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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 22nd of February 2021

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27 NOV 17 :: "Wow! What a Ride!"
World Of Finance

Hunter SThompson, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

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During bubbles price action creates an aura of invincibility, infallibility, arrogance. People can even become fanatical much like in politics & religion @NorthmanTrader
World Of Finance

During bubbles price action creates an aura of invincibility, infallibility, arrogance. People can even become fanatical much like in politics & religion & any voices not conforming to the running dogma are relentlessly attacked, dismissed & ridiculed. Not a good look.

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I see some of this herd mentality now. I have no problem with people believing in their views. But there is no need for this herd attack behavior toward others. Maybe the behavior itself is saying something. @NorthmanTrader
World Of Finance

I see some of this herd mentality now. Aggressive, dismissive, rude, relentless. I have no problem with people believing in their views. But there is no need for this herd attack behavior toward others. Maybe the behavior itself is saying something.

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Bitcoin is an exit from the Fed. @naval
World Currencies

Bitcoin is an exit from the Fed.

DeFi is an exit from Wall Street.

Social media is an exit from mass media.

Homeschooling is an exit from industrial education.

Remote work is an exit from 9-5.

Creator economy is an exit from employment.

Individuals are leaving institutions.

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In fact, right now, I'm on top of a baobab tree to reply you via black magic while cayman-alligator-crocodile monster of a hybrid is busy trying to make a meal of me @SeweS_

We use black magic, pigeons, night runners, and shouting across ridges to communicate. In fact, right now, I'm on top of a baobab tree to reply you via black magic while cayman-alligator-crocodile monster of a hybrid is busy trying to make a meal of me.

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Into The Void: Where Crypto Meets The Metaverse @pierskicks
Law & Politics

The Metaverse: a persistent, live digital universe that affords individuals a sense of agency, social presence, and shared spatial awareness, along with the ability to participate in an extensive virtual economy with profound societal impact.

This piece aims to set out an overview of why crypto is integral to the emergence of an Open Metaverse. 

I begin this essay with a brief reflection on where we are on our journey as a digital species, as well as the role the games industry is playing in it. 

From there, we will touch on the origins of the concept of the Metaverse before exploring its more recent incarnation. 

Despite aspects of it gradually coming into focus, it remains a nebulous idea. 

As such, we look at some of the core characteristics that the internet of tomorrow is likely to possess whilst recognizing that the evolution of technologies are usually unpredictable. 

Having established an idea of where things could go, I will explain why I think the tools afforded by crypto are necessary to get there. 

We’ll look at some of the driving forces behind our current trajectory, and why crypto technologies may be one of the most imperative yet least recognised components of our evolving digital world. 

From there we explore areas of application, paths to adoption, new business models being unlocked, and how the investable surface area is expanding. 

I close out with some key areas of focus for various parties that may be interested in the hope it provides someone with something of use.

- Crypto is laying the foundations for a self-sovereign financial system, an open creator economy, and a universal digital representation and ownership layer via NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

- The Metaverse is coming; trends indicate our direction of travel. Our next great milestone as a networked species awaits us: 7B digital souls with the option to exist almost exclusively online and participate in a virtual economy with societal impact.

- Decentralized networks provide a unique and unmatchable degree of assurance, whilst a universal erosion of trust in institutions is forcing the desire for alternatives.

- NFTs on top of them enable a standardized universal digital representation and ownership layer for any natively digital “thing” such as game assets, digital art, or domain space.

It is easy to forget that it has been just 50 years since the ARPANET delivered the first two letters of the word ‘login’ before crashing. 

The fact that the first message ever to be transmitted over the precursor to the internet was ‘lo’ will always be suspiciously fitting. 

These events took place on the year of the moon landing, a full 20 years before the emergence of the world wide web

Right now, digitally transmitted words that represent ideas are forming inside your head that were typed by a completely separate member of your species with whom you have no physical contact. 

