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2-Yr Bond Yields
USA: +1.76% 🇺🇸🎆 Freedom of positive rates.
In yet another blow to big elephant genes, the iconic desert-adapted
elephant bull known by millions of fans worldwide as ‘Voortrekker’ was
killed by a trophy hunter after being declared a ‘problem-animal’ by
Namibian authorities. The surgical removal of Africa’s big-gene
animals by trophy hunters continues, and Namibia’s desert-adapted
elephants now rely on a small population of mature bulls after two
were killed in 2016. In their announcement on Facebook, Namibia’s
Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) said “the elephant bull
concerned was put down after it was declared a problem. The animal
alongside others have been destroying properties and infrastructure in
the area of Omatjete.” On the issue of whether this bull was the
legendary Voortrekker, MET responded to Facebook questions by refusing
to name the hunted elephant. Several conservation charities have
confirmed that the bull in question is indeed Voortrekker.
‘Voortrekker’ is Afrikaans for ‘pioneer’.
MET spokesperson Romeo Muyunda Lee advised that the price paid was
N$120,000 (+/- US$ 8,500), but it is unclear at this stage whether
this was the total price paid or the portion paid to communities.
A study published in Ecology and Evolution in 2016 found not only that
the Namibian desert-adapted elephants were different from their
savannah cousins, but that their adaptations are also not genetically
transferred to the next generation, rather through the passing on of
knowledge by mature individuals. Morphological differences, like the
adapted elephants’ thinner bodies and wider feet, also distinguish
them from typical savannah elephants.
According to respected safari guide Alan McSmith, Voortrekker was a
pioneer elephant for the desert-adapted elephant population in the
Ugab and Huab rivers region. This giant elephant was one of the first
to venture back to the region after populations were decimated during
the turbulent warfare years in southern Africa. A small group of these
uniquely desert-adapted elephants took refuge during the war in the
remote and desolate gorges of Kaokaland in the north.
Says McSmith: “Voortrekker, one of the bulls to trek north during the
conflict years, returned home in the early 2000’s, commencing a relay
of south-bound expeditions, penetrating deeper and deeper into the dry
and uncertain landscape before commencing with an epic traverse
through to the relative bounty of the Ugab River. It was a marathon
across arid plains and ancient craters that would ultimately redefine
what we know of elephant endurance, intuition and behaviour. Just how
he navigated, or knew where to find water, is anyone’s guess. For over
two successive summer seasons he returned north to Kaokaland,
returning each time to the Ugab with a small family unit in tow. An
elephant patriarch. These elephants are still resident in the region
and have formed the nucleus of three distinct breeding herds, making
the Ugab/Huab Rivers perhaps the most viable desert elephant habitats
in the world. Voortrekker continues as the Godfather, a true legend of
the Ugab. His ancestral knowledge has been passed down to a new
generation of desert dwellers. What a legacy! For me, all of this
addresses one of the most crucial fallacies of elephant conservation,
trophy hunting, and the notion of sustainable consumption: that older
bulls have no value to an elephant community and can be hunted under
the banner of ecological benefit.”
The UAE begins pulling out of Yemen @TheEconomist It wants its troops closer to home to guard against Iran
Law & Politics
After four years of fierce fighting and international outrage, the
United Arab Emirates (uae) is quietly slipping out the back door.
Over the past few weeks it has begun to withdraw men and materiel from
Yemen, where it is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting against the
Houthis, an Iranian-backed Shia militia that controls large parts of
the country. The uae has not commented on the drawdown. But foreign
diplomats and eyewitnesses confirm it is happening.
The proximate cause is growing fear of conflict with Iran. Tensions
have climbed steadily since America withdrew last year from the
agreement struck in 2015 that imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear
programme. In May four oil tankers were sabotaged near the uae port of
Fujairah. America blamed Iran. The Emirati foreign minister, in a sign
of his country’s nervousness, says it is too early to assign blame.
“The uae are playing it very cool because they understand how
vulnerable they are,” says a Western defence official.
Without the support of the uae, the prospects of a Saudi victory look remote.
Just one Drone Attack on DXB craters the UAE Economy.
