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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Monday 31st of May 2021
 
Morning
Africa

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The City of London The Square Mile is a ghost town. It will stay that way @TheEconomist
RealEstate, Housing & Construction




Few places in the rich world have been more profoundly affected by covid-19, because few depend so heavily on commuters. 

In 1857 Building News, an architectural journal, declared that “except for business purposes, the City may be said to be now uninhabited”. 

These days fewer than 10,000 people make their homes in the Square Mile, although its pubs, restaurants and barbers were created to serve the 542,000 who normally work in the district

By comparison, New York’s somewhat larger financial district has 64,000 residents and 307,000 daily workers.

The Square Mile is quiet even compared with other parts of central London. 

In the West End, the number of people leaving Oxford Circus Underground station during the working week stands at 35% of the level in early March 2020, just before covid-19 struck. 

Bank station, in the City, is only 15% as busy as it was. 

Offices in the financial district are sitting empty. cbre, a large property manager, puts the vacancy rate at 12.4%. The highest it reached after the financial crisis was 9.4%.


The City of London Corporation has created a £50m ($70m) fund to assist small businesses. 

It has also announced plans to build 1,500 new homes over the next decade. 

But its core recovery plan is to promote the City as a business hub, and entice white-collar workers back.


The success of Britain’s vaccination programme notwithstanding, that will be difficult. 

In New Zealand, almost a year after the lifting of most pandemic restrictions, 62% of financial-services employees say they are working at least one day a week from home, and 26% are not visiting their offices at all. 

Three economists, José María Barrero, Nicholas Bloom and Steven Davis, have studied American white-collar workers. 

They estimate that employees paid between $100,000 and $150,000 will spend 35% of their working hours at home. 

Those paid over $150,000 (which is true of many financial-services workers) will toil from home 43% of the time—just over two days a week.

Although a few banks such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are hounding employees back into offices, most firms in London expect a blend of home and office working. But that will be hard to implement. 

Nick South of the Boston Consulting Group points out that because few white-collar workers are members of just one team, it is hard to draw up rotas that allow for both face-to-face collaboration and remote work. 

Employees may end up dialling in by default. And employee surveys routinely show that some people are extremely reluctant to return to the office. “You ignore these people at your peril,” says Mr South.

One clue to how London’s financial-services firms will respond comes from the property market. 

Mat Oakley of Savills, an estate agent, says that 96% of office space let in the Square Mile so far in 2021 has been grade a, meaning it is of high quality and built in the last ten years. 

The historical average is 65%. Firms seem to have concluded that in order to entice workers back, they will have to offer them plusher surroundings.


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The Pandemic is a Portal
World Of Finance


This strange dream like sequence of non linear time has been the overwhelming experience for what feels like an eternity now.

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A dangerous cult now runs Britain – the worshippers at the Temple of @BorisJohnson @guardian @MarinaHyde
Law & Politics



So yes: you’ve heard a lot of denials over the past 24 hours. But the biggest UK repository of denial remains the polls, where no revelation of incompetence or failure impacts other than positively for the government.

A midweek poll saw the Conservatives climb six points, to 44%, which feels about perfect for a country where at that moment Cummings was claiming industrial levels of lying, incompetence and contempt for elderly and vulnerable people, and spiking it all with such details as Boris Johnson wanting Chris Whitty to inject him with the virus live on TV. 

Remember, even Donald Trump at his maddest only wanted other people to inject the disinfectant.

Still, we are where we are. The great puzzle is that so many of the people who talked about “the Corbyn cult” are so reluctant to face up to the fact of the Johnson cult. 

In many ways, Johnson is the much more classic cult leader. His decisions have led to the deaths of large numbers of people, and he’s got a lot of women pregnant.

If only people who rightly identified the unpleasant and weirdo tendency to excuse absolutely anything at all where Jezza was concerned could be man enough to see it on so much larger a scale where Bozza is concerned. 

He is, after all, the actual prime minister. And for well over a year, many – not just Cummings – have pointed in remorseless and verifiable detail to his abysmal decisions or indecisions, which have led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, far deeper-than-necessary economic damage and longer loss of freedoms. 

To say nothing of his having an approach to funding holidays and interior decoration that would not seem out of place in a TV evangelist.

