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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 08th of February 2019

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

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My Favourite Robert Frank Photograph remains

Jack Kerouac described this Photograph as follows

In his introduction to The Americans, Kerouac describes this
photograph as "a long shot of night road arrowing forlorn into
immensities and flat of impossible-to-believe America in New Mexico
under the prisoner's moon."

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The Unseen Robert Frank: Outtakes From 'The Americans' @nytimes Lens @nytimesphoto

In his introduction to Robert Frank’s seminal photo book, “The
Americans,” Jack Kerouac claimed the photographer had captured “scenes
that have never been seen before on film.”
He was referring not to particular people, places or objects but to
“the humor, the sadness, the EVERYTHING-ness and American-ness”
Mr. Frank documented as he traveled the country on a Guggenheim
Fellowship beginning in 1955. At a time when mainstream publications
tended to favor a rosy view of American life, Mr. Frank presented a
comparatively stark vision that also challenged the aesthetics of
popular photography.

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"Algorithm' is arguably the single most important concept in our world Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus

“Algorithm’ is arguably the single most important concept in our
world. If we want to understand our life and our future, we should
make every effort to understand what an algorithm is, and how
algorithms are connected with emotions. An algorithm is a methodical
set of steps that can be used to make calculations, resolve problems
and reach decisions. An algorithm isn’t a particular calculation, but
the method followed when making the calculation. For example, if you
want to calculate the average between two numbers, you can use a
simple algorithm. The algorithm says: ‘First step: add the two numbers
together. Second step: divide the sum by two.’ When you enter the
numbers 4 and 8, you get 6. When you enter 117 and 231, you get 174.”
― Yuval Noah Harari,

“The algorithms controlling humans work through sensations, emotions
and thoughts.” ההיסטוריה של המחר

“since there is only one real world, whereas the number of potential
virtual worlds is infinite, the probability that you happen to inhabit
the sole real world is almost zero.” ההיסטוריה של המחר

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"Look, boys, it ever strike you that the world not real at all? It ever strike you that we have the only mind in the world and you just thinking up everything else? Like me here V.S. Naipaul, Miguel Street

“Look, boys, it ever strike you that the world not real at all? It
ever strike you that we have the only mind in the world and you just
thinking up everything else? Like me here, having the only mind in the
world, and thinking up you people here, thinking up the war and all
the houses and the ships and them in the harbour. That ever cross your
― V.S. Naipaul, Miguel Street

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"I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited." - Jorge Luis Borges

“If I could live again my life,
In the next - I'll try,
- to make more mistakes,
I won't try to be so perfect,
I'll be more relaxed...
I'll take fewer things seriously..
I'll take more risks,
I'll take more trips,
I'll watch more sunsets,
I'll climb more mountains,
I'll swim more rivers,
I'll go to more places I've never been
I'll eat more ice ...I'll have more real problems and less imaginary ones

If I could live again - I will travel light
If I could live again - I'll try to work bare feet at the beginning of
spring till the end of autumn,
I'll watch more sunrises ...If I have the life to live”
― Jorge Luis Borges

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We've seen the west's approach to Venezuela before - in Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, need I go on? @IndyVoices
Law & Politics

