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27-NOV-2017 :: Bitcoin "Wow! What a Ride!" @TheStarKenya
Let me leave you with Hunter S.Thompson, “Life should not be a journey
to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and
well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of
smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming
“Wow! What a Ride!”
"Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield"
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock,
which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft,
and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another
paradox: What is soft is strong,” Lao Tzu
China Reverses Ban on Trade in Tiger Bones, Rhino Horns @business
China says it will allow trading in products made from endangered
tigers and rhinos under "special circumstances," reversing a previous
ban and bringing condemnation from conservation groups.
A notice from the Cabinet issued Monday avoided mentioning any change
in the law, saying instead that it would "control" the trade and that
rhino horns and tiger bones could only be obtained from farmed animals
for use in "medical research or in healing."
"Under the special circumstances, regulation on the sales and use of
these products will be strengthened, and any related actions will be
authorized, and the trade volume will be strictly controlled," the
Tiger bone and rhino horn are used in traditional Chinese medicine,
despite a lack of evidence of their effectiveness in treating illness
and the effect on wild populations. Chinese demand for ivory is also
blamed as a driver behind the slaughter of African elephants, despite
Beijing banning all trade in ivory starting from this year.
No reason was given for the lifting of the ban, which was implemented
in 1993 amid a global push to protect fast-disappearing endangered
The statement also said nothing about regulating the farming of tigers
and rhinos, but added that the central government "urged governments
at all levels to improve publicity activities for protecting rhinos
and tigers to help the public actively boycott any illegal purchases."
The World Wildlife Fund said the move to overturn the ban would have
"devastating consequences globally" by allowing poachers and smugglers
to hide behind legalized trade.
Why Now China.
Bolsonaro Is A Pivotal Part Of Trump's Plans To Build "Fortress America" @AKorybko
Law & Politics
The election of Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil’s next president is a major
step in the direction of Trump’s plans to build a “Fortress America”
that he intends will cement the US’ hegemonic influence in the Western
Hemisphere by systematically squeezing China out of Latin America.
Jair Bolsonaro’s election as Brazil’s next president will go down in
history as a pivotal moment in hemispheric affairs because it
represents the greatest success so far of the US’ “Operation Condor
2.0” secret scheme of replacing the region’s socialist “Pink Tide”
governments with right-wing neoliberal ones. The Hybrid War on Brazil
deliberately shaped the socio-political environment in South America’s
largest country in such a way that this “dark horse” candidate was
able to come out of nowhere and capture control of this Great Power
with the US’ tacit backing, which will expectedly have far-reaching
geostrategic implications. The US is employing all means at its
disposal to push back against China’s game-changing Belt & Road
Initiative (BRI) in the nascent New Cold War, and there’s little doubt
that Bolsonaro will do good on his campaign pledge to counter China’s
growing influence in his country, which perfectly dovetails with what
his role model Donald Trump is trying to do in the US.
Khashoggi BOMBSHELL: Britain 'KNEW of kidnap plot and BEGGED Saudi Arabia to abort plans' @Daily_Express
Law & Politics
MURDERED journalist Jamal Khashoggi was about to disclose details of
Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapons in Yemen, sources close to him
said last night.
The revelations come as separate intelligence sources disclosed that
Britain had first been made aware of a plot a full three weeks before
he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Intercepts by GCHQ of internal communications by the kingdom’s General
Intelligence Directorate revealed orders by a “member of the royal
circle” to abduct the troublesome journalist and take him back to
The orders, intelligence sources say, did not emanate directly from de
facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and it is not known if
he was aware of them.
Though they commanded that Khashoggi should be abducted and taken back
to Riyadh, they “left the door open” for other actions should the
journalist prove to be troublesome, sources said.
Last week Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General confirmed that the murder
had been premeditated - in contrast to initial official explanations
that Khashoggi had been killed after a fight broke out.
Khashoggi's body believed cut into three pieces and thrown down a well
“The suspects in the incident had committed their act with a
premeditated intention,” he said.
“The Public Prosecution continues its investigations with the accused
in the light of what it has received and the results of its
investigations to reach facts and complete the course of justice.”
Those suspects are within a 15-strong hit squad sent to Turkey, and
include serving members of GID.
Speaking last night the intelligence source told the Sunday Express:
“We were initially made aware that something was going in the first
week of September, around three weeks before Mr Khashoggi walked into
the consulate on October 2, though it took more time for other details
“These details included primary orders to capture Mr Khashoggi and
bring him back to Saudi Arabia for questioning. However, the door
seemed to be left open for alternative remedies to what was seen as a
“We know the orders came from a member of the royal circle but have no
direct information to link them to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
"Whether this meant he was not the original issuer we cannot say.”