But let’s return to first principles on this whole cult business. The thing about cult leaders, typically, is that they’re charismatic, male and able to persuade people of the wisdom of things very much not in their best interests. 


There is simply no moral failing of theirs that could be placed in front of their followers that would not cause those same followers to passionately excuse it or love them more for it. 

Faulty prophecies, missing funds, being present but not involved at the laying of a wreath to Black September, notching up one of the world’s worst death tolls and persistently dithering to the point of alleged manslaughter – all this is bad shit to outsiders, but simply makes the cultists cleave ever closer to their dear leaders.

This was something a lot of people noted in reactions to Jeremy Corbyn. But you don’t hear it about Johnson – and he’s miles bigger than Corbyn. 

Just look at the scale of the damage. Compared with that, Corbyn was what? The equivalent of some suburban Utah sectist with a few devoted followers who never gets anywhere. 

Johnson’s the David Koresh, the Jim Jones, the Charles Manson.


Perhaps no wonder, then, that within seconds of Cummings’ detailed testimony about Johnson’s obvious unfitness for office, you couldn’t move for Tory MPs moonily explaining it all away. 

Just as Corbyn was an #absoluteboy to some, so Johnson is a #massivelegend to rather more. Men want to be him; women want to be left to bring up a kid by him on their own.

Of course, part of the problem was the choice of cult deprogrammer. Cummings this week felt like the Conservative party’s Tony Blair – a guy who knows how to win an election and who often makes a lot of sense, but who is a hopelessly compromised messenger because of this one thing he did. 

I’m simply not going to be drawn today on whether it was worse to drive to a north-east beauty spot to test your eyesight or to launch a regionally destabilising war in the Middle East on a false prospectus and without an exit strategy. 

In both cases it feels like the right thing to do is to defer to the judgment of the locals.


Even more unfortunately, Johnson is aided and abetted by a generation of Westminster-watchers so addled by polling that they have completely divorced morality from politics. 

I’m frightfully bored of being told things don’t matter because they didn’t “cut through”, or that this or that horror show is “priced in” to the public’s relationship with Johnson, or that something is irrelevant because “voters don’t care about it”. 

So what?! Voters don’t care about a lot of things that are, nonetheless, properly important. Yet we’re awash with pundits and politicians who can tell you the electoral price of everything but the value of nothing.

Ultimately, crowing that the public don’t expect better than the substandard governance served up over the past 14 months isn’t the win they think it is. Is that the mindset that’s going to make a success of Global Britain? 

Do me a favour. It’s the mindset of managed decline, and if they can’t see that, they really are lost to the Kool-Aid.


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The Pandemic and Political Order @ForeignAffairs @FukuyamaFrancis
Law & Politics




Another reason for pessimism is that the positive scenarios assume some sort of rational public discourse and social learning. 

Yet the link between technocratic expertise and public policy is weaker today than in the past, when elites held more power.



The democratization of authority spurred by the digital revolution has flattened cognitive hierarchies along with other hierarchies, and political decision-making is now driven by often weaponized babble.

That is hardly an ideal environment for constructive, collective self-examination, and some polities may remain irrational longer than they can remain solvent

 


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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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Biostatisticians Calculated Odds Of Coronavirus Evolving Naturally To Be 1 In 13 Billion, Top Ex-Pandemic Investigator Says
Misc.




David Asher told Fox News on Thursday that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was up to “some very hairy stuff with synthetic biology” and that biostatisticians from the U.S. government calculated that the odds of the coronavirus evolving naturally was one-in-13 billion.

Asher said that the U.S. government’s probe was finding “that there was almost no evidence that supported a natural, zoonotic … evolution, or source of COVID-19 … the data disproportionately stacked up as we investigated that it was coming out of a lab or some supernatural source.”



Asher said that the Chinese military was involved in research in the lab and that “they were up to some very hairy stuff with synthetic biology and so called gain of function techniques.”

Asher said that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was doing gain of function research to enhance “the pathogenicity or the virulence of coronavirus vectors that were radically unnatural.”


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There is no natural pathway for the Evolution of COVID19.
Misc.



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. 

Those who have chosen to propagate this narrative are above the radar and in plain sight and need to be called to account. 