The closest I ever came to Venezuela, many years ago, was a transit
connection at Caracas airport. I noticed a lot of soldiers in red
berets and a clutch of goons, and it reminded me, vaguely, of the
Middle East.
Now, sitting in the rain squalls of the wintry Levant, I flick through
my newspaper clippings of our recent local autocrats – Saddam, Assad,
al-Sisi, Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman (you can fill in the rest for
yourself) – and I think of Nicolas Maduro.
The comparisons are by no means precise. Indeed, it’s not the nature
of the “strongmen” I’m thinking about. It’s our reaction to all these
chaps. And there are two obvious parallels: the way in which we
sanction and isolate the hated dictator – or love him, as the case may
be – and the manner in which we not only name the opposition as the
rightful heir to the nation, but demand that democracy be delivered to
the people whose torture and struggle for freedom we have suddenly
And before I forget it, there’s one other common thread in this story.
If you suggest that those who want presidential change in Venezuela
may be a little too hasty, and our support for – let us say – Juan
Guaido might be a bit premature if we don’t want to start a civil war,
this means you are “pro-Maduro”.
Just as those who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq were “pro-Saddam”,
or those who thought the west might pause before it supported the
increasingly violent opposition in Syria were labelled “pro-Assad”.
And those who defended Yasser Arafat – over a long period a
super-terrorist, a super-diplomat and then a super-terrorist again –
against those who would oust him as leader of the Palestinians, were
abused as “pro-Arafat”, “pro-Palestinian”, “pro-terrorist” and,
inevitably, “anti-Semitic”.
I recall how George W Bush warned us after 9/11, that “you are either
with us or against us”. The same threat was made to us about Assad.
Erdogan has used it in Turkey (less than three years ago) and it was a
common line in the forgotten 1930s used by none other than Mussolini.
And now I quote Trump’s US secretary of state Michael Pompeo on
Maduro: “Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side … either
you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro
and his mayhem.”
You get the point. Now is the time for all good people to stand
alongside the United States, the EU, the nations of Latin America – or
do you support the Russkies, Chinese, Iranian headbangers, the
perfidious Corbyn and (of all people) the Greeks?
Talking of the Greeks, European pressure on Alexis Tsipras to conform
to the EU’s support for Guaido – proving that the EU can indeed bully
its smaller members – is a good argument for Brexiteers (though far
too complex for them to understand).
But first, let’s take a look at our favourite tyrant, in the words of
all who oppose him. He’s a powerful dictator, surrounded by generals,
suppressing his people, using torture, mass arrests, secret police
murders, rigged elections, political prisoners – so no wonder we gave
our support to those who wish to overthrow this brutal man and stage
democratic elections.
Not a bad precis of our current policy towards the Maduro regime. But
I am referring, of course, word-for-word, to the west’s policy towards
the Assad regime in Syria. And our support for opposition democracy
there wasn’t terribly successful.
We were not solely responsible for the Syrian civil war – but we were
not guiltless since we sent an awful lot of weapons to those trying to
overthrow Assad. And last month the notepad of US national security
advisor John Bolton appeared to boast a plan to send 5,000 US troops
to Colombia…
And now let’s tick the box on another Maduro-lookalike – at least from
the west’s simplistic point of view: the military-backed elected field
marshal-president al-Sisi of Egypt, whom we love, admire and protect.
Powerful dictator? Yup. Surrounded and supported by generals? You bet,
not least because he locked up a rival general before the last
election. Suppression? Absolutely – all in the interest of crushing
“terrorism”, of course.
Mass arrests? Happily yes, for all the inmates of Egypt’s savage
prison system are “terrorists”, at least according to the field
marshal-president himself. Secret police murders?
Well, even forgetting the young Italian student suspected by his
government to have been allegedly tortured and bumped off by one of
Sisi’s top Egyptian cops, there’s a roll call of disappeared
Rigged elections? No doubt about it, although al-Sisi still maintains
that his last triumph at the polls – a cracking 97 per cent – was a
free and fair election.
President Trump sent his “sincere congratulations”. Political
prisoners? Well, the total is 60,000 and rising. Oh yes, and Maduro’s
last victory – a rigged election if ever there was one, of course –
was a mere 67.84 per cent.
As the late sage of the Sunday Express, John Gordon, might have said:
it makes you sit up a bit. So, too, I suppose, when we glance a bit
further eastwards to Afghanistan, whose Taliban rulers were routed in
2001 by the US, whose post-9/11 troops and statesmen ushered in a new
life of democracy, then corruption, warlordism and civil war.
The “democracy” bit quickly came unstuck when “loya jurgas”, grand
councils, turned into tribal playpens and the Americans announced that
it would be an exaggeration to think that we could achieve
“Jeffersonian democracy” in Afghanistan. Too true.
Now the Americans are negotiating with the “terrorist” Taliban in
Qatar so they can get the hell out of the Graveyard of Empires after
17 years of military setbacks, scandals and defeats – not to mention
running a few torture camps which even Maduro would cough to look at.
Now all this may not encourage you to walk down memory lane. And I
haven’t even listed the sins of Saddam, let alone our continuing and
cosy relationship – amazing as it still seems – with that Gulf state
whose lads strangled, chopped up and secretly buried a US-resident
journalist in Turkey.
Now just imagine if Maduro, tired of a journalist critic slandering
him in Miami, decided to lure him to the Venezuelan embassy in
Washington and top the poor guy, slice him up and bury him secretly in
Foggy Bottom.
Well now, I have a feeling that sanctions might have been applied to
Maduro a long time ago. But not to Saudi Arabia, of course, where we
are very definitely not advocating democracy.
“Now is the time for democracy and prosperity in Venezuela,” quoth
John Bolton this week. Oh, yes indeed. Maduro runs an oil-soaked
nation yet its people starve.
He is an unworthy, foolish and vain man, even if he’s not Saddamite in
his crimes. He was rightly described by a colleague as a dreary
tyrant. He even looks like the kind of guy who tied ladies to railway
lines in silent movies.
So good luck to Guaido. Palpably a nice guy, speaks eloquently, wise
to stick to aid for the poor and fresh elections rather than dwell on
just how exactly Maduro and his military chums are going to be booted
In other words, good luck – but watch out. Instead of pleading with
those who will not support him – the Greeks, for example – he might
take a closer look at who his foreign friends are.
And do a quick track record on their more recent crusades for freedom,
democracy and the right to life. And by the way, I haven’t even
mentioned Libya.