Sudan crisis: Military and opposition agree transition deal BBC
Sudan's military leaders have reached an agreement with the opposition
alliance to share power until elections can be held, mediators say.
The two sides agreed to rotate control of the sovereign council - the
top tier of power - for at least three years.
They have also pledged to form an independent technocratic government
and to investigate the violence of recent weeks, the African Union
News of the agreement reportedly sparked frenzied street celebrations.
Protesters are back on the streets in Sudan But the regime's forces are still in control @TheEconomist
They marched, like a train rolling into a station, across a bridge
over the Nile and into Khartoum. Tens of thousands of protesters
arrived in the Sudanese capital on June 30th, singing and chanting, to
mark 30 years since the coup that brought to power the military
dictatorship they are now struggling to overthrow.
This was the first mass demonstration since a massacre on June 3rd,
when security forces killed more than 100 people, including at least
19 children. And it was a reminder that the peaceful protest
movement—which in April prompted the army to oust Sudan’s former
dictator, Omar al-Bashir—remains a force to be reckoned with. “It was
rejuvenating,” says Lena Esheikh, an activist. “We walked for hours.”
@PMEthiopia Abiy Ahmed's Reforms Have Unleashed Forces He Can No Longer Control @ForeignPolicy @japanizer
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—Former comrades in arms described retired Brig.
Gen. Asaminew Tsige, who was shot dead on June 24, as a mediocre
soldier and a poor administrator. Asaminew was gunned down by
government forces two days after allegedly masterminding the
assassination of three senior officials of Ethiopia’s Amhara state,
including its president—events labeled part of “an orchestrated coup
attempt” by the Ethiopian prime minister’s office. Under Abiy Ahmed,
who became Ethiopia’s new leader in April 2018, Asaminew was honorably
retired with full pension rights—and he was appointed by Amhara state
later that year to head its administration and security bureau. The
effort to release and reintegrate former rebels who had once sought to
overthrow the federal government was widely hailed as a bold reform
effort. But as the high-profile June 22 killings have shown, that
policy has also unleashed forces that Abiy may no longer be able to
control Abiy has brokered an anarchic political opening, leading the
four branches of the ethnically-based ruling Ethiopian People’s
Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)—Tigrayans, Oromos, Amharas, and
ethnic groups from the south—to undertake a grandiose personnel
restructuring and rebranding. Asaminew’s own appointment to the Amhara
Democratic Party (ADP) central committee in October 2018 was part of
that trend.This ethnonationalist revival in a federal state has
unleashed pre-Derg forces seeking to revive a world of feuding
dynasties and provincial lords with their own armies competing for
dominance based on who has the most weapons while seeking
incorporation of so-called ancestral lands into Amhara state,
including irredentist claims in other regional states and even in
neighboring Sudan. Fractious forms of ethnonationalism are now
emerging all across Ethiopia—a country of more than 80 ethnic
groups—raising the perilous prospect of a Yugoslav-style
breakup.Fractious forms of ethnonationalism are now emerging all
across Ethiopia—a country of more than 80 ethnic groups—raising the
perilous prospect of a Yugoslav-style breakup.
10 NOV 14 ::Ouagadougou's Signal to Sub-Sahara Africa
Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab
Spring, this is the Black Spring”. During the Arab Spring [now in the
bleak mid-Winter], nearly all commentators spoke of how this North
African wildfire could not leap the Sahara and head to sub-Saharan
Africa. The reasons were that the State [incumbents] had a monopoly on
the tools of violence and would bring overwhelming force and violence
We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone
cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000? This is another
point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where
that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.
Therefore, the preeminent point to note is that protests in Burkina
Faso achieved escape velocity. Overthrowing incumbents is all about
acceleration, momentum and speed best characterised by the Ger- man
Out of a population of 17 million people in Burkina Faso, over 60 per
cent are aged between 17 and 24 years, according to the World Bank,
and this is another point to note. The country’s youth flexed their
muscles. What’s clear is that a very young, very informed and very
connected African youth demographic [many characterise this as a
‘demographic dividend’] – which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a
demographic terminator – is set to alter the existing equilibrium
between the rulers and the subjects, and a re-balancing has begun.
