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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Wednesday 25th of August 2021

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Luminous and Fairy Tale

Its as if my hearing is sharpened. I hear the Breeze, birdsong, Nature in its many forms

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We’re just tiny little biological organisms living in a beautifully complex ecosystem on a rock tied into orbital forces out of our control, revolving around a giant burning ball of gas @@just_sham_it

We’re just tiny little biological organisms living in a beautifully complex ecosystem on a rock tied into orbital forces out of our control, revolving around a giant burning ball of gas that will someday explode into a supernova before collapsing

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Robert D. Kaplan on why America can recover from failures like Afghanistan and Iraq @TheEconomist
Law & Politics

THERE THEY were in the flesh: wizened veterans of the Spanish-American War from 1898 marching a few feet away from me at the Memorial Day parade on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn in 1958. It is one of my earliest and most vivid childhood memories. 

The Spanish-American War, which began in Cuba and led to a bloody and drawn-out American occupation of the Philippines, announced the arrival of the United States as a world power.
The basis of that power was starkly geographical. Hans Morgenthau, a founding father of “realism” in international relations, called geography the most stable component of national power. 

America is a vast and wealthy continent densely connected by navigable rivers and with an economy of scale, accessible to the main sea lines of communication, yet protected by oceans from the turmoil of the Old World.

And that geography still matters, despite technology having shrunk the globe. Notwithstanding the pathologies of this tighter, more interconnected world—terrorism, viral pandemics, ransomware—America, unlike China, is self-sufficient in hydrocarbons. 

It has abundant water resources and no powerful and hostile neighbors. 

The southern border, which American conservatives wail about, involves only poor migrants, and not the soldiers of two armies facing each other like on China’s southern frontier with India.

That geography helps explain why America can miscalculate and fail in successive wars, yet completely recover, unlike smaller and less well-situated countries which have little margin for error. 

Thus, stories about American decline are overrated. Geography has bequeathed America such power and with such protection that, integrated into an increasingly smaller world as it is, the country cannot help but remain in an imperial-like situation, with far-flung economic and military commitments around the world.
America may withdraw from failed ground interventions in the Middle East, but its navy and air force still patrol large swaths of the planet as the bulwark of alliance systems in Europe and Asia. 

This continues regardless of its failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Scenes of chaos at Kabul’s airport as America pulled out are arresting, but in strategic terms it’s more image than substance. Remember that following the fall of Saigon in 1975 the United States went on to win the cold war.
Even the obsession of American elites with human rights has a geographical basis, since the protection afforded by oceans has made them suspicious of the ruthless realpolitik always demanded of states with insecure land borders. 

The country still has the ability to stand aloof and make moral judgments accordingly.

America’s geographical bounty still provides it with an edge against great-power adversaries. This is true despite internal threats. 

They include challenges to America’s social cohesion from new technology and wealth inequality that geography cannot wholly defend against (and which roil other countries too, notably China and Russia, which vie for “great power” status).

Globalisation has inflamed internal divisions, as wealthier Americans have been swept inside a universal cosmopolitan class, while leaving the mass of poorer Americans behind. 

And social media, unlike the great newspapers of their day, rewards and attracts the extremes, with poisonous effects on public sentiment and political parties. It is internal challenges that now threaten American power.

The problem is compounded by history. Ernest Renan, a 19th-century French political philosopher, wrote that, “To forget and…to get one’s history wrong are essential factors in the making of a nation; and thus the advance of historical studies is often a danger to nationality.” 

In fact, a mythic and triumphalist interpretation of the past was an essential element to America’s victories in two world wars and the cold war.

But now historical studies, by revealing much that America should be ashamed of, is forcing the home front to rediscover patriotism on a different basis, in which the conquest of a continent is still accepted, even as some of the methods used in that conquest fill Americans with remorse. 

That Memorial Day of 1958, with all the people around me in liberal New York City cheering the veterans of a blatant and unnecessary imperial war, is almost unimaginable today.
The country’s vast geography, which lends itself to heterogeneity, might actually help it assuage the polarisation that can arise out of a reinterpretation of national history. 