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24 OCT 11 Gaddafi's Body in a Freezer - What's the Message?
Law & Politics

I am left thinking, this dead Gaddafi business is one powerful
message. And today Marshall McLuhan’s prediction in The Gutenberg
Galaxy (1962) that ‘The new electronic interdependence recreates the
world in the image of a global village’ has come to pass.
The image of a bloodied Gaddafi, then of a dead Gaddafi in a meat
locker have flashed around the world via the mobile, YouTube and
Who is in charge of the messaging? Through the fog of real time and
raw footage, I note a very pow- erful message. The essence of that
message being;
‘Don’t Fxxk with us! Because you will end up dead and a trophy
souvenir in a fridge.’
That same person is probably repeating Muammar’s comment, “I tell the
coward crusaders: I live in a place where you can’t get me. I live in
the hearts of millions.”
And asking ‘Really? Are You? Or are you now very dead and in a meat locker?’

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No encirclement by China, says V.K. Singh @the_hindu
Law & Politics

“I don’t think we are surrounded,” he further stated, giving instances
of the different nature of relationships India and China had with
various countries.
China has built a series of dual use facilities in the Indian Ocean
Region around India which began to be referred to as String of Pearls.

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10-DEC-2018 :: Truce dinner @Huawei
Law & Politics

Sirloin steaks, Catena Zapata Nicolas Malbec [2014] Huawei
Technologies Co. and Wanzhou Meng

You will recall that Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping enjoyed a much
anticipated ''Truce'' Dinner at the G20 in Buenos Aires and quaffed a
Catena Zapata Nicolas Malbec [2014] wine with their sirloin steaks and
finished it all off with caramel rolled pancakes, crispy chocolate and
fresh cream, a dinner that ran over by 60 minutes and one where the
dinner Guests broke out into spontaneous applause thereafter.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.3374
Dollar Index 96.60
Japan Yen 109.75
Swiss Franc 1.0019
Pound 1.2939
Aussie 0.70845
India Rupee 71.285
South Korea Won 1123.60
Brazil Real 3.7165
Egypt Pound 17.6035
South Africa Rand 13.6809

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Reserve Bank of India cut its benchmark interest rates by 25 basis points on Thursday, a move that will please Prime Minister @narendramodi @FT
Emerging Markets

The RBI’s Monetary policy committee cut its benchmark repo rates to
6.25 percent, as it sharply revised its inflation forecast downwards.
It also changed its monetary policy stance for the future to neutral
from the previous stance of “calibrated tightening.”
The move comes just three months after Urjit Patel, former RBI
governor, resigned after widening differences with Mr Modi’s
administration various economic and regulatory issues, including New
Delhi’s perception that the RBI’s monetary policy was overly tight.
In the last six years, India’s inflation rate has fallen from an
annual average of around 10 percent to a 3.6 per cent in the last
financial year, with headline inflation falling to a mere 2.19 per
cent in December.

