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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Thursday 26th of November 2020

#Vaccine shots & stimulus! @jchatterleyCNN

A $2 trillion #stimulus deal could add 3% to US GDP next year says  @GitaGopinath Chief Economist  @IMFNews but it needs to come SOON. 

PLUS vaccinating the entire world will raise global income by "$9 trillion between now and 2025" 

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Asif Kapadia's Maradona documentary slices through the myth to show us the man @guardian

Diego Armando Maradona’s life is a cliché, a rags to riches tragedy. He started as a poor boy with no filter, one whose ruthless drive and innate skill took him to greatness, before a sudden fall. 

Had he been watching, Andy Warhol would have been enthralled.

Asif Kapadia, who won an Oscar for Amy, another documentary about a scintillating talent who came crashing to earth, is the man behind a new film about Maradona. 

In the film, titled Maradona, Kapadia slices through the persisting myth of D10S, attempting to free Diego the man from Maradona the legend. 

After a limited theatrical release, HBO brings the film to US audiences this week.

America missed his legend, catching him at perhaps his lowest low, when he flamed out of the 1994 World Cup after a failed drugs test. In the US, he was a hero to only a few – and I was one of them. 

As a teenage Argentinian immigrant in the United States in the early 2000s, struggling to reconcile my cultural identity with my new country, I clung to Maradona. 

He was Platonic Argentinianess, and I found in his legend the answers I sought. His was a greatness to strive for and a perseverance to mimic. His legend held what the teenage me saw as answers about masculinity (be brash, work hard and be a leader) and sportsmanship (forget about it).

Sure, lessons can be found in any world-class athlete, but with Maradona they all came wrapped in an albiceleste bow of patriotism. 

His success was Argentina’s and by extension mine, decades and thousands of miles away from his heyday. 

His brilliant goals, his breathtaking skills, his trophies, his literal single-handed demolition of England in 1986 – they were mine too. 

He validated my reverence for a culture that I was separated from and gave me a love I could share with the only other Argentinian teenager in a neighborhood that was mostly Venezuelan and Colombian.

As a kid, I looked past his drug addiction and involvement with the mafia. Now, the reality of Maradona’s past, which Kapadia skilfuly peels back, is undeniable. Maradona’s present raises even more worrying questions.

Now, after a decade-long absence, Diego (or is it Maradona?) is back in Argentina, to start another chapter. He has taken a job as the manager of embattled Gimnasia y Esgrima, a club languishing near the bottom of the Argentinian Superliga. 

For Gimnasia supporters, the excitement is real. But despite his insistence that he’s back in Argentina to work (“I am no magician”, he told supporters at his presentation) the motives behind Maradona’s return are opaque. 

Some argue that it is no coincidence that Maradona is using his fame to bring attention to the club, following the Argentinian tradition of using football as a distraction in times of political instability.

Giselle Fernandez, the current vice-presidential candidate for Argentina’s opposition party Frente Para Todos, and sister of former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner gifted Maradona a rosary carrying a locket. 

Inside, was a picture of her mother. Maradona is an avowed Kirchnerist and Fernandez is an ardent Gimnasia supporter.

It’s unclear how much business the Fernandez family have tied up in the club – if any – but Noticias, an Argentinian weekly magazine, reported that the club expects to make $3m from sponsorship this season. 

In the 10 days after the announcement, the club sold 6m pesos ($105,000) worth of jerseys.

The footballer who helped me love my country may be a willing pawn to distract Argentina’s citizens in the critical upcoming elections. Or, perhaps it’s just a club taking the risky bet that he can harvest the same success he had as a player. 

Kapadia shows us a frightened Maradona. A man who allowed his legend to consume his life, ultimately destroying him. Is Maradona falling into another loop in which he attaches himself to power to feed his need to be loved, leading to his own demise? Does he even realise he is doing this?

Still, there are some lessons from Maradona I hold dear – his perseverance and drive. Other, more negative ones, I’ve cast aside. 

As time passes Maradona’s myth will continue to change. 

The only certainty is that the image we have of Maradona is the same as that of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis or any other subject of Warhol’s diptychs: a fiction. We can take the lessons we we want – or leave them.