The Utter Failure to call these 5th columnists to Account is the clearest Signal that there is no external threat because it is already on the inside.

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





“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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Xi has taken calculated risks. The muscular and multi-faceted nature of Chinese Power is seen in its handling of COVID19
Law & Politics



Controlling the COVID19 Narrative, suppressing the Enquiry, parlaying the situation into one of singular advantage marks a singular moment  
and  

Xi Jinping has exhibited Chinese dominance over multiple theatres from the Home Front, the International Media Domain, the ‘’Scientific’’ domain over which he has achieved complete ownership and where any dissenting view is characterized as a ‘’conspiracy theory’’

It remains a remarkable achievement

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.@MailOnline obtained the 22-page paper authored by British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen set to be published in Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery H/T @BillyBostickson
Misc.



COVID-19 'has NO credible natural ancestor' and WAS created by Chinese scientists who then tried to cover their tracks with 'retro-engineering' to make it seem like it naturally arose from bats.

researchers found 'unique fingerprints' in COVID-19 samples that they say could only have arisen from manipulation in a laboratory

there's evidence to suggest Chinese scientists created the virus while working on a Gain of Function project in a Wuhan lab 

Chinese scientists took a natural coronavirus 'backbone' found in Chinese cave bats and spliced onto it a new 'spike', turning it into the deadly and highly transmissible COVID-19

 'They've changed the virus, then tried to make out it was in a sequence years ago.'

The paper's authors, British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen, wrote that they have had 'prima facie evidence of retro-engineering in China' for a year - but were ignored by academics and major journals.


One tell-tale sign of alleged manipulation the two men highlighted was a row of four amino acids they found on the SARS-Cov-2 spike.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Sørensen said the amino acids all have a positive charge, which cause the virus to tightly cling to the negatively charged parts of human cells like a magnet, and so become more infectious. 

But because, like magnets, the positively charged amino acids repel each other, it is rare to find even three in a row in naturally occurring organisms, while four in a row  is 'extremely unlikely,' the scientist said.

'The laws of physics mean that you cannot have four positively charged amino acids in a row. The only way you can get this is if you artificially manufacture it,' Dalgleish told DailyMail.com.

Their new paper says these features of SARS-Cov-2 are 'unique fingerprints' which are 'indicative of purposive manipulation', and that 'the likelihood of it being the result of natural processes is very small.'

'A natural virus pandemic would be expected to mutate gradually and become more infectious but less pathogenic which is what many expected with t


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2021 could be like 2009 for long-maturity bonds @jsblokland
World Of Finance



The World is pirouetting on the pinhead of the Yield of the US 10 YR

However, It is a Game of Chicken. The US cannot afford a further spike in Yield

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09-MAY-2021 The Markets The Lotos-eaters
World Of Finance



On 28th March when the Bears had gotten hold of the US 10 Year, I wrote that I expected the 10 Year to target 1.45% well we got real close on Friday before the market reversed 

Ten- year yields initially plunged to a more than two-month low of 1.46%, then reversed to end the day at 1.58%. However, I am resetting my target Yield to 1.25% now.

Given the volume of money Printing and the extraordinary stimulusI have to say that the US Recovery is actually really weak and I believe it will be very short lived and the Penny will drop soon with the Bond Market and the Shorts will be forced to cover.

The Consensus View appears to be that the Global economy is going to accelerate big time and that its going to BOOM! 

I beg to differ

Furthermore The Central Banks are in a corner. 

They have fired a lot of bullets and even if there was a meaningful bounce they cannot raise rates.

Here is why central banks are trapped and cannot raise rates even if inflation rises: @dlacalle_IA Feb 2 

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 1.2197

Dollar Index 89.999

Japan Yen 109.65

Swiss Franc 0.8989

Pound 1.4193

Aussie 0.7727

India Rupee 72.36

South Korea Won 1111.12

Brazil Real 5.2390

Egypt Pound 15.6478

South Africa Rand 13.7897

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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.”

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8 JAN 18 :: The Crypto Avocado Millenial Economy.
World Currencies



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.

Paul Virilio has said ‘Wealth is the hidden side of speed and speed the hidden side of wealth’ and he is not wrong.