The capacity for complex communication is the primary differentiator between us and other living beings; it is the core foundation of society building organisms. 

 We regularly record and transmit information to one another all around the globe without an inkling of where the recipients might be, oftentimes who they might be, and even when they might exist. 

The degree to which information is both preserved and accessible is simply unprecedented. Connecting with ideas and others is becoming increasingly easy as well as vivid.

There are presently over 2.7 billion video game players globally, that’s 1 in 3 people.

Last year, $174.9 billion  was spent on video games, having grown +19.6% year-on-year. For context, that is 2x the revenue of film and music combined. 

people will spend an increasing amount of time in these virtual worlds.

Marshall McLuhan provided rich commentary on the evolution of our communication mediums right at the dawn of the Information Age, long before the invention of the World Wide Web. 

As a philosopher and professor of media theory, he viewed human history through the lens of four distinct eras: the acoustic age (spoken word), the literary age (written word), the print age (post-Gutenberg), and the electronic age (which we have barely scratched the surface of).

Marshall McLuhan’s core thesis, which was encapsulated in the famous phrase **“the medium is the message,”** was that the technologies through which we absorb information (broadly defined as the media) become “extensions” of our bodies, exerting a profound influence over how we think and act. 

**When an important new medium arrives, it can reshape who we are as both individuals and as a society.** 

Some of his further thoughts would turn out to be eerily prophetic.

> *“Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monopoly.”*

“Metaverse” (a portmanteau of meta; Greek for “beyond”, and “universe”) 

“Humans are the networked species” — Naval

What NFTs enable for the first time is a decentralized, universal digital representation and ownership layer through which scarcity, uniqueness, and authenticity can be transparently managed

the virtual goods market is estimated to be around $50B, and is expected to grow to $190B by 2025. 

Ultimately, money is a mechanism through which we transmit value; the most universal driver of value for all living beings is time. Thus, money regardless of form can be thought of as a time-allocation device. T

Hypermedia gave birth to a non-linear medium of information traversing graphics, audio, plain text, and hyperlinks. With crypto, we can imbue that medium with digital property rights. 

One day we will be able to  see rich histories of all the “things” we interact with online; origin stories, individuality, and the grand web of ownership into which that “thing” is woven. 

Much of digital content as we know it could become tokenized dramatically expanding the granularity of interconnectivity—each item unique with its own creator, history, and owner.

Using these technologies can help keep coercive political forces at bay. Even the largest web platforms in the world are very much subject to the push and pull of politics, as evidenced by YouTube removing content that might aggravate the CCP, or the tensions at Facebook over Zuckerberg’s refusal to remove Trump’s posts allegedly glorifying violence during the 2020 protests. 

As long as there are centralized choke points, it is impossible to immunize against.

Where previously access to resources and services had to be mediated by trusted third parties, along with their inherent privacy, censorship, and transaction costs, these can now be replaced by cryptoeconomic systems.

 We are really just at the tip of the iceberg as the disintermediation power of crypto technologies proliferates across a number of verticals and dramatically collapses the boundaries between the creator and the consumer.

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Covid vaccines cut UK deaths but lockdown still key in reducing infections @FinancialTimes

But the coronavirus data also shows that the vast majority of the improvements in health since the start of the year have resulted from the lockdown rather than vaccinations since declines in cases, hospitalisations and deaths have fallen almost as quickly for non-vaccinated groups as for those that have received jabs.

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08-FEB-2021 :: We are at peak vaccine euphoria

We are at peak vaccine euphoria

Global covid19 cases [are] falling at just under 2%/day @video4me

No one wants to think that

If you have a "normal" pandemic that is fading, but a "British variant" that is surging, the combined total can look like a flat, manageable situation. @spignal

They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.

We've updated our preprint on the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01, aka B.1.1.7, with new statistical and modelling methods. 

Headline: we estimate VOC is 43–82% more transmissible than preexisting variants.

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It is remarkable that the Propaganda is still being propagated more than a year later.

