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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 23rd of November 2020

Macro Thoughts

I think the Vaccine News has created a Head Fake level whipsaw move which will entirely reversed. 

Look at the Daily #COVID19 numbers they remain exponential and the Vaccine is not a near term Silver Bullet by any stretch of the imagination. 

The Virus exploited weaknesses which had been building since 2008 and these have not been resolved.

Therefore, recent market moving moves are in my opinion overdone overcooked and will be reversed.

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Negative rates are the next major gold discovery. And if you are sitting there befuddled. Buy eurodollar futures. Buy lots of them. Assuming you already own gold. @hendry_hugh
World Of Finance

The absurdity of it all brought us Trump and Brexit. Let's learn the lesson second time around. Negative rates are the next major gold discovery. And if you are sitting there befuddled. Buy eurodollar futures. Buy lots of them. Assuming you already own gold.

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I’ve also sat a fair amount of poker w serious players & l’ll say this: I do not think Trump is trying to ‘make his base happy’ or ‘laying the groundwork for his own network’...@EdwardNorton
Law & Politics

I’m no political pundit but I grew up w a dad who was a federal prosecutor & he taught me a lot & I’ve also sat a fair amount of poker w serious players & l’ll say this: I do not think Trump is trying to ‘make his base happy’ or ‘laying the groundwork for his own network’...

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The core of it is that he knows he’s in deep, multi-dimensional legal jeopardy & this defines his every action. We’re seeing a desperate endgame @EdwardNorton
Law & Politics

...or that ‘chaos is what he loves’. The core of it is that he knows he’s in deep, multi-dimensional legal jeopardy & this defines his every action. We’re seeing 1) a tactical delay of the transition to buy time for coverup & evidence suppression 2) above all, a desperate endgame

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He can cut a Nixon-style deal in exchange for finally conceding. But he doesn’t have the cards. His bluff after ‘the flop’ has been called in court @EdwardNorton
Law & Politics

...which is to create enough chaos & anxiety about peaceful transfer of power, & fear of irreparable damage to the system, that he can cut a Nixon-style deal in exchange for finally conceding. But he doesn’t have the cards. His bluff after ‘the flop’ has been called in court...

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THAT is his play. But he’s got junk in his hand. So call him. @EdwardNorton
Law & Politics

His ‘turn card’ bluff will be an escalation & his ‘River card’ bluff could be really ugly. But they have to be called. We cannot let this mobster bully the USA into a deal to save his ass by threatening our democracy. THAT is his play. But he’s got junk in his hand. So call him.

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Trying to use chaos & threat to the foundation of the system as leverage to trade for a safe exit. Call. His. Bluff. @EdwardNorton
Law & Politics

But his contemptible, treasonous, seditious assault on the stability of our political compact isn’t about 2024, personal enrichment or anything else other than trying to use chaos & threat to the foundation of the system as leverage to trade for a safe exit. Call. His. Bluff.

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09-NOV-2020 :: The Spinning Top
Law & Politics

The World has spun at dizzying speed in 2020 and is bookended with the Decapitation of Qasem Soleimani and then the Political decapitation of President Trump by the [not so] ''Sleepy'' Joe Biden and who exits stage left twittering into the wilderness or is it Trump TV?

The demise of the Reality TV Star turned seriously vaudeville with Mr. Giulani mounting the last stand from the Four Seasons Total Landscaping next to Fantasy Island Adult Books across the street from the Delaware Valley Cremation Center.

Some Folks seem convinced that the Prophet of Populism Donald J. Trump is going to lead his 70m Disciples into some major 5th generational chess moves but surely just as likely is an Unfolding psychological breakdown played out in front of our eyes on TV like Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of Salesman

“You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away - a man is not a piece of fruit.”

“If personal meaning, in this cheer leader society, lies in success, then failure must threaten identity itself.”

I’m tired to the death. The flute has faded away. He sits on the bed beside her, a little numb. I couldn’t make it. I just couldn’t make it, Linda.

Counterintuitively, The Trump Vladislav Surkov Talking Points which of course always feature George Soros are strangely ineffective and a little like a receding tide.

The American Electoral System has emerged unscathed and in fact looks robust.

“My take on Trump is that he is an inevitable creation of this unreal normal world,” Adam Curtis says. “Politics has become a pantomime or vaudeville in that it creates waves of anger rather than argument''

''Maybe people like Trump are successful simply because they fuel that anger, in the echo chambers of the internet.”

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Read on: “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments & factual proof” @jimsciutto
Law & Politics

Read on: “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments & factual proof of rampant corruption such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief..”

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Cont’d: “..Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.” @jimsciutto
Law & Politics

Cont’d: “...despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens. That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.”

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In 2016, Julian Assange sent this message to Donald Trump Jr: @ariehkovler
Law & Politics

"Hi Don if your father 'loses' we think it is much more interesting if he DOES NOT conceed [sic] and spends time CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred-- as he has implied that he might do."

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Whoever Controls The Narrative Controls The World
Law & Politics

"Men respond as powerfully to fictions as they do to realities [and] in many cases they help to create the very fictions to which they respond."

A ceaseless shape-shifting that is unstoppable because it is undefinable Adam Curtis

The underlying aim, Surkov says, is not to win the war, but to use the conflict to create a constant state of destabilised perception, in order to manage and control

the Imprimatur of the "political technologist of all of Rus." And non linear War Specialist Vladislav Surkov.