Crucially, the highly-placed source confirms that MI6 had warned his
Saudi Arabian counterparts to cancel the mission - though this request
“On October 1 we became aware of the movement of a group, which
included members of Ri'āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-‘Āmah (GID) to Istanbul,
and it was pretty clear what their aim was.
“Through channels we warned that this was not a good idea. Subsequent
events show that our warning was ignored.”
Asked why MI6 had not alerted its Five Eye intelligence partner, the
US (Khashoggi was a US resident) the source said only: “A decision was
taken that we’d done what we could.”
However analysts offered one possible explanation for this.
“The misleading image that has been created of Jamal Khashoggi covers
up more than it reveals. As an insider to the Saudi regime, Khashoggi
had also been close to the former head of the intelligence agency.
He was an Islamist, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and someone
who befriended Osama Bin Laden and had been sympathetic to his Jihad
in Afghanistan," said Tom Wilson, of the Henry Jackson Society
A Royal Visit Led This Indian Ocean Nation to Invent a New Bond @business
After Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned in the Seychelles
in 2011, the former British colony enjoyed a tourism boom that’s made
it one of the richest countries in Africa.
But with success has come a new challenge for the nation of 90,000
people: High-income countries are no longer eligible for the
international aid that helps developing states fight climate change.
And climate change is already a problem for tiny islands around the
world. With its dependence on tourism and fishing, the Seychelles has
more to lose than ever—from rising sea levels to worsening storms.
So this archipelago of 115 islands located 1,000 miles northeast of
Madagascar is enlisting private investors in the battle to save itself
from global warming.
Seychelles this week issued a first-of-its-kind “blue bond” to benefit
its marine resources, the government announced on Monday.
The $15 million, 10-year sovereign bond was sold in a private
placement to three international investors: Nuveen, Prudential and
Calvert Impact Capital. It also included participation from the World
Bank and the Prince of Wales.
The bond’s colorful name is a play on the rapidly growing market for
green bonds, or debt issues directed to specific environmental or
“This is a test case to illustrate the impact that markets can have on
the oceans,” said Gianfranco Bertozzi, lead financial officer for the
World Bank Treasury. “If a country like the Seychelles—which is very
far off the radar in the middle of the Indian Ocean—can do this, then
this is something others can also do.”
The problem Seychelles and other tiny islands are facing is that their
tax bases are too small to pay for efforts to save oceans and marine
ecosystems. They also can’t afford huge interest payments on debt that
credit markets might consider risky.
Funding from the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit
helped Seychelles start working on the concept of a blue bond in 2014,
leading to the issue this week.
The World Bank has provided a $5 million guarantee on the bond.
Proceeds will fund two major initiatives: $3 million for conservation
and climate grants and a $12 million investment fund to be managed by
the Development Bank of the Seychelles.
The proceeds from the bond will help pay for marine protection,
fishery management and other projects to safeguard the ocean economy
the country depends on. Fish and related products make up about 95
percent of the total value of Seychelles exports, and the industry
employs about 17 percent of the population—its second-biggest industry
The bond “will greatly assist Seychelles in achieving a transition to
sustainable fisheries and safeguarding our oceans,” said Vincent
Meriton, vice president of the Republic of Seychelles, in a statement.
The investors who purchased the bond said they hoped blue bonds will
find success similar to that of their green cousins, which are
estimated to reach $200 billion in annual issuance this year.
“On one hand it’s a plain vanilla sovereign bond,” Catherine
Godschalk, who manages Calvert’s investments team, said of the blue
bond. “What’s different is it’s part of a broader program enabling the
Seychelles to invest in and create infrastructure, regulatory policies
and departments to conserve their natural resources in the ocean.”
The bond pays a 6.5 percent coupon. Interest payments are partially
being funded by the Global Environment Facility, which reduced the
Seychelles’ payment to 2.8 percent.
02-NOV-2015 The Seychelles @TheStarKenya
I am writing this article from Mahe, which is the one of 115 islands
that make up the Seychelles archipelago, which lies 1,500 Kilometres
off East Africa.
Seychelles has a population of 90,024 and that is the small- eat
population of any independent African state. The minister for Finance,
Trade and The Blue Economy Jean-Paul Adam informed me that the
Seychelles receives tourists three times its population every year.
If Kenya was to receive the same ratio of tourists, we would be
welcoming 120 million tourists a year.