Today only the Paid for Propagandists and Virologists and WHO will argue that there is a ''zoonotic'' origin for COVID19. 

It is remarkable that the Propaganda is still being propagated more than a year later. 

There is no natural Pathway for the Evolution of COVID19.

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01-MAR-2020 :: The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

 “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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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2120

Dollar Index 90.338

Japan Yen 105.64

Swiss Franc 0.8980

Pound 1.4015

Aussie 0.7885

India Rupee 72.3827

South Korea Won 1108.135

Brazil Real 5.3832

Egypt Pound 15.6816

South Africa Rand 14.7564

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Gold @KeithvdKraan 1789.00

The market has punished Gold Bulls precisely because the markets have been wilding - The Wilding Phase has a finite shelf life 

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Plywood & lumber now rising at its fastest pace since '74. Agricultural commodities +25% YoY Base metals +20% YoY Gasoline +20% YoY Nat gas +26% YoY @TaviCosta

Inflation is alive and well but the Fed didn’t get the memo.

 Oh wait….

 They did….

 But they can’t do anything about it.

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So far, Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki has been silent on these accusations, but on 17 February he gave a long interview in which he set out his perspective on the crisis @thecontinent_

Notably, Afwerki reiterated his long- held conviction that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s commitment to ethnic self-determination and secession was a major weakness – a time bomb waiting to happen. 

If Abiy is of a similar mind, then Ethiopia will likely see a further centralisation of power and restrictions on the rights of ethnic communities.

The Eritrean president also accused unspecified powers of being behind the growing tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan and offered advice on how to promote regional harmony.

Given some of the challenges that Afwerki faces in maintaining support for his unpopular regime in Eritrea, avoiding involvement in regional conflicts would be the most prudent. 

But, if his interview is anything to go by, Afwerki sees himself as a regional statesman and will struggle to avoid the temptation to meddle – making further controversy likely.

Also, keeping Eritreans on a constant war footing serves him well, by preventing any resistance to his iron-fisted rule. 

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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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The fugitive leader of Ethiopia’s defiant Tigray region on Monday called on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to “stop the madness” and withdraw troops

The fight is about self-determination of the region of around 6 million people, the Tigray leader said, and it “will continue until the invaders are out.” 

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Congo-Brazzaville’s repressive government buys secret weapons haul from Azerbaijan @thecontinent_

In January 2020, at the port of Derince on the eastern shores of the Sea of Marmara, a huge cache of weapons was loaded onto the MV Storm. 

Registered in the tax haven of Vanuatu, the ship set sail from Turkey with an arsenal of mortar shells, multiple launch rockets, and explosives, en route from Azerbaijan to the Republic of the Congo, better known as Congo-Brazzaville.

In total, more than 100 tons of weaponry wound its way to a building that appears to be the headquarters of Congo-Brazzaville’s elite Republican Guard, according to a confidential cargo manifest obtained by OCCRP. The cargo, estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars, was just the latest

in a series of at least 17 arms shipments sent by Azerbaijan’s ministry of defence to the regime of President Denis Sassou- Nguesso since 2015, according to flight plans, cargo manifests, and weapons inventories obtained by OCCRP. 

The latest transfer has sparked opposition concerns that Sassou-Nguesso is prepared to use force if necessary to maintain power as the country’s March 21 election nears.

His well-armed security services are a key reason he has ruled the central African country for 36 years, split between two separate terms, making him one of the world’s longest-serving leaders.

OCCRP has obtained confidential documents showing that in the eight months preceding the March 2016 election, and for over a year after it, Sassou-Nguesso’s security services bought more than 500 tons of arms from Azerbaijan in 16 separate shipments.

Sassou-Nguesso’s regime is facing one of Africa’s most severe debt crises, raising questions about how these arms shipments have been financed. 