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It's entirely reasonable to say Trump's election lawyers need to produce hard evidence to back up their sweeping allegations, PDQ. @Doc_0
Law & Politics

It's absurd to expect them to do it live on a talk show, as if they were carrying Marsellus Wallace's magic glowing briefcase from Pulp Fiction.

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Year of the Virus
World Of Finance

Historically, such pandemics had the capacity to overtake “the dynasties at the time of their senility, when they had reached the limit of their duration” and, in the process, challenged their “power and curtailed their [rulers’] influence...”

Rulers who are only concerned with the well-being of their “inner circle and their parties” are an incurable “disease”.

States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”

Angela Merkel: “You cannot fight the pandemic with lies and disinformation...the limits of Populism are being laid bare.” 

The Correlation between the Case Load and Populism has a stupendously high correlation coefficient.

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US Senate Appropriations Committee report "the Chinese government continues to recruit NIH-funded researchers to steal intellectual property, cheat the peer-review system, establish shadow laboratories in China." @TheSeeker268
Law & Politics

US Senate Appropriations Committee report for FY 2021 | Foreign Threats to Research: "the Chinese government continues to recruit NIH-funded researchers to steal intellectual property, cheat the peer-review system, establish shadow laboratories in China."

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‘’Zoonotic’’ origin was one that was accelerated in the Laboratory.

There is also a non negligible possibility that #COVID19 was deliberately released

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Moderna’s chief medical officer has described the company’s products as “hacking the software of life” and permanently altering a person’s genetic code.

Gates’ affinity for Moderna may owe to the fact that Moderna’s co-founder, MIT’s Robert Langer, is a Gates associate whose lab developed the Gates-funded “quantum dot ‘tattoo’” vaccine identification marker that is “visible using a special smartphone camera app and filter” and was described by Science Alert as “a low-risk tracking system.” 

Another Langer-Gates partnership is a “birth control microchip” inserted to the body that releases contraceptives and can be turned on and off wirelessly.

In a 2017 TED Talk, two years after joining Moderna, Zaks spoke at length about how he views mRNA vaccines and their modality, including those he produces at Moderna. 

In a speech entitled “The disease-eradicating potential of gene editing,” Zaks’ description of Moderna’s mRNA products as, making permanent edits to human genes, clashes with often touted claims that the genetic material in mRNA vaccines “degrade” over time and do not permanently alter human genetics like DNA vaccines.

Beginning his talk, Zaks states that Moderna and similar companies “are actually hacking the software of life and that it’s changing the way we think of and treat disease.” 

He describes mRNA as “critical information that determines what a cell will actually do” and then states that, if one could “introduce a line of code or change a line of code” in a person’s genome, that has “profound implications for everything.” 

He then falsely claims that Moderna’s products at the time were proven to “work in people” as the company, prior to Covid-19, was never able to convince the federal government to license its mRNA vaccines for human use due to their lack of effectiveness.

Zaks further described his view of well-known diseases like cancer as being caused by “screwed-up DNA” that can be “fixed” with Moderna mRNA vaccines, which he also refers to in the talk as “information therapy” given that he says Moderna’s vaccines work by altering the “operating systems” of human cells, i.e. their genetic code

The summary of Zaks’ talk encapsulates his view as the following simple question: “If our cells are the hardware and our genetic material the operating system, what if we could change a few lines of code?” — seemingly suggesting that the permanent introduction of changes into the human genome is as simple as troubleshooting or programming a computer or phone application. 

It also says that Zaks considers the future of “personalized medicine” to be “gene-editing vaccines tailored to each patient’s immune system.” The Ted Talk recommended after viewing Zaks’ speech on the Ted Talk website notably broaches a key point that Zaks overlooks, namely that gene-editing can “change an entire species – forever.”

Zaks’ statements are noteworthy and concerning for several reasons, including the fact that DARPA — Moderna’s “strategic ally” — is also openly funding research aimed at “reprogramming genes” and “manipulat[ing] genes or control[ling] gene expression to combat viruses and help human bodies withstand infection” caused by Covid-19. 

The DARPA-backed project would use a method that is known to cause severe genetic damage that has actually been shown to aggravate the conditions it was meant to cure.

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No-one has ever produced a safe and effective vaccine against a coronavirus. Birger Sørensen, Angus Dalgleish & Andres Susrud

What if, as I fear, there will never be a vaccine. I was involved in the early stages of identifying the HIV virus as the cause of Aids. I remember drugs companies back then saying there would be a vaccine within around 18 months. Some 37 years on, we are still waiting. Prof ANGUS DALGLEISH @MailOnline

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There is something Karmic in this #COVID19


The Entire Front Line is risk 

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Dollar Index 92.251

Japan Yen 103.7520

Swiss Franc 0.90990

Pound 1.331910

Aussie 0.730830

India Rupee 74.13655

South Korea Won 1111.55

Brazil Real 5.3803

Egypt Pound 15.618600

South Africa Rand 15.38072

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Hard choices ahead in Addis @Africa_Conf

It is the beginning of the end, insisted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 17 November as federal forces started marching on Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray. 

The previous day, Abiy's government had announced the end of a three-day amnesty for Tigrayan special forces and militia to surrender. 

Around that deadline, the federal airforce launched fresh bombing raids on Mekelle and other towns and military positions.

The operation to 'restore law and order' in Tigray will be short-lived, repeats Abiy, determinedly refusing mediation or negotiations (AC Vol 61 No 23, Fears mount of all-out civil war). 

With hundreds killed in the first two weeks of fighting and 30,000 fleeing across the border to Sudan, international pressure will mount on Addis Ababa if the fighting continues, particularly for a ceasefire to allow in humanitarian relief.

