
Africa


Reuters reported that People again formed long queues to fill up their
cars in the capital, with others panic-buying basic goods like cooking
oil and sugar. There are $9.3 billion of Zollars in banks compared to
$200 million in reserves, official data showed, a mis- match that
creates a premium for the U.S. dollar and fans the black market. On
the black market, the premium for the U.S. dollar spiked to a new
record on Saturday, reaching 165 percent from 120 percent on Monday,
traders said that means buying $100 in cash via a bank transfer cost
$265, up from $220 earlier this week. The Government’s ‘’Voodoo
Economics’’ where it spent $1.3b pump-priming the economy ahead of the
election [money it did not have] was the straw that broke the camel’s
back.

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.@PayPal backs emerging markets lender Tala cc @Talamobile @tala_KE @Reuters
Africa


The companies declined to disclose the amount of the investment, but
Tala said it will use the funding to further develop its product and
broaden its reach.
Based in Santa Monica, California, Tala lends to individuals in Kenya,
Tanzania, the Philippines, and Mexico through its smartphone app.
The company has lent more than $500 million to customers and has more
than 300 employees around the world.
To service these consumers, Tala analyzes device and behavioral data
to underwrite them and disburse loans of between $10 and $500 on
mobile wallets or other methods. More than 85 percent of customers
receive a loan in less than 10 minutes.
“Tala shares our vision of reimagining financial services, especially
for the unbanked and those underserved by the traditional financial
system,” Mark Britto, senior vice president and general manager of
global credit, at PayPal said in a statement.

Kenya

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Kenya may have lost as much as 270 billion shillings ($2.7 billion) in tax over the last three years because of legislation that allows exemptions, according to the revenue authority. @business
Africa


A study into withholding taxes and value-added tax showed “85 billion
to 90 billion shillings annually that could have been included in the
tax net,” Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General John Njiraini
said in an interview.
“We need a conversation about what proportion of our economy is within
the tax net and what kind of policies should we pursue so that there
is consistent tax buoyancy.”
Kenya unveiled new VAT legislation in 2013 that reduced the number of
exempt and zero-rated products. Since then, the government has rolled
back some of the changes. It’s also introduced an exemption of
donor-funded projects, such as the country’s $5.3 billion
standard-gauge railway, from VAT.
Exemptions on corporate income taxes and VAT lead to revenue leakages
of almost 5 percent of GDP, the World Bank said last week.

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22-OCT-2018 :: @SafaricomPlc - The most successful Start-Up in Kenya Inc.'s history #NaweKilaWakati
Africa


Safaricom was formed in 1997 as a fully owned subsidiary of Telkom
Kenya. It inherited 17,000 Customers.  In May 2000, Vodafone Group PLC
 acquired a 40% stake and management responsibility for the company.
in that same Year [2000] Michael Joseph began the Journey in earnest
with five Vodafone employees in an apartment in the Norfolk towers in
Kijabe Street Off Harry Thuku Rd in Nairobi. Today 18 years later,
Safaricom has morphed into the biggest communication company in East
and Central Africa, with over 29.57 million subscribers [as per the
Full Year Earnings Release]. Its Mobile Money Platform MPESA [launched
in March 2007] is ubiquitous and in fact its not a stretch to say it
re-invented Kenya Inc.'s positioning world-wide. One Tweet from Bill
Gates confirms its ubiquity and was probably worth the entire annual
Kenya Tourism marketing budget.

''By making it easier to send and receive money, M-Pesa is
transforming the daily lives of people in Kenya'' @BillGates

Throughout its 18 year history, Safaricom has bet big on Kenyans. You
might not recall but they were chasing Mo Ibrahim's Celtel at the
GetGo. In 2004, they launched the Mobile Internet. Whilst others built
a mobile Internet that looked like a murram road, Safaricom built an
Information Superhighway that connected us to the Future, the World
and the c21st.

When Jack Ma visited Nairobi last year and was asked about the
infrastructure deficit in Kenya, he said this [turning to Bob
Collymore]

''But your internet is fast!''

The Point is we live now in an Information Century and in order to be
connected to a world of 7b you need a ''Maserati'' connection
otherwise You are not even on the Pitch. The word ''democratisation''
is bandied around a lot but this one word that can be applied to
Safaricom. Leadership at Safaricom from Michael to Bob have believed
intuitively and instinctively in ''democratisation''

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@SafaricomPLC share price data
Africa


Par Value:                  0.05/-
Closing Price:           23.75
Total Shares Issued:          40065428000.00
Market Capitalization:        951,553,915,000
EPS:             1.38
PE:                 17.210

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@KenyaPower share price data -55.495% 2018
Africa


Par Value:                  20/-
Closing Price:           4.05
Total Shares Issued: 1951467045.00
Market Capitalisation: 7,903,441,532
EPS:  3.72
PE:   1.089

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