America’s 18th-century founders specifically designed a system on a sparsely populated and sprawling continent, where it took many days to travel from one part of the 13 original states to another.
The Founders were conscious of this in inventing a system of checks and balances so that the new capital of Washington would not tyrannise those varied and far-flung states, and thus allow for flexibility in governance. 

(Robert Frost even wrote a poem, “The Gift Outright”, read at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, about the mystical association between America’s early settlers and their new land: “Such as she was, such as she would become”.)
This geography also featured the availability of affordable land, which constituted the original source of the American people’s optimism and unfriendliness to elites and aristocracies. 

The whole notion of the frontier, as explained in 1893 by the historian Frederick Jackson Turner, was based on a vast continent with enough land for everybody. A rough equality among citizens was inherent in America’s plentiful and well-watered landscape.

This, at root, is why Americans now cry out for the restoration of the middle class and demand action from politicians. They want to soften the country’s stark economic divisions. 

That, in turn, may help soften its political and racial ones—and prevent the drift towards a plutocracy concentrated in a few postal codes.

Bear in mind that power is relative. America’s domestic tensions are out in the open, whereas China’s and Russia’s are more opaque. 

And their geographies are less fortunate. China has difficult borderlands and resorts to extreme oppression to manage its ethnic and religious minorities

Russia is an insecure land power with few natural borders, thus prone to invasion throughout history: this is the deep, unstated reason for Russian aggression.

Moreover, China and Russia are much too dependent on one man at the top, and their inflexible autocracies mask deep social and economic cleavages across immense continental landscapes of their own

Thus, we concentrate too much on the strengths of the three great powers. But all of them could weaken in their own way, creating a more anarchic world.
It has usually been the ordering influence of great powers and empires that has limited chaos. The question may be: which one of the great powers, or ones, will weaken at a faster pace than the others? 

Mastering change may decide the great-power struggle. Which of them has flexibility built into their political structures? 

American democracy, as unruly and problematic as it is, has demonstrated an historical proclivity to adapt and reinvent itself more than other big systems.
America’s large and well-endowed landmass certainly helps in a drawbridge-up environment of protectionism. 

Yet the country still requires allies and credible deterrents in a smaller and claustrophobic world where Russia threatens Ukraine and China threatens Taiwan. 

Geographical bounty cannot solve every problem. It is, as Morgenthau put it, a crucial component of power among others. Yet the most fortunate geography ever known still offers lessons of considerable hope.

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Golden hour: A military transport plane launches out of Kabul, while Afghans who cannot get into the airport to evacuate, watch and wonder. @yamphoto
Law & Politics

It was in 1991 [3 decades ago now] that Krauthammer spoke of the “Unipolar Moment” and highlighted that the US had emerged as the center of world power and unchallenged superpower.

The World in the c21st exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential characteristics and feedback loops which only become obvious in hindsight.
It was in 1991 [3 decades ago now] that Krauthammer spoke of the “Unipolar Moment” and highlighted that the US had emerged as the center of world power and unchallenged superpower.
Thirty years later, The US is exiting Afghanistan and we can speak of a Tripolar World with the US, China and Russia now ruling the c21st Roost. 

The ''Salami Slicer'' has snaffled up Hong Kong and the World waits on tenterhooks for the inevitable move on Taiwan.

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23-AUG-2021 :: The Biden Presser was a ‘’Wizard of Oz’’ moment
Law & Politics

The point when the curtain was lifted in the Wizard of Oz and the Wizard revealed to be ‘’an ordinary conman from Omaha who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem “great and powerful”

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Just ran this code out of curiosity. #COVID19 is still out there! Wasn't expecting a competition with the second wave. @AsjadNaqvi
Law & Politics

23-AUG-2021 ::  Lets turn briefly to COVID-19 because I sense an Inflexion Point

Lets turn briefly to COVID-19 because I sense an Inflexion Point
#COVID19 cases exponentially growing 0.32% per day with avg 654,706 daily new cases up 6.9% past 2wks. @jmlukens