Abiy's chief foreign supporter in his Tigray strategy is Eritrean President Issayas Afewerki. 

Leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) tried to encourage international pressure on Ethiopia on 14-15 November by launching three missiles at Asmara airport, raising the regional stakes of the conflict.

The TPLF may, however, have walked into a trap. One of the party's senior officials has said that the TPLF acted in 'anticipatory self-defence' when it opened the fighting with an attack on Northern Command bases controlled by the Ethiopian National Defence Force in Tigray. 

But the timing suited Abiy, coming the morning after the messy United States presidential election, and a few days after Ethiopia took over the chair of the African Union's Peace and Security Council for November. 

Ethiopia's former Foreign Minister, Workneh Gebeyu, is Executive Secretary of Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, another Abiy ally, is the current chair.

The timing for Tigray was awful. The harvest has yet to be collected, and it has been badly hit by locust swarms. 

Before the fighting started, Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), a donor-funded famine-prevention scheme, was supplying a million people in Tigray. 

In addition, 96,000 Eritrean refugees in the region and 100,000 other displaced people were receiving aid.

UN officials are warning of a humanitarian disaster, with no relief access to the region, for food, medicine and other emergency supplies.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has sounded the alarm about the line of refugees crossing into Sudan, increasing by several thousand a day. 

TPLF leader and regional President Debretsion Gebremichael called for mediation on 14 November, urging the UN and AU to engage: 'Abiy Ahmed is waging this war on the people of Tigray and is responsible for the purposeful infliction of human suffering.'

For now, President Issayas is limiting logistical support to allowing some of those troops of the Northern Command who remained loyal to the federal government to retreat into Eritrea from Tigray. 

From there they have regrouped to launch attacks around Badme and Zalembessa.

Issayas also massed troops around Bada in Eritrea, and he gave artillery support to the federal attack on Humera on 9 November. 

But there hasn't been any sign of Eritrean operations inside Tigray, with Issayas reportedly warned by military chiefs that his forces could not support prolonged operations in Tigray.

With the border with Sudan open only to civilians, the TPLF is cut off from external support. 

A wider conflict involving Eritrea would increase pressure on Abiy to agree to a ceasefire, which could leave the TPLF in control of at least some parts of Tigray.

With the humanitarian situation and its military capacity deteriorating, the TPLF needs an intervention, and indeed it may have calculated on that happening

As a defender of the ethnic federal Constitution, it may also have assumed it would win support from other regions for a federal structure.

Although Abiy came to power through the federal system, he is pushing for a more powerful centralised authority that not all Ethiopians would welcome. 

His unitary project is designed to appeal to the Amhara (27% of the population) rather than Ethiopia's other nationalities, which welcomed Article 39 of the 1995 Constitution allowing self-determination up to and including secession (AC Vol 61 No 18, Regions take on the centre).

There may be support for constitutional change, even for Abiy's campaign to remove the TPLF, but few Oromos (35%) or Somalis (6.2%) want to see their regions reintegrated into a unitary state. 

Last year, Abiy felt obliged to let the Sidama have a region; there are ten other nationalities in the Southern Region now angling for their own regions.

The TPLF claim to be supporting the 1995 constitution against an attempted return to a centralised autocratic regime has won little sympathy (AC Vol 61 No 20, Tigray takes on the centre). 

That's due to the excesses of the TPLF cadres who dominated the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), rather than support for centralisation of power.

Both the conflict and the politics around it raise questions about the national elections due in May or June next year. 

Abiy will have to work hard to reconcile his critics if his Prosperity Party is to win a majority. 

His government's actions against its critics in Oromia have cost him support from much of his own Oromo constituency. Many say he has now tilted towards Amhara nationalists.

This has been underlined by several inter-ethnic clashes. There was a horrific attack in the village of May Cadera in Western Tigray on 9 November where about 500 people were killed with knives and machetes according to Amnesty International. 

It is not clear who was responsible, although the federal government blamed the TPLF; Amnesty reports that some survivors have backed this claim. Yet refugees arriving at al-Fashqa in Sudan have identified the attackers as an Amhara militia on an ethnic killing spree.

Addis Ababa's Human Rights Commission has promised to investigate; the TPLF has called for an international enquiry. UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet also called for a full investigation, saying the killings could amount to war crimes.

Wherever responsibility lies, it points to the extra risks of the involvement of ill-trained regional militias in the conflict: whether in the federal government's advance into areas of western Tigray claimed by Amhara or in the TPLF's mobilisation of its militia forces.

All of Ethiopia's ethno-federal states have their own militias as well as Special Police. The ethnic element is central to the crisis, notably the rounding up of Tigrayans in Addis Ababa, and the dismissal of Tigrayans from the civil service, government administration and the security services, where they were dominant.

A series of ethnic conflicts have blown up in recent months, with an estimated 2.5 million Ethiopians having fled their homes in the past three years due to clashes involving the Oromo, Amhara, Sidama, Gumuz, and Somalis.

Several politicians have been stoking ethnic hatred, often at its worst on social media.

Abiy targets the TPLF with attacks on its record in power. He has referred to criminal mafia masterminds, and coined the phrase 'ye-qen jiboch' (daytime hyenas) to describe TPLF leaders

But his supporters in government and wider society use it against all Tigrayans. Beyond the conflict in Tigray, there are growing clashes and repression by regional security forces. 

For example, on 1 November a militia attack killed at least 54 people in a schoolyard in western Oromia.

All this has raised fears of a Yugoslav-style unravelling. Determined to avoid this, Abiy wants to restore an effective centralised authority. 

