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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 19th of April 2021

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“Derivatives,” Alvin said. “I don’t speculate about the future, I trade it.” @NewYorker
World Of Finance

And they were cross‑linked and interwoven and resold in large bundles, “future on future,” Alvin said, handing me a paper towel. 

“Forget about the forces of the free market, my friend. Commodity prices no longer refer to any value, past or present—they’re just ghosts from the future.”

In the morning, when the window was fogged up and Alvin had fallen asleep with the computer on his stomach, I knew that he had told the truth. 

After half an hour of trading, we had switched places, so that I could do the clicking while he told me what to click on. 

I don’t know whether it was the friction of the mouse, its smooth, slightly greasy surface, or the amounts being transferred, disappearing and reappearing, inseparable from their I.D. numbers and in time with my clicking—or the fact that we were actually having a nice time together; 

Alvin heated up a can of curry soup and went out to buy more cigarettes, and at some point we laughed a lot because I had accidentally bought the right to buy a massive batch of chickens, millions of them, from a farm in Jerusalem a few months from now—in any case, I felt at home in derivatives trading, as if it had been waiting for me, and I for it. 

We brought the computer into bed with us and continued trading on Alvin’s stomach. 

He told me—in a neutral voice and with his eyes on the screen, as he said everything else—that his parents were dead, but that he had inherited some money, which he had grown large enough by investing in stocks to enter the world of derivatives trading, where you never actually buy the asset in question but always resell the agreement before the closing date. 

He mumbled something about a guardian and “trading without attachments” and fell asleep.

I didn’t mind lying in bed, watching Alvin’s face twitch, the contours of a dream quivering under his eyelids.

He said, “What’s mine is yours.” “Thanks” died unsaid on my lips, as if someone had placed a long, cold finger over them. 

I remember all the things he used to do: pelvis against the handlebars of the scooter, center of gravity sinking into his knees, he leans into the bumps on the road. 

The slight irony in the way his fingers hold a cigarette. 

That day, even the planes were beautiful. Broken air. Plants shooting up through broken asphalt. Rancid smell of beef and other dead animals in a market on the city outskirts. A gorgeous butcher shop, wasps floating in blood

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08-JAN-2018 :: The Crypto Avocado Millenial Economy.

The ‘’Zeitgeist’’ of a time is its defining spirit or its mood. Capturing the ‘’zeitgeist’’ of the Now is not an easy thing because we are living in a dizzyingly fluid moment.

 “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire”- Malcolm Gladwell. 

The new high tech, millenial, crypto, avocado economy exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential and even non-linear characteristics not unlike Ebola.

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A curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola.

“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused to believe -that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chance, no return.’’

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08-FEB-2021 The Markets Are Wilding Musk can pump and dump just about anything with a tweet. he has superpowers
World Of Finance

And on February 4 He tested that hypothesis

No highs, no lows, only Doge @elonmusk Feb 4 

Dogecoin is the people’s crypto @elonmusk Feb 4

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08-FEB-2021 :: The Markets Are Wilding
World Of Finance

You have it all wrong The Pink Tulips aren't Trading Tulips, they're investing Tulips @StockCats

The rise and fall of RCA, the biggest growth story of the 1929 bull market: @WalterDeemer

The hardest thing at the peak is to be the naysayer the short seller.

Anybody can be decisive during a panic It takes a strong Man to act during a Boom. VS NAIPAUL

“The businessman bought at ten and was happy to get out at twelve; the mathematician saw his ten rise to eighteen, but didn’t sell because he wanted to double his ten to twenty.”

...and so then I says to the guy, "listen - you don't understand Radio..." @coloradotravis

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A future war with China or Russia looms on Joe Biden’s horizon @Telegraph
Law & Politics

There is growing concern in the White House and the Pentagon that Joe Biden may one day have to fight a war.

Not a small war. A big one. Against China or Russia.

Mr Biden was Vice President when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. It was kicked out of the G8, but seven years later there has been no reversal.

Mr Putin senses weakness in his American counterpart, and the Kremlin is calculating its next move.

Admiral John Aquilino, his expected successor, added: "This problem is much closer to us than most think.”

