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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Friday 27th of August 2021
 
Morning
Africa

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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
https://twitter.com/thenitinsawhney/status/1392335511889580033?s=20

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2 NOV 15 :: The Seychelles
Africa

2 NOV 15 :: The Seychelles  I am writing this article from Mahe, which is the one of 115 islands that make up the Seychelles archipelago, which lies 1,500 Kilometres off East Africa. Seychelles has a population of 90,024 and that is the smallest population of any independent African state. The minister for Finance, Trade and The Blue Economy Jean-Paul Adam informed me that the Seychelles receives tourists three times its population every year. If Kenya was to receive the same ratio of tourists, we would be welcoming 120 million tourists a year.

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“No one at all sees Death'' Gilgamesh
Misc.


“No one at all sees Death'' Gilgamesh

“No one at all sees Death
no one at all sees the face [of Death,]
no one at all [hears] the voice of Death,
Death so savage, who hacks men down. . 


Ever the river has risen and brought us the flood,
the mayfly floating on the water.
On the face of the sun its countenance gazes,
then all of a sudden nothing is there!”



(Gilgamesh to Enkidu, Tablet III of the Old-Babylonian version) @MrsCourtyard

https://twitter.com/MrsCourtyard/status/1259728208628416512?s=20

"Who is there, my friend, can climb to the sky?
Only the gods dwell forever in sunlight.
As for man, his days are numbered,
whatever he may do, it is but wind."



 

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But all doors used regularly are doors to the afterlife .@MargaretAtwood
Misc.



23-AUG-2021 ::  ZigZag The Optics spoke its own narrative


As the World watched events unfold in Afghanistan, it certainly felt like the curtain was falling on the once ‘’unipolar’’ Power. 

Of course, Afghanistan remains a ‘’Ball of fire’’ and chucking the Ball to others to catch is not a Bad Call all things considered.

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Now preventing Americans & Aghans alike from reaching airport looks to me planning large scale incarceration, setting up Iran hostages type of scenario, leading to weeks, months, maybe years of negotiation @Halsrethink
Law & Politics


Now preventing Americans & Aghans alike from reaching airport looks to me planning large scale incarceration, setting up Iran hostages type of scenario, leading to weeks, months, maybe years of negotiation, primary purpose humiliation of US political & military leadership.

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Iran Redux @Halsrethink
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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Latest @WHO #COVID19 Epi Update Key take aways: 4.5 million new cases & >68,000 deaths reported last week. @mvankerkhove
Misc.



Daily Infections have risen for 9 consecutive weeks. 

19-JUL-2021 :: COVID-19
https://j.mp/3Bk45Gj

The Virus remains unresolved.

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23-AUG-2021 :: #COVID19 cases exponentially growing 0.32% per day @jmlukens
Misc.




Lets turn briefly to COVID-19 because I sense an Inflexion Point




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
https://j.mp/3B0k6zU
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 

https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1428503430256021505?s=20
We have now crossed peak Vaccine Euphoria


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Worldwide reported deaths are back to 10k / day, with ~45% of them from Asia. @Marco_Piani
Misc.



The large majority of European deaths are from Russia.
Africa is reporting some of its largest numbers ever.


23-AUG-2021 ::  I think the Spread improvement [Cases versus Deaths] has run its course.

https://j.mp/384Arar



the most tumultuous period in SARS-CoV-2’s evolution may still be ahead of us, says @ArisKatzourakis @ScienceMagazine @kakape
https://j.mp/3B0k6zU

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SECOND DELTA SURGE—Scotland's new record #COVID19 cases is partly being fuelled by the return of schools after the summer holidays. it is now st all-time record high @DrEricDing
Misc.



"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." - Professor Allen Bartlett




''viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential characteristics''





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


―In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences.
A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.
But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they have taken no precautions


23-AUG-2021 ::  We have now crossed peak Vaccine Euphoria
https://j.mp/384Arar

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New analysis suggests Delta will become completely resistant to vaccines with 4 additional common mutations. @yaneerbaryam
Misc.



when four common mutations were introduced into the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the Delta variant (Delta 4+), some BNT162b2-immune sera lost neutralizing activity and enhanced the infectivity


Given the fact that a Delta variant with three similar RBD mutations has already emerged according to the GISAID database, it is necessary to develop vaccines that protect against such complete breakthrough variants.

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The continued message that breakthroughs are rare ultimately shoots us in the foot. They aren’t rare & public is seeing this @michaelmina_lab
Misc.


We need to be VERY clear about expectations of vaccines (protect from bad disease) and stop saying they stop infxn/spread
False expectations erode trust

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Great paper in Cell on starting to see evidence of SARS-CoV-2 recombination by @robertson_lab @Tuliodna
Misc.


And the virus has tricks up its sleeve. Coronaviruses are good at recombining, for instance, which could allow new variants to emerge suddenly by combining the genomes—and the properties—of two different variants.@ScienceMagazine @kakape 
https://j.mp/3B0k6zU

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Jinping I think the immediate near term risk (residual for now I admit) is COVID-19 spirals exponentially out of control (the vaccines are a dud) and the entire narrative of central control unravels
Misc.



28-MAR-2021  we are seeing a sustained acceleration in mutant viruses.





The viral loads in the Delta infections were ~1000 times higher than those in the earlier 19A/19B strain infections on the day when viruses were firstly detected 





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The 1918–19 influenza pandemic also appears to have caused more serious illness as time went on, says Lone Simonsen, Roskilde University “Our data from Denmark suggests it was six times deadlier in the second wave.”
Misc.



Each successive variant has proven to be slightly more vaccine-evading than the last. 
@yaneerbaryam




“The variants are like a thoroughbred and our vaccines are like a workhorse,” noted evolutionary biologist Sally Otto.




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A Plague on Both Our Houses @tabletmag
Misc.


Growing indications that viral enhancement research gone awry is still in play as a possible cause of the pandemic

The idea of a lab leak wasn’t wild speculation, it was proposed in February 2020 by two Chinese researchers when they saw that one of the Chinese virus labs was eight miles from the wet market, and another, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a mere 300 yards away. 

Mysteriously, their article “disappeared” from the internet (though it was retrieved using the Wayback Machine.) 

The other leading hypothesis was that the virus (the nearest relatives of which were known to be in bat caves about 1,000 miles away from Wuhan) jumped from an animal to human

To these two possibilities, the WHO added two more favored by the Chinese government: That it was introduced into China by people from outside the country, or that it arrived in frozen food from elsewhere, but provided little evidence for these.

Thus, the investigation went well for the Chinese government, and they made sure it did: It was delayed for a year, during which time viral evidence and witnesses disappeared. 

It only lasted two weeks (the committee was in quarantine two weeks), only several hours were spent in the lab in question, asking questions, not looking at samples or doing forensics, and the itinerary was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,  as, for that matter, was the committee composition, which included 17 Chinese members. 

“International members” included the very high profile researcher Peter Daszak, who himself closely collaborated with, and passed funding to, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), and who was thus basically investigating and absolving himself. He praised those there for allowing a “Frank, open discussion.”