Frontier Markets

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A secure, stable, and prosperous Africa is an enduring American interest.
U.S. Africa Command, with partners, strengthens security forces,
counters transnational threats, and conducts crisis response in order
to advance U.S. national interests and promote security, stability,
and prosperity.
Africa is an enduring interest for the United States, and security is
a pre-requisite for economic growth and development.
During 2018, U.S. Africa Command commemorated its tenth year as a
geographic combatant command, reaffirming Africa’s importance to the
U.S. global strategy for defending and ensuring the economic
well-being of the U.S. homeland. Our network continues to focus on
shared goals of a secure, stable, and prosperous Africa, which
benefits not only our African partners and the U.S., but also the
international community.
U.S. Africa Command also plays a significant role in advancing the
priorities outlined in the National Security and Defense Strategies,
which emphasize the rise of China and Russia as key competitors. U.S.
Africa Command has also observed increased engagement of non-
traditional security actors, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and
the United Arab Emirates, as both challenges and opportunities to our
Each day, we have approximately 7,000 personnel conducting their
assigned tasks on the African continent.
For scale, Africa is over three times larger than the U.S. The U.S.
Africa Command Area of Responsibility encompasses 53 countries with a
population of 1.3 billion. By 2050, this figure is forecasted to
almost double to over 2.54 billion, with one out of every four people
on the planet living on the African continent
Forty-one percent of Africans are under the age of 15, while 60
percent of the total population is under the age of 24.
According to the Fund For Peace’s 2018 Fragility State Index, 33 of
the 50 countries most at risk of becoming unstable are in Africa. This
includes seven of the top ten most fragile states.
In Africa, VEOs remain a serious threat to the shared interests of our
partners, allies, and the U.S. These VEOs and criminal networks prey
upon disenfranchised populations, creating a cycle of recruitment and
allowing extremist ideology to fester. Extremist networks also exploit
criminal networks for the illicit transport of narcotics, weapons, and
persons. VEOs cultivate and encourage an environment of distrust,
despair, and hopelessness to undermine governments, allowing for the
expansion of their radical ideology.
Over the past decade, China has injected considerable amounts of
financing into the continent, including offering key loans to
strategically-located countries, like Djibouti, Senegal, and Angola.
Chinese interests include gaining greater access to Africa’s mineral
and other natural resources, opening markets, and accessing naval
ports. In the short term, the complete financial packages can make
China appear to be an attractive partner for African nations. For
example, African nations who become signatories to China’s Belt and
Road Initiative (the BRI) receive promises of development, defense,
and cultural investments in their countries, further enhancing China’s
influence while challenging our own partnerships in Africa.
For Kenya, which financed 90% of the total $3.6 billion railway
project from China in 2014, loan repayment rates are scheduled to
triple in 2019 per the conditions of the loan agreement risking this
Russia is also a growing challenge and has taken a more militaristic
approach in Africa. By employing oligarch-funded, quasi-mercenary
military advisors, particularly in countries where leaders seek
unchallenged autocratic rule, Russian interests gain access to natural
resources on favorable terms. Some African leaders readily embrace
this type of support and use it to consolidate their power and
authority. This is occurring in the Central African Republic where
elected leaders mortgage mineral rights—for a fraction of their
worth—to secure Russian weapons. Russia also garners additional
support at the United Nations and gains more customers for its
military arms sales.
The U.S. Africa Command strategy prioritizes five objectives: 1)
African Partners contribute to regional security, 2) threats from VEOs
and transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) are reduced to a level
manageable by internal security forces, 3) U.S. access and influence
are ensured, 4) U.S. Africa Command sets the theater by aligning
forces, authorities, capabilities, footprints, and agreements, and 5)
U.S. personnel and facilities are protected.
Our efforts to ensure strategic access must also be viewed through the
lens of competitor influence and coercive activities, which seek to
gain advantages over the U.S. by moving faster in economic and
security markets where we are constrained by our values and law. China
is a strategic competitor which uses economic and security outreach to
foster investment incentives, jobs, and infrastructure growth in
return for access to Africa’s strategic locations, natural resources,
and markets. China has most successfully employed this model in
Djibouti, holding 80 percent of the Government of Djibouti’s debt,
where access through the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, the Red Sea, and the
Suez Canal remains a U.S. strategic imperative.
Today, on the African side of the Red Sea and in the Bab-el-Mandeb
strait, which encompasses Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan, and
Egypt, the Great Powers and the Gulf States both cooperate and compete
for real estate and port facilities.
long with U.S. Central Command, the strategic evolution of the Red Sea
remains a command priority, as we consider how Red Sea access can be
maintained and expanded on the continent. It is imperative for the
U.S. to not only maintain our status as the preferred security partner
of choice, but also look to diversify our strategic access to the Red