9,803 avg deaths per day (1.52% daily mortality rate) up 5.3% past 2wks with 4,399,380 total deaths growing on average 0.22% per day
I think the Spread improvement [Cases versus Deaths] has run its course.
As to the goal of reaching herd immunity—vaccinating so many people that the virus simply has nowhere to go
“With the emergence of Delta, I realized that it’s just impossible to reach that,” says Müge Çevik, an infectious disease specialist at the University of St. Andrews. Via @ScienceMagazine @kakape
But Holmes was startled. “This virus has gone up three notches in effectively a year and that, I think, was the biggest surprise to me”
The 1918–19 influenza pandemic also appears to have caused more serious illness as time went on, says Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist at Roskilde

University who studies past pandemics. “Our data from Denmark suggests it was six times deadlier in the second wave.”
“Many still see Alpha and Delta as being as bad as things are ever going to get,” he says. “It would be wise to consider them as steps on a possible trajectory that may challenge our public health response further.”
Some dangerous variants may only be possible if the virus hits on a very rare, winning combination of mutations, Eugene Koonin told me. 

“But with all these millions of infected people, it may very well find that combination.” @kakape 

We have now crossed peak Vaccine Euphoria

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Delta’s rise is fuelled by rampant spread from people who feel fine @Nature

They found that, on average, people began having symptoms 5.8 days after infection with Delta — 1.8 days after they first tested positive for viral RNA. That left almost two days for individuals to shed viral RNA before they showed any sign of COVID-19.
An earlier study and an unpublished analysis by Cowling and others estimate that before Delta emerged, individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 took an average of 6.3 days to develop symptoms and 5.5 days to test positive for viral RNA, leaving a narrower window of 0.8 days for oblivious viral shedding.
In the latest work, the researchers also found that those infected with Delta had higher concentrations of viral particles, or viral load, in their bodies than did people infected with the original version of SARS-CoV-2. “Somehow the virus is appearing quicker and in higher amounts,” says Cowling.
As a result, 74% of infections with Delta took place during the presymptomatic phase — a higher proportion than for previous variants. 

This high rate “helps explain how this variant has been able to outpace both the wild-type virus and other variants to become the dominant strain worldwide”, says Barnaby Young, an infectious-disease clinician at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore.
The researchers also calculated Delta’s ‘basic reproduction number’, or R0, which is the average number of people to whom every infected person will spread the virus in a susceptible population. 

They estimated that Delta has an R0 of 6.4, which is much higher than the R0 of 2–4 estimated for the original version of SARS-CoV-2, says Marm Kilpatrick, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “Delta moves a bit faster, but is much more transmissible.”
A small number of study participants experienced ‘breakthrough infections’ with Delta after receiving two doses of an inactivated-virus COVID-19 vaccine. 

But the vaccine reduced participants’ viral loads at the peak of infection.
Vaccinated individuals were also 65% less likely than unvaccinated individuals to infect someone else, although the estimate was based on a very small sample size. 

This reduction “is significant and reassuring that COVID-19 vaccines remain effective and a vital part of our response to the pandemic”, says Young.

19-JUL-2021 :: relative viral loads in the Delta variant infections are 1260 times higher than the 19A/19B strains infections

The standard (albeit rough) calculation for herd immunity threshold is (1/E) x (1-1/R) where E is vaccine effectiveness in reducing transmission
above calc suggests would need to vaccinate (1-1/6)/0.85 = 98% of population @AdamJKucharski 

In scenario where R is 6 (plausible for Delta in susceptible populations without any restrictions), and vaccination reduces infection/infectiousness such that onwards transmission reduced by 85%, above calc suggests would need to vaccinate (1-1/6)/0.85 = 98% of population.