At the end of last year, he replaced the four-party EPRDF with his own single Prosperity Party. 

Its structure is organised to run a centralised state rather than the current ethnic-federal system.

For this, Abiy would have to revise the constitution, to reject the ethnic element in the current federal structure. He and his party would be the controlling factor in the restructured government. 

This may satisfy those Amhara whose parties look back nostalgically to the highly centralised imperial system. 

But it would not win support from the other nationalities who gained some regional autonomy under the EPRDF's constitution: Oromos, Somalis, or indeed Tigrayans.

If Abiy wins the conflict, he would try to impose a new government in the Tigrayan capital Mekelle. 

Through parliament, he has already appointed a new president for Tigray, Mulu Nega, previously federal deputy minister for science and higher education.

There are also political parties and others in Tigray opposed to the TPLF, some advocating independence for Tigray, others including former TPLF leaders willing to work with Abiy and the PP. Local support for them is questionable. 

They were irrelevant in the regional election in Tigray in September when the TPLF took 98% of the votes in what appears to have been a credible election, although it was dismissed by the federal government and parliament as illegal and unconstitutional.

Any prolonged operations against Tigray or continued inter-ethnic conflict will threaten the stability of Ethiopia and the region, and will further damage an economy already battered by the impact of Covid-19. 

To navigate out of this crisis, many are calling for a national dialogue ahead of the upcoming elections, followed by a national convention to revise the 1995 constitution and federal system. 

For now, this seems far from the agenda of the government in Addis Ababa.

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@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.
Law & Politics

Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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Ethiopian national forces are meeting heavy resistance and face a protracted “war of attrition” in the northern region of Tigray, a confidential @UN assessment reveals @guardian

Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian prime minister, said early last week that the Ethiopian Defence Forces (EDF) were poised to make a “final push” to secure Mekelle and oust the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party in the region. 

Last Thursday, government spokesman Redwan Hussein told reporters that national forces were “moving forward and closing in on Mekelle” and that a number of towns had fallen.

The UN assessment, interviews and other international aid organisation analyses all suggest any expectation of a rapid and decisive victory is optimistic, and that resistance is likely to stiffen as Tigray troops fall back into mountains east of Mekelle.

“Although Tigray regional forces may have initially been backfooted by the EDF’s swift advances, the terrain in eastern Tigray is easier to defend… and if they make a stand, they have the capability to stall the EDF advance,” one analysis reads, warning that this will then “change the dimension of the conflict from one of rapid movement into one of attrition”.

One assessment predicted that if Ethiopian forces continue to advance, their supply lines and rear areas will become more vulnerable to guerilla attacks and casualties will mount.

The US ambassador to Ethiopia, Michael Raynor, said recent conversations with Abiy and with Debretsion Gebremichael, the hardline TPLF leader, had convinced him there was “a strong commitment on both sides to see the military conflict through”.

In a statement this week, the TPLF said hardships are part of life in wartime and promised to give Ethiopian troops “hell”on its home turf.

“Even if the EDF are successful in their mission to take Mekelle,” the UN assessment warns, “this will not necessarily end the conflict. It is likely that a protracted asymmetric conflict and insurgency would continue. From a humanitarian perspective, the longer the conflict is drawn out, the more severe the crisis will become.”

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“This is for people who are volunteering to fight,” he said. @AP

The woman, an Ethiopian aid expert who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for herself and loved ones, gave one of the most detailed accounts yet of a population of some 6 million short of food, fuel, cash and even water, and without electricity as Ethiopia’s army marches closer to the Tigray capital every day.

“I am telling you, people will slowly start to die,” she said.

While in Mekele, she said, she heard three “bombardments” against the city. Ethiopia’s government has confirmed airstrikes around the city. 

When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in televised comments told civilians in Tigray not to congregate for their safety, “that was a big panic,” she said. 

“People said, ‘Is he going to completely bomb us?’ There was huge anger, people pushing and saying, ‘I want to fight.’”

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Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer

May God protect the people of Mekelle as the commander proudly warns they will be using tanks on civilians who will be present in Mekelle. this is a deadly threat & very disturbing indeed. 

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Turning to Africa The Spinning Top

So far Africa has dodged the Virus from a medical perspective though it remains in my view a slow burning Fuse and we all know by now ''viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential characteristics'

The real challenge is the Economic Emergency. The latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa projects economic activity in the region to decline by 3.0% in 2020 and recover by 3.1% in 2021. @IMFNews

The IMF is so bright eyed and bushy tailed and I want some of whatever Pills they are popping.

Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed 

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

Democracy from Tanzania to Zimbabwe to Cameroon has been shredded.

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''

Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator

Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab Spring, this is the Black Spring”.We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000?

 The Event is no longer over the Horizon.

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.@MoodysInvSvc and @FitchRatings both downgraded South Africa’s sovereign credit rating @Abdiaaziiz

•Moody’s :  to Ba2 from Ba1 & maintained a negative outlook —— reason ; revision & Further weakening of the fiscal strength

•Fitch : From BB to BB- ;  cut high and rising government debt, COVID19

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09-NOV-2020 :: The Spinning Top Turning to Africa The real challenge is the Economic Emergency.

The latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa projects economic activity in the region to decline by 3.0% in 2020 and recover by 3.1% in 2021. @IMFNews

The IMF is so bright eyed and bushy tailed and I want some of whatever Pills they are popping.

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Disaffected Angolans Prepare for Fresh Protest Over the Economy @bpolitics

Angolans are set to protest in the capital on Saturday to show their frustration about deteriorating living standards and unemployment in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.