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(2/X): Overall, AFRICOM posture framed by priorities of National Defense Strategy, w/resultant concern about: @warnjason

A) Great Power competition (especially vis-a-vis China and Russia)
B) Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs) (and their destabilizing
impacts on African partner states)

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(4/X): AFRICOM concerns w/China's role in Africa: @warnjason

-Chinese threats to US access to markets + ports
-China’s use of usurious “debt-trap” diplomacy
-Attractive Chinese loans to strategic allies like Djibouti, Senegal, Angola
-Lack of African workers for Chinese-funded projects

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Nairobi, Kenya - June 18, 2012 CCTV "I think they finally woke up. I don't know when the penny dropped'' Aly-Khan Satchu
Kenyan Economy

ALY-KHAN SATCHU Wrote: (your comment)

Taking a broader Sweep, it is clear that the United States and
@USAfricaCommand has carved out a much more forward Position on the
African Continent. In some respects, @BarackObama 's Pivot to Asia
detours through Africa. China has made a Parabolic Advance across the
African Continent and one of the 'desired' Side Effects of staunching
the 'Al-Qaeda' Advance is that it also counters the Chinese Advance
via The Insertion of US Hard Power. The US cannot challenge China's
Extreme Dollar Diplomacy but it can insert Hard Power with which it
can tilt the African Pitch.

Now returning to Africa and although @USAfricaCommand was set up under
a Previous President's Watch, I think the Penny dropped [re China's
extraordinary Surge in Africa] only quite recently or in the last 24

Zbigniew Brzezinski [whom I admire and I believe is a Foreign Policy
Eminence Grise and has @BarackObama's Ear] once said that '' the three
grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and
maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries
pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming

I think the interesting Point is how Africa has now become Front and
Centre of the Geopolitical Global Puzzle and the Collision between US
Hard Power and China's Soft Power

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06-AUG-2018 :: The Indian Ocean Economy and a Port Race

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.

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Interview with Maria Joao Lopo de Carvalho about Luis de Camoes and her book which followed his c16th journey from Portugal to Macau

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. [President Kenyatta probably posed the question to
Vladimir Putin, whether Russia felt it had a role to play in this
Energy Great Game in East Africa]. Therefore, the control of the
Indian Ocean becomes kind of decisive and with control China can be
shut down quite quickly. A Sine qua non of President Barack Obama’s
pivot to Asia is US/NATO Power Projection over the Indian Ocean.

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A busy election year ahead in 2019 @issafrica @PSCReport

Major elections will take place in Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa,
Algeria, Tunisia and Mozambique in 2019.
2019 will be a busy electoral year on the continent, with 11
presidential seats up for grabs. Some of those elections will be
combined with legislative and/or local polls. Ideally, Africa should
be moving towards less contentious and violent pre- and post-electoral
situations. Yet electoral periods remain volatile and pose serious
challenges to peace and stability on the continent.
What to look out for in 2019, and what can Africa do to address
electoral violence and avert crises?
Nigeria and Senegal first to vote
South African elections in May
South Africa, by all measures a stable democracy on the continent,
will hold general elections in May 2019. The ruling African National
Congress (ANC) is expected to remain in power. However, it could see
its majority in Parliament dwindle even further than in 2014 as a
result of repeated corruption scandals and growing discontent with the
ANC among sections of the population.
The ruling Algerian Liberation National Front announced in late
October 2018 that Abdelaziz Bouteflika (81), in power since 1999,
would seek re-election in April 2019. Bouteflika amended the
constitution in 2008 to remove presidential term limits. He had
suffered a stroke in 2013 that left him with serious permanent
after-effects. Algeria has, over the past several years, suffered an
economic and social crisis.
Meanwhile, following the 2011 Jasmine Revolution, Tunisians continue
to take to the streets to demand better living conditions. The 2019
elections, in October (legislative) and November (presidential), could
come with more social unrest.
Tension in two lusophone polls
Guinea-Bissau has been prey to a political crisis for the better part
of Jose Mario Vaz’s presidency, starting in 2014. The crisis has
deepened over the last three years, leading to the signing of the
Conakry Agreement in October 2016. This year’s legislative elections
have already been postponed twice. The 2019 presidential polls, if
they take place, will be marked by tensions.
In late 2019 Mozambique will also go to elections that are expected to
be tense. The polls are likely to occur in a situation of ‘no peace
nor war’ between the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) and
the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo). The country also faces
what appears to be an Islamist insurgency in the northernmost province
of Cabo Delgado.
Combined elections, including for the presidency, in Malawi (May),
Botswana (October) and Namibia should come with minimal trouble.