The minister described to me how the Seychelles navigated the 2008
financial crisis [debt to GDP soared close to 125 per cent] and the
Republic defaulted, but now runs an annual surplus of over five per
2018 IBRAHIM INDEX OF AFRICAN GOVERNANCE @Mo_IbrahimFdn 2018 #IIAG
Mo Ibrahim Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF)
This 12th Index shows that governance on our continent, on average, is
slowly improving. Approximately three out of four African citizens
live in a country where governance has improved over the last ten
Many positive trends emerge from this year’s Index. Fifteen countries
out of the 34 who register progress in Overall Governance over the
last decade even manage to accelerate their pace of improvement in the
last five years.
Among those, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, and Kenya display the most
impressive progression, stepping up from 41st, 25th and 19th to 22nd,
15th and 11th ranks over the past decade.
IIAG results can be classified into three main types: score, rank and trend.
Botswana ranks in the top ten highest scoring countries (5th) with a
score of 68.5 (out of 100.0) in Overall Governance. In the last ten
years however, it is also the fifth most deteriorated country on the
continent in Overall Governance having declined by -3.7 points in this
period. In the same way that trends should be taken into account when
looking at scores and ranks, when looking at trends it is important to
take into account the level of score and rank. Guinea, for example,
shows the fifth largest improvement on the continent (+6.1) over ten
years but still ranks in the bottom half (37th) on the continent with
a score of 45.9, below the African average.
The resulting trend classifications are six: Increasing Improvement,
Slowing Improvement, Warning Signs, Bouncing Back, Slowing
Deterioration or Increasing Deterioration
3rd Cabo Verde
7th South Africa
12th São Tomé & Príncipe
16th Burkina Faso
22nd Côte d'Ivoire
26th Sierra Leone
48th Equatorial Guinea
53rd South Sudan
Overall Governance in Africa remains, on average, on an upward
trajectory. In 2017 the continent reached its highest governance score
of the last ten years (2008-2017), 49.9 (out of 100.0), an improvement
of +1.0 point from 2008. 34 countries, home to approximately three out
of four Africans (71.6% of Africa’s citizens), have improved their
governance performance over the last ten-year period. It does leave,
however, at least one in four Africans (27.2%) experiencing decline in
governance as 18 countries register a deteriorated score over the last
Africa’s population has increased by +26.0% over the last ten years.
While 60.0% of Africa’s 1.25 billion people were under the age of 25
in 2017, the average score for Education in 2017 fell to 44.5 (out of
100.0), a decline of -0.7 points from its peak score five years ago.
The African average score for the indicator Civil Society
Participation (-0.4) has declined since 2008 and, in the Rights
sub-category, the slight progress made over the last ten years (+0.6)
is threatened by worsening trends in Freedom of Association & Assembly
(-5.5), Civil Rights & Liberties (-4.0) and Freedom of Expression
Over the last decade, which has been one of economic growth for the
continent, Africa’s average progress in Sustainable Economic
Opportunity for its citizens has been nearly non-existent. The 2017
Sustainable Economic Opportunity African average score (44.8) is
barely higher than ten years ago in 2008 (only +0.1 points, an
increase of only 0.2%) whilst Africa’s GDP has grown
by 39.7% over the same period. Almost half (43.2%) of Africa’s
citizens live in one of the 25 countries where Sustainable Economic
Opportunity has declined in the last ten years. Many African
governments have failed to translate economic wealth into Sustainable
Economic Opportunity for their citizens.
There is no strong correlation between the size of a country’s GDP and
scores in Sustainable Economic Opportunity. In 2017, four of the ten
countries with the highest GDP on the continent score below the
African average score for Sustainable Economic Opportunity and sit in
the lower half of the rankings: Algeria, Angola, Nigeria and Sudan.
Meanwhile, Cabo Verde and Seychelles have the 6th and 5th smallest
economies on the continent yet have the 6th and 5th highest scores in
Sustainable Economic Opportunity.