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Vaccines alone can’t do it, and vaccine passports are not going to end this pandemic. Look at the evidence critically. This insistence in pushing for passports as THE solution is only going to further erode public trust. @DGBassani

Vaccines alone can’t do it, and vaccine passports are not going to end this pandemic. Look at the evidence critically. This insistence in pushing for passports as THE solution is only going to further erode public trust. Trust NEEDED to face the years pandemic still ahead of us.

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“The answer, is that the protection conferred by BioNTech/Pfizer two-shot vaccine, which Israel has used almost exclusively, appears to fade over time faster than anticipated” @Fibke

“The answer, slowly taking shape in hotly contested data, is that the protection conferred by the BioNTech/Pfizer two-shot vaccine, which Israel has used almost exclusively, appears to fade over time faster than anticipated, increasing the risk of “breakthrough” infections.”

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23-AUG-2021 :: ZigZag
World Of Finance

The Markets
In one of his books Nassim Nicholas Taleb @nntaleb described his Trading Strategy as one which lost money 364 days of the year but made more on one day than was lost in those preceding 364 days. 

He makes the point that Few People or Trading Desks have the mental stamina to last those 364 days for that extreme one day pay out.

I think we have reached this point now where we are picking up nickels and dimes in front of an oncoming Train.

Paul Tudor-Jones

"I love trading macro. If trading is like chess, then macro is like 3D chess. You never have a complete information set or information edge the way analysts can have when trading individual securities." Paul Tudor Jones @NeckarValue
"When it comes to macro, you cannot rely solely on fundamentals; you have to be a tape reader, something of a lost art form''
''While I spend a significant amount of my time on analytics and fundamental information, at the end of the day, I am a slave to the tape and proud of it."
While I'm a staunch advocate of higher education, there is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign.
"This is the BIGGEST bubble I have seen in my career."— Stanley Druckenmiller @TihoBrkan

"As a macro investor, my job for 30 years was to anticipate changes in the economic trends that were not expected by others - and therefore not yet reflected in securities prices". Stanley Druckenmiller http://bit.ly/2M1fCRp
I think we are the Cusp of the Moment
The Music has been playing for Eternity and its about to stop
tabla wizard, Aref Durvesh @thenitinsawhney

Mr. @coloradotravis sees a 2008 timeline
The wave appears to be aligning itself with seasonality, which means we are coming closer and closer to the in-year 2008 timeline (though still slightly ahead). @coloradotravis 

As I said on the 19-JUL-2021 :: However, there are many discordant notes.
The global recovery among 'advanced' countries seems to be in perilous shape. @Mayhem4Markets 

Brent's down 7 days straight, its worst streak since early2018. @PaulWallace123 

As I said on the 19-JUL-2021 :: However, there are many discordant notes.
Asian stocks are tanking @CryptoWhale

On 09-MAY-2021 :: The Lotos-eaters However, I am resetting my target Yield to 1.25% now.
I believe we are now headed to < than 0.5% $TNX H/T @EventHorizon618

Bonds, beautiful as ever. Gettin' ready to drop it like it's dubstep. @coloradotravis 

19-JUL-2021 :: limit long the US Ultra Bond because I recall Japan and the words of that iconic Eagles song ''Hotel California''
Mirrors On The Ceiling The Pink champagne on ice
And we become Japan: a nation pushing on strings, to no avail. @coloradotravis 

And the more of it we do, the less potent our monetary creating abilities. Velocity falls.
This is why bonds are an amazing trade here. @coloradotravis 

It's because of the dual nature of 1) pinning the front end, and 2) the cash deluge creating *downward* pressure on front end rates were the pin to be released. @coloradotravis 

Either they continue the pinning, or they don't. If they pull the pin (highly unlikely), the curve collapses.
And if they don't pull the pin, the resulting stability of the carry trade along the curve incrementally flattens the curve as idle cash seeks the freely available carry from buying and holding longer durations to (well... more like toward) maturity. @coloradotravis 

Therefore, I am clearing the decks and just holding
$TNX 20%
Ultras (#UB_F) 50% 

$NFLX 10%
Short ZAR 10% 

Cash 10%

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1742
Dollar Index 93.00
Japan Yen 109.69
Swiss Franc 0.9140
Pound 1.3718
Aussie 0.7242
India Rupee 74.2875
South Korea Won 1167.48
Brazil Real 5.2471
Egypt Pound 15.6998
South Africa Rand 15.001

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Covid-19 Positivity Rate Almost Doubles in Nigeria’s Epicenter @bpolitics

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has risen sharply in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub which is also Africa’s biggest city.
The test positivity rate has jumped to 12.1% as of Aug. 21 from 7% at the end of July, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of the state said in an emailed statement. 