All this raises two questions: Why would a government eliminate evidence and witnesses, stall for a year, curate every detail, and stack the WHO investigating delegation, if a fair investigation would have shown the virus had an innocent, “natural” origin, had been introduced into China by a foreigner, or had arrived in a package of frozen food from another country? And why would the WHO go along?

“Gain-of-function” is the perfect term if you need a grant from a scientifically illiterate public composed of nervous types who, for some reason, don’t like or trust the idea of experts making invincible killer germs. 

“Viral-deadliness enhancement” would be a turnoff, but gain-of-function sounds like the title of a promising self-help fad. 

To call it a “euphemism” is a euphemism, because it is really doublespeak, like those military obfuscations such as “pacification,” which mean almost the opposite of what they appear to.
Know thine enemy is the premise underlying GoF research. Thus, in the case of viruses, it involves taking a relatively but not totally deadly one, and augmenting its lethality and its contagiousness, not just between humans, but also increasing the number of animals that might carry it and then pass it on to humans. 

The point is to increase its deadliness by a quantum leap, so that it could cause a pandemic. 

Then one studies the deadly monster in a flask, to discover its molecular Achilles heel, and get a head start, in the lab, on developing therapeutics or vaccines should a microbe “out there” mutate to become like the monstrous microbe one has created.

GoF goes on in many “advanced” countries. Science, after all, is often a collaborative effort. 

Thus, Newsweek reported, “The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the organization led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses.” 

The United States was not the only other donor that funded or collaborated with the civilian research going on at the lab.
Once the pandemic broke out in the very same city as that lab, the obvious question was whether or not that lab, which specialized in coronaviruses, somehow leaked, or through GoF, created the SARS-Cov-2 virus that was causing the catastrophe? 

That lab had already been cited by the U.S. State Department for its inadequate biosafety.

Once it became known that the United States, through Daszak’s New York-based organization, EcoHealth Alliance, which he heads, was funding WIV research, the Trump administration cut the funding. 

60 Minutes ran a segment called “Pandemic Politics,” critical of the administration for cutting off his funding. 

It interviewed Daszak, emphasized that he was a heroic virus hunter, and made no mention that he was involved in supporting GoF research. 

He is also a co-author of a paper on it with Shi Zhengli, chief virologist of the WIV. 

A paper by Shi Zhengli and GoF researcher Dr. Ralph Baric described how they were the first to create a GoF “chimera”—i.e., an engineered bat SARS virus that could infect a human; something many scientists criticized as very dangerous

Daszak has described doing GoF research with Baric, and how it can be done “pretty easily.” That means that these scientists have also made biowarfare easier. 

There indeed seems to be an intimate link between the WIV and the People’s Liberation Army as well, and according to The Wall Street Journal, when talk of leakage occurred, China’s chief bioweapons specialist, Major General Chen Wei, was dispatched there to investigate. 

For obvious reasons, there is a major crossover between GoF and bioweapons research throughout the world, and some of the “experts” who comment on it are actually “bioweapons” experts. 

The first GoF research appears to have been done for various militaries (more below). 

Daszak, for instance, is funded not only by the NIH, but the U.S. Department of Defense as well.

However, it is the case that GoF research is also the meat and potatoes of germ warfare, the manufacture of biological weapons and—perhaps—measures to counter them. 

On Jan. 15, the U.S. State Department stated:
“The United States has determined that the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military. 

The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.”

Militaries could be interested in this research for offensive or defensive purposes, or for both. 

The United States funds “anti-terror” research through a health budget. 

As New York magazine reports, after Sept. 11, “Fauci’s anti-terror budget went from $53 million in 2001 to $1.7 billion in 2003.”

In 2017, the moratorium on GoF research was reviewed in secret, and then quietly lifted by the NIH, in part because Drs. Fauci and Frances Collins, head of the NIH, did not want the funding to end, and thought it a risk worth taking. 

As reported in New York magazine, Dr. Fauci told a reporter, “Nature is the worst bioterrorist.”

It should be no surprise that the first reports that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were minimized by many in the American research establishment (which, in part, funded such research in China), and of course by the Chinese government. 

It became easy to lead the public to believe that concerns that the virus might have come from the lab was just a “conspiracy theory” encouraged by President Trump. 

But with Trump out of office, some scientists are suddenly stating publicly that the idea is a serious possibility.

However, there are suggestions to the contrary. For instance, one of the WIV students, Huang Yanling, mysteriously disappeared, and some think she is patient zero. 

When this was pointed out, officials denied she was a student there, but then she was found to be listed on an old WIV website. 

The State Department now claims it has reason to believe that researchers at the WIV lab did develop symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 as early as autumn 2019. 

The State Department states, “This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was ‘zero infection’ among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses.”

There are two ways to enhance pathogen contagiousness, and one is easier to trace because it involves a genetic “cut and paste.” 

Newsweek reported this was going on at the WIV in 2015: “They took a piece of the original SARS virus and inserted a snippet from a SARS-like bat coronavirus, resulting in a virus that is capable of infecting human cells.” 

Splicing is often said to be easy for an expert to detect. 

Yet, some serious scientists argue there is an identifiable spike protein “insert” in the virus, while others deny it. 

The mainstream media has generally spoken about splicing as the only way to initiate GoF and often cited scientists who claim that because the current SARS-Cov-2 virus shows no signs of splicing it could not have been “man-made.”

But that is incorrect, because there is another way to facilitate GoF, and in this case experts can’t detect human intervention by examining the new virus. The technique is called “passaging.” 

A typical example would involve taking the bat virus, and implanting it in a ferret, and “hoping” it mutates within that animal, and if it doesn’t, then artificially passing (“passaging”) it on, i.e., implanting it, in yet another ferret, and then another, until a mutation occurs that will make it so contagious that it can jump from one ferret to another on its own, and then, “ideally” to a human being. 

“Passaging,” is a well-known technique.

No less an authority than The Lancet, one of the world’s premier science journals, published a statement (often quoted) in which 27 scientists, who mentioned nothing about passaging, declared with confidence: 

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin ...” 

Emails show the statement was written by the ever-present Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance, and, according to New York magazine’s investigation, Daszak was the lead organizer of the statement. He was also listed as an author. 

The letter also claimed that Chinese counterparts had shown a “rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak.” 

No mention was made of passaging, GoF, or how a virus that generally resides in caves 1,000 miles away got to Wuhan, or that not all the authors were free of vested interests. 

They were just “experts” and those with whom they disagreed they called, “conspiracy theorists.”

Those who lack confidence in both the CCP and the WHO will be pleased to know that the esteemed Lancet also set up its own COVID-19 commission of international scientists to determine the origins of the pandemic which would be “free of political bias.” 

The lead investigator, who promised to leave “no stone unturned”? Peter Daszak.