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“No matter how the official narrative of this turns out," it seemed to Heidi

Thomas Pynchon in Bleeding Edge “No matter how the official narrative of this turns out," it seemed to Heidi, "these are the places we should be looking, not in newspapers or television but at the margins, graffiti, uncontrolled utterances, bad dreamers who sleep in public and scream in their sleep.”

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Ranthambore: Majestic Forts, a Deciduous Forest and the Reign of the Tiger @adityadickysin

Ranthambore was a battlefield. In early medieval times, Ranthambore was a powerful independent kingdom that controlled trade routes to the rich Malwa plateau. 

At the heart of this kingdom was the massive and “impregnable” Ranthambore fort that had a thriving community living around it — a community that built amazing buildings. 

In the middle of the 15th century, Mughal emperor Akbar annexed Ranthambore. Over the next few centuries all the beautiful monuments of Ranthambore fell into ruins and gradually the forest took over. 

However, it was not till the 1980s that a dozen of the biggest villages inside the park were relocated under Project Tiger and tigers began to make a comeback and reclaim the forest and the monuments.
There are very few places in the world where one can see wild tigers grooming themselves in ancient monuments built centuries ago. Where else do you hear phrases like “Mahal ke jharokhe mein Arrowhead baithi hai” (Arrowhead, the tigress is sitting in the balcony of the palace). 

It is this mix of history and natural history that makes Ranthambore really special. This is what attracted me to Ranthambore in 1984 when I came here for the first time as an 18-year-old and this is what kept getting me back here till 1998, when I permanently relocated to Ranthambore. 

In the last 23 years, I have spent nearly 50,000 hours inside the Ranthambore national park and I am still as fascinated with it.
Ranthambore is a dry deciduous forest and water is in short supply particularly during the summers. 

Since ancient times, human beings have been constructing water harvesting structures like stepwells (locally called baoris), small temporary dams (check dams), open wells and even large lakes. 

When the forest was declared a tiger reserve, the management realised that to increase the density of wild animals within the reserve they need to ensure a good supply of food, cover and permanent waterholes. 

A large number of check dams were built and still continue to be built all over the tiger reserve. 

This one, near the Sakri Nallah in Lahpur valley, was built of local rubble stone almost three decades ago. 

There are six large lakes within the national park. All six of them are man-made and built in the recent past.

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This masjid (mosque) along the Padam Talao with its onion domed slender minarets at the end of thick stone walls, large vaulted gateways opening into a big courtyard is a classic example of Ranthambore’s Indo-Islamic architecture.

This one is definitely one of my favourite buildings in Ranthambore. This mosque is in an area that has a very high density of ungulates, so tigers frequently hunt in this area, using the cover provided by the building to get close to their prey.

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There is a grave of a Sufi saint by the side of the road to the Ranthambore fort and it is known as baba ki mazhaar. It is revered by a small groups of locals.

There is a very pretty baori next to this grave with large trees all around, including a few of the species Litsea glutinosa or the Indian laurel tree — a rainforest tree in the semi-arid Ranthambore! 

The trees were recently identified by botanists Dr Satish Sharma and Dr Dharmendra Khandal. Its presence in Ranthambore is nothing short of a miracle.

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My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare. The lone and level sands stretch far away

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Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran ... AXIOS
Law & Politics

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

What's happening: Israeli minister of defense Benny Gantz spoke twice in the last two weeks with Christopher Miller, Trump's acting defense secretary. They discussed Iran as well as Syria and defense cooperation.

Last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. One of the main issues discussed was Iran, Israeli officials say.

Pompeo visited Israel and several Gulf countries last week to discuss Iran. State Department officials traveling with Pompeo told reporters “all options are on the table."

While Pompeo was in the Gulf, U.S. Central Command announced that B-52 strategic bombers conducted a “short-notice, long-range mission into the Middle East to deter aggression and reassure U.S. partners and allies." That was seen as another signal to Iran.

Hossein Dehghan, an adviser to Iran’s leader and a possible candidate in Iran's upcoming presidential elections, told AP last week that a U.S. military strike against Iran could set off a “full-fledged war” in the Middle East.