The state has also recorded a total of 135 deaths since the third wave of infections started at the end of June when the test positivity rate was 1.1%, Sanwo-Olu said.
“We are now clearly in the middle of third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and Lagos has remained the epicenter of the disease in Nigeria,” he said. 

A total of 4,387 persons are currently being treated for the illness in the state. 

The number of oxygen cylinders used has also shot up to 400 daily when compared to just 75 cylinders before the current wave.
The state plans to start a new vaccination round from Aug. 25 with 300,000 doses of Moderna vaccines it received from the federal government. 

''After several weeks of steep increases, we are now starting to see a levelling off of the third wave on the continent." - Dr @MoetiTshidi @WHOAFRO

"There have now been more than 7.3 million #COVID19 cases on the African continent and 184,000 people have sadly lost their lives. ''

19-JUL-2021 :: So, my Point is this, our Attention span is short and Many Folks seem to feel we are in the final Act of the COVID-19 Play. I would be limit short that particular narrative.

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Study based on random morgue data from Lusaka shows mortality burden is much higher than expected confirming the theory that LMIC were "spared" is largely incorrect @CovidSerology

New study based on random morgue data from Lusaka shows mortality burden is much higher than expected values based on age-adjusted data and also above values recorded in HICs further confirming the theory that LMIC were "spared" is largely incorrect 

Drinking the Kool-Aid 

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"It's overstating to say that the continent has largely been taken over by China, though my assessment is that Beijing is the most influential foreign actor on the continent," says Joshua Meservey @VOAAfrica @voaasia

In a study published in December 2020, Meservey presented a list of 186 government buildings that Chinese companies have built in Africa in recent years, many of which house parliamentary offices, presidential palaces, ministries of foreign affairs and military facilities. 

Beijing has also built more than a dozen intra-governmental telecommunication networks on the continent, Meservey noted.
While Washington has persuaded some allies to keep Chinese telecom giant Huawei out of their 5G networks, the company is working on 25 projects in Africa, having already carved out 70% of the continent's 4G network and primed itself for the next step.
In June, the president of Senegal instructed his government to "rapidly repatriate all national data hosted out of the country" to a state data center built by Huawei.
"If you look at the Belt and Road, 50 African countries have signed up. That makes Africa the biggest bloc within China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)," said Paul Nantulya, a research associate at the U.S. National Defense University's Africa Studies Center, in a phone interview with VOA.  

"The question then becomes, how does United States compete with China [on the African continent]?"  

According to studies done by the China Africa Research Initiative based at Johns Hopkins University, Chinese foreign direct investment to Africa has been increasing steadily since 2003 and surpassed that of the U.S. in 2014. U.S. FDI to Africa has been declining since 2010, according to data collected by the group.
"The genius, if you will, of the Chinese economic system is that they are working to align the company interest and the state interest together," said Robert D. Atkinson, an economist who has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations.

 "What the Chinese have that we don't is they have a strongly held view that certain industries are more important than others." 

Given that the Chinese government pours "massive subsidies" into these strategic sectors to fund its global expansion, Atkinson believes Washington could fight back by increasing foreign aid and backing private companies' strategic ventures abroad.
"Does that mean we do everything China does? Of course not," he said. The U.S. government should avoid "over-involvement," he added, but "continuing what we have been doing is clearly not enough."  
Atkinson, who heads the Washington-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, believes there is a middle ground.
"The whole notion that we shouldn't have our own national industrial policy – that's an idea that only works if you're not facing a competitor like China; the reality is, we are facing a competitor like China," he said. 