The demonstration is expected to be closely monitored by police after a similar event on Nov. 11, mainly by youths. 

That march, which coincided with the marking of 45 years of independence from former colonial ruler Portugal, led to clashes with heavily armed security personnel and at least one person being killed.

The scenes were reminiscent of weeks of violent protests in Nigeria against police brutality that left dozens of people dead or injured.

Angola’s oil-dependent economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent plunge in crude prices. 

Gross domestic product has shrunk for the past five years and is expected to remain stagnant this year. 

The country’s unemployment rate stood at almost 33% in the second quarter, while inflation accelerated to 24% in October, the highest since January 2018.

President Joao Lourenco has taken steps to revive the economy and stamp out corruption after succeeding long-time ruler, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, but his government’s efforts have been stymied by the virus and little has filtered down to the people. 

The World Bank estimates that about a third of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

“We are sick and tired of not being heard,” protest organizer Laura Macedo said in phone interview. 

“All we want is a more serious, good and just governance for for all, without exception. Many people “wake up in the morning and don’t know what they’re going to eat next,” she said.

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The ‘blood, sweat and tears’ behind Zambia’s default @FT

When Zambia sold the last of its three US dollar bonds in 2015, it capped a decade in which the copper-endowed African country went from needing debt relief reserved for the world’s poorest nations to tapping the global capital markets with ease.
But just five years later, that bond is in default, with the rest of Zambia’s $3bn international bond borrowings, after President Edgar Lungu’s government skipped a $42.5m interest payment due last week in the middle of fraught negotiations on restructuring its debt.
Africa’s first bond default during the coronavirus pandemic — and its first ever default on multiple US dollar bonds at the same time — “risked setting a more adversarial backdrop” for those talks, bondholders said this week. 

With an IMF visit due next month over a potential bailout, direct discussions with bondholders are yet to be scheduled.
Mr Lungu’s government, which is battling for re-election next year, has blamed coronavirus for problems managing its $12bn of debt.
The Zambian kwacha has fallen about a third against the US dollar alone this year as the coronavirus dented demand for copper, and the IMF forecasts the economy could shrink by nearly 5 per cent this year. 

The G20 group of the world’s largest economies has sought to help poorer countries with their debt problems during the pandemic.
But analysts say the default also illustrates how high-octane borrowing and misrule combined to scupper one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.
Successive governments in Africa’s second biggest copper producer “went through a lot of blood, sweat and tears” to establish the country as a credible borrower, said Bradford Machila, an opposition politician. 

For this to end in default in just a few years was, he added, a “massive embarrassment and a huge source of anger”.
Gregory Smith, a strategist at M&G Investments and a former World Bank economist in Zambia, said the “market access came at a time when Zambia had very low debt”, under a third of gross domestic product, and “a wonderful growth spurt”.
The economy doubled in size in the decade to 2015, powered by mine privatisations and insatiable Chinese demand for copper. 

The economic take-off and the need to tackle high rates of rural poverty led to demand for infrastructure projects that traditional concessional loans for poor countries from lenders such as the World Bank could not meet.

 Zambia turned to China and other lenders. Mr Lungu, who took power in 2015, promised to transform rural voters’ lives.
Where it goes wrong is they didn’t have the right system for selecting projects,” Mr Smith said. Some were valuable for development, such as a hydropower dam project. 

Others were more dubious priorities, including a second international airport for the country’s Copperbelt mining region and haphazardly planned highways. 

“You could argue that Zambia had an investment problem, not a debt problem, in those years,” Mr Smith said. 

Now its complicated debt stock has set creditors against each other. Hours before the default, bond investors rejected a request for a standstill over concerns that Mr Lungu’s government was not coming clean on Chinese debts worth $3bn. 

The government said that bondholders were getting the same treatment as Chinese and other creditors that it had already defaulted on.
“If I pay [bonds], the moment I pay, the other creditors are going to put dynamite under my legs and blow off my legs. I’m gone. I can’t walk any more,” finance minister Bwalya Ng’andu said on state television days after the default.

 “If I don’t pay the bondholders, my legs will remain intact,” he said.
While Zambia had reached payment deferrals with two Chinese creditors, China ExIm Bank and China Development Bank, for a full debt workout and resumption of market access, it needed dialogue with all creditors, Mr Smith said.
Mr Lungu is betting that voters will be more accepting than bondholders that the airports and roads built using the debts have been worthwhile. 

“Zambians will bring me back in 2021 because I have done a lot of works for the country,” he said last month.
Mr Lungu’s bid for re-election was already shaky because civil society activists and opposition parties regard it as a de facto attempt at an unconstitutional third term and may mount challenges in court. 

He became president during the first term of his predecessor who died in office. Mr Lungu then won a poll in 2016. He insists he has served only one term. 

More recently, a set of constitutional changes that would have increased his powers, known as Bill 10, failed to win support from lawmakers.
Default “doesn’t really affect him politically,” said Trevor Simumba, a Zambian analyst of the country’s debts. 

If anything, Bill 10’s failure meant that Mr Lungu “must spend more on patronage projects” for the polls, including a recent fourfold rise in fertiliser subsidies in the national budget, he said.
Analysts say that Mr Lungu could press the central bank to buy domestic state bonds to fund spending. That will complicate Zambia’s quest for a bailout from the IMF that Mr Lungu once scorned. 

Analysts doubt that the fund will be able to secure a commitment to fiscal belt-tightening before the polls.
Mr Lungu “just wants to buy time” rather than seriously rethink how Zambia uses debt for development, Mr Simumba said. 