Whether Mr Biden will have the appetite to counter military advances by Beijing and Moscow remains to be seen.

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Law & Politics

1-4-2-1. The first 1 refers to defending what has since come to be called the homeland. 

The 4 refers to deterring hostilities in four key regions of the world. 

The 2 means the U.S. armed forces must have the strength to win swiftly in two near-simultaneous conflicts in those regions. 

The final 1 means that we must win one of those conflicts “decisively,” toppling the enemy’s regime.

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Chinese fighter jets will fly over Taiwan to "declare sovereignty" @globaltimesnews @HuXijin_GT @Newsweek
Law & Politics

"If Taiwan forces open fire, that will be the moment of all-out war across the Taiwan Strait,"  @HuXijin_GT added

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“Unity is iron and steel; unity is a source of strength,”
Law & Politics

“Complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable trend..no one and no force can ever stop it!” 

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28-MAR-2021 :: We are once again entering an exponential escape velocity Phase #COVID19

The Virus remains an exogenous uncertainty that is still not resolved though all the virologists who have metastasized into vaccinologists will have you believe its all sunlit uplands from here. 

Glorious sunrise at the Borana conservancy @nickdimbleby @JamboMagazine

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The world has reached a new high in daily reported cases. @Marco_Piani

This is all the more worrying considering that the level of testing is countries like India and Brazil is much lower than testing in the US and the UK, so that one can expect that real infections are more underestimated than at the beginning of January

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Madhya Pradesh press foregrounds gross underreporting of Covid deaths - with aerial image of funeral pyres 112 bodies cremated under Covid protocol in Bhopal, says Dainik Bhaskar Official Covid death count is four @sharmasupriya

After Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh press foregrounds gross underreporting of Covid deaths - with aerial image of funeral pyres  112 bodies cremated under Covid protocol in Bhopal, says Dainik Bhaskar  Official Covid death count is four

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India’s Covid Crisis Has a Familiar Culprit @bopinion @mihirssharma H/T @ShashiTharoor

Just a few short weeks ago, Indian government officials were patting themselves on the back. India was the “pharmacy of the world,” they said, and its cheaply produced vaccines would help end the Covid-19 pandemic globally.

 The federal health minister declared that the country had entered “the endgame” of its own battle against the pandemic

Even the Reserve Bank of India announced in unusually enthusiastic tones that India had “bent [the Covid-19 curve] like Beckham” and that “soon the winter of our discontent will be made glorious summer.”

Such boasts sound foolish, at best, today. Covid-19 case numbers and deaths have begun to spike exponentially in India, easily passing the numbers recorded during last autumn’s peak. 

Hospital beds are running short and so are vaccine doses. Although the government has halted all vaccine exports, many states have only a few days’ supply left in stock.

What went wrong? As is typical in India, official arrogance, hyper-nationalism, populism and an ample dose of bureaucratic incompetence have combined to create a crisis. 

The state has left India vulnerable to a second Covid-19 wave, multiple new mutations and the threat of repeated, livelihood-destroying lockdowns.

Worse, Indians aren’t the only ones who will pay the price. Developing nations that had been counting on the “pharmacy of the world” will now have to wait longer for their jabs, even as the new variants continue to spread.

Let’s start with the arrogance. The government appears to have unwisely believed its own rhetoric about having bent the curve of infections after imposing the world’s strictest lockdown last year. 

Even when new and virulent strains of the virus began to emerge, some of them from India’s own hinterland, officials showed no increased urgency about rolling out vaccinations. 

Regulators approved the first Indian vaccines in December. The first shot wasn’t given until more than two weeks later.

Then there’s the nationalism. Indian bureaucrats and regulators, under whatever administration, are prone to a barely disguised xenophobia. 

Thus, regulators pushed out an indigenously developed vaccine, Bharat Biotech Ltd.’s Covaxin, even before Phase III trial data was available. 

Meanwhile, other vaccines that had received regulatory approval elsewhere — including those from Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson — were unnecessarily held up until trials could be conducted in India.