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06-JAN-2020 :: The Assassination (The Escalation of 'Shadow War')
Law & Politics

“This is an aggressive show of force and an outright provocation that could trigger another Middle East war.”

At the beginning of From Russia With Love (the movie not the book), Kronsteenn is summoned to Blofeld’s lair to discuss the plot to steal the super-secret ‘Lektor Decoder’ and kill Bond. 

Kronsteen outlines to Blofeld his play 

Blofeld [read Trump]: Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof? 

Kronsteen [read Pompeo]: Yes it is because I have anticipated every possible variation of counter-move.

The dog of war is a phrase spoken by Mark Antony in Act 3, Scene 1, line 273 of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “Cry ‘Havoc!,’ and let slip the dogs of war.” 

The Iranians kept their Allies from Yemen to Lebanon to the Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia to Bahrain and all points in between on a leash.

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Weekly epidemiological update - 24 November 2020 @WHO

This past week, the global acceleration in case incidence has slowed down, with around 4 million new cases reported; however, death rates continue to increase with over 67 000 new deaths reported (Figure 1). 

The European and South East Asia Regions continued downward trends in weekly cases; however, the European Region remains the largest contributor to new cases and new deaths in the past 7 days. 

The Region of the Americas reported increases in both new cases and new deaths and the Region continues to account for the greatest proportion of cumulative cases and deaths. 

While cases numbers remain relatively low, the African Region reported the highest increase in new cases (15%) and deaths (30%) this week. 

The Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific regions also reported an increase in new cases and deaths this week.

In the past week, the five countries reporting the highest number of cases were the United States of America (reporting over 1.1 million cases, a 14% increase from the previous week), 

India (over 280 000 cases, an 8% decrease), 

Italy (over 230 000 new cases, a 3% decrease), 

Brazil (over 200 000 new cases, a 17% increase) 

and France (over 170 000 new cases, a 16% decrease).

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#US 3rd wave #COVID19 outbreak 1.44% avg exponential case growth rate (daily/total) Avg daily cases increased 43% past 2wks to 174,225/day. 2,146 deaths yesterday increased 259,925 total by 0.83%. @jmlukens

#US 3rd wave #COVID19 outbreak 1.44% avg exponential case growth rate (daily/total) slightly down past week but way up from Sep 7 low of 0.37%.  Avg daily cases increased 43% past 2wks to 174,225/day.  2,146 deaths yesterday increased 259,925 total by 0.83%

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#Covid19 worldwide November 24: + 588,418 cases in 24 hours, 59,760,108 in total + 12,787 deaths in 24 hours, 1,409,866 in total @CovidTracker_fr

Data from #Covid19 worldwide on November 24: + 588,418 cases in 24 hours, i.e. 59,760,108 in total + 12,787 deaths in 24 hours, i.e. 1,409,866 in total

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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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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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“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.” ― Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19
Law & Politics

“There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. ”

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However, after sequencing the full genome for RaTG13 the lab’s sample of the virus disintegrated, he said. “I think they tried to culture it but they were unable to, so that sample, I think, has gone.”

According to Daszak, the mine sample had been stored in Wuhan for six years. Its scientists “went back to that sample in 2020, in early January or maybe even at the end of last year, I don’t know. They tried to get full genome sequencing, which is important to find out the whole diversity of the viral genome.”

However, after sequencing the full genome for RaTG13 the lab’s sample of the virus disintegrated, he said. “I think they tried to culture it but they were unable to, so that sample, I think, has gone.”

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro  1.192300
Dollar Index 91.987
Japan Yen 104.2980
Swiss Franc 0.908200
Pound 1.336505
Aussie 0.73604
India Rupee 73.82050
South Korea Won 1105.880
Brazil Real 5.3241000
Egypt Pound 15.659900
South African Rand 15.148550

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Third retort: negative DM real rates debased DM FX and raised EMFX's relative attractiveness. EM CBs can monetize without fear of large depreciation. @abisat
Emerging Markets

Makes sense if DM monetary policy stays easy. Taper Tantrum is a reminder of what happens when DM monetary policy reverses.

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Situation by WHO Region African Region Weekly epidemiological update - 24 November 2020 @WHO

The weekly incidence of new cases reached over 47 000 this week with around 1000 new deaths reported, accounting for 15% and 30% relative increases when compared to the previous week, respectively (Figure 3). 

