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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Tuesday 07th of December 2021

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Mirrors On The Ceiling
World Of Finance

And she said "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"

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Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi gets 4 years in prison for incitement, violating COVID-19 restrictions FOX
Law & Politics

Aung San Suu Kyi, the 76-year-old former leader of Burma who was ousted earlier this year during a military coup, was sentenced Monday to four years in prison on charges of incitement and violating COVID-19 restrictions, reports said.

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29-NOV-2021 :: Regime Change

The Invisible Microbe has metastasized into Omicron and what we know is that COVID-19 far from becoming less virulent has become more virulent.
B.1.1.529 seems to have gone from 0.1% to 50% in just a couple of weeks, when it took Delta several months to achieve that. #Omicron @TWenseleers

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

this variant is out-competing others *far* faster than Beta and even Delta did #Omicron @jburnmurdoch

South Africa was where the #Omicron Variant was first identified and cases have exploded there [admittedly from a low base]
Nation w/ fast COVID19 case/day increase past 2wks @jmlukens 

South Africa: 1124% France: 191% Spain: 134% Portugal: 115% Switzerland: 111% Ecuador: 105% Czechia: 101% Jordan: 95% Vietnam: 89% Sweden: 88%
Update #COVID19 in GAUTENG • 2,629 new cases today, 7-day avg up 331% week-on-week Case incidence doubling every 3.5 days @rid1tweets

The transmissibility of #Omicron is not in question, it clearly has a spectacular advantage.
The Open Question is whether it is more virulent. If it is less virulent then #Omicron is breaking the Trend of increasing virulence.

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COVID-19 infections are still rising in 57 countries. @ReutersGraphics

12 countries are still near the peak of their infection curve

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1291
Dollar Index 96.237
Japan Yen 113.71
Swiss Franc 0.92475
Pound 1.3287
Aussie 0.7084
India Rupee 75.3575
South Korea Won 1179.60
Brazil Real 5.6894
Egypt Pound 15.7106
South Africa Rand 15.8633

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The Signal in the Noise is the Dollar Regime Change
World Currencies

The Dollar has been on a roll and simply crushing other G10 currencies and creaming EM

EM looks like Trevor Berbick did when he was crushed by Mike Tyson
The Turkish Lira has been leading the downside charge of course
The emerging markets sovereign CDS index has just taken out the year's wide; got to a peak of 470 bps in the initial Covid lockdown in March 2020 (and over 800 bps in the GFC). @bondvigilantes

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In order to fabricate, I always need the trampoline of reality. -Mario Vargas Llosa
World Currencies

The Lotos-eaters 

"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land, "This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon."

29-NOV-2021 ::  Regime Change

Bitcoin tumbles 20% from record highs earlier this month, entering a bear market #BTC @crypto

If after this morning you still think that #BTC is a hedge against world events, or represents "diversification", you must stay out of finance, & take up some other hobby s.a. stamp collecting, bird watching or something less harmful to yourself & others. @nntaleb

They can never beat you if you buy the dips. @nayibbukele

The ‘’Bukeleists’’ are going to be tested
"Money Suppy increases", if they went somewhere, they went to ... Bitcoin. @nntaleb
I’m really concerned about @bankofengland printing money out of thin air. @nayibbukele

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Yeah you good traders can spot the highs and the lows pit pat piffy wing wong wang just like that and make a millino bucks sure no problem bro.
World Of Finance

GameKyuubi posted "I AM HODLING," a drunk, semi-coherent, typo-laden rant about his poor trading skills and determination to simply hold his bitcoin from that point on.
"I type d that tyitle twice because I knew it was wrong the first time. Still wrong. w/e," he wrote in reference to the now-famous misspelling of "holding."
"WHY AM I HOLDING? I'LL TELL YOU WHY," he continued.
"It's because I'm a bad trader and I KNOW I'M A BAD TRADER.  Yeah you good traders can spot the highs and the lows pit pat piffy wing wong wang just like that and make a millino bucks sure no problem bro."
He concluded that the best course was to hold, since "You only sell in a bear market if you are a good day trader or an illusioned noob.  The people inbetween hold. In a zero-sum game such as this, traders can only take your money if you sell."
He then confessed he'd had some whiskey and briefly mused about the spelling of whisk(e)y.  [HODL Definition | Investopedia]