World Health Organization guidelines say that such “bridging trials” may be needed “if there are compelling scientific reasons to expect that the immune response to the vaccine, and therefore its efficacy, could be significantly different to that documented in a prior efficacy trial.” 

Indian authorities never bothered to share these compelling scientific reasons. 

Why J&J’s vaccine, demonstrated to be effective even against the virulent South African and Brazilian variants, would need another large-scale trial in India demands some explanation, surely? (The company is still awaiting permission to launch a bridging trial.)

As for populism, the government sought to squeeze the private sector using price controls. 

Vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India was forbidden to produce for India’s private market, although CEO Adar Poonawalla had repeatedly said he would continue to offer the government doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca Plc. for only Rs. 150 ($2) each. 

That price “is not profitable enough to re-invest substantially in building capacity,” said Poonawalla, who hoped to sell other doses on the open market for Rs. 1,000 ($13) each. 

Now the company has lost its export orders as well, further constraining cashflow.

As a result, Serum Institute has received a legal notice from AstraZeneca for failing to fulfill its contracts. 

More importantly, the company hasn’t got the cash to scale up its manufacturing capabilities. It’s making 50-70 million shots a month; it needs to double that at least. 

Poonawalla has now asked the government for $400 million to ramp up capacity.

Yet, far from investing in capacity or brokering deals to tap unused vaccine manufacturing facilities, as the Biden administration has done in the U.S., the Indian government been slow even to sign purchasing contracts with manufacturers. 

In January, Serum Institute had stockpiled around 50 million doses; the government didn’t sign a purchase order for weeks and then only bought 11 million jabs initially.

The government seems to expect Indian manufacturers to produce vaccines on spec, jump through various regulatory hoops and then break all their other remunerative contracts in order to give the final product solely to the Indian state — at grossly insufficient prices. 

Is it any wonder that Pfizer’s local subsidiary quietly withdrew its application for emergency use of its vaccine in India?

This kind of regulatory uncertainty, bullying, lack of foresight and urgency, and contempt for legitimate profit-making is familiar to every entrepreneur in India. 

Such attitudes are at the root of the country’s growth and investment crisis. Now the rest of the world will have to suffer the consequences.

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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”
Law & Politics

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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Now for the kicker on Evidence Based Science: New variant is here, all of the existing evidence is worthless, obsolete. @yaneerbaryam

What you gonna do? Start all over again? Or make incorrect assumption of independence from the change (not evidence based!).

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"Throughout human history, narrative has been used against us by high-functioning sociopaths as they turn us into fodder and feed." @johnleask

"Throughout human history, narrative has been used against us by high-functioning sociopaths as they turn us into fodder and feed. Narrative has been used to excuse the inexcusable, to preserve a status quo that subverts our inalienable rights even as it pretends to defend them."

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1971

Dollar Index 91.554

Japan Yen 108.543

Swiss Franc 0.9202

Pound 1.3851

Aussie 0.7742

India Rupee 74.9641

South Korea Won 1117.065

Brazil Real 5.6032

Egypt Pound 15.7049

South Africa Rand 14.2672

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Reed Hastings: ‘ @netflix is still in challenger status’ @FT
World Of Finance

Reed Hastings is the billionaire founder of Netflix, the crusher of Blockbuster, and the one who turned Hollywood upside down with streaming tech 

Netflix launched 1997 a service offering DVD hire by post, aiming to bring internet savvy to the ever-frustrating, damn-the-late-fees world of video rental. 

“Covid could have been an internet virus taking down all the routers of the world and our business would be out and restaurants would be in,” 

“And instead tragically it is a biological one, so everybody is locked up and we had the greatest growth in the first half of this year that we ever had.”

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SEP-2019 a ‘’conviction’’ Buy at Friday’s closing price of $270.75. $NFLX
World Of Finance

My Mind kept to an Article I read in 2012 ‘’Annals of Technology Streaming Dreams’’ by John Seabrook January 16, 2012. 

“People went from broad to narrow,” he said, “and we think they will continue to go that way—spend more and more time in the niches— because now the distribution landscape allows for more narrowness’’

Netflix is not a US business, it is a global business. The Majority of Analysts are in the US and in my opinion, these same Analysts have an international ‘’blind spot’’ 

Once Investors appreciate that the Story is an international one and not a US one anymore, we will see the price ramp to fresh all-time highs. 