Documents show that at least two consignments delivered between 2015 and 2018 were sponsored by Saudi Arabia, at a time when Riyadh was vetting Congo-Brazzaville’s application to join the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Boulevard Denis Sassou-Nguesso The most recent weapons load, addressed to the Republican Guard at 1 Boulevard Denis Sassou-Nguesso in Brazzaville in January 2020, included 775 mortar shells and more than 400 cases of rockets designed to be launched from Soviet-era trucks, the confidential cargo manifest shows

One certificate shows 5,000 grenades imported for the purposes of “training, anti-terrorism, security and stability operations”. It was signed by a special adviser to President Sassou-Nguesso on March 3, 2016, just days before the election.

After the vote, the opposition claimed the government had rigged the election in favour of Sassou-Nguesso, and unrest broke out in the capital, Brazzaville. 

The government blamed the unrest on a militia known as the Ninjas, made up of people mainly from the Lari ethnic group and based in the Pool region, which partially surrounds Brazzaville.

The weapons from Azerbaijan were then used, an opposition leader claims, to help fuel a prolonged armed conflict in Pool targeting the Ninjas.

Amnesty International condemned the offensive as “an unlawful use of lethal force by the country’s security forces”. 

As the government pursued the Ninjas, witnesses to the carnage told Amnesty that dozens of bombs were dropped from helicopters, hitting a residential area and even a school.

“During the violence in Pool, the regime deployed a scorched earth strategy,” said Andréa Ngombet Malewa, leader of the Incarner l’Espoir political party. “The weapons that they bought from Azerbaijan went straight to that operation.”

As his regime heads to the polls on March 21, strongarm tactics mean Sassou-Nguesso is expected to win.

“They don’t want the world to see how much the Congolese people are eager for political change.”

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Turning to Africa the Spinning Top

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

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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?

This is another point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.

The Event is no longer over the Horizon.

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Oil, toil and spoils João Lourenço’s reforms in Angola are pleasing the @IMFNews @TheEconomist

José eduardo dos santos ruled Angola for 38 years. During his presidency Angola fought an on-off civil war that ended in 2002, just as an oil boom was starting. 

As the price of black gold soared, Luanda, the capital, became one of the world’s most expensive cities, a place where developers imported palm trees from Miami and melons cost $100 each. 

Though most of the country lives on less than $2 per day, bigwigs in the ruling party, the mpla, stashed billions of dollars abroad.

By the time João Lourenço took over in 2017, the oil boom was over. The former defence minister pledged to clean house and overhaul the economy. 

The Angolan leader can point to some successes. But prolonged hardship and public scepticism about his anti-graft efforts are raising doubts about his ability to reform one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economies.

How he fares will depend partly on Vera Daves de Sousa. At 37 she has been alive for less time than Mr dos Santos was president. 

The youngest finance minister in Africa—and one of just three women—took the role in October 2019, months before covid-19 hit the fragile economy.

Hers is a monumental task. Oil accounts for nearly all of Angola’s exports and two-thirds of government revenues. 

Low prices and declining production have brought a collapse in gdp and soaring debts. gdp per person is almost a quarter lower than in 2014. 

The imf estimates that debt repayments due in 2020 exceeded government revenues and that the ratio of public debt to gdp reached 134%. It is likely that 2021 will be the sixth consecutive year in which the economy shrinks.

Angola has, however, recently gained some “breathing space”, Ms Daves de Sousa says. 

Its key talks have been on a “case by case” basis with Chinese lenders, she says. 

From 2000 to 2018 Angola received almost 30% of all loans from China to African governments (see chart). 

Today $20bn—roughly half of Angola’s external debt—is owed to Chinese lenders; $15bn of that is owed to the China Development Bank. 

It and another large Chinese creditor have agreed that Angola can delay principal repayments until mid-2023. These deals will “deliver substantial cash-flow savings” in the short term, says the imf.

The fund, which has since 2018 agreed to lend $4.5bn to Angola, is also encouraged by the country’s fiscal policies. 

Ms Daves de Sousa has cut wasteful spending. In fact, she says, the imf told her to go easy in some areas, protecting funding for health and education. 