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.@Total has made a significant gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda prospects, located on Block 11B/12B in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometers off the southern coast of South Africa.

 “With this discovery, Total has opened a new world-class gas and oil
play and is well positioned to test several follow-on prospects on the
same block.”

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.@Total CEO: need to tame "Lake Albert Crocodiles" to move Uganda project in 2019 @Reuters

“There are many crocodiles in Lake Albert, we need to domesticate the
crocodiles before we move forward,” Pouyanne quipped during the call,
alluding to various difficulties in getting the project off the
“It is a difficult project because it is landlocked. It is a new
country to oil, we have to create everything,” he said.
Several sticking points have been resolved including a refinery and
pipeline issue. Project engineering has been done and some tenders
have been issued and prices in terms of costs are acceptable, Pouyanne
Total is developing Uganda’s first oilfield with China’s CNOOC.
Production at the estimated 230,000 barrels per day project was
expected to start in 2021.

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In an effort to rein in the galloping birth rate, the Egyptian government has launched a family planning programme named "Two Are Enough". @FinancialTimes

“A child is born every 15 seconds and we add 2.5m babies every year,”
said Amr Othman, assistant minister of Social Solidarity. “Think of
what this means in terms of additional school places, hospital beds,
vaccinations and all the other rights of children.”
Egypt’s population hit 98m in December and Mr Othman said it would
rise by another 20m over the next decade if the birth rate did not
fall. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has described population growth
along with terrorism as the biggest threats facing the country.
The family planning programme involves poster campaigns, television
advertising, home visits by social workers and clinics handing out
contraceptives. The government has also decided to stop disbursing
some benefits to poor families beyond the second child.
The aim, said Mr Othman, is to reduce the fertility rate from 3.5
children per woman to 2.4 by 2030. Meeting that target would mean 8m
fewer births over the next decade.
Despite economic growth that reached 5.5 per cent in 2018, Egypt has
failed to generate the more than 800,000 jobs needed every year just
to absorb new entrants to the labour market

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A political union for east Africa? @TheEconomist

Regional leaders have big ambitions but short tempers.
Africa’s regional institutions do not lack ambition. The African
Union’s master plan promises a rich, peaceful continent criss-crossed
by high-speed trains. Eventually. Its target is 2063, a date well past
the likely retirement date of all the bigwigs who signed the plan.
The East African Community (eac), by contrast, has no time to waste.
It wants to form a single currency by 2024. At a recent summit, heads
of state discussed drafting an east African constitution, with the
ultimate goal of political federation.
The eac is the most successful of Africa’s regional blocs. Since its
revival in 2000 it has established a customs union and the rudiments
of a common market. But its leaders are getting ahead of themselves:
deepening rifts have put the project in jeopardy.
Four of its six members (Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan) are
led by ex-rebels, some with competing interests in the Congolese
borderlands to the west. The recent summit was postponed twice because
Burundi, which has fallen out with Rwanda, refused to attend. That
quarrel goes beyond mere words. In 2015 Pierre Nkurunziza, the
Burundian president, fought off a coup.
His government accuses Rwanda of backing it. In 2016 un experts
reported that Burundian refugees were being recruited to fight against
their home government. In December the same experts said that arms and
men were also flowing through Burundi to undermine Rwanda.
Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, is also on bad terms with Yoweri
Museveni, his Ugandan counterpart. The rift is personal. Mr Museveni
fought his way to power in the 1980s with the help of Rwandan
Mr Kagame, who grew up in a Ugandan refugee camp, was his military
intelligence chief. Later, as presidents, the former comrades launched
two wars in Congo, then fell out over the loot. By 2000 their soldiers
were firing at each other, 600km from home.
Relations are again dicey. Last year Mr Museveni sacked his police
chief, who was later charged by an army court with aiding the kidnap
of Rwandan exiles (among other things). The abductees, including one
of Mr Kagame’s former guards, had been illegally sent back to Rwanda
and imprisoned.
Rivalry between Kenya and Tanzania, the two largest members, is more
straightforward. Together they account for three-fifths of the
region’s population and three-quarters of its gdp.
Yet commerce between them is hobbled by a trade war. Although both are
meant to be in a common market, Tanzania has imposed tariffs on Kenyan
sweets. Kenya has retaliated by taxing Tanzanian flour.
Tanzania, which is sliding towards protectionism, also objects to a
proposed trade deal between the eac and the eu, which Kenya is keen
on. As the only eac countries with coastlines, both vie for investment
in infrastructure: in 2016 Uganda decided to route an oil pipeline
through Tanzania, to Kenya’s chagrin.
Some worry that the escalating tensions could cause history to repeat
itself. The first East African Community collapsed in 1977. More
likely, the region will continue to make faltering progress on trade,
where the spread of cross-border business creates its own momentum.
But political issues are trickier. Leaders who brook no dissent at
home have little taste for compromise abroad. Each wants integration,
as long as he is in charge.