The most extreme example of this virus style [millenial] behaviour has been in the crypto-currency markets. 

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As I write this on the 3rd of January 2021 $BTC has touched 35,000.00 in a parabolic shift higher
U.S. Economy




We need to get out of that range for bull to resume, trade with caution @
RemiGMI




Conclusions



Markets when they retreat always fall much much further than expectations.

I recall Russian Prins falling from 60+ to 6.


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It was the second wave that killed the dip buyers the most @sunchartist
World Currencies


Crypto Dip being bought is not much different from the Asian financial crisis (central govt raising rates to protect currency)  and the pre-GFC selloff (the entire subprime was $600 bln small in the scheme of things)

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Is Gold Set to Tear Even Higher? Four Key Charts to Watch @markets
Commodities



Just when the vaccine rollout and economic optimism left gold looking like last year’s metal, it staged a recovery.
Bullion is one of the best-performing commodities this month, erasing almost all of this year’s losses

Investors have been lured back by gold’s appeal as an inflation hedge, while the Federal Reserve maintains its monetary stimulus and says price pressures should prove temporary. 

Spot gold rose 0.4% on Friday, capping a fourth straight weekly gain.
Diego Parrilla, who runs the Quadriga Igneo fund, is among those who recently boosted their exposure to gold, saying that central banks won’t risk increasing interest rates to combat inflation for fear of “pricking the enormous bubbles” they’ve created.
“We have entered a new paradigm that will be dominated by deeply negative real interest rates, high inflation, and low nominal rates -- an extremely supportive environment for gold,” said Parrilla, who manages $350 million.
Still, gold is ultimately a haven asset which conventional logic suggests should suffer as the economy booms. So can the latest rally be sustained? Here are four key charts to watch.
Inflation Conundrum
It’s been the hottest question in finance this year, and probably the biggest one for gold: will current inflationary pressures be transitory or persistent?


If you ask the Fed, the answer is the former. Parts of bond market disagree, with market-based measures of long-term inflation expectations rising to the highest since 2013 earlier this month.


That’s a sweet-spot for gold, which benefits when monetary policy keeps bond rates low even as inflation persists. 

Real yields on Treasuries have slipped deeper into negative recently, burnishing the appeal of bullion.


Where they go next will be critical. Any hint the Fed may taper because of inflation or labor market strength could see bond rates spike -- triggering a repeat of the taper tantrum seen in the wake of the financial crisis, when gold dropped 26% in the space of six months.


“The position I think you get to is a place where it gets to be very vulnerable to the taper narrative,” said Marcus Garvey, head of metals strategy at Macquarie Group Ltd.

On the other hand, anything that drags on the global economic recovery -- be it poor jobs data or new virus variants -- should see real yields plunge, benefiting the metal.

Dollar Driver

The dollar has been another important driver of gold this year. After initially strengthening as the U.S. vaccination program outpaced the rest of the world, it’s declined since March as other nations closed the gap, providing a tailwind for the precious metal.


Most analysts don’t see much movement in the dollar going forward, with the median forecast compiled by Bloomberg suggesting only a slight strengthening.


If they’re wrong, be it due to divergence in the global recovery or surprising hawkishness from other nations’ central banks, the implications for bullion could be significant.

Investor Demand

Gold’s poor start to the year came as exchange-traded funds cut their holdings of the metal by 237 tons in the four months through to April. 

Hedge funds trading on Comex also reduced their exposure to the lowest since 2019 in early March.


In the second quarter, flows have started to reverse. If that picks up steam, gold could find another leg higher.

“There is still potentially a lot of pent-up investment demand,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. “Still, positions are relatively small.”

Others, including Aegon NV’s Robert Jan Van Der Mark, who cut his exposure to gold in November after vaccines were announced, remain to be convinced.


“With vaccination rollout on track and economies reopening, we have less appetite for a safe haven/stagflation type of assets in the portfolio,” he said.

Bitcoin Bounce

Often touted as digital bullion, Bitcoin’s rally in the first months of the year was demoralizing for gold bulls. 

The two assets are both favored by those fearful of hyperinflation and currency debasement, so the cryptocurrency’s outperformance may have turned the heads of would-be bullion buyers.