Those who lack confidence in both the CCP and the WHO will be pleased to know that the esteemed Lancet also set up its own COVID-19 commission of international scientists to determine the origins of the pandemic which would be “free of political bias.” The lead investigator, who promised to leave “no stone unturned”? Peter Daszak.

So where are we? Whether or not Wuhan’s gain-of-function research, a lab leak, or both were involved in creating the SARS-CoV-2 virus is now extremely difficult for outsiders to ascertain. 

The WHO visit that occurred involved two hours of interviews and no specimen analysis, since key WIV samples were gone. 

Virologist and corona vaccine researcher Nikolai Petrovsky, professor of medicine at Flinders University in South Australia, has said that it is “simply not credible” that the WIV would have failed to study the virus until it had used up all its samples. 

He argues it is unusual that a natural virus would emerge, and so suddenly be able to adapt to infecting humans. 

The scene, which may have been a crime scene, was controlled by China and received no forensic analysis. 

Yuri Deigin has made a list of the data that we already know has gone missing from the WIV. 

One would have to be hopelessly naïve to believe that the nontransparency we have witnessed was not systematically coordinated, and not, in that sense, about as close to conspiracy as one meets in the definition: “An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful or subversive act.”

Those who lack confidence in both the CCP and the WHO will be pleased to know that the esteemed Lancet also set up its own COVID-19 commission of international scientists to determine the origins of the pandemic which would be “free of political bias.” 

The lead investigator, who promised to leave “no stone unturned”? Peter Daszak.
And it has so far been successful, because we still do not know the origins of the virus, or if it was natural or human-made. 

That scientists, in the name of science, are calling the behavior of China “open, and transparent,” shows they care not a wit for the truth or the long-term reputation of science.
But China is not the only entity with a motive to blur the record on what went on in Wuhan. 

Western virologists and government bodies involved in GoF research, including the NIH—especially those with direct connections to the work going on at the Wuhan lab—may think they have a clear interest in shutting down the investigation, declaring the virus’s origin is natural, and dismissing alternative hypotheses as “conspiracies.” 

This is extremely dangerous because understanding the true origin of the virus provides an avenue into better understanding therapeutics, and preventive medicine going forward.
Whatever we may discover about the true origins, the investigation has revealed a habit in modern scientific research of risking a biological catastrophe, that ought to be a matter of public concern. 

For GoF to be safe, all the following assumptions must be true: 

Scientists will be always able to find therapeutics which justify the risk of creating these constantly mutating flask monsters; 

that there will never be lab accidents that lead to leakages; 

the scientists themselves will never go mad, and unleash the organisms, or become mercenary, and sell their knowledge to the highest bidder; 

the scientists’ political masters will never use this knowledge to cause mass death of enemies, having found a therapeutic or vaccine, to protect themselves; 

that a biological arms race will not be unleashed, causing the previous risks to multiply, and that once initiated, this kind of research could be regulated. 

In other words, the time to regulate this practice was at its inception: Just don’t do it. Closing the lid of Pandora’s box after the demons have escaped is a pointless exercise in managerial vanity.
Yet we continue with GoF, because the mad science fantasy that we can play with nature with impunity, which has become a major strain of modern science, as I’ve recently described, can never resist going too far, so, if not this time, maybe next time: A plague on both our houses.

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Peter Daszak, right, Thea Fischer, left, and other members of the World Health Organization team investigating the origins of COVID-19 arrive at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Feb. 3, 2021HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
Misc.


01-MAR-2020 :: The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19
https://bit.ly/39khd1W

“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.”




The absolutely abject and pathetic response to COVID-19 foretold what is happening now. 



It is clear that COVID-19 was a Virus manufactured in Wuhan and once released by ‘’accident’’ or design was deliberately propagated world- wide.
The Fact that it is still being debated informs us that the Game is Up


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"During 2020, the media mostly did not report on the gain of function research experiments being conducted since 2015 at the WIV." @TheSeeker268
Misc.



08-MAR-2021 :: Xi has taken calculated risks. The muscular and multi-faceted nature of Chinese Power is seen in its handling of COVID19

https://bit.ly/38kpMcc

.@FHeisbourg François Heisbourg: «Le coronavirus, c’est un Tchernobyl chinois à la puissance dix»
https://bit.ly/3kLgQl8
First, they staged their "exemplary handling" of the pandemic in a very loud manner, in order to avoid interest in the regime.
And then they severely punished countries that demanded an impartial international investigation, made up of the best experts. 
Australia, which had insisted on the need for transparency, was imposed economic sanctions and a block on its imports.
The debate on the origin of the virus remains totally open, fundamental and potentially explosive.
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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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1768
Dollar Index 92.946
Japan Yen 110.02
Swiss Franc 0.9162
Pound 1.3709
Aussie 0.7256
India Rupee 74.1117
South Korea Won 1169.10
Brazil Real 5.2534
Egypt Pound 15.699
South Africa Rand 14.875

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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 26 days @ReutersGraphics
Africa




.@WHO regional overviews – Epidemiological week 16 – 22 Aug 2021 African Region



The Region reported a similar weekly case incidence as compared to last week , with over 158 500 new cases reported this week. 

Overall, since the 5 July, the Region continues to show a declining trend in weekly new cases. 

This week, around half (53%) of the weekly new cases were reported from South Africa . 

Weekly new deaths have been declining for past four consecutive weeks, and a sharp decrease (by 11%) was reported this week as compared to last week, with just over 3900 new deaths reported . 

A total of 17 of 49 countries/territories/areas reported an increase in weekly case incidence, with highest increase reported in Benin and Sao Tome and Principe.
This week, the highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

South Africa (84 778 new cases; 142.9 new cases per 100 000 population; an 18% increase)

Botswana (9703 new cases; 412.6 new cases per 100 000; a 32% decrease)

Kenya (8425 new cases; 15.7 new cases per 100 000; a 5% decrease) 

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (2382 new deaths; 4.0 new deaths per 100 000 population; a 6% increase)

Algeria (218 new deaths; <1 new deaths per 100 000; a 22% decrease)

Kenya (148 new deaths; <1 new deaths per 100 000; a 27% decrease)

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Third Wave of Africa Covid-19 Cases Has Stabilized, @WHO Says @business
Africa





The World Health Organization said the third wave of Covid-19 infections in Africa appears to have stabilized, though cases remain high with almost 248,000 reported in the past week.

“There have now been almost 7.6 million Covid-19 cases and 191,000 Africans have sadly died,” Matshidiso Moeti, the organization’s regional director for the continent
Some 24 countries are experiencing a resurgence and deaths are rising in eight of them, including in Botswana and Ethiopia, she said. 



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.