I, therefore, am putting out a ‘’conviction’’ Buy on Netflix at Friday’s closing price of $270.75.

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Cape Verde, Africa’s democracy model, heads to the polls @AFP

Voters in Cape Verde, a bastion of democracy in Africa, go to the polls on Sunday after a campaign dominated by the Covid pandemic and its impact on a tourism-dependent economy.

In a continent marked by political unrest, coups or monolithic rulers who have been in power for decades, the tiny Atlantic archipelago stands out.

It ranks just behind Mauritius as the most democratic country in sub-Saharan Africa in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2020 Democracy Index.

“Cape Verde is a model of political and democratic stability in Africa,” said Alioune Tine, founder of the Afrikajom Center think tank.

It is “virtually the only one which has not experienced an electoral or democratic crisis.”

Sunday’s vote could lead to something that many other Africans could only dream of — a peaceful change of government.

Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva’s Movement for Democracy (MpD) is being closely contested by the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), a socialist party led by Janira Hopffer Almada.

Almada, 42, is bidding to be the first woman prime minister of Cape Verde, a group of tropical islands with a population of some 550,000 about 600 kilometres (375 miles) from Senegal.

In 1990, one-party rule in Cape Verde was swept away, leading to the first multi-party elections the following year.

In 2016, the MpD ended the PAICV’s 15-year run with a historic victory, gaining 40 out of the 72 seats in the single-chamber parliament, the National Assembly.

After a campaign marked by festive rallies, where candidates danced to music — another of Cape Verde’s internationally recognised treasures — the outcome Sunday is more than likely to be accepted serenely.

“Stability… is our oil, our diamonds,” Silva told AFP on the sidelines of a rally in the capital Praia where, clad in jeans and a polo shirt, he chatted to voters.

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Turning To Africa

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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The war in Tigray is taking a frightful human toll @TheEconomist

“Like flour scattered in the wind” is how Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister, describes the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (tplf), the ethnically based party that called the shots in Ethiopia for almost three decades.

By this he means it is crushed, never to revive. There is no denying that its power has waned. 

In 2018 the tplf lost control of the federal government, making way for the ascent of Abiy. 

Then last November his forces kicked the tplf out of its seat in the regional government of Tigray, a northern state, killing or capturing some of its leaders and sending the rest into hiding.

But Abiy’s description is apt in another way too. His forces are now battling invisible guerrillas whom they are unable completely to subdue. 

Last year, soon after federal troops entered Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital, Abiy declared victory. 

Now he admits that defeating “an enemy which is in hiding” will be “very difficult”.

As the war drags on, the human toll mounts. In recent weeks tens of thousands of Tigrayans have fled what American officials have described as ethnic cleansing in western Tigray. 

Possibly thousands of civilians have been murdered by armed forces on all sides. Women and doctors in Tigray report mass rape by both Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. 

“The conflict is ongoing and human-rights violations are happening every day,” says Finland’s foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, who is the eu’s special envoy to Ethiopia.

The war’s economic costs are ruinous, too. Life had been improving. 

Between 2000 and 2016 the share of Ethiopians who could not afford to buy a basket of food containing the minimum number of calories they need fell from 44% to 24%. Such huge gains, made in Africa’s second-most populous country, are now under threat.

Start with the direct costs of reconstruction. Eyob Tolina, Ethiopia’s finance minister, estimates that the price of repairing damaged infrastructure will be around $1bn (about 1% of gdp). Schools, universities and hospitals have been looted or destroyed, as have farms and factories.

Longer-term costs are harder to quantify, but are piling up. Before the war Tigray produced a third of Ethiopia’s sesame exports, worth almost $350m a year, a tenth of total exports

Since then, tens of thousands of farmers have fled, abandoning the harvest. Although business in Mekelle is slowly picking up, banks and markets in much of the region are still closed.

Officials shrug off the economic impact. In January the trade ministry said that the closure of factories and roads in Tigray was losing the country $20m a month in exports. 