The highest new case and death counts were reported in South Africa, Algeria and Kenya.

In Rwanda this week, cases have increased by 25%, with 226 new cases (17.4 cases per 1 million population) reported. 

Local authorities are enhancing preventative measures in prisons and detention centres following three outbreaks reported in Kigali, Southern and Eastern provinces.

In Zimbabwe, 334 new cases (22.5 cases per 1 million population) were reported this week, with a gradual increase being observed in recent weeks after an initial wave of cases earlier this year. 

In Matabeleland Northern Province in the North West of the country, there have been reports of a cluster of confirmed cases affecting approximately 100 students at a boarding school, resulting in the closure of the school. 

Overall, the country has reported over 9 000 confirmed cases and nearly 300 deaths. 

The characteristics of the cases show most cases (57%) occur in those aged 20-40 years with a greater proportion of females in older age groups. 

Deaths are largely occurring in those aged 40-80 years and males account for a greater percentage of deaths in these age groups.

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Turning To Africa 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'

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South Africa & Algeria avg #COVID19 cases per day up >50% past 2wks. @jmlukens

COVID-19 avg cases/day

#Morocco: 4,216

#SouthAfrica: 2,623

#Tunisia: 1,076

#Algeria: 1,057

#Kenya: 948

#Libya: 619

#Ethiopia: 454

#Uganda: 284

#Sudan: 229

#Nigeria: 159

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Turning to Africa The Spinning Top

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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Am I misunderstanding this? @rosenthal_jon

The Russian Modus Operandi in these matters is to flatten it completely - See Grozny

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@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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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How does #Ethiopia finance the war? In April @AbiyAhmedAli pledged to spend $1.6bn (1.6% of GDP) COVID19 response plan. @PatrickHeinisc1

@IMFnews says “In practice, much less has been spent to date.” Use of these funds in #Tigray conflict would be against DSSI commitment:

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#Emefiele warns speculators against creating panic in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market. @cenbank
World Currencies


so much potential would be unleashed by doing an @AlsisiOfficial on the FX rate 

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#CBN will attack inflation from the supply side through low interest rates @cenbank

#Emefiele reiterates need to diversify Nigeria’s economy to grow its foreign revenue base

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Angola Plans to Sell Stakes in State Companies to Raise Funds @markets

Angola plans to start a partial disposal of national oil company Sonangol and diamond firm Endiama by the end of 2021 or early 2022, possibly through initial public offerings, Finance Minister Vera Daves de Sousa said.

The sale is part of a push by Africa’s second-biggest oil producer to raise cash and jump-start a moribund economy. Angola has so far sold 30 companies through a program that runs through 2022. 

It’s currently selling stakes in an insurance firm and a commercial bank out of 195 assets earmarked in the plan.

“We are targeting the end of 2021, beginning of 2022 to start the process of the privatization of the big ones, such as Sonangol and Endiama,” Daves de Sousa said at the Bloomberg Invest Africa virtual conference Tuesday. 

The partial sale could be done through an IPO, she said. “But all this will depend on how fast we can reorganize those companies. To make sure that with the due diligence process we can capture the interest of high-quality investors.”

Daves de Sousa, who became Angola’s first female finance minister in 2019, is faced with the daunting task of reviving an economy that is forecast to contract for a fifth consecutive year in 2020. 

She is also spearheading efforts to renegotiate Angola’s debt with its main lenders and implementing tough economic reforms that are part of her country’s $4.5-billion program with the International Monetary Fund.

The 36-year-old forecasts Angola’s economy is getting to an “inflection point” as it reaches zero growth in 2021 before returning to expansion

Growth will be driven by the non-oil sector, including farming and mining, as government reforms to diversify the economy away from oil start to produce results, she said.

“We are totally aware that it’s not an easy moment,” said Daves de Sousa, who asked young Angolans who have recently taken to the streets to express their anger at higher living costs and unemployment to be patient. 

“We need to keep moving because it’s the only way to ensure that we will not live a scenario like this again.”

Angola’s negotiations with its main creditors to reschedule debt payments have been “good” and will eventually allow the country to have more room to carry out investments needed to revive the economy, she said.