The lack of substantial progress in Sustainable Economic Opportunity
is mainly driven by a sizeable deterioration in Business Environment
(-4.9). In a context where the working age population (15-64) on the
continent is expected to grow by +27.9% over the next ten years,
Africa’s declining Business Environment is worrying. The African
average score of 41.1 is the lowest for this sub-category in ten years
and underscores the weak foundations for a large number of African
countries to be able to provide decent jobs to their ever-growing
working age populations. Africa’s lack of progress in the Satisfaction
with Employment Creation indicator, which assesses the extent to which
the public are satisfied with how the government is handling creating
jobs, makes it one of the lowest scoring indicators in Sustainable
Economic Opportunity. This indicator has on average declined by -3.1
points since 2008, underlining the poor job-creating performance of
Safety & Rule of Law (-2.5) on the continent continues to deteriorate,
driven down by the continued decline in Personal Safety, which
displays the largest African average decline (-6.1) of the 14
sub-categories in the IIAG over the decade, and increasing rate of
decline in National Security (-4.4). The 2017 African average scores
for Personal Safety (46.2) and National Security (75.1) are the lowest
in the decade. The largest declines appear in the indicators Absence
of Social Unrest (-14.8) and Perception of Personal Safety (-10.8),
Absence of Government Involvement in Armed Conflict (-13.2) and
Absence of Violence against Civilians by Non-state Actors (-11.9).
These four indicators are among Africa’s ten most deteriorated between
2008 and 2017.
The developments in National Security are extremely worrying, with the
average annual score declining almost twice as fast over the last five
years (-0.88) compared to the decade (-0.49). Almost two thirds of
Africa’s citizens (64.1%) live in the 28 countries which experienced a
decline in National Security over the last five years.
The absolute number of people being displaced within African countries
increased by +27.2% and rose from 10.2 million in 2009 to 14.0 million
in 20171. The absolute number of refugees2 fleeing from countries in
Africa rose from 2.7 million in 2008 to 7.3 million in 2017, an
increase of +63.4%
Once on a positive track in Rule of Law, the majority of countries
tend to follow it. Out of the 24 countries which improved their score
over the decade, 19 accelerated these improvements over the last five
years. For example, all of the top five improvers – Guinea (+23.5),
Côte d’Ivoire (+22.6), Tunisia (+21.2), Liberia (+18.0) and Gambia
(+16.7) – have accelerated their rate of improvement over the last
five years. For these 19 countries, the improvements also tend to be
large: on average, +9.5 points both for the ten-year and five-year
Sustainable Economic Opportunity remains on average the worst
performing and slowest improving category of the IIAG. Its 2017
African average score is 44.8 (out of 100.0), only +0.1 points higher
than ten years ago (2008).
Africa’s combined GDP has increased by +39.7% over the last decade,
but this has not translated into a similar level of progress in
providing Sustainable Economic Opportunity for its citizens.
Africa's leaders at risk of wasting demographic dividend @FT @Mo_IbrahimFdn
African governments are in danger of squandering the continent’s
demographic dividend by failing to create enough jobs, according to
findings based on a decade of data from the Ibrahim Index of African
In a continent whose working-age population is expected to rise by a
staggering 900m people between 2015 and 2050, the business environment
had deteriorated over the past decade.
Surveys showed that Africans across most of the continent’s 54
countries were unhappy with their employment prospects. Most jobs
remain in the informal sector.
Over the 35 years from 2015, the working-age population of Europe will
decline by 85m, while that of China is expected to shrink by 200m,
marking a huge shift in the locus of the world’s workforce to Africa,
where the median age is 19.
But Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese businessman whose foundation produces the
index, said African governments were in danger of “squandering” this
“Our gross domestic product has grown by a considerable amount over
the past 10 years, but we haven’t translated that into a sustainable
economic opportunity,” said Mr Ibrahim, referring to an increase in
GDP of 40 per cent since 2008.
“Some people got really rich and enjoy all the fruits of economic
boom, but no more jobs or economic opportunity were created. Trickle
down doesn’t work.”
The report said that the “dismal trajectory” in the business
environment threatened to lead to “brain drain, political and social
unrest, instability and armed conflict”. It added: “On average,
African governments have failed to produce environments that enable
their citizens to pursue economic goals and provide the opportunity to
In 39 of the continent’s 54 countries, representing four-fifths of
Africa’s population, there was a decline in the business environment,
with important economies such as Angola, Egypt and South Africa among
the worst performers.
Rwanda, where the government of Paul Kagame has sought to lay the
foundations for economic growth, overtook Mauritius as the most
business-friendly economy on the continent. Ivory Coast, Morocco and
Nigeria were among other high scorers, although Nigeria has
deteriorated slightly over the past decade.
The decline in business environment was moderated by improvements in
infrastructure — much of it funded by China — and quicker customs
procedures, according to the report. Regional integration had also
improved, with the majority of countries signing up to a continental
free trade area this year.
However, countries had failed to diversify their economies, with the
diversification of exports actually falling over the past decade.