Bitcoin has dropped about 40% from its mid-April high, with substantial outflows from funds. Gold could be a beneficiary.


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It was in 30-DEC-2016 :: [I wrote] My Optimal Portfolio at this moment looks like this 1. Long BITCOIN. 2. Long BITCOIN short Gold on a Spread
World Of Finance



I never imagined the Trend would run over 4 years. It has now reversed and tis reversal is going to get violent 



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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 96 days @ReutersGraphics
Africa



Angola at peak 


Uganda reports highest number of new infections since December

Réunion reports its largest number of new COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic: 1,300


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Was Africa spared from the pandemic? Clearly not. @fibke
Africa


Check out these latest excess death estimates for large countries in SSA 

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28 May 2021: #COVID19 in South Africa • Daily test positivity rate = 11.5% (7-day avg) @rid1tweets
Africa




• New cases = 4 574 (7-day avg)

• New tests = 39 802 (7-day avg)

• Daily test positivity rate = 11.5% (7-day avg)

• Current hospital beds occupancy = 5 537 (+176)

• New deaths = 123 (7-day avg)


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Thirty-two members of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or about 5% of the total, have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, the vice president of the National Assembly said.
Africa





"The latest update announced by the government reports 31,248 confirmed cases and 780 deaths, among them 32 members of parliament," said Jean-Marc Kabund, the first vice president of the lower house of parliament.

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ed cases and 780 deaths, among them 32 members of parliament," said Jean-Marc Kabund, the first vice president of the lower house of parliament. Seychelles’s Covid Mysteries Pit Anti-Vaxxers Against Scientists @BW
Africa






For epidemiologists, the past year and a half has been a voyage of discovery. Recently their journey aboard SARS-CoV-2 took an unexpected turn toward Seychelles, a palm-fringed archipelago in the Indian Ocean with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants

A country that few could pinpoint on a map suddenly became internet-famous as the most vaccinated nation on Earth, with 64% of the population having received the requisite two shots. 

As of May 13 a third of active cases—about 900 in all—were among residents who’d been fully vaccinated.

Vaccine skeptics pronounced themselves vindicated, while international health experts have been scrambling to answer a host of questions without the benefit of robust data. 

Did one or both of the vaccines used in Seychelles fail? Has herd immunity not been reached? Is the nation grappling with a more infectious variant capable of evading the defenses that certain types of vaccines provide?

“So what’s going on?” asked Raina MacIntyre, professor of global biosecurity at the Sydney campus of the University of New South Wales, during an online presentation on May 18.

 “It’s probably that the herd immunity threshold hasn’t been reached, plus or minus, if it’s the South African variant in there.”


The answers to the questions MacIntyre and other experts are posing may influence the future course of the pandemic. 

For starters, the tiny nation has become a test case for two of the world’s most widely used vaccines. 

In the Seychelles, 57% of the vaccinated population received Sinopharm’s shot, and 43% got the Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc. 

Sinopharm’s inoculation has been donated or sold to countries around the globe, including Indonesia, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe; 

Covishield makes up the bulk of shots distributed to poor nations in Africa and elsewhere through the Covax initiative, which seeks to make vaccine distribution more equitable.

What’s happening in Seychelles is very different from the experience of Israel, the second-most vaccinated nation, where Covid-19 infections have plummeted. 

The contrast could yield crucial insights into the efficacy of the different types of immunizations. 

In Israel the dominant vaccine was the messenger ribonucleic acid shot made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.

The pandemic has seen mRNA vaccines— Moderna Inc. makes another—being used in scale for the first time



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File this under shocking connections worth further exploration: @JordanSchachtel
Africa




Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel (now a billionaire equity shareholder) was previously CEO of bioMérieux.

bioMérieux's founder, Alain Mérieux, is a personal friend of Xi Jinping, & he helped build the P4 lab in Wuhan.



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Moderna also happened to have a vaccine ready to go within hours of China publicizing gene sequence for virus. Recall, bio tech company had ZERO products brought to market prior to its "miracle" mRNA vax @JordanSchachtel
Africa



Moderna also happened to have a vaccine ready to go within hours of China publicizing gene sequence for virus. Recall, the bio tech company had ZERO products brought to market prior to its "miracle" mRNA vax receiving emergency approval

Prior to mRNA vax, Moderna was on its way to becoming the next Theranos. They had billions of $$$ in fundraising thanks to hype, but no functioning products. We are now supposed to believe they solved it in a matter of hours, after a decade of failures.