“The focus of everything, even the request for relief, has been aligned to the election . . . when they manage to win the election, then they are going to have to take the hard decisions.”

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5 March 2020 Debt, virus and locusts create a perfect storm for Africa @TheAfricaReport

He told Bloomberg, “Debt is not a problem, it’s very bad debt that’s a problem,”.

The point is this.

SSA Countries with no exception that I can think of have gorged on borrowing and balance sheets are maxed out.

Africa’s sovereign issuance in the Eurobond markets totaled $53bn in 2018 and 2019 and total outstanding debt topped $100bn last year.

Debt burdens have increased and affordability has weakened across most of Sub-Saharan Africa, while a shift in debt structures has left some countries more exposed to a financial shock, said Moody’s in November last year.

Very few of the investments made are within spitting distance of providing an ROI [Return on Investment].

Rising debt service ratios are best exemplified by Nigeria where the Government is spending more than half of its revenue servicing its debt.

More than 50% of SSA GDP is produced by South Africa, Nigeria and Angola.

South Africa reported that GDP in Q4 2019 shrank by a massive 1.4%.

Annual growth at 0.2% is the lowest yearly growth since 2009 and the tape is back at GFC times.

The rand which has been in free fall has a lot further to fall in 2020.

And this is before the viral infection.

Nigeria’s oil revenue is cratering and there is $16bn of ”hot money” parked in short term certificates which is all headed for the Exit as we speak. A Currency Devaluation is now predicted and predictable.

South Africa, Nigeria and Angola are poised to dive into deep recession.

East Africa which was a bright spot is facing down a locust invasion which according to the FAO could turn 500x by June.

It is practically biblical.

“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;” – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

This is a perfect storm. Buckle up, and let’s stop popping the Quaaludes.

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Biggest African Economy Now In Recession as Oil Output Drops @economics

Africa’s largest economy has slumped into a recession in the third quarter as oil production dropped to a four-year low.

Nigeria’s gross domestic product shrank 3.6% in the three months through September from a year earlier, compared with a 6.1% contraction in the previous quarter, Statistician-General Yemi Kale said Saturday in a report released on Twitter. 

The median estimate of six economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 5.3% decline.

Oil production fell to 1.67 million barrels a day from 1.81 million barrels in the previous three months. That’s the lowest since the third quarter in 2016, when the economy was in a contraction that lasted for over a year. 

Africa’s top crude producer cut production in order to reach full OPEC+ compliance.

While crude contributes less than 10% to Nigeria’s GDP, it accounts for about 90% of foreign-exchange earnings and half of government revenue. 

That means the plunge in oil prices in the wake of the pandemic, which struck as the economy’s recovery from a 2016 slump was still gaining traction, has emptied coffers.

The contraction could further complicate the task of the central bank’s monetary policy committee as it starts its two-day meeting on interest rates on Monday. 

The panel surprised with a 100-basis-point cut in September to support the economy.

Already above target for more than five years, inflation has continued to accelerate and pressure on the naira increased, which may force the MPC to hold on Tuesday.

The twin impact of coronavirus lockdowns and the plunge in the price of oil hit the west African economy harder than most on the continent. 

That came on top of land borders that’s been closed since last August in an attempt to curb smuggling and boost local production. 

Instead, it’s weighed on Nigerian exports and on the supply of some food products, adding to inflation.

“A lot needs to be done to get Nigeria back to even the very modest 2% growth of the period before the Covid restrictions,” Joachim MacEbong, a senior analyst at SBM Intelligence, said by text message. 

“Land borders need to be reopened and the monetary policy posture of the central bank must change in order to facilitate any return to positive growth.”

The International Monetary Fund forecasts Nigerian GDP will contract by 4.3% this year, the biggest drop nearly four decades.

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Who’s watching who? Biometric surveillance in Kenya and South Africa @ENACT_Africa @IselZyl @KarenAllenIntl

Sub-Saharan Africa could become the testing ground for emerging biometric technologies, with China and the US leading the way in piloting such technologies and offering them on a trial or discounted basis. 

This is arguably part of a geopolitical strategy to develop surveillance norms.

Biometric data includes unique physiological and behavioural characteristics of individuals based on face, iris, voice, fingerprint and DNA markers.

These help to confirm identity, and in time, may be able to predict actions and reactions based on someone’s gait and facial expression.

Mobile subscriptions reached 54.5 million in Kenya in 2019 and 96.9 million in South Africa, according to the World Bank

Kenyan airports have used facial and fingerprint technology since 2019 as part of a Japanese- funded project.

Advances in storage, software and data capturing capacity have helped to drive the spiralling demand for centralised biometric systems. 

This has been accelerated by the private security industry, international institutions such as the World Bank, governments and the financial services sector.

KICTANET describes Kenya’s ‘biometric craze’, where ‘it has become common to be asked for a new photo on primary documents even when there is one already on record’. 

The assumption is that images are being harvested for inclusion in a database that would enable the wider use of both facial verification and facial recognition technology.

On Kenya’s borders, facial recognition technology is being deployed with the assistance of Hong Kong- registered company SenseTime. 

In the central business district of Nairobi, biometric surveillance via CCTV cameras is being served by Japanese and Chinese suppliers, including Hikvision.

Kenya is also witnessing the growth of biometric databases. 

Many of the drivers appear to be coming from private sector business interests. INDEMIA, the French biometric giant reportedly delivering the data capture kits for the Huduma Namba system, was instrumental (under its previous operating name Safran) in introducing electronic voter registration in Kenya during the 2013 and 2017 elections.