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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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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.

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Europe-Mediterranean-Africa Commerical Connectivity: Geopolitical Opportunities and Challenges @KASpoldimed @michaeltanchum

The scramble to establish Africa-to-Europe commercial corridors has given rise to a new global engagement with North Africa that is reshaping the basic economic architecture and the geopolitics of the region

With China, Russia, Turkey, and the Arab Gulf states playing increasingly significant roles in the development of these corridors in the southern Mediterranean, the European Union system confronts a pressing strategic challenge to form a coherent and effective policy in North Africa. 

The manner and extent to which the European Union (EU) exercises leadership in the development of trans-Mediterranean connectivity will determine the parameters of its future geopolitical influence in North Africa and the effectiveness of the EU's efforts to develop a comprehensive partnership with Africa as a whole.

By the middle of this decade, Africa will have over 100 cities with more than one million inhabitants.

International efforts to establish Africa-to-Europe connectivity emerged as part of the unprecedented wave of economic growth that swept across Africa during the past decade, unleashing a surge in global engagement with most of the continent. 

China became Africa's top trade partner while Russia and Turkey massively expanded their trade relationships on the continent, witnessing rates of growth in trade that surpassedthe EuropeanUnion by a factor of seven and five respectively.

2 From 2010 to 2016, Ankara opened 26 embassies in Africa as part of its push to expand Turkey's economic and political footprint across the continent.

3 The Arab Gulf states have similarly increased their engagement with Africa. 

The nations of North Africa themselves, with their complex 'triple heritage' of Arab, African, and Mediterranean identities, began pivoting economically to Africa as well, exploiting their key geographic position on the Mediterranean's southern shores, to be the conduits for the new flows of goods, resources, energy, and capital.

Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt are the respective geo-political gatekeepers of three emerging trans- Mediterranean corridors of Africa-to-Europe connectivity

This new status has enabled Rabat, Algiers and Cairo to exercise greater autonomy, recalibrating with whom and on what terms they engage in foreign partnerships. 

At the same time, the Maghreb itself has become an arena of intense global competition over the nexus of trade routes, energy transit routes, and industrial manufacturing value chains that connect Europe, Africa, and Middle East.

Among the three emerging corridors, Morocco's West Africa-to-Western Europe corridor is the most advanced in its development while the Egyptian-based East Africa-to-Eastern Mediterranean corridor is at a preliminary stage of development, albeit with enormous economic potential. 

The central corridor based in Algeria is still in formation and is witnessing a jockeying among international actors to establish a successful corridor. 

The requirements for a successful Africa-to-Europe corridor reflect two fundamental needs in Africa's current growth phase more generally – increased commercial connectivity to consumer markets and a larger industrial manufacturing base. 

As the Moroccan example shows, corridors emerge only where the requisite large investments in port, rail, and road infrastructure are coupled with an industrial base anchored in a manufacturing value chain.

Ultimately, the configuration of Africa-to-Europe value chains that result from how the Maghreb nations manage their respective sets of foreign partnerships will establish the geopolitical framework of these emerging trans-regional commercial architectures for years to come.

The al-Boraq line is linked to Morocco's new state-of-the-art Tanger Med port on the country's Mediterranean coast 40 km east of Tangier. 

Tanger Med is the flagship project of Morocco's 2030 Strategy port plan,7 under which Rabat is investing upwards of $7 billion in its network of ports, adding a strategically significant amount of container capacity on its Mediterranean coast.

The $1.5 billion Tanger Med 2 capacity expansion was supported by considerable Chinese investment. 

With the opening of its new terminals in late June 2019, Tanger Med became the Mediterranean's largest port, surpassing Spain's Algeciras and Valencia ports, with a total in container capacity of 9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). 

Within five years of opening its plant, Renault produced its millionth vehicle. Europe's third largest automaker presently sends six trainloads of Renault vehicles daily from its Tangier factory to the Tanger Med port for shipment

Running from Morocco's Tanger-Med Port across and down the length of the Atlantic coast to the Mauritanian border, the Tangier-Lagouira line will create a high-speed commercial transportation corridor from the shores of the western Mediterranean to the border of West Africa

The al-Boraq high-speed rail line, as a French-Moroccan joint venture, is emblematic of France's traditional role as Morocco's leading foreign investment partner as well as Paris' new push to be seen as a positive change-agent for African economic development. 