''The third wave appears to have stabilized but cases are still very high, with almost 248,000 reported in the past week." - Dr @MoetiTshidi @WHOAFRO


"24 countries are in resurgence & deaths are rising in eight countries, including in #Botswana & #Ethiopia" - Dr @MoetiTshidi @WHOAFRO


"24 countries are in resurgence & deaths are rising in eight countries, including in #Botswana & #Ethiopia. This is a preventable tragedy, if African countries can get fair access to the vaccines." - Dr @MoetiTshidi




Drinking the Kool-Aid 
https://bit.ly/3hCJjXG

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I carry with me great memories of the time I spent at State House; memories that we share with many who came as our guests. @EdgarCLungu
Law & Politics




10-JUN-2019 :: Hugh Masakela said "I want to be there when the People start to turn it around"
https://bit.ly/2Yf5JGV


Turning to Africa
https://bit.ly/35ekJJr

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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“Zimbabwe under complete Chinese control,” reports the @EconomicTimes @daddyhope
Law & Politics



China Africa Win Win


Fake claims. China is never interested in controlling any country. Liars smear China  Zimbabwe win-win partnership to make Zim unable to break through sanctions. @ChineseZimbabwe


Fake claims. A poor patchwork by losers & their masters. China is never interested in controlling any country. Liars smear China  Zimbabwe win-win partnership to make Zim unable to break through sanctions. Selling national & people's interests for personal gains is pathetic

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“It wasn't so easy though, ending the war. A war is a huge fire; the ashes from it drift far, and settle slowly.” @MargaretAtwood's The Blind Assassin
Africa




The falcon cannot hear the falconer;


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.




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"Inflammatory rhetoric and ethnic profiling are tearing apart the social fabric of the country," @antonioguterres told the 15-member Security Council.
Africa



U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council on Thursday that a conflict in Ethiopia has spread beyond the northern Tigray region and “a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding before our eyes.”
Ethiopia has been embroiled in a conflict that flared nine months ago in Tigray and which has spread to other areas. 

The government has also struggled to contain other outbreaks of ethnic and political violence over land and resources.



‘The genie out of the bottle’ @AfricanBizMag




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



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






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!

 




“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.

https://j.mp/3Bk45Gj

In the Horn of Africa the Prime Minister of Ethiopia who cloaked his messianic zeal in the language of Mandela 1994 is unlikely to last more than twelve months.

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

The Contagion will surely boomerang as far as Asmara and destabilise the Horn of Africa for the forseeable future.
If I could I would be limit short the Ethiopian Birr [It trades at 60 to the $ on the black market]



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



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.

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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
Africa







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. 





Conclusions

Addis could be Kabul 2.0




"Unless there is a dramatic change soon, Ethiopia could be on a path to state failure," said Mr @Dibjir @BBCWorld



"Five years ago the Ethiopian army was the most powerful in the region. The fact it couldn't secure Tigray shows how the situation has deteriorated."




November 8, 2020 @PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.





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"(Tai) raised ongoing violations of internationally recognised human rights amid the ongoing conflict & humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia which could affect Ethiopia's future (AGOA) eligibility if unaddressed," statement read @Reuters
Africa



Ethiopia's foreign affairs ministry spokesperson, Dina Mufti, told reporters at a news conference in Addis Ababa on Thursday: "The issue of AGOA is being presented to intimidate us."


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Ethiopia's 2020 Export Markets ($ millions) @michaeltanchum
Africa

Sudan $899.7m China $351.3m United States $292.8m

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Ghana’s Record Dollar Auction Fails to Stem Currency’s Slide @markets
Africa



The biggest injection of dollars yet by Ghana’s central bank failed to stem the cedi’s slide on Wednesday amid a surge in foreign-currency demand from importers.

The Ghanaian currency dropped 1.6% to 6.03 a dollar by 11:52 a.m. in Accra, poised for the weakest close on record. 

That erased the 1.4% gain on Tuesday after the Bank of Ghana tripled the amount of dollars offered at its forward-rate auction to $75 million, the most since the sales began in 2019.
“Business activity in general is bouncing back, and that’s what is driving the demand” for dollars, Gabriel Engmann, a currency trader at GCB Bank Ltd. in Accra, said by phone. 

“A lot of companies that were down are picking up. We are getting demand from the commerce and manufacturing sector.”

The currency of the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer has weakened every month since May as an economic revival following the pandemic spurred companies to soak up dollars to purchase goods to expand. 

The West African nation’s economy is poised to expand 5% this year and the next, according to government forecasts. That would be the fastest pace since 2019.

The country’s trade surplus narrowed to 1.2% of gross domestic product in the first half from 1.5% a year earlier as imports increased.

Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GGSECI:IND

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African Urbanization Is a Matter of Global Importance @WPReview @hofrench
Africa



The extraordinary demographic change currently sweeping Africa is one of the most important challenges facing humankind over the remainder of this century. 

United Nations projections predict that from its present population of nearly 1.4 billion people, the continent’s population will approach 4.5 billion people by 2100, which is the staggering equivalent in population terms of two Chinas and one India

Other carefully considered efforts to project global population trends, such as a recent study published in the Lancet, predict an even larger African population two generations hence.
Demographic growth on such a scale will affect nearly every human question one can imagine, 

from the future of the environment; to global trade, economics and prosperity; to conflict and large-scale human migration, both orderly and chaotic; to the fate of the postcolonial African nation state; to the future of many rich societies, whose populations are rapidly aging but many of which face rising xenophobic resistance to accepting immigrants to replenish their workforces and slow or reverse population shrinkage.
Obscured by the fantastical numbers contained in continental-scale predictions, though, are many fine details, some of which will play a critical role in shaping Africa’s future, and indeed that of the world. 

None of these are more important than the population transition taking place around urbanization, which is now occurring faster and on a larger scale in Africa than anywhere else in human history. 

According to one median projection for the end of century, Africa will have the three largest cities in the world: Lagos, in Nigeria; Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania; and Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo

By 2100, each will be home to more than 60 million people. Other African cities, like Cairo, Khartoum, Nairobi, Luanda, Kano and Abidjan, will also figure high in any global ranking.
The explosive growth of African cities has the potential to alter the economic course of entire nations and subregions of the continent, as people brought together in new border-straddling urban agglomerations drive accelerating economic activity, increase participation in education at all levels and, potentially, begin having many fewer children on average than their rural counterparts.
Despite the crucial importance of this topic to our global future, African urbanization attracts surprisingly little attention outside of the continent itself. 

Today, in the first installment of what will become a regular Q&A feature of my weekly WPR column, I spoke with George Kankou Denkey, a Washington-based Togolese American who studies urbanization, for a discussion of the future of African cities.
Howard French: Can you begin by speaking to readers who are unfamiliar with Africa and its present problems and potential about why the future of African cities matters so much—both to Africa, obviously, but also, ultimately, to the global community more generally?
George Kankou Denkey: African cities matter for a wide range of reasons. They are growing at a historically unprecedented rate. 

In 1950, there were only 27 million urban residents on the continent. Now, with more than 35 million city-dwellers, modern Kenya alone has more urban residents than were in all of Africa in 1950.
Currently, about 600 million people, or 50 percent of Africa, are urban residents, and that number will triple in the next 30 years, to 1.8 billion out of 2.5 billion Africans by 2050. 