To highlight the bond between Merieux and China, check out this article about Merieux receiving a prestigious award from the CCP while Xi was in attendance.

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Remarks at the Oxford Africa Conference 2021 By Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director, African Department @IMFNews
Africa


For doing so in a very aggregated way. For what makes Africa rather fascinating is its incredible heterogeneity—from its peoples’ genetic pool to its topography, music, language, and indeed economic circumstances.

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Chart captures nicely the trajectory of GDP per capita in sub-Saharan Africa’s since 1960
Africa




Periods of strong improvements in living standards (1970s); periods of sharp regression in income (1980s); and the 2000 through 2015 or so period—billed Africa Rising—when once again income growth accelerated quite a bit. As Lant Pritchett once characterized it.

Again, I want to stress that there is quite a lot of variation around this average path. Quite a lot.

For the economists in the room in particular but really everybody interested in Africa claiming its rightful economic place: understanding the factors that cause economic shrinkages, as much as rapid growth, is sine qua non.




This begs the question as to what might explains the volatility of growth in Africa?



To a first approximation, growth downturns in the region coincide with large exogenous shocks. 

Take the downturn in growth circa 1980. It had a great deal to do with downturn in commodity prices that happened then, as advanced countries slipped into recession. 

Coupled with ineffective and/or problematic policies and political problems (often related to the difficult economic circumstances), it tended to cause growth to slump for years on end.



region is once again at one of those pivotal inflexion points in its economic trajectory. The COVID-19 pandemic, as elsewhere, has caused an acute health and economic crisis.



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A moment of Peril
Africa



The effect has been a dangerous divergence in pace of recovery from recession (1/3 of SSA countries will not be back at their 2019 level of GDP by 2025; most advanced countries will be there this year—35  out of 39 advanced economies’ GDP per capita in 2021 will be higher than 2019 (or 90% of AEs).

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The first and perhaps most important reason for my optimism is the more robust development indicators than in the past. Sub-Saharan Africa is a much-changed from 1980 or 1990.
Africa




The fiscal policy trilemma:

Ø  Huge pressures to increase to spending—to address long-standing infrastructure and social spending needs

Ø  High public debt levels making borrowing to address spending pressures difficult; and

Ø  Resistance to higher taxes.

This tension is not new, but the pandemic induced economic strains have made the tension more acute.

The progress that our countries make in strengthening the social contract, by governments becoming more accountable and their citizens trusting them enough to pay more taxes, will have a huge bearing on how countries fare.


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Goma, population 1.5-million, is one of world’s most precarious cities. Built in the shadow of Mount Nyiragongo, this major city is only ever one eruption away from complete disaster @thecontinent_
Africa



The presence of magma has been detected underneath the city, raising fears of another eruption within the city 
itself, or under the floor of Lake Kivu. 

An eruption under the lake could release enormous deposits of carbon dioxide, which would make the city’s air toxic to humans.

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Recouped: Colonel Assimi Goita has now removed two presidents from office. Photo: Michele Cattani/AFP @mailandguardian @thecontinent_
Africa



Since independence in 1968, Mali has experienced four coups d’etat. Two of these happened in the past nine months – and they were both led by the same man.

The first time Goïta rose to international attention was on the evening of 18 August 2020, when he appeared on state television to announce the arrest of then-president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

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A grave humanitarian crisis is unfolding in #Ethiopia. ‘I never saw hell before, but now I have,’ in #Tigray @NatGeo @Indira_L
Africa





The only roads open in besieged Tigray, a semi-autonomous federal state in northern Ethiopia, lead to endless tales of darkness. 

Most roads north and south from Tigray’s capital of Mekele have been closed to journalists and humanitarian aid. 

Burnt-out tanks and looted ambulances stripped of engines and wheels line the road west. 

Patches of towering eucalyptus trees give way to rocky, untilled fields—and checkpoint after checkpoint manned by Ethiopian troops. Soldiers from neighboring Eritrea saunter casually through villages, marking their presence.