Given the fund’s reputation for promoting austerity, this was “a positive surprise”, she says.

Her privatisation plans have also been welcomed. Under Mr dos Santos there was little separation between party, state and economy. 

Sonangol, the state oil company, owned businesses in nearly every industry. The finance minister wants it to sell shares to the public and for 194 state firms or assets to be sold. There have been delays; just 34 sales have taken place. 

But, says Ms Daves de Sousa, private firms must be the “main driver” of growth and diversification away from oil. 

When The Economist asks whether the mpla is still Marxist, she laughs: “In our hearts, yes; in reality, no.”

Most Angolans have yet to see much benefit. Annual inflation is around 25%. 

Last year there were protests in some cities. People want an end to suffering, but also for the president to live up to his promises on tackling corruption.

Angolan prosecutors have gone after some of those at the very top of the old regime, including the “royal family”. 

In August, José Filomeno dos Santos, son of the former president, was one of four men found guilty of trying to defraud the central bank. 

Authorities have frozen assets of Isabel dos Santos, the former head of Sonangol, and daughter of the ex-president. (She denies any wrongdoing.)

Yet for many Angolans the anti-corruption drive appears selective and excludes people close to the current government. 

This, coupled with a brutal crackdown on some protests, suggests that there are limits to how much an outfit like the mpla can change. 

Mr Lourenço has consolidated his position within the ruling party. He is pleasing outsiders with some of his economic policies. 

But it is hard to stay popular with ordinary Angolans when the cost of food is soaring. 

The danger for the president is that, having raised expectations, he cannot, or will not, fulfil them. ■

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Corona ni ugonjwa @IssaShivji

Haina heshima wala utii

Haidekezi wala kujipendekeza

Haina ubaguzi wala ustaarabu

Haipendi wala kuchukia

Huwezi kuifunga wala kuifukuza

Huwezi kuitisha wala kuihonga

Haina uongo wala unafiki

Ukweli wake ni moja tu


Corona is a disease

It has no dignity or obedience

It is neither flattering nor flattering

It is neither discriminatory nor civilized

Like it or not

You can't shut it down or chase it away

You cannot intimidate or bribe

It is neither false nor hypocritical

His truth is only one


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Summary of Active COVID-19 Cases in Africa 348,374 @BeautifyData

-33.005% below 520,000 record high from January 2021 

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To ridicule the use of face masks signals a diseased mind. To celebrate their non-use is an irresponsible and dangerous folly. @TunduALissu

To ridicule the use of face masks signals a diseased mind. To celebrate their non-use is an irresponsible and dangerous folly. To criminalize their distribution to citizens is outright criminal. This man is a clear and present to his own people, to our neighbors and to the world!

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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”

Ibn Khaldun explained the intrinsic relationship between political leadership and the management of pandemics in the pre-colonial period in his book Muqaddimah 

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”

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Covid-19 deaths in Africa: prospective systematic postmortem surveillance study @bmj_latest

Results 372 participants were enrolled between June and September 2020; PCR results were available for 364 (97.8%). SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 58/364 (15.9%) according to the recommended cycle threshold value of <40 and in 70/364 (19.2%) when expanded to any level of PCR detection. 

Transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) should be favored wherever population densities are high, but the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation recently listed covid-19 as the 45th most common cause of death in Africa, despite it being the 12th leading cause globally.

Since 2017, our team has been conducting systematic postmortem surveillance for respiratory pathogens among deceased infants in Lusaka, Zambia. 

With the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, we were able to amend our study quickly to expand surveillance to include all age groups and to test for SARS-CoV-2. 

The capital, Lusaka, has around 2 million citizens and is Zambia’s largest city.

For the covid-19 expansion, we concentrated our resources at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) morgue. 

UTH is the primary tertiary care referral hospital in Lusaka and registers at least 80% of deaths in the city, including those from UTH itself and from the community.