This growth will test the limits of Africa’s ecology, the capacities of its policymakers and its social cohesion, with all kinds of fascinating urban experiments emerging. To be a front-row observer of such change is amazing.
Second, there are big civilizational stakes. This will be a world where Paris, for example, is the fifth-largest French speaking city in the world, trailing behind Kinshasa, Abidjan, Dakar and Lubumbashi

Does that alter how the world sees France and the French language? This may be a world in which Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, is the largest city in the Indian Ocean basin

Traditionally, India has always been the “big honcho” of this region. In a world where Dar es Salaam is larger and perhaps more dynamic than Mumbai, does the Indian Ocean also come to be seen as an African ocean, as well? 

In a world in which Lagos is the world’s largest English-speaking city, does its Pidgin English gain more respectability as an English variant? 

Similarly, in a world in which Nairobi is one of the five-largest English-speaking cities, does its Sheng dialect of Swahili gain more academic or global economic attention?
Beyond such questions, Africa’s urbanization boom is not only a result of rural-to-city migration, but also due to in situ modernization, meaning rural areas transforming themselves into urban spaces as a result of natural population growth and accumulated density. 

This is quite different from the process of urbanization we have seen in other places, such as Latin America. 

Meanwhile, the inability so far of urbanization in Africa to create productivity gains and manufacturing growth has created a kind of parasite urbanization, meaning lots of peri-urbanization, accompanied by a lack of planning.
French: Which African cities at present embody the most dynamism, and which of them best point the way to the possibilities of the future? Historically speaking, urbanization has been a sine qua non for the development of robust and enduring middle classes, for instance. 

How well are African cities performing as platforms for middle-class formation? If they are broadly underperforming in this regard, why do you think this is?
Denkey: African cities at this stage are not exhibiting the sustained manufacturing and productivity gains that we have seen in Latin America and Asia, however, we are still quite early in the continent’s demographic transition. 

There are lots of reasons for this: high wage labor, higher electricity costs, bad infrastructure, and the landlocked nature of many African cities. 

However, if one looks closely at the data, most major African cities do show on average 60-90 percent higher GDP per capita, and similarly higher scores on human development indexes, than the rest of their countries

The lesson here is that enabling better big-city performance can lift the performance of an entire country. Lagos, for example, is 90 percent richer than Nigeria in terms of GDP per capita. Limit that to Southern Nigeria only and it’s still 50 percent higher.
One reason African cities may be failing to take off is due to the overwhelming primacy of most national capitals, which are on average 10 to 25 times bigger than the second-largest city in countries with two major cities. 

And the growing gap between these predominant national cities and the many towns stuck in the range of 10,000-50,000 inhabitants means that intermediary African cities struggle. 

In the most thriving African countries—South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco—we see far more intermediary cities.
Another issue may be that many African cities lack direct metropolitan control of their governance. 

Mayors for many cities and urban regions are pretty weak and unaccountable to their people

They cannot create local taxes and are largely tasked with few powers besides serving as little more than a public advocate. 

Efforts to change this in countries like Ghana have largely been defeated, leading to cities living mostly at the whim of national leaders or, if they are lucky, of state governments, which often see themselves as regional fiefdoms, rather than as drivers of urban growth and livability.
As for which African cities are the most dynamic or are economic standouts? Here are some that come to mind.
Mekelle, a relatively small city in the Ethiopian highlands with about 300,000 people. With industrial zones encompassing multiple types of textiles and involving very high female employment, it was arguably Ethiopia’s most industrialized urban region prior to the recent war. 

It had also done well with providing modern housing for former residents of unincorporated settlements on the city’s edge and top-notch educational institutions within the city, like Mekelle University.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, is another. Its new light-rail network, though oversubscribed, is nonetheless clearly the kind of infrastructure the city needed. 

It’s a marvel personally to see and ride, with an overall experience better than that of the New York City Subway.
As a result of the many new housing developments that have been built in the past two decades, shacks and slums aren’t as pronounced a problem as, say, in Nairobi or Lagos. 

In fact, Addis is a huge construction laboratory at the moment, with cranes and scaffolding everywhere, and a permissive legal environment to build. 

I’m not loving the more neoliberal developments of recent years—Unity Park and some garish modern luxury housing developments, which are Gulf-funded, but speak to Addis’s modernization and growth. The neighborhood by the African Union 
 headquarters is gorgeous.
Kigali, Rwanda, is unmatched for its cleanliness. You have the Kigali convention center, which will host NBA Africa. One can see this city becoming a tourist magnet in that direction.
Aburi, Ghana, which is a nice town about 90 minutes outside of Accra, has 18,000 people as of now, but it will probably have100,000 or more residents in 20 years. 

This is a hillside enclave that has really nurtured its local environment, with a botanical garden and plenty of new apartment developments. 

Aburi is precisely the kind of intermediary city that needs to get bigger and more self-confident for African countries to grow.
Nairobi, Kenya, has a lot of issues. The national expressway is a crime, as are the scandals involving the “matatu” cartels, which run the local minibus transports. 

The tech economy there is huge, though, and social commerce in Nairobi is probably the best-developed on the continent and a marvel. 

Overall, the city is extremely cosmopolitan, and social trends ripple out from Nairobi throughout the country and region.
The lesson here is that enabling better big-city performance can lift the performance of an entire country.
French: What is the state of urban planning on the continent? And does the university have a special role to play in the healthy development of African cities? Are there examples where universities or communities of African scholars are having an important impact on urbanization?
Denkey: I can’t name you any university, outside of South Africa, where African urban planners are taking the lead on actual urban development on the continent. 

There is a lot of commentary and scholarship on African cities from the exterior—from the U.K. and America. But I would say Twitter has really become that place. 

Obviously my account discusses a lot about African urbanism, but it’s really a vibrant place where you see African intellectuals like Chike Chukudebelu (@cchukudebelu) and David Ndii (@DavidNdii) discussing everything that affects African urbanism and more. 

And that should be celebrated and valued because it is a very new phenomenon. Twitter is the modern African university.
But African urban planning is decades behind global standards. Africa is to America what America is to Europe. 

Trends like public transportation-centered development, pedestrianization and walkable streets are dead on the continent

Our politicians still like big freeways and prefer not to invest in public transit. What Europe discusses in urbanism today, America discusses in 15 years, then Africa gets to it 20 years later. 

By mid-century, I see a bustling movement to challenge the orthodoxies we’ve let reign in African cities, but until then, I see Africa largely repeating the mistakes of mid-20th-century America.
French: What lessons should African cities be learning from urban centers on other continents?
Denkey: What is there to learn from others? From China, the importance of building strong metro systems and integrated commuter rail systems. 

From Europe, the vitality of walkable streets and bicycling lanes, a city fit for pedestrians. 

And from North America, models of taxation, funding and governance for cities—the power of strong mayoral systems as well as property and local sales taxes. 

Latin America, meanwhile, has some of the world’s best bus and rapid transit, or BRT, systems as well as alternative transit systems, like cable cars.
French: How can cities on the continent keep up with rapid population growth in the provision of essential public goods and services? What sorts of taxation and funding models are best suited to these challenges?
Denkey: To keep up, more funding is needed to pay for more schools, higher quality public schools, fit-for-service public health centers, actual transit systems, and more competent police departments. 