Almost everyone in the region has a story to share, but few will show their faces on camera.  Fear is everywhere.


Araya Gebretekle had six sons. Four of them were executed while harvesting millet in their fields on the outskirts of the town of Abiy Addi in west Tigray. Araya says Ethiopian soldiers approached five of his sons with their guns raised; as his children begged for their lives in the fields—explaining they were simply farmers—a female soldier ordered them dead. 

They pleaded for the troops to spare one of the brothers in order to help their elderly father work the fields. 

The soldiers let the youngest—a 15-year-old—go free. 

He lived to recount the story to his parents. 

Now, says Araya, “my wife is staying at home always crying. I haven’t left the house until today, and every night I dream of them.… There were six sons. I asked the oldest one to be there, too, but thank God he refused.”


He was dead.” Senayit crumpled into her tears, her fists clenched against her face, and howled a visceral cry of pain and sadness, unable to stop weeping. “I never buried him,” she screamed, between sobs. “I never buried him.”

Meanwhile, people are starving. “A total of 5.2 million people, a staggering 91 percent of Tigray’s population, need emergency food assistance,” says Peter Smerdon, the spokesperson the United Nations World Food Programme in Eastern Africa. 

Nearly a quarter of the children that agencies have been able to screen are malnourished, but Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers are blocking the distribution of humanitarian aid.


Shewit knows what’s at stake. She was raped in front of her children by soldiers who told her: “The Tigrayan race must be eliminated.” 

At Ayder Hospital, 430 women have been treated for rape. “But the numbers are not telling the reality in the ground,” says Mussie Tesfay Atsbaha, the hospital’s chief administrator. “If one person has come, another 20 are dead somewhere.”

“I never saw hell before,” he adds, “but now I have.”


Farmer Kiros Tadros plows his land in Adi Kolakul village. Eritrean soldiers have tried to prevent him from farming but if he doesn't farm his seven children will have nothing to eat. @NatGeo 


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Next Africa: Ethiopia’s Fall From Africa’s Darling to Pariah @business Antony Sguazzin
Africa





It wasn’t long ago that Ethiopia was being hailed as an African economic miracle. That’s rapidly unraveling.

What happened?

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s decision to retaliate against political opponents in the northern Tigray region in November has locked him into an intractable civil war, 

Eritrean forces have been reluctant to leave Ethiopian territory and U.S. sanctions threaten to complicate a plan to roll out modern mobile telecommunication services across Africa’s second-most populous nation.


While trying to handle the crisis in Tigray, Abiy is facing community strife in other areas that threaten to tear apart a nation of more than 90 different ethnicities.


That’s quite a fall from grace for a man who in 2019 won a Nobel Peace Prize and was being hailed as one of Africa’s youngest and most progressive leaders.

What may particularly pain the 44-year-old is that his plans to transform the economy may be unraveling. Civil conflict and cross-border tensions are rarely a recipe for investment appetite.



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.@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.
Africa






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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U.S. to Freeze Funding for Ethiopia as Tigray Abuses Surface @bpolitics
Africa



The U.S. has asked multilateral development banks to suspend funding to Ethiopia as fresh reports of human rights abuses surfaced from the war-torn Tigray region.

The unending conflict in Tigray, a region that borders with Eritrea, has resulted in a famine-like situation, Robert Godec, the acting assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs told a Senate panel on Thursday. 

The U.S. on May 24 imposed “wide-ranging” economic sanctions against Africa second-most populous nation.

“There are confirmed reports of Tigrayans dying from malnutrition and starvation,” Godec said. 

As a result, the U.S. is “withholding support for new lending from multilateral development banks that does not address basic human needs and are asking our allies to do likewise,” he said.

The latest move will result in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund withholding funding to a nation led by Nobel laureate Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who wooed foreign investors by pledging to open up the large African economy. 

Ethiopia received $1 billion of U.S. aid last year.

Hundreds of cases of gender-based violence including rape in the Tigray region have been documented in a report compiled by the region’s government.

At least 1,246 women have been recorded as victims of serious gender-based violence in Tigray since war broke out in November, according to the report seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the Ethiopian government and United Nations officials.