Despite the difficult business environment, Acha Leke and Saf
Yeboah-Amankwah, writing in the Harvard Business Review this month,
found that there were 400 African companies with revenue of more than
$1bn. On average, these were more profitable and growing faster than
their international peers, the authors said.
According to the index, considered the most comprehensive in Africa,
overall governance has improved slightly over the past decade.
Almost three out of four citizens lived in a country where governance,
defined by more than 100 criteria, had improved. Health had improved
markedly, although initial advances in education had gone into
Ivory Coast, a fast-growing west African country that emerged from
civil war in 2012, is the only country to have shown improvements in
all 14 categories monitored by the Ibrahim index, which range from
human rights to access to basic services. Kenya and Morocco were other
Mauritius stayed in the top slot for overall governance, despite
falling back slightly, while South Africa fell out of the top five.
Somalia, although it has improved, remained bottom of the heap.
Zimbabwe Targets $700 Million From Electronic Transactions Tax @business
Zimbabwe is targeting a $700 million increase in annual revenue from
the proceeds of a 2 percent tax on money transfers, Finance Ministry
Permanent Secretary George Guvamatanga said.
Presenting the ministry’s expenditure proposals for 2019 to lawmakers
in the capital, Harare, Guvamatanga said $4.3 billion of the $5.7
billion revenue anticipated in the current fiscal year would come from
collections by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. The government is due
to present next year’s budget in November.
Guvamatanga rejected criticism of the transactions tax. “Although this
is a bitter pill to swallow, we have to accept the principle that it
was necessary for everyone including our large informal sector to
contribute to the fiscus,” he said.
President Tells Depositors Not To Panic AllAfrica
President Mnangagwa has urged depositors not to panic over the value
of their Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) balances and bond notes as
there is no change in policy to warrant offloading them.
The President said this yesterday during a breakfast engagement with
bankers and captains of industry and commerce at State House in
Kenya to Raise $2.8 Billion From Eurobonds, Loans This Year @markets @herbling
Kenya will offer Eurobonds and seek a syndicated loan to raise the 287
billion shillings ($2.8 billion) net external financing it planned
this fiscal year, a Treasury official said. The currency weakened to
an eight-month low.
The state plans to raise as much as 250 billion shillings of Eurobonds
in what would be its third sale of the debt, Treasury Principal
Secretary Kamau Thugge said by text message from the capital, Nairobi.
It will also seek about 37 billion shillings of commercial debt, he
said, without giving more details.
Kenya sold $2 billion of 10- and 30-year Eurobonds in February, after
a debut $2.75-billion sale in 2014. The yields on the bonds due in
2024 rose 4 basis point to 7.326 percent by 5 p.m. in Nairobi, erasing
an earlier drop, while the 2048 securities were at 8.965 percent. The
shilling dropped as much as 0.5 percent to 101.84 against the dollar,
the most in 10 months and its weakest level in eight months.
The International Monetary Fund estimates Kenya’s total public debt
will peak at 63.2 percent of gross domestic product this year from 58
percent in 2017. It said last week the higher debt level increased the
nation’s fiscal vulnerabilities and places Kenya in the top quartile
among its peers.
The Washington-based lender urged the state to refinance debt using
concessional loans to lengthen maturities in the coming year and limit
commercial credit for projects with high social and economic returns.
The Eurobond plans “could aggravate the negative sentiment on the
shilling, coming on the heels of the unfavorable Article IV
consultation report by the IMF, which raised concerns about Kenya’s
risk of external debt distress,” said Faith Atiti, an economist at
Nairobi-based Commercial Bank of Africa.
“A new Eurobond sale against a backdrop of external debt concerns and
rising interest rates in the international debt markets could worsen
debt sustainability concerns feeding the recent pressure on the
shilling,” she said.
In addition to the external financing, Kenya’s budget targets domestic
borrowing of 271.9 billion shillings to plug a fiscal deficit equal to
5.7 percent of GDP. Of the 1.69 trillion shillings revenue goal set
for the year through end-June, the Treasury raised 329.1 billion
shillings in the first quarter, according to a gazette notice last
News of the Eurobond plans so soon after the IMF said it no longer
considers the shilling as floating is a negative for the currency, and
Kenya will have to pay a high price for the amount it intends to
raise, according to Aly-Khan Satchu, chief executive officer at
Nairobi-based Rich Management Ltd.
“The Eurobond was a sell-signal on the shilling,” he said by phone.
“It signals that Kenya is inclined to kick the can down the road. It’s
very unfortunate messaging. Kenya should be becoming much more
aggressive about reducing its expenditure before raising $3 billion.”