Right now, the African urban middle class is opting for private solutions: private schools, private health clinics, even in some cases private communities on the city’s edges that provide services separate from the urban municipality.
Much more devolution of governance responsibility to urban areas and regions is also needed. As I mentioned earlier, it is very weak and non-existent in most countries. 

Many countries lack an enforced property tax, and most African states only get 1 percent of their overall tax revenue from property taxes. This compares to 4 percent for your average developing world country and 6 percent for your average OECD state. 

Imagine the average American city and municipality without property taxes. They would be crippled, but this is how your average African city lives. 

There must also be more of a national focus on collecting individual income taxes. For certain African countries, intake is quite low, and this is an easy barrier to overcome. 

African cities don’t really need to get especially innovative on taxation and funding models yet, they just need to go back to basics. Execute the basics ruthlessly. 

Their states need to collect more income tax to fund public services nationwide, and their cities need to create institutional knowledge and applications.
French: There has been a lively discussion recently on Twitter about the impact of global warming—and specifically, of rising sea levels—on African cities. Please describe the nature of the threat. How should we expect it to unfold?
Denkey: Yes, the damage could be apocalyptic. In Lagos for example, Victoria Island and Lekki Phase 2, which is home to a big part of the middle class, would all be underwater, assuming a 2-meter rise in sea levels, which is possible in the next 50 years. And let’s be honest, a sea wall or some hyper “Amsterdam-ization” isn’t going to be built in Lagos. This kind of sea-level rise will also hurt Cotonou next door, and threaten Abidjan and Dakar.
At the same time, in North Africa, we’re already seeing wildfires threaten beach towns and the suburbs of the region’s largest cities. 

Let’s also not forget Cape Town’s mind-boggling drought a few years back, and the tensions and fights over water it fueled. 

Meanwhile, coastal East Africa, from Mogadishu all the way down to Maputo, should expect to see more Indian Ocean hurricanes, especially extremely powerful category 4 ones and higher

As the decades progress and Africa hopefully gets richer, we’ll hopefully see more serious governments, as climate change plays the role of the external state competitor that African states don’t play for each other.
Finally, of course, migration to Europe will also surge, especially given the Sahel’s difficulties with climate and violence. This will be the central theme of the African-European story in the 21st century.
Kidan Araya, who you can find on Twitter at @Kidan Araya, is one of the best sources for this, and I highly recommend following her for climate change takes on Africa.
French: You and I have exchanged thoughts on a topic I’ve written about in detail, which is the emergence of megalopolises in Africa, with the most prominent and likely example being the coastal corridor between Abidjan and Lagos. 

How do you see this unfolding? What does it best compare to in other parts of the world? And what are the implications of such a development for prosperity, for business and for the legacy states created by European colonialism? You being from Togo, I am particularly interested in the implications for very small states like yours.
Denkey: Africa currently has six emerging urban megapolisesThe West African and Great Lakes cluster are the most interesting, as they cut across three or more nations and involve states that are members of existing regional compacts that allow the free movement of people, goods and services—the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, and the East African Community, or EAC. 

What is happening with these clusters today is nearly unprecedented, likely due to the more compact nature of African countries. The closest comparison is the Liverpool-Milan axis, or so-called Banana Belt, in Europe which is the world’s most prominent transnational urban belt at the moment.
We are just in the initial stages of it, as the integration hasn’t really deepened, but for the West African cluster, you’re talking about more than 225 million people—or 20 percent of the continent’s population—stretched along the coast from Abidjan to Douala, with a core cluster of 140 million people from Accra to Ibadan

This is a region that currently has no major rail links, still isn’t fully tied together by contiguous highways, and still has often times inefficient and corrupt border posts along the route.
Then you have the Great Lakes cluster, which goes from Nairobi to Kisumu, dives into Kampala, weaves through Kigali and Bujumbura, and terminates in hectic and massive eastern DRC, in cities like Bukavu and Goma. This emerging region likely has more than 70 million people at present.
For a country like Togo, the capital, Lome, is already a transnational metro area. It literally stands at the Ghanaian border, with the Nigerian border a mere 200 kilometers, or 125 miles, distant in the opposite direction. 

For a country like Togo, we already see the ramifications of this: higher English-speaking rates among the youth, a near-universal penetration of Nigerian products and popular culture, and a less ardent French orientation than you feel in Abidjan or Libreville, where French is even displacing local languages as the mother tongue.
If we could get things like harmonized business codes, a standard gauge railroad—or, if one were to dream, an actual high-speed rail—as well as real freeways that allow traffic to easily flow throughout the cluster, Togo might become a de facto bilingual state within 30 years of all of those developments. 

Togo is already in a sense a city-state oriented around Lome, but this scenario I’m describing would take it to an extreme. Let’s see if it happens!

10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator


Turning to Africa

https://bit.ly/35ekJJr

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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Holders of around $70 million in troubled bonds issued on behalf of state-owned Air Seychelles have filed a petition to wind up the African airline, they said in a statement @Reuters
Africa


The move is the latest effort by creditors to recover $1.2 billion owed by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and airlines it partly owned when the debt was issued in 2015 and 2016, such as Air Seychelles.

At the time, Etihad owned 40% of Air Seychelles and it was in a consortium along with the Gulf airline and other carriers that borrowed the money through special purpose vehicle EA Partners.
"The Noteholder Committee (acting on behalf of the EA Partners bondholders) ... filed a petition dated 19 August 2021 for the winding-up of Air Seychelles, and on 24 August 2021, such petition was served on, and acknowledged by, Air Seychelles," the creditors said in a statement on Wednesday.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, Air Seychelles said it was struggling to honour its $71.5 million portion of the EA Partners debt and started restructuring talks with a steering committee of creditors in July.
A Seychelles government official told Reuters in May that Air Seychelles wound not pay more than $20 million to settle the debt.
The creditors said on Wednesday that they were still open to work with the government, the airline's sole shareholders, to reach a resolution to the debt challenges.
But they said that there had been no "substantive engagement, nor any sense of urgency" from either Air Seychelles or the government, leaving no choice but to file a petition for the winding up of the airline to recover the money due.
Air Seychelles declined to comment.
Etihad is not legally obliged to back the bonds as the original $1.2 billion deals envisaged each carrier paying off its own portion of the debt, according to the debt documentation reviewed by Reuters.

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Kenya faces year of uncertainty before key polls @AFP
Law & Politics



With major constitutional changes suspended for now, and swirling new alliances taking shape, Kenya's political scene is shrouded in uncertainty as the country eyes crucial elections due a year from now.
Here is a look at how Kenya got here and what lies ahead when East Africa's powerhouse elects a new president and parliament next August.
- What happened to constitutional change? -
On Friday, Kenya's Court of Appeal rejected President Uhuru Kenyatta's bid to change the constitution, arguing that he had no right to do so. 