There is a very real chance that the technology can be used to persecute dissident groups or marginalise ‘undesirables’.

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.@IMFNews Staff Completes Virtual Mission to Kenya
Kenyan Economy

Kenya has suffered an unprecedented shock as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The economy has been picking up from a trough in April-May, but the normally resilient services sector continues to face challenges, and the outlook remains uncertain due to COVID-19.

There is broad agreement on the key principles that could underpin a Fund supported program to help the next phase of the country’s COVID-19 response and a strong multi-year effort to stabilize and begin reducing debt levels.

Discussions will continue in the period ahead.

Washington, DC: A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Mary Goodman conducted a virtual mission to Kenya from October 27 to November 17, 2020, to undertake negotiations on a 3½ year Extended Fund Facility (EFF)/Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.

At the end of the visit, Ms. Goodman made the following statement:

“Discussions took place against the backdrop of the unprecedented shock that Kenya has suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As elsewhere in the world, the pandemic has disrupted lives and livelihoods and remains a major risk to public health. 

Actions taken by the Kenyan authorities earlier this year – easing monetary policy, supporting broad-based loan restructuring for borrowers hit by the shock, temporarily cutting tax rates and launching programs to support vulnerable groups – have played an important role in cushioning the impact on the economy. 

Financial assistance from international financial institutions, including the IMF, has supported this effort. 

Kenya’s development goals have nonetheless suffered a significant setback, and the country faces an arduous task of returning to a path of sustained and inclusive growth. 

The shock has also crystallized debt-related vulnerabilities and exposed weaknesses in some state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

“Economic activity has started to show signs of recovery. In the second quarter of 2020, real GDP contracted by 5.7 percent year-on-year. Agriculture remained strong thanks to above-average rainfall, but the normally resilient services sector suffered a significant contraction in output. Activity has generally been picking up from the trough in April-May, but with remaining weakness in the tourism and education sectors among others. Kenya’s external accounts have remained resilient due to solid growth in goods exports, particularly horticulture and tea, and in remittances, and due to reduced imports, partly resulting from lower oil prices. Inflation has remained in check at 4.8% year-on-year in October, while financial sector vulnerabilities have been contained and the banking system remains well capitalized overall. Key challenges are reduced government tax revenue and rising public debt, which reached 65.9 percent of GDP in FY19/20.

“The mission discussed with the authorities a program to support the next phase of their COVID-19 response. The program would provide resources to protect vulnerable groups and would reduce debt vulnerabilities over time through a multi-year fiscal consolidation centered on raising tax revenues. It would also advance the structural reform and governance agenda and address weaknesses in some SOEs that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 shock. Finally, it would strengthen the monetary policy framework and support financial stability. The program design would incorporate elements of flexibility to accommodate the high uncertainty about the evolution of COVID-19 and the path of economic recovery.

“The mission reached agreement in many areas; discussions on the remaining areas will continue in the coming period. There is broad agreement on the policy objectives that would underpin a Fund-supported program. Remaining issues to firm up include the scope of SOE weaknesses and plans to revise the budget for FY2020/21 to address these and other pressure points as well as some elements of the medium-term strategy. Technical work will continue in the period ahead, with a view to reaching agreement on a program that could be presented to the Fund’s Board in early 2021.”

The team thanks the authorities for their hospitality and constructive discussions.

The team met with Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, Mr. Ukur Yatani; Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Dr. Patrick Njoroge; Head of the Public Service, Mr. Joseph Kinyua; the Principal Secretary for the National Treasury, Dr. Julius Muia; Deputy Governor of the CBK, Ms. Sheila M’Mbijjewe; Auditor General, Ms. Nancy Gathungu; and other senior government and CBK officials. Staff also had productive discussions with representatives of the private sector, civil society organizations, and development partners.

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.@Coopbankenya Core earnings per share declined by 10.2% to Kshs 1.4 in Q3’2020, from Kshs 1.6 in Q3’2019 @CytonnInvest
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment

Gross Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) increased by 33.6% to Kshs 40.2 bn in Q3’2020, from Kshs 30.1 bn in Q3’2020. 

The NPL ratio deteriorated to 13.2% in Q3’2020, from 10.5% in Q3’2019 owing to slower growth in gross loans by 6.6% compared to the 33.6% growth in gross non-performing loans, and,

NPL Coverage ratio dropped from 55.5% to 50.1%, which could suggest an under-provisioning. 

Had NPL Coverage remained at the 55.5% level recorded in Q3’2019, we would have had an additional provisioning of Kshs 2.2 bn, which would have reduced Earnings per Share (EPS) from the reported Kshs 1.4 to Kshs 1.1.

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Illuminating Kirinyaga Meaning and Knowing in Mount Kenya’s Forests by Tristan McConnell @emergence_zine

Tristan McConnell ventures into the shrinking mountain forests that surround Mount Kenya, home to medicinal plants, ancient trees, rivers, and rainfall. In the wake of the legacies of colonialism and rampant poverty that have stripped much of the country of its trees, he encounters Kenyan foragers, conservationists, and elders who are working to restore the forests and safeguard its value.

Twice a week Joseph Mbaya trudges purposefully into the forest a few miles south of his home in the lee of Mount Kenya to forage for roots, bark, sap, and leaves. His neighbors find this behavior a little odd, his esoteric knowledge of the trees and plants eccentric; most of them would choose Tylenol over his herbal concoctions of infused teas. It is Friday morning and warm beneath the forest’s patchy canopy, despite being at an elevation well over nine thousand feet. Mbaya sweats in his layers of fleeces, his shirt and coat, patched Carhartt trousers, and brown leather boots. Occasionally he pauses in the forest’s silence to smoke raw tobacco rolled in old newspaper.