"We can either get China to change – that's not going to happen, we tried and failed – or we can adapt our own policies."  
Scott Morris, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, told VOA the aggregate U.S. foreign aid budget directed toward Africa "is around 25 to 30 billion dollars a year," a figure he said "certainly rivals Chinese lending."
But, he said, most of the U.S. aid goes to global health programs, disease eradication and humanitarian assistance. 

He also acknowledged that a significant portion of the U.S. foreign aid budget goes toward multilateral institutional lending and developmental agencies, such as the World Bank.
"Where we clearly see a difference is that China is very concentrated in the very area the U.S. is largely absent, and that is [country-to-country] infrastructure financing," Morris said. 

"Allowing China to finance and/or control much of the enabling infrastructure in key sectors could harm U.S. prospects in Africa going forward."
Nantulya thinks that America could benefit from a reevaluation of what the continent means for the United States.  
"Do we view Africa as a partner? Do we view Africa as a place that generates security threats that must be met with military force? Or do we view Africa as a place that, yes, has its security problems, but where strategic opportunities outweigh security risks?"
While questions linger on the American side, he said, Beijing made up its mind what Africa means for its strategic aims long ago.
Nantulya said China's official foreign policy doctrine casts big powers as the key, neighboring countries as the priority, developing countries as "the foundation" and "multilateral platforms as the stage."  
Cast in this light, Africa is a continent where China sees "tremendous opportunities in spite of risks" and has no doubt seized upon those opportunities in political, economic and military areas alike, Nantulya told VOA.
Ultimately, the challenge that China represents is "first and foremost ideological," he said, and that this is where the United States has an opening to compete with Beijing on a continent where China is now widely regarded the most influential foreign power.
"Values matter; Africans are fighting for and championing the values that have also guided the American experiment and the American story," said Nantulya, a native of Tanzania who studied in Kenya and South Africa and worked across the continent before moving to the United States.
He hopes that Americans can understand that the two sides have a shared future and look at the relationship as an opportunity, rather than one where the United States is constantly coming in to put out fires.

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Here is the US$ value (as of Aug 23) of #SDR select African economies received as part of the new allocation. #IMFAfrica @IMFAfrica

Angola  – $1.0B
Côte d’Ivoire – $884M
Ghana – $1.0B
Kenya – $738M
Nigeria – $3.3B
Senegal – $440M
South Africa – $4.1B

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Finally I want to show you why Frontier markets are all about Politics

Zambia The benchmark 2024 securities rebounded from around 42 cents, climbing to more than 75 cents this week after Hakainde Hichilema’s victory in the presidential election on Aug. 12.

Compared to Ethiopia

Now that would have been a great Pairs Trade.

November 8, 2020 Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance

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“Our focus over the next five years will be on restoring macroeconomic stability,” Hichilema said in his inauguration address in Lusaka @bpolitics

“We will grow our economy so we can lift more people out of poverty than ever before.”
The businessman and cattle rancher who turned to politics in 2006 takes over an economy buckling under record levels of external debt that led to Zambia becoming Africa’s first pandemic-era sovereign defaulter in November. 

Gross domestic product shrank 3% last year, the inflation rate is almost 25% and youth unemployment is rampant in a nation where the median age is less than 18 years.
One of the new administration’s top priorities will be to win the International Monetary Fund’s endorsement for an economic recovery program and associated $1.3 billion loan, a package that will underpin restructuring negotiations with holders of Zambia’s nearly $13 billion in foreign loans.

Hichilema also needs to mend ties with copper producers that generate more than 70% of export earnings in order to unlock at least $2 billion in stalled projects. 

Lungu’s administration had hostile relations with the industry that curtailed output and investment even as prices for the metal surged to record highs in recent months.
Hichilema, 59, won Aug. 12 elections with 59% of valid votes cast, and about a million more than his predecessor Edgar Lungu -- an outcome that was widely seen as a backlash against surging inflation and falling living standards in the southern African nation. 