France provided 51% of the financing for the project with Morocco providing another 27%. The remaining 22% of the project was financed by development funds from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. 

Along with France, the GCC nations – in particular the UAE – have been the mainstays of foreign investment in Morocco. 

The al-Boraq line reflects the fact that France's main partners in facilitating Morocco's transformative infrastructure development are the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other GCC states.

The EU27 collectively is Morocco's largest trade partner, accounting for 55% of Morocco's 2019 total bilateral trade volume.

Automotive sectors sales are the leading manufacturing component of Morocco's export-driven economy in which foreign trade accounts for approximately 88 percent of Morocco's GDP. 

In early 2019, automotive sectors sales accounted for 27.6 percent of Morocco's exports.

Morocco's automotive industry created nearly 117,000 jobs in Morocco between 2014 and 2018, accounting for 28.8% percent of job creation in the country.

The Competition for a Central Corridor: The Connectivity Battle for Algiers

The efforts to develop a Europe-to-Africa corridor through the Central Maghreb fundamentally revolve around Algeria's road connectivity within the Trans-African Highway system, starting in the country's capital Algiers. 

The recently formed Turkey-Italy-Tunisia transportation network that slices across the center of the Mediterranean, creating an arc of commercial connectivity from the Maghreb to the wider Black Sea is currently the leading contender to form a Europe-to-Africa corridor via the central Maghreb that utilizes Algeria's connectivity. 

The UAE, whose Dubai-based DP World operates Algeria's own Algiers and Djen Djen ports as well as the northern Mediterranean ports of Tarragona, Spain and Marseilles-Fos (France's largest port) remains a potential rival. 

However, the main challenge emerging to Turkey-Italy-Tunisia network is being posed by China's effort to construct El Hamdania, a large-scale transshipment port in Cherchell.

Italy is Algeria's overall largest trade partner as well as Algeria's largest export market.

Rome has long promoted trilateral energy interconnectivity between Algeria, Tunisia, and Italy, the most emblematic symbol of which is the Trans-Mediterranean (Transmed) natural gas pipeline that links Algeria,Tunisia, Sicily, and the Italian mainland

The electricity grids of Algeria, Tunisia, and Italy similarly are scheduled to become interconnected in 2025 upon the completion of 192 km-long, 600MW undersea cable between Tunisia and Sicily.

Turkey's military presence in neighboring Libya is rewriting the geopolitical rules of the Maghreb. 

Turkey's overt military intervention during the first half of 2020 to preserve Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) has created an important strategic beachhead for Turkey in the central Maghreb, increasing Ankara's political and economic clout in neighboring Tunis and Algiers.

Turkey's new outsized military presence in Libya now serves as a platform from which Ankara can promote its program to create Afro-Mediterranean commercial connectivity via the central Maghreb states and expand its economic reach both in the Maghreb and South of the Sahara

Already in 2019, Turkey became the largest exporter to Libya after China, surpassing the EU and earning Turkey $1.53 billion in revenue. 

One month into Turkey's game-changing Libya intervention, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Algeria on January 26, 2020, where he announced the goal of raising Turkey-Algeria bilateral trade to $5 billion. 

Turkey has already made a strong inroads in Algeria through $3.5 billion dollars of investments, ranking Turkey as one of the country's top foreign investors. 

Declaring Algeria as "one of our strategic partners in North Africa," during his January 2020 visit Erdoğan explained, "Algeria is one of Turkey’s most important gateways to the Maghreb and Africa.”

Turkey has been seeking to advance military cooperation with Tunisia while Qatar has focused on economic investment. 

With approximately $3 billion of investments in Tunisia,Qatar ranks as Tunisia's second largest investor, behind France but ahead of both Italy and Germany.

Egypt's East Africa-to-Eastern Mediterranean Corridor to Eastern and Central Europe

With approximately 103 million inhabitants, Egypt has the largest population of any Mediterranean nation and the third largest in Africa. 