Hiking the forest tracks with Mbaya is like walking the aisles of CVS with a taciturn pharmacist. He speaks quietly and rarely, but among the cedar and yellowwood, rosewood and water-berry, stinkwood and olive trees, the stubbly, hollow-cheeked sixty-four-year-old finds treatments for arthritis, prostate cancer, toothaches, ear infections, upset stomach, indigestion, and even pungent wind. “This is the one,” mutters Mbaya, stooping next to a pepper-bark tree. Carefully, he sweeps away a thick layer of moss, carves a narrow strip of outer bark with his machete, drops the piece into his shopping bag, and then rubs the tree’s wound with soil and moss to protect it against fungal attack. The bark will be boiled and the resulting decoction drunk as a treatment for intestinal worms or asthma. (Similarly prepared, the pepper-bark’s long, shiny leaves are good for impotence, Mbaya says, or just a tasty soup.)

STRETCHING FROM MOZAMBIQUE to the Red Sea, the East African Rift is about the length of Interstate 95 and roughly twice as broad as the Grand Canyon. It is a dynamic landscape still changing, geology’s deep time condensed and telescoped to a more comprehensible, almost human, scale. The rift grows wider by about a quarter inch a year, unzipping Africa from north to south. Ten thousand millennia from now, the Horn of Africa will have drifted into the Indian Ocean and the Rift Valley will become the floor of a new sea.

Just how and when its changes have occurred is an unspooling mystery with some surprising answers. In the 1960s, fossilized skull fragments of a beaked whale, a deep-sea creature that still exists today, were found by paleontologists working close to Lake Turkana: an immense inland sea located in northern Kenya, four hundred miles from the ocean at an elevation of about twelve hundred feet. The fossil dates back seventeen million years—evidence that the land was closer to both sea level and the sea.

Sometime after that Miocene whale propelled itself upriver and was stranded, tectonic activity began transforming East Africa into a land hospitable to early humans. A magma plume shoved the entire region skywards, stretching Earth’s crust until it fractured and collapsed into immense blocks. The resulting sharp rift shoulders and deep, rain-shadowed graben basins ended the coast-to-coast forest carpeting of Africa, creating a novel topography and a new climate on the eastern edge of the continent. At the same time, the slow-motion collision of the Asian and Indian plates drove the Himalayas upwards, sucking Africa’s moisture into its immense convection currents and parching its new uplands. East Africa was left—quite literally—high and dry.

The immense freestanding volcano of Mount Kenya was pushed out of the earth three million years ago at the tail end of the Pliocene, a manic epoch geologically speaking, during which East Africa roiled like a turbulent ocean. It has stood sentinel since, watching over our evolution.

Mbaya’s visits to the high forests mark him out. While the swirling centrifugal forces of modernity have sucked so many others into a prison of quotidian constraints, Mbaya’s forest walks are a portal to a different, slower, and more meaningful world. Anyone can walk in the woods, but who truly knows them? As we strode, paused, scrambled, and sat, Mbaya painted the forest with his knowledge; trees and plants were illuminated by their names and made more vivid in their value and uses. To see the forest through his eyes— however fleetingly and partially—is to be granted a rare glimpse of an understanding that feels as inaccessible as Mount Kenya’s soaring peaks. But appreciation and preservation of the mountain and its forests is dwindling.

Fifteen years ago, the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht came up with the term solastalgia to describe the feeling of distress one has when disastrous environmental change affects a landscape that means something to them. It’s a concept with ever-increasing currency as human impacts on nature become, in their ubiquity, impossible to ignore. It is the emotional state of the Anthropocene. The destruction of Mount Kenya’s forests—that narrowing of the cascade of dark green that separates the high tarns and sedge-covered moorlands from the farmlands below—means that when Thureinira’s rheumy gaze falls upon the mountain, it is both there and not there; that which remains accentuating that which is absent.

In the struggle for space, forests have lost out: a little over 7 percent of Kenya remains forested (and less than 5 percent is protected), and losses of woodland run to an estimated 124,000 acres a year. Kenya has lost around ten percent of its tree cover in the last twenty years, according to Global Forest Watch.

Researchers from the Nairobi-headquartered World Agroforestry Centre calculate that four-fifths of Kenya’s urban households rely on cheap charcoal for cooking and that the industry employs half a million people and is worth over three hundred million dollars.


1. Ugai kiama kiroiguana.

2. Thaithayai Ngai thaaai.

1. Ugai borori uroagirira, na ando maroingeha.

2. Thaithayai N gai thaaai,

1. Ugai ando na mahio marogia uhoro,

2. Thaithayai Ngai thaaai.

1. Ugai megonda irogia iro, na ithaka irokiria konora.

2. Thaithayai Ngai thaaai.

Asking for Blessing

1. Say ye, the elders may have wisdom and speak with one voice.

2. Praise ye Ngai. Peace be with us.

1. Say ye that the country may have tranquillity and the people may continue to increase.

2. Praise ye Ngai. Peace be with us.

1. Say ye that the people and the flocks and the herds may prosper and be free from illness.

2. Praise ye Ngai. Peace be with us.

1. Say ye the fields may bear much fruit and the land may continue to be fertile.

2. Praise ye Ngai. Peace be with us.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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November 2020

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