The decision marked the latest twist in a debate that has gripped the country since 2018.
According to Kenyatta, the so-called Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) would expand the executive and overturn the winner-takes-all electoral system that has been blamed for frequent explosions of poll-related violence in the East African nation.
But his detractors saw it as little more than a naked grab for power by a two-term president who cannot run a third time, with the BBI potentially allowing him to assume the new position of prime minister.

In addition to creating new posts, the sweeping changes would also increase the number of parliamentarians from 290 to 360, prompting fresh alliances with a view to dividing the spoils come election time.
Friday's judgement has put paid to those hopes.
Even if Kenyatta approaches the Supreme Court, the verdict will come too late to let his planned transformation take shape before the August 9 vote, throwing the field wide open.
- Is 'the handshake' pact over? -
The BBI came on the heels of a shock rapprochement between Kenyatta and his long-time foe Raila Odinga, who declared a truce with a headline-grabbing handshake in March 2018, following deadly post-election clashes in 2017.
The pact stoked speculation that Odinga would succeed Kenyatta, who would in turn become prime minister, with other politicians persuaded to fall in line in exchange for new posts.
It left Deputy President William Ruto, whom Kenyatta had initially anointed as his 2022 successor, out in the cold.

The pair's frosty relationship became evident this week when the president challenged his deputy to resign "if he is not happy".
Yet doubts have now emerged about how long the Kenyatta-Odinga coalition will last, with the BBI on its last legs.
"The big question will be: will the alliance that is being built with Odinga be able to hold in the absence of the BBI?" said Nic Cheeseman, professor at Britain's University of Birmingham.
"What positions will have to be offered to people so that they sacrifice their presidential ambitions and line up behind Odinga?"
For his part, Ruto, who has branded himself as a candidate for the common man, cheered the decision, calling it a victory for "the Hustlers" trying to survive in a country ruled by political dynasts such as Kenyatta and Odinga.
- What about ethnic issues? -
The 2022 election may spring yet more surprises, with experts saying that ethnic issues, which have traditionally played an important role in Kenyan politics, may no longer carry the weight they once did in a country with 44 tribes.
Ethnic affiliations will still matter at the ballot box, but they will not be "the main discussion" topic, said Kenyan political analyst Nerima Wako-Ojiwa.
"Young people do not necessarily identify with the tribal language used in the past," she told AFP, pointing out that Kenya will add six million more potential voters in 2022 compared to 2017 as youngsters come of age.
The battle for the youth vote will play a big part in determining the winner of next year's race, she said, along with shared concerns such as reviving the Covid-battered economy and improving healthcare.
That could spell good news for Ruto, who belongs to the Kalenjin ethnic group but has tried to run a campaign that crosses tribal lines in a bid to attract the support of all Kenyans who feel economically marginalised.
"If it is (successful)... it's a really big challenge to the established way of doing politics in Kenya," Cheeseman told AFP.

- Will a runoff happen? -
Kenyan presidential elections have always boiled down to a two-horse race -- but that may now change.
At the moment, it "is very plausible in this election... that we actually have three or four viable candidates", said Cheeseman.
Such a scenario would generate more debate about likely contenders in the run-up to the election.
It would also make it difficult for any candidate to score the 50 percent plus one vote required to win, he added, raising the likelihood of a historic second presidential round.

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@AbsaKenya reports H1 2021 Earnings EPS +836.36% here
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment


Par Value:                  2/-
Closing Price:           10.55
Total Shares Issued:          5431536000.00
Market Capitalization:        57,302,704,800
EPS:             0.77
PE:                 13.701

ABSA GroupKenya reports H1 2021 Earnings versus H1 2020 

HY Total Assets 398.151996b versus 391.878841b

HY Kenya Government Securities held for dealing purposes 44.206563b versus 41.857346b

HY Kenya GVT Securities [FVOCI] 77.064445b versus 92.013288b

HY Loans & Advances [net] to Customers 218.872997m versus 201.948138m +8.38% 

HY Customer Deposits 263.943909m versus 248.745829b

HY Total Interest Income 15.190383b versus 15.317579b

HY Total Interest Expenses 3.195293b versus 4.013160b

HY Net Interest Income 11.995090b versus 11.304419b

HY Total non-interest income 5.845105b versus 5.509087b 

HY Total Operating Income 17.840195b versus 16.813506b

HY Loan Loss Provision 1.942104b versus 5.384951b -62.49%

HY Staff Costs 4.414972b versus 5.109598b -13.594% 

HY Other Operating expenses 2.939744b versus 2.300290b 

HY Total Operating Expenses 9.894947b versus 13.554039 -26.99% 

HY Profit before Tax 7.945248b versus 3.259467b

HY Profit after Tax 5.571915b versus 0.588992b +846% 

HY EPS 1.03 versus 0.11 +836.36%

HY Net NPLs 2.054507b versus 1.821742b

Commentary 

In the first half of 2021, we delivered a strong performance largely driven by growth in interest income particularly in the small and medium enterprises segment as we accelerated our efforts in supporting businesses to recover from the effects of the pandemic. 

The performance was also supported by a significant reduction in impairments related to improving macro-economic variables.
The outcomes of the first half of 2021 are a validation that our Growth, Transformation and Returns strategy is working and delivering value for our stakeholders.
On Growth: Revenue increased by 6% to KES17.8 billion and customer assets increased by 8% to KES219 billion with total assets at KES398 billion.
On Transformation: The efficiency efforts paid off with operating expenses reducing by 3% resulting into a cost to income ratio of 45%.
On Returns: Return on equity increased to 22%. This was supported by the strong growth in profits, improved efficiency, and well managed capital.
The evolving impact of the pandemic required us to re-visit our strategic priorities, we took decisive actions towards capital and liquidity preservation, supporting our customers through various interventions such as loan moratoriums and restructures, fee waivers for digital transactions, capacity building for SMEs among other Force for Good initiatives. 

These decisions are paying off, our customer operations are resilient as we have seen with credit book quality and our franchise is strong
Our business remains very well positioned to help our clients manage through the uncertain times with the improved capital and liquidity levels well placed to help us capture opportunities for growth. 

With the improved efficiency levels, the bank will continue re-investing in digital transformation in order to improve customer experience.
We would like to thank our customers, our staff and all stakeholders for their support as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, whose impact is still unfolding and may remain with us for a long time. 

The Board has not recommended an interim dividend.