The stock market in Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, has failed to
keep up with frontier markets peers, a subset of smaller and often
riskier emerging economies. The MSCI Nigeria index has dropped more
than 15% since the start of the year, making it one of the worst
performing markets in the index, even as the wider MSCI Frontier
Market index rallied nearly 10%. Nigerian politics often move at a
glacial pace. Buhari took six months to swear in a cabinet after the
2015 election - a delay critics contend contributed to the slow
response to low oil prices that pushed Nigeria into a recession in
18-FEB-2019 :: #NigeriaDecides
Like Ben Okri's preferred literary genre of “magic realism” Nigerian
Politics has spun some surreal narratives of its own. Who can forget
the legendary Pleasure- Seeker General Sani Abacha, President Umaru
Yar'Adua who allegedly was kept alive [or not] for a number of days in
an ambulance in the State House grounds, even the austere President
Buhari went missing for a few months.
It’s a Nollywood Level drama but permit me to give you some context.
GDP growth has lagged Population growth, GDP grew by 1.93 percent last
year, up from 0.82 percent in 2017 and grew 2.4 percent in the fourth
Nigeria was the second biggest economy in Africa in 2018, using the
market exchange rate of NGN362/$ or the biggest economy using the
fixed rate [@RencapMan]. Unemployment has risen from 8.2% to 23.1%
under President Buhari's watch which would be a plain untenable
position for any incumbent Politician seeking re-election in most
parts of the World. The President is a victim of low oil prices which
provide 70% of government revenue. ''Baba Go Slow'' has to be
contrasted with President Al-Sisi's Egypt. Al-Sisi [and I for one
disagree with him on many things particularly with his
''incarceration'' strategy] made bold moves when it came to the
Economy. Egypt devalued its currency early, took a brutal punch in the
solar plexus but is now reaping the dividend from its bolder economic
policy, Nigeria is still muddling along with its ''Voodoo'' level FX
economics. Since President Buhari came to power in May 2015, Nigeria's
stock market has fallen more than any other in the world, dropping 50%
in dollar terms. There is a Message in that performance.
We dream of a new politics
That will renew the world
Under their weary suspicious gaze. There’s always a new way,
A better way that’s not been tried before.
Kenya Gets $750 Million World Bank Loan, and Eyes Another One @economics H/T @WillisOwiti
Kenya received a $750 million loan from the World Bank last week and
will be starting talks on a new facility as early as the fourth
quarter of the year.
The lender has released the funds, that were approved in May,
according to Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank’s vice president for Africa.
It will help to finance affordable housing, agriculture and other
These are part of the government’s Big Four agenda, which also aim to
boost manufacturing and improving health care.
“It is a very common source of financing, it is just that we had not
done this sort of financing for Kenya in a long time,’’ Ghanem said
Wednesday in an interview in Nairobi, the capital.
“What changed? The government and the bank reached agreement on what
we consider to be a very strong and credible economic program.’’
Ghanem didn’t give further details on the new facility that will be negotiated.
The loan comes amid concerns that Kenya is taking on too much debt.
This year alone, the country has also accessed a $1.25 billion
syndicated loan and raises a $2.1 Eurobond.
Government debt has more than doubled since 2013 to 5.42 trillion
shillings ($52.8 billion) by March, according to central bank data.
Debt-service costs rose to 33.4% of revenue from 23.5% in 2013.
The concessional loan is a better bet than more expensive commercial
debt because it has a tenor of 25 years, a seven-year grace period for
paying interest and a rate of 2%, which makes it almost a grant,
according to the World Bank.
“It is better to use as much as possible concessional loans, and good
to diversify as much as possible the sources of financing,” Ghanem
said. “If we did not think it was a good thing, we would not have done
The loan was granted on the assumption that the government will
implement plans to increase revenue and ease the uptake of debt. The
Treasury seeks to more than half the budget deficit to 3% of gross
domestic product by 2022.
The reduction in debt and the budget deficit has to be done “in a
gradual way that does not reduce investment,” Ghanem said.
“Public investment needs to be maintained, and we have to ensure the
consolidation does not have a negative impact on growth.’’