In 2019, thanks to its large offshore natural gas deposits and smart energy policies, Egypt achieved natural gas self-sufficiency and became a net energy exporter.

Egypt is on the threshold of becoming both a natural gas and electricity export hub – a development, which if it materializes, carries the potential to radically reconfigure the pattern of energy connectivity between Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

In a parallel manner, Egypt is moving toward becoming a hub for an East Africa-to-Eastern Mediterranean commercial transportation corridor that connects with the European mainland at the massive Chinese-run transshipment port in Piraeus, Greece. 

The emerging East Africa-to-Eastern Mediterranean commercial corridor centered in Egypt is a multi-modal corridor whose African segment will be primarily based on rail connectivity and secondarily road connectivity. 

The 10,228 km Cape Town-to-Cairo highway known Trans-African Highway 4 (TAH-4) connects eight other countries from southern, East Africa, and the Horn of Africa to Egypt at the highway's northern terminus in Cairo. 

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.@WorldBank @WorldBankkenya Navigating the Pandemic #KenyaEconomicUpdate
Kenyan Economy

Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 0.4 percent in H1 2020 year-on-year (y/y), compared to growth of 5.4 percent in H1 of 2019. 

This reflects a worse-than-anticipated Q2 GDP outturn (-5.7% y/y), mainly due to a sharp reduction of services sector output, especially education (-56.2% y/y). 

As a result, the economy is projected to contract by 1.0 percent in 2020 in the baseline scenario, and by 1.5 percent in a more adverse scenario. 

The special focus topic finds that the pandemic increased poverty by 4 percentage points (or an additional 2 million poor) through serious impacts on livelihoods, by sharp decreases in incomes and employment. 

The unemployment rate increased sharply, approximately doubling to 10.4 percent in the second quarter as measured by the KNBS Quarterly Labor Force Survey

Many wage workers who are still employed face reduced working hours, with average hours decreasing from 50 to 38 hours per week. 

As a result, the fiscal deficit widened to 8.2 percent of GDP, up from the pre-COVID budgeted target of 6.0 percent of GDP and the debt to GDP ratio has risen to 65.6 percent of GDP as of June 2020 (from 62.4 percent of GDP in June 2019). 

The baseline outlook adjusts for the negative impact of COVID-19 on Kenya’s growth in 2020, following which the economy is projected to rebound relatively quickly in 2021, lifting real GDP by 6.9 percent y/y

Risks to the base case are to the downside. The key downside domestic risk is that a further acceleration in community transmission of the virus severely disrupts economic activity for a more prolonged period. 

Another risk is that unanticipated drought could reduce agricultural output and rural incomes, as would a worsening and regional spread of the locust infestation (which has so far been confined to the north of the country). 

The key external risk is more prolonged and severe global economic weakness due to the pandemic, which would weigh on exports (including tourism) and remittances.

COVID-19’s economic impact has been felt most strongly in the services sector, due to the shutdown of education institutions, as well as travel suspensions affecting tourism, and stringent social distancing measures that interrupted face-to-face services. 

The services sector contracted by 3.2 percent year-on-year (y/y) in H1 of 2020, as a moderation in the first quarter was followed by a sharp outright contraction in the second quarter (Figure 5). 

Activity in the accommodation, education, and transportation subsectors was severely curtailed. 

As a result, accommodation and restaurants (tourism) contracted by 83.3 percent y/y in Q2, subtracting 0.9 percentage points from overall GDP growth. 

Transport and storage services contracted by 11.6 percent y/y, and wholesale and retail trade activity by 6.9 percent y/y over the same horizon, also contributing to the services sector contraction. 

The impact on education was particularly large, and was the main driver of the contraction of overall output in Q2. With schools and other institutions shut down, education sector output is estimated to have contracted by 56.2 percent y/y in Q2, exerting a drag of 3.8 percentage points on year-on-year GDP growth during the quarter.

Growth in financial and insurance activities, information and communication (ICT), and real estate has also weakened. 

In H1 of 2020, real value added expanded by 5.2 percent, 7.3 percent, and 3.2 percent, respectively, for the financial and insurance, ICT, and real estate sectors. 

The financial sector which has remained sufficiently liquid, profitable, and well-capitalized, has been able to expand credit to the private sector, likely aided by the timely repeal in late 2019 of interest rate caps (ahead of the crisis). 