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

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

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

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

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@jack Dorsey's @Twitter Failed African Countries @WIRED @Odangaring

Throughout the continent, the former CEO’s hubris and negligence allowed disinformation and abuse to run rampant.
IN NOVEMBER 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Patrick Dorsey tweeted from the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that he would be moving to “Africa” for up to six months in 2020. 

His high-profile monthlong tour of the continent, where he visited Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Ethiopia, had come to an end, and the billionaire was feeling wistful. 

“Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!)” he wrote. 

Covid would thwart his journey, though in 2020 he did get around to hanging with Jay-Z in the Hamptons, and Hawaii, and on a yacht, and in January 2021 he reportedly mulled whether to ban Donald Trump from Twitter while vacationing in French Polynesia

Then, two years and two days after he declared he would make his messianic second coming to Africa, Dorsey stepped down as CEO. 

We never learned where in “Africa” he may have meant. 

We do know that his hubris and failures in three of the four countries he initially visited will have a significant impact on his legacy in the continent.
To the West, Twitter under Dorsey’s reign from 2015 to 2021 often looked like an acidic, hate-fuelled, raging dumpster fire. But what westerners got was Twitter’s platinum version

It’s the version made by people who take their civic problems seriously because those problems are theirs too. 

Misinformation, hate speech, and manipulation on the platform is much worse in my corner of the world and Dorsey’s legacy in Africa is even more neglectful and hypocritical than his legacy in the Western world.
In April 2021, close to 15 years after Twitter had been live on the continent, the company announced it would open its first physical presence in Africa, a regional headquarters in Accra, Ghana. 

“Twitter is now present on the continent,” Dorsey tweeted beside an emoji of the Ghanaian flag. Yet its presence is flimsy. 

The job openings Twitter listed in Accra were overwhelmingly in advertising, engineering, and communications. 

It remains unclear how many people from its Trust and Safety or platform integrity teams Twitter plans to send. In fact, 

Twitter’s policy management team for sub-Saharan Africa is based in Europe. 

Like Google and Facebook before them, it quickly became clear that this new development would barely involve helping Africans defend free speech or push back against authoritarian governments. 

Twitter’s Africa HQ is not about Africans. It is effectively a colonial outpost, erected to ensure that the data and money Twitter was extracting from the continent was sustained. 

And the limits of this office would be tested time and time again later in the year as Twitter was used to sow discontent around several African countries.
Dorsey treated Nigeria in particular as a relationship of convenience. 

In 2020, many Nigerians applauded his tweets calling to donate to efforts to end a state regime of police brutality (#EndSARS). 

But his championing of this was inconsistent as at the same Twitter seemed to ignore repeated calls from Nigerian journalists, researchers, and activists to flag or ban many scams and misleading claims about #EndSARS and other abuses that were running rampant on the platform. 

Then, just two months after Twitter’s African office opened, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari banned Twitter in the country for four months. 

This was after the platform deleted one of Buhari’s tweets for violating the platform’s policy on abusive behavior, but a spokesman for the president was quick to note the ban was about much more than the tweet. 

“There has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences,” the spokesperson emailed Bloomberg

“All the while, the company has escaped accountability.” It’s uncomfortable to agree with an authoritarian’s spokesperson, but he had a point.
Perhaps nowhere in Africa has Dorsey’s Twitter failed more than in Ethiopia. As in Nigeria, the platform finds itself in a hard spot with an authoritarian government that has regularly carried out internet disruptions amid an escalating civil war

Last month, the platform announced that it was disabling its trending feature throughout Ethiopia, ostensibly to quell threats of harm. 

“