Abiy has since trumpeted a 21% rise in exports, largely thanks to a huge surge in earnings from gold. 

The government insists that the economy will grow by 8.5% in 2021. The imf, however, reckons growth will be closer to 2%.

The government’s confidence is based on an assumption that the war’s impact will be limited to Tigray, which accounts for less than 10% of the national economy. 

“Tigray...is a geographically small part of the country,” says a senior government adviser. “Certainly not a big macro issue.” 

Public debt has fallen by more than a tenth since reaching a peak of almost 60% of gdp three years ago, even after a small rise because of covid-19.

But how long can the economy bear a prolonged conflict? Inflation, which was running at 18% before the war, is now above 20%

Foreign exchange is cripplingly scarce. On the black market the Ethiopian birr has fallen by 9% against the dollar in recent months. 

Businesses trying to get foreign currency through official channels often wait at least a year to get their allocation from state-owned banks.

The government has asked the imf and the World Bank to bail it out. In February it said it would apply for debt relief under a programme aimed at helping poor countries affected by covid-19. 

Rating agencies duly downgraded Ethiopia’s debt. The government also hopes to get a windfall from auctioning two new mobile-phone licences and later selling a 45% share of Ethio Telecom, the mobile-phone monopoly.

But relief, whether from lenders or investors, may be slow. Faced with reports of atrocities as well as uncertainty concerning elections, which are planned for June, foreign investors are nervous. 

“Everything is on hold,” reports one of them. 

Officials fret that extra support from donors may not be forthcoming. 

In January the European Union suspended €88m ($107m) of budget support until aid agencies are given full access to Tigray.

Ethiopia also has little room for manoeuvre. Under the terms of an existing imf programme it cannot easily borrow more. Nor can it just print money. 

The treasury has been able to finance its deficit by selling treasury bills, mostly to state-owned pension funds (previously it simply forced banks to hold public debt at below-market rates). 

But the government will face a balance-of-payments crisis unless it can get hard currency to finance imports and service its foreign-denominated debts.

Allies such as China, Russia and, especially, countries in the Gulf may help to plug the gap. Meanwhile the conflict is spreading. 

People in Tigray are already starving. Mass famine looms. Elsewhere in the country ethnic violence is worsening. 

In recent weeks hundreds of people have died in clashes between Oromos and Amharas, the country’s two biggest groups, as well as between ethnic Somalis and Afars in the east. 

Eyob, the finance minister, sounds optimistic, arguing that in recent months the economy has shown “resilience” in the face of the crisis. On the ground, though, the situation looks increasingly dire. ■

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How covid-19 walloped sea-cucumber catchers @TheEconomist

In a coconut grove behind a secluded beach in Liberia is a tin cabin cobbled together by a dozen Sierra Leonean divers. 

They have been plying the coastline in search of “black gold”. Not oil, but the sea cucumber, a large slug-like creature that infests the ocean floor. 

Local fishermen have traditionally ignored them, since locals deem them unappetising. 

Yet if dried and exported to China, they can fetch $500 a kilo. Chinese chefs and diners adore them. 

They are also an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, and touted without evidence as a way of boosting virility.

The divers, whose tattoos and swagger make them stick out among Liberians, have not always been itinerant. 

As recently as 2013 their own waters off Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, were teeming with sea cucumbers. Young men willing to don a breathing hose could make good money

In the dead of night they would gather their prey. But Sierra Leone’s stocks have shrunk and most of the Chinese traders have left. Some divers have tried their luck elsewhere.

Covid-19 has upended the business. Lockdowns have left cucumber-catchers stranded in remote Liberian villages. And the closure of airports has all but halted sea-cucumber exports. 

Many catchers sold their canoes, smartphones and designer shoes, says Abdoulaye Mansaray, who leads one group of them. And when they ran out of money for food, they turned to their stock of unsold dried sea cucumbers. 

This was a culinary challenge for Musa, the cook. He soaked them for three days before frying them with onions. His creation was shared with curious locals. 

The divers claim that those who ate the echinoderms were startled by the aphrodisiac effect—and fisherfolk never exaggerate.

This year the catchers have been prospecting farther down the Liberian coast in ropey rented canoes. 