The data on cases of sexual violence are the most detailed yet to come out of the region and includes information compiled from 11 health centers in towns such as Mekele, Axum, Adigrat, Shire and Wukro.

Billene Seyoum, a spokesperson at Ethiopian prime minister’s office, and officials from the Tigray interim government, didn’t reply to questions about the document. 

Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago for ending a protracted conflict with neighboring Eritrea.

Violence engulfed Tigray in November, when Abiy ordered an incursion after forces loyal to the state’s dissident ruling party attacked a federal military camp in the region.

At least 3 million people in Tigray are in need shelter but authorities are refusing to allow displaced people to stay inside schools and colleges, according to the report. 

Most of those who have been forced to flee their homes are unregistered and many are sleeping outdoors, it said. 

The report stated there is a 77% shortfall in the need for shelter and non-food items in Tigray.

Roadblocks established by armed people who were not identified in the report have been purposefully established to curtail food distribution efforts, with some beneficiaries being forced to walk as much as 50 kilometers (31 miles) to receive food.

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Germany offers Namibia $1.3 billion to heal colonial-era "genocide" @business
Africa




Germany will recognize colonial-era mass killings in Namibia as genocide and offer 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in aid as a gesture of atonement, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

German and Namibian negotiators concluded the agreement on Friday after more than five years of talks. 

Namibia has accused German colonial rulers of committing genocide against the Herero and Nama between 1904 and 1908.

“We will now describe these events officially as what they were from today’s perspective: genocide,” Maas said in a statement. 

While the accord doesn’t open the door to reparation claims, the communities affected by the genocide will have a say in the aid program, Maas said.

Germany ruled Namibia, then known as German Southwest Africa, from 1884 until 1915. 

The League of Nations handed control to South Africa after its army defeated German forces defending the territory during World War I. Namibia gained independence in 1990.


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Namibia President, First Lady Test Positive for Covid-19 @allafrica
Africa





President Hage Geingob of Namibia and First Lady Monica Geingos

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.@KeEquityBank Equity Bank share price data
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment


DRC acquisition which I believe will prove a Jewel in the Crown

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Kenya’s Biggest Bank @KeEquityBank Targets Seven-Fold Customer Growth by 2025 @business
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment



Kenya’s biggest bank by market value plans to grow its customer base to 100 million by targeting small businesses and mining sectors in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.

Equity Group Holdings Plc, which has operations in seven African markets.

By the end of this year, Equity wants to beat Rawbank Sarl to be the market leader in the DRC

Equity combined operations of its unit there with those of Banque Commerciale du Congo Sarl, in which it acquired a stake last year.

The merger of BCBD and Equity Bank Congo, formerly known as ProCredit, almost tripled the group’s cash and cash equivalents, and increased the amount of dollar loans to 41% of its book, Mwangi said.

“Becoming a systemic actor in all the markets we operate in means increasing the number of customers,” Mwangi said in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. 

“With the insights, capabilities, and the competence that we’ve built within the bank, and with the ability to leverage on technology and innovation, we could be able to do what we did in Kenya for over a period of 30 years in 10 years.”



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.@NationMediaGrp share price data
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services



Price: 17.25

Market Capitalization: $30.144m

EPS:             0.2

PE:                 86.250

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Preserving Kenya’s Sunken Treasure Oft-overlooked, mangroves are a coastal economy’s essential workers @markets
Africa



Along the coast of Kenya, mangrove forests provide an array of ecosystem benefits, including sequestering carbon, preventing shoreline erosion, and protecting fish from tides and predators. 

But the shrimp and fish aquaculture industries are destroying the very mangroves that are so essential to their health.  

Now some coastal communities, for which mangroves also have spiritual, cultural, and ceremonial importance, are taking action to restore these special trees and preserve their local economies. 

Aboud Mohammed’s focus is on the island of Pate, the largest in the Lamu Archipelago, close to the northeast coast of Kenya. 

As vice chairman of Pate Resources and Tourism Initiative (Prati), Mohammed also heads a volunteer team that’s planted and conserved about 20 hectares (49 acres) of mangrove to promote biodiversity, combat climate change, and protect the livelihoods of local subsistence fishermen.

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