Of the 364 deaths, 96 (26.4%) occurred in a facility and 268 (73.6%) were from the community. Consistent with the distribution of deaths in the enrolled sample, most deaths with covid-19 occurred in the community (51/70; 73%), whereas only 19/70 (27%) occurred in patients under care at UTH.

In this systematic surveillance study in Lusaka, Zambia, we observed a surprisingly high prevalence of mortality related to covid-19. 

Conservatively, 15% of all participants who died between June and September 2020 had covid-19 during this period. 

If we assume that lower intensity PCR results (that is, cycle threshold 40-45) reflect waning viral loads and are not false positives, then the prevalence of covid-19 approached 20% of all deaths. 

Contradicting the prevailing narrative that covid-19 has spared Africa, the disease has had a severe impact in Zambia. 

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1,000 tonnes estimated amount of oil spilled when the MV Wakashio, an oil tanker, ran aground off the coast of Mauritius last July. @thecontinent_

This week, the ship captain admitted that the accident – which has been described as the island’s worst-ever environmental disaster – occurred when he steered the ship closer to the shore in search of a WiFi connection. 

“There was no internet on the ship and I agreed to dock in Mauritius so that the crew members could communicate with their relatives as it helps keep the morale of the crew high,” he said.

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The complications of buying land in Zanzibar @TheEconomist

The island of Zanzibar has more than 4m coconut trees, and each one has an owner, says Viliai Farahani, a local chief known as a “sheha”

It is his responsibility to remember who owns every tree in and around his village. 

Standing outside his bungalow, he squints in the sun and points to a swaying palm in the distance. “That one belongs to Hamishim Shamba,” he says, “and that small one over there belongs to Hamisi Makami.” 

A man known as Haji Mucha used to own a cluster of trees to the east of the village, he explains, but he died and passed them on to his daughter.

That is not unusual. In Zanzibar, the largest island in a semi-autonomous archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, coconut palms (and other fruit trees) are handed down through generations. 

Whereas all land is owned by the government and may only be leased for up to 99 years, fruit trees can be bought and sold. 

A withered mango tree on the edge of a road might well be a family heirloom. 

Coconut trees are the most plentiful and the most useful. Coconuts are the second most important cash crop, after cloves. Islanders also use the leaves to thatch roofs.

But Zanzibaris’ tradition of passing on trees also makes it complicated for newcomers to lease land. 

Sometimes they negotiate leases that include the fruit trees on the land, in which case it becomes the government’s job to compensate the tree owners. 

If the trees are excluded, the new leaseholders may be landed with a headache. 

Although it is relatively easy to acquire a beachside plot and a permit to build on it, it can take years to identify and pay off the owners of every single coconut tree.

“When we leased the land we started noticing these little trees growing,” says Joyce Nyambura Boswell, a Kenyan hotel owner. 

“The girls went and sat under them, and somebody came and said, ‘Hey, this is my tree. The land belongs to you but the tree is mine.’” 

Soon more tree magnates turned up, each demanding payment. 

For three years people squabbled over who owned the 50-odd coconut trees on the land. 

Sometimes Ms. Boswell ended up paying three times for one arboreal asset. Luckily they were cheap: about $30 each.

In the past 15 years the cost of land in Zanzibar has rocketed, and so has that of trees. “People can demand all they want if it’s prime land,” reflects one hotel manager in the beachside town of Bwejuu. 

Mr Farahani reckons that a coconut tree on a stretch of Zanzibar’s most desirable ground could now go for up to $2,000.

Resorts are springing up near Zanzibar’s white-sand beaches to cater for tourists, mostly from Russia. 

Their number was growing rapidly before the pandemic. Some people grumble that these developments risk ruining a magnificent coastline. 

But in the short run, at least impoverished locals are making good profits off their ransom trees. 

They have realised they can get richer by selling their trees to hoteliers than by flogging overpriced coconuts to tourists on the beach. ■

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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February 2021

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