Their diving season was cut short by the authorities, who seized their motors over a licensing dispute: a sign, perhaps, that Liberian stocks of sea cucumbers will be better managed than Sierra Leone’s. 

But the sea cucumbers gathered here are too small to fetch a good price. 

So the divers will be moving on, coiling their hoses, loading their leaky boats and setting off in search of seabeds better endowed with large, chewy slug-like creatures.

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COVID-19: Africa's aviation industry suffers massive losses @dwnews

Many prominent carriers like Kenya Airways have trimmed business trips across the continent down to an absolute minimum. 

Popular destinations to Asia, Europe, and North America have also been affected.

In February, Air Namibia ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy. The airline had been in operation for more than 70 years

For a year now, South African Airways has grounded its fleet. It had been struggling even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Immaculate Maina was a frequent flyer — before the pandemic. She often made business trips from her home country Kenya across the continent and liked to work from VIP lounges at airports.

"I miss being where I want to be and working the way I want to — but because of the pandemic, the frequent flyer program doesn't exist anymore," she told DW. 

The VIP lounges that were her favorite working spaces have been converted into coronavirus test centers.

Passenger numbers halved

Around 54 million passengers flew by plane within Africa during the pandemic in 2020

In the previous year, twice as many traveled. According to figures from the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), the turnover of airlines on the continent decreased by around €8.6 billion ($8 billion). 

This has been a heavy blow to an industry that raced from one record to the next before the crisis. And there is no end in sight to the downward trend.

"We know that 2021 will also be a challenging year," said Abderahmane Berthe, secretary general of AFRAA. "Many airlines are on the verge of bankruptcy, while others are already winding up their operations."

"Unfortunately, the support we have asked governments and other donors to provide is only coming in very slowly," Berthe added. 

He also points to the new virus variants and the slow vaccination rate on the continent.

The global slump in intercontinental air traffic is also affecting intra-African connections — with severe consequences.

"It may be that passengers have to fly through hubs outside the continent if they want to go from one African country to another," said Berthe. 

His association is trying to ensure cooperation among the airlines to fill the gaps that have arisen.

Blessing in disguise — for other airlines

However, some actors also see the current crisis as an opportunity. 

After Air Namibia ended its operations in February, Africa's number one carrier — Ethiopia Airlines — seized the opportunity and expanded its range of flights to Windhoek in Namibia.

The small South African airline Airlink also reacted quickly, and has offered flights on former Air Namibia routes for a few weeks now. 

Beyond that, low-cost airline LIFT was launched in Johannesburg in December — in the middle of South Africa's second COVID wave.

"This shows that despite the pandemic and its economic impact, there is still some confidence among some investors," said Phuthego Mojapele, an independent aviation expert and consultant from South Africa.

Regardless, "there is little that the airlines can do; everyone will have to make drastic changes in the near future," Mojapele said in an interview with DW.

According to Allan Kilavuka, CEO of Kenya Airways, one of these changes are already emerging. 

"We will have to diversify our business, and freight is at the top of the list." 

The airline suffered a 60% drop in passenger numbers in 2020, resulting in a record loss of around €277 million ($331 million). 

Nevertheless, Kilavuka remains optimistic. "We want to grow and reduce our costs at the same time."

Digital COVID-19 passport as an opportunity?

Ethiopian Airlines has shown that cargo aviation can be a viable alternative in pandemic times. 

The largest airline on the continent foresaw an increased demand for goods traffic early on, and had 25 passenger planes converted from March 2020.

According to its own information, Ethiopian Airlines has made more than 5,500 cargo flights with converted aircraft since then. 

Customers include the World Health Organization, aid agencies, and UNICEF — which uses the offer to distribute food, medicine, medical protective equipment, and vaccines.

When passenger aviation in Africa may return to pre-crisis levels is uncertain, according to Berthe of AFRAA. 

This depends on the speed of the vaccination, which is lagging on the African continent.

Just recently, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)  announced that it could take until the end of 2022 to vaccinate at least 60% of the continent's population. Berthe does not expect air traffic to recover before that.