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.@BamburiCement Bamburi Cement Company Ltd. H1 2021 PBT +420% Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied


Par Value:                  5/-
Closing Price:           38.45
Total Shares Issued:          362959275.00
Market Capitalization:        13,955,784,124
EPS:             2.89
PE:                 13.304

Bamburi reports 6 months earnings through 30th June 2021 versus 30th June 2020
HY 2021 Turnover 19.628b versus 16.228b +21%
HY Total Operating Costs [18.497b] versus [16.000b]
HY Operating Profit 1.131b versus 0.228b +396%
HY Finance Costs [net] [70m] versus [133m]
HY Profit before Tax 1.109b versus 0.213b
HY Taxation [333m] versus 508m
HY Profit after Tax 0.776b versus 0.721b
HY Total comprehensive income 0.958b versus 1.054b
HY EPS 1.86 versus 1.84
HY Cash at End of the Period 6.387b versus 3.158b

Commentary

Volume recovery in domestic and export cement markets
average selling prices were better than prior year influenced by a higher proportion of sales of premium products in H1 2021
Group has absorbed significant cost inflation on imported clinker and coal
UGX has been strengthening progressively against the Kenya Shilling since 2019 

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Bamburi would have higher profits this year but for the taxes: @MwangoCapital
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied



Conclusions 

The Tax situation HY Taxation [333m] versus 508m obscured the +396% Operating Profit improvement 

21% Gain in Headline Turnover was impressive. 

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.@KenyaAirways reports H1 2021 [loss] before Income Tax [11.542b] here
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services



Par Value:                  5/-
Closing Price:           3.83
Total Shares Issued:          5681616931.00
Market Capitalization:        21,760,592,846
EPS:             -6.22
PE:                 -0.616

Kenya Airways reports H1 2021 Earnings versus H1 2020 Earnings
HY Total Income 27.354b versus 30.214b
HY Total Operating Costs [34.628b] versus [38.631b]
HY Operating Loss [7.274b] versus [8.417b]
HY Other Costs [4.320b] versus [5.975b]
HY [loss] before income Tax [11.542b] versus [14.355b]
HY [loss] for the Period [11.486b] versus [14.326b]
HY Gain [Loss] on hedged exchange differences - borrowings 1.214b versus [3.238b]
HY Gain [Loss] on hedged exchange differences - Lease liabilities 0.592b versus [3.453b]
HY Total comprehensive Loss for the Period [9.680b] versus [21.017b]
HY EPS [1.97] versus [2.46]
HY Total Assets 153.327b versus 171.462b
HY Total Equity [73.845b] versus [64.165b]
HY Cash and Cash Equivalents 3.209b versus 1.272b

Commentary

During the first half of 2021, operations continued to be severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The airline has been operating at 30% of 2019 capacity as a result of depressed demand.
The airline’s key routes including London, India and Guangzhou have experienced various travel restrictions, thus severely affecting the network deployment.
Capacity deployed measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) stood at 2,378 million compared to 3,722 million reported in June 2020, a decline by 36%.
In a normalised year, 2019 ASKs for KQ for the same period were 8,002 million.
The airline achieved a cabin factor of 57.8% compared to 68.3% in the previous year for a similar period and 75% in 2019.
The Group's total revenue during the period reduced by 9% to Kshs. 27,354 million.
The reduction is due to the cessation of domestic scheduled operations in the month of April 2021 and travel restrictions/lockdowns due to a surge in virus cases.
During the period, the airline operated a number of charter flights and ramped up cargo operations, penetrating new market sectors.
A total of 0.8 million passengers were uplifted during the period, a 20% decline in comparison to a similar period in the prior year and a 64% decline compared to 2019.
Though passenger revenue declined by 17% to Kshs. 20,230 million, cargo revenues went up by 60% due to a stronger focus on freighter operations.
This demonstrates that management's effort in growing cargo is paying off, an area the airline will continue to focus on.
The Group saw a decline of 10% in total operating costs, mainly driven by the reduced operations for the period.
Of the total operating costs, direct operating costs declined by 13%, whereas fixed costs declined by 7% as fixed costs had to be spread over a dramatically smaller capacity.
Based on the above revenue and cost dynamics, the Group recorded an Operating Loss Margin of 26.6% compared to 27.8% same period last year.
The industry view is that recovery from this pandemic will take time. 

Aviation experts predict that evolving customer behaviour will continue to suppress passenger numbers until 2024, where full recovery to 2019 levels is forecasted.

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KQ's half-year loss is 11.5 billion, compared to 14.3 billion last June. @bankelele.
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

 


KQ half year earnings release @AmbokoJH


Conclusions

Its going to be a Long haul.

''Aviation experts predict that evolving customer behaviour will continue to suppress passenger numbers until 2024, where full recovery to 2019 levels is forecasted.''




 

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.@FlameTreeGroup FTG Holdings Ltd reports H1 2021 PBT +21% Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Industrial & Allied




Par Value:                  
Closing Price:           1.31
Total Shares Issued:          161866804.00
Market Capitalization:        212,045,513
EPS:             0.4
PE:                 3.275
 
Flame Tree Group reports H1 2021 Earnings versus H1 2020 Earnings
HY Revenue 1.630738167b versus 1.175761769b
HY Cost of Sales [1.084043738b] versus 0.699386039b]
HY Gross Profit 546.694429m versus 476.375730m
HY Selling and Distribution expenses [211.693148m] versus [131.612083m]
HY Administrative expenses [144.523872m] versus [80.049743m]
HY Other Operating Expenses [66.898673m] versus [152.500396m]
HY Operating Profit [Loss] 126.523681m versus 114.479710m
HY Finance Costs [59.536435m] versus [59.095947m]
HY Profit before Tax 66.987246m versus 55.383763m
HY Comprehensive Income 109.731149m versus 53.816926m
HY Net Cash at end of period [242.237321m]

Commentary

FTG Holdings (FTGH: NSE) the diversified manufacturer and distributor of plastic tanks, cosmetics, snacks, spices and playground equipment
The group reported revenue in H1 2021 of Kes 1,630.7M and gross profit reached 546.6M, with gross margin at 34%,
Operating expenses were in up by 16% vs. LY which led to an increase in Profit Before Tax of 21% vs. LY, from 55.3M up to 66.9M.
Comment H1
The Group´s priority has been to keep increasing sales in every business line, and mitigate the sharp rise in international raw materials prices and logistic costs, which have impacted the margins severely (34% vs 41% H1 2020).
The new machines purchased last year have enabled an increase in production and lower unit costs. 



The group is still investing in strategic assets to be able to diversify our product portfolio and to cater for a higher demand of our products. 



We have continued to innovate and launch new products and packaging formats to the market, in all 3 business lines: plastics, cosmetics and snacks & spices.
Net debt increased 7% vs. Dec.2020, however Net Debt/Net Assets ratio has remained at 0.6, and Return on Equity ratios have shown improvement. 



Working Capital improved by 18 days as a result of faster collections, lower stock and longer payment terms to creditors.
Impact of COVID19
The effects of the pandemic still remain, and we have gone through restricted access to markets, sharp increase in the prices of raw materials, fuel and logistic costs. 



Availability of USD in Rwanda and Ethiopia has been very scarce, hence affecting the purchase of raw materials for our factories. 



However we have gained new clients, and managed to increase sales across the business lines: Plastics: +33%; Cosmetics: +16%; Snacks: +4% (despite the loss of Tuskys) and Trade: +93%

Conclusions



Market capitalisation is around $2m which means it is very undervalued. 

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