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This afternoon I bid goodbye to my friend H.E. Felix Tshisekedi who has been in the country for a 2-day official visit. @UKenyatta
Kenyan Economy

Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have agreed to
strengthen the existing bilateral relations, for the benefit of the
citizens of our two countries.

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28-JAN-2019 :: The shilling has strengthened to 100.7 last. Every January every year every forecast about the shilling predicts a 10%-15% devaluation. Its mind boggling.
Kenyan Economy

The key levers with regard to the shilling are the price of fuel [We
have to write a cheque every month], inward Remittances [flew off the
chart last year and its not clear to me if that bump will turn out to
be ‘’amnesty’’ affected] and I think we underestimate the regional
‘’safe-haven’’ status that the Kenya Shilling has earned. A move below
a 100.00 would catch a lot of people off-guard.

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28-JAN-2019 :: The Nairobi Securities Exchange has opened 2019 bright eyed and bushy-tailed.
Kenyan Economy

The All Share is +4.31% in 2019 and at a 10 week high and the NSE20
Index +2.6% in 2019 and at a 4 month high. There has been a flurry of
activity. India’s Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy Telkom Kenya.
Bharti Airtel is keen to fatten up its Africa business ahead of an
IPO. Banking is seeing some con- solidation with the planned merger
between CBA and NIC and a buy out of Jamii Bora. Private Equity has
taken a big bite of the Kantaria’s Prime Bank. Digital banking stays
red-hot. Safaricom, notched up one million users for its new overdraft
feature on the M-Pesa platform in just eight days, Safaricom launched
the new overdraft feature called Fuliza on January 7 this year.

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@SafaricomPLC share price data here +21.85% 2019
Kenyan Economy

Par Value:                  0.05/-
Closing Price:           27.05
Total Shares Issued:          40065428000.00
Market Capitalization:        1,083,769,827,400
EPS:             1.38
PE:                 19.601

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EABL share price data here +22.46% 2019
Kenyan Economy

Par Value:                  2/-
Closing Price:           214.00
Total Shares Issued:          790774356.00
Market Capitalization:        169,225,712,184
EPS:             7.19
PE:                 29.764

EABL HY 2019 results through 31st December 2018 vs. 31st December 2017
HY Revenue 41.574b vs. 35.156b +18.256%
HY Cost of sales [22.402b] vs. [20.831b] +7.542%
HY Gross profit 19.172b vs. 15.969b +20.058%
HY Total costs [9.453b] vs. [8.686b] +8.830%
HY PBT 9.719b vs. 7.283b +33.448%
HY PAT 6.609b vs. 4.952b +33.461%
Basic EPS 6.52 vs. 5.21 +25.144%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period 8.757b vs. 4.584b +91.034%
Interim dividend per share 2.50 vs. 2.00 +25.00%

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UAE eyes Kenya's maritime sector @BD_Africa
Kenyan Economy

Dubai is set to acquire two Kenyan freight forwarding businesses and
their assets in a move that cements the country’s foray into the local
logistics and shipping sector.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), through its newly incorporated local
entity ISS Global Forwarding Limited, is acquiring Dodwell & Co. (East
Africa) Limited and its mother firm, Inchape Shipping Services Kenya
The deal, which has been approved by the regulator, Competition
Authority of Kenya (CAK), could see the UAE government step up
competition in the local logistics sector dominated by players
including Danish conglomerate Maersk and French firm Bolloré.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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February 2019

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