The shift to online and mobile banking has helped the financial sector adjust to COVID-19 with limited frictions, and temporary waivers on loan performance classification (and provisioning) has helped to support banking system liquidity. 

The ICT sector has benefited from forced automation (with a switch to home-based working and schooling), the increased demand for internet data, and more e-commerce. 

Combined with health and public administration, these sub-sectors’ cumulative contribution to growth slowed to 1.3 percentage points in H1 of 2020 (from about 1.5 percentage points in H1 of 2019).

Private consumption is estimated to have declined in H1 2020, as the COVID-19 shock took hold.

The pandemic has reduced both exports and imports in 2020. Exports contracted by 0.6 percent in 2019 on the back of weak agricultural output growth, and are expected to remain subdued in 2020, as the pandemic constrains external demand. 

The volume of imports is expected to contract in 2020, following supply chain disruptions at the peak of the pandemic, low oil imports, and rising uncertainty about prospects in the private sector. 

The slowdown in economic activity contributed to a drop in revenue collection by about KSh 90 billion (or 0.9 percent of GDP). 

The greatest contributor to this shortfall was income tax and VAT (Table 2). 

In addition, discretionary changes to tax policy taken to support business and protect the most vulnerable households resulted in a net revenue loss of about 0.6 percent of GDP 

The rising expenditure on interest payments (currently at 4.3 percent of GDP and accounting for over 25.2 percent of total revenue) leaves limited room for public spending on priority areas and emergency COVID-19 expenditures.

Furthermore, since most of Kenya’s external debt is denominated in US dollars (67.3 percent),Kenya’s cost of external debt service obligations is vulnerable to US Dollar appreciation.

The current account deficit fell to 4.5 percent of GDP in the 12-month to August 2020, from 5.2 percent of GDP over the same period 2019 (Figure 30), driven by resilient diaspora remittance inflows, and lower imports of goods and services which more than outweighed a decline in exports of goods and services. 

Kenya’s economic output is projected to contract by 1.0 percent in 2020, and to rebound in 2021, with real GDP increasing by 6.9 percent

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Kenya Seeks to Refinance Foreign Commercial Debt at 5% Ceiling @economics
Kenyan Economy

Kenya plans to refinance its foreign commercial debt with loan interest rates capped at 5% and tenure of 14 years, according to a National Treasury economic recovery plan.

By the end of August, East Africa’ biggest economy had 7.06 trillion shillings ($64.3 billion) of public debt and 1.35 trillion shillings in undisbursed loans, taking it close to a 9 trillion-shilling borrowing ceiling and limiting Treasury’s space for additional credit, according to the document released on Wednesday.

With foreign commercial loans making up 35% of all external debt, the state is now seeking more concessionary loans and is speaking to “creditor nations and multilateral institutions to secure a debt-servicing moratorium and debt cancellation to free up resources and provide the requisite budgetary flexibility,” according to the document.

“The accumulation of public and public-guaranteed debt and the challenges of servicing it is now recognized as a major constraint to rapid growth,” according to the Finance Ministry. 

Servicing debt takes up 47% of tax revenue.

China is the nation’s biggest bilateral lender with $6.731 billion by the end of September, according to Treasury data.

Kenya’s stock of commercial debt was $10.3 billion by the end of September, after rising by $2.18 billion from a year earlier. 

Excluding the country’s Eurobonds, a syndicated loan from the Trade & Development Bank is the largest component of foreign commercial debt service, accounting for almost 22% of total external principal payments and 13% of external interest service costs, according to Treasury data.

With economic growth now expected at 0.6% from 5.4% last year, the Finance Ministry expects revenue will fall by about 1%, Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani said Wednesday. 

Output is seen rebounding to 6.4% in 2021.

“There’s limited scope for borrowing, so we have to reduce expenditure,” he said.

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Carbacid Investments Ltd share price data
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied

Market Capitalization: $20,990,536.00 EPS:1.27 PE:  7.134

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B.O.C Kenya Ltd. share price data
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied

Market Capitalization: $11,715,267.00 EPS: 2.86 PE: 23.077

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

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