Despite the shortfall, a digital COVID-19 passport developed by the African Union (AU) could address the long queues at Africa's airports. Instead of lengthy checks or test and vaccination certificates, passengers can now use the My COVID Pass app.

Some airlines have already integrated it into their own travel apps so that passengers may have digital proof that they meet the entry requirements for their destinations.

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Kenya Clings to Control of State Firms With Stake Sales on Table @technology
Kenyan Economy

The Kenyan government signaled caution on relinquishing more control over companies part-owned by the state including Safaricom Plc, the nation’s biggest firm by market value.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange has said it’s in talks with officials over the sale of additional stakes in already publicly traded state companies, a program expected to raise as much as 300 billion shillings ($2.8 billion).

But any such decision over Safaricom is only possible if matched by other key shareholders, Stanley Kamau, acting director general of public investments and portfolio management at the National Treasury, was cited as saying by NTV.

The Kenyan government and U.K. carrier Vodafone Group Plc -- along with its South African unit Vodacom Group Ltd. -- each hold 35% in the mobile-banking pioneer that accounts for almost two-thirds of the Nairobi market’s capitalization.

“Given the strategic and security issues around Safaricom, we would not want to go below Vodafone,” Nairobi-based NTV quoted Kamau as saying.

“If Vodafone is willing to go 10%, we can go 10%,” Kamau said. “But I don’t think we’d want to get diluted as the government on Safaricom.”

A decision to attach conditions to possible divestments represents a pushback by Kenya’s government over losing sway over companies that contribute the biggest dividends to state coffers.

Kenya State Firms’ Stake Sales May Raise as Much as $2.7 Billion

While the state is open to slashing its stake in the nation’s biggest power producer -- Kenya Electricity Generating Co. -- to 60% or close to half from 70% currently, it doesn’t intend to become a minority shareholder in the loss-making Kenya Power and Lighting Co., according to Kamau.

“Given the strategic nature and monopolistic tendency of KPLC, I’m not sure we would want to move away from 50% and move to about 45%, where the government loses control on a monopoly,” Kamau said.

The government won’t privatize Kenya Pipeline Corp., which manages fuel distribution from the port city of Mombasa to the rest of the country and four neighboring countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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.@LibertyLifeKe Liberty Kenya Holdings. reports FY EPS 2020 +1.65% Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment

Par Value:                  
Closing Price:           8.10
Total Shares Issued:          535707499.00
Market Capitalization:        4,339,230,742
EPS:             1.23
PE:               6.585 

FY Total Assets 39.301229b versus 38.221854b

FY Revenue Insurance premiums 11.176458b versus 10.957417b

FY Reinsurance premiums [4.490596b] versus [4.048265b]

FY Net Insurance premiums 6.685862b versus 6.909152b

FY Revenue from Contracts with Customers 1.110002b versus 1.112411b

FY Interest Income on Financial assets using the effective interest rate method 0.506922b versus 0.350840b

FY Fair value adjustments to assets held at fair value through Profit and Loss 1.423735b versus 3.078216b

FY Total Income 9.857724b versus 11.525721b

FY Claims and policyholder benefits under insurance contracts [6.792094b] versus [6.820897b]

FY Insurance Claims recovered from reinsurers 1.840201b versus 1.676359b

FY Change in long term policyholder assets and liabilities 1.263759b versus 0.297567b

Liabilities under insurance contracts 330.352m versus [576.965m]

Investment contracts with discretionary participation features 960.793m versus 971.319m

Fair value adjustment to long term policyholder liabilities under investment contracts [520.967m] versus [877.070m]

FY Acquisition costs [1.669611b] versus [1.613708b]

FY General marketing and administration expenses [2.922819b] versus [3.047868b]

FY Profit before taxation 1.043897b versus 1.126832b

FY Profit after Taxation 675.946m versus 689.615m

FY Items that may be reclassified subsequently to profit and Loss 47.081m versus [5.618m]

FY Total comprehensive Income 723.071m versus 683.997m

FY EPS 1.23 versus 1.21 

FY Dividend 0. 


The results demonstrate the group’s resilience amid the unprecedented global crisis brought about by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

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

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