The election had the highest percentage voter turnout since 2006, and the victory margin was the biggest since 1996.
Hichilema was sworn in alongside Vice President Mutale Nalumango, a teacher who served as deputy speaker of the National Assembly from 2006 to 2011. 

People slept outside the 60,000-seater stadium where the inauguration was held and filled it hours before the event began. Heads of state from 10 countries attended the ceremony.

14-OCT-2019 ::The Canary in the Coal Mine is Zambia

10-JUN-2019 :: Hugh Masakela said "I want to be there when the People start to turn it around"

Turning to Africa

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''
any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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Kais Saïed announces on Facebook, at midnight, the extension of the "exceptional measures" until further notice. One month, no government, no plan, no deadline, no parliament, no visibility, no address to the people, no dialogue. @AhlemHC

Kais Saïed announces on Facebook, at midnight, the extension of the "exceptional measures" until further notice. One month, no government, no plan, no deadline, no parliament, no visibility, no address to the people, no dialogue. Expected but not reassuring #Tunisia

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Hard to imagine a return to "normal". He's completely shunned all national players. A couple of videos posted, a few foreign delegations met, cryptic monologues about conspiracies against him @AhlemHC

Hard to imagine a return to "normal". He's completely shunned all national players. A couple of videos posted, a few foreign delegations met,  cryptic monologues about conspiracies against him and fighting corruption, a lot of religious references, deliberate dismissal of talks

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The President is still very popular and supported by a large majority of survey respondents. Exaltation seems to be the right word to describe the mood of his supporters. @AhlemHC

The President is still very popular and supported by a large majority of survey respondents. Exaltation seems to be the right word to describe the mood of his supporters. And they show their support fiercely on social media.

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20 JAN 20 :: The Intrusion of Middle Powers

Since 2010 and over the last ten years, Middle powers like Turkey, the UAE [whom Mattis characterised as ‘’Little Sparta’’], Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey [Israel and Russia too but they cannot be characterised as Middle Powers] have all extended their reach into the Maghreb and the Horn of Africa. 

And [how the] U.A.E. approached Sisi and outlined the terms of their financial support before Morsi’s overthrow. “I think there’s every reason to believe he staged a coup,” I was told by one former diplomat. “For a tiny country in the Persian Gulf to overthrow the ruler of Egypt and put their guy in, that’s a big achievement.”

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And now we have two visions of the Future

And now we have two visions of the Future. One Vision played out on our screens, the Protestors could have been our Wives, our Children, our Daughters and Sons.
The Other Vision is that of MBS, MBZ and Al-Sisi and its red in tooth and claw. 

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Ethiopia: 48hrs after PM @AbiyAhmedAli visited President Erdogan, Turkey has delivered a consignment of Bayraktar TB2 combat drones.

Turkish combat drones changed the tide of war in favour of Azerbaijan during 2020 war wt Armenia. #ENDF to use UACVs against #TPLF-#TDF #OLA!


'War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men,” Abiy said in his Nobel prize lecture. @FT @davidpilling 

“This is a declaration to turn civilians into combatants that will further plunge the country into a genocidal war & create bad blood between peoples for generations to come & an economic free-fall,” said ⁦@DrMehari @nytimes @Lattif

Heavy fighting, including artillery fire, has been reported in the Amhara, Oromia and Afar regions, according to an internal United Nations security document seen by The New York Times. 

9-JUL-2021 :: His Army has been defeated and now he is sending conscripts to slaughter whilst his Adversaries are fighting for their existence.

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What is clear is that Abiy’s campaign to centralize power in the capital is in tatters.

With many regions seeking more devolution, the conflict threatens the integrity of the state, according to a key Western diplomat, who asked not to be identified citing the sensitivity of the matter.

Abiy’s authority is at serious risk unless he can find a way to force the Tigrayans back. The Nobel peace prize winner has awakened more enemies than just the TPLF.
“We have one thing in common and that is we are fighting the same enemy,” said Kumsa Diriba, the commander-in-chief of the Oromo Liberation Army.

‘The genie out of the bottle’ @AfricanBizMag

Seen from #Asmara, the war in #Ethiopia is a “live or die” moment for #IsaiasAfwerki: if #TDF-#OLA alliance is successful to bring about a political transition, z #Eritrea/n regime will be vulnerable. @KjetilTronvoll

Seen from #Asmara, the war in #Ethiopia is a “live or die” moment for #IsaiasAfwerki: if #TDF-#OLA alliance is successful to bring about a political transition, z #Eritrea/n regime will be vulnerable. Hence, Isaias needs to sacrifice more people to ensure z survival of Abiy. 4

The national mobilization and war recruitment have the echoes of the final days of the Derg regime. @AwashPost H/T @rhaplord 

TPLF spokesperson @reda_getachew told me Tigrayan forces are prepared to take the fight to Addis Ababa in order to end the blockade on Tigray. @cathkemi

We interviewed TPLF spokesperson @reda_getachew on the expansion of the conflict in northern Ethiopia. He told me Tigrayan forces are prepared to take the fight to Addis Ababa in order to end the blockade on Tigray. The Govt denies enforcing a siege. 


Addis could be Kabul 2.0

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The weekly new caseload dipped for the first time in seven weeks while the daily positivity rate has also plateaued in the past week @DrAhmedKalebi

The weekly new caseload dipped for the first time in seven weeks as the rolling 7-day average also showed a downward trend while the daily positivity rate has also plateaued in the past week - all being much welcome respite in the 4th wave that now appears to be slowing down 

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.@NationMediaGrp reports H1 2021 EPS 1.4 versus [1.9] Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

Par Value:                  2.50/-
Closing Price:           25.00
Total Shares Issued:          188542286.00
Market Capitalization:        4,713,557,150
EPS:             0.2
PE:                 125.000

Nation Media Group PLC reports six months results through 30th June 2021 versus 30t June 2020

HY Turnover 3.720b versus 3.2639b +13.974% 

HY Gross Profit 3.1995b versus 2.6227b +21.99%

HY Profit [Loss] before income Tax 410.7m versus [328.0m]

HY Profit [Loss] after income Tax 285.2m versus [375.3m]

HY EPS 1.4 versus [1.9]

HY Cash generated from Operations 910m versus 337.9m +169.31% 

Total Cash and Cash Equivalents 3.5857b versus 2.7807b


The recovery in business performance that started in the second half of 2020 has continued to hold up to June 2021, mainly attributable to growth in print and television advertising revenue, digital advertising revenue, E-paper and Nation.Africa subscriptions

In addition, cost containment and business optimisation interventions rolled out at the onset of the pandemic have resulted in sustained operational efficiency and continue to positively impact profitability.

During the Annual General Meeting held on 25th June 2021, Shareholders approved a Share Buyback of up to 10% of the company’s paid-up and issued ordinary shares (20.74 million shares) at a premium price of Kshs 25 per share, giving participating shareholders an opportunity to cash in on their investment. 
As of 23rd August 2021, the buyback uptake was at 80.9% (16.77 million shares). The buyback offer closes on 24th September 2021 or when 100% uptake is achieved, whichever is earlier.

The Group has made important strides in setting the foundation for its digital transformation to ensure long-term sustainability of its business by building an award-winning digital brand, Nation.Africa, which has recorded remarkable growth in audiences driven by unique content.  

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@NationMediaGrp H1 2021 results vs H1 2020: @MwangoCapital
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

- Total assets Kshs 12.26B
- Turnover up 14.0%
- Gross profit up 22.0% to Kshs 3.2B
- PBT Kshsh 410.7m
- PAT Kshs 285.2m [2020 loss: Kshs 375.3m]
- EPS Kshs 1.40 [2020: -1.90]
- No interim dividend


Is the long awaited inflexion Point?

Headline Turnover increase of +13.974% is decent.

Would be good to see a breakdown by Segment.

I am not sure how the BuyBack has been treated on the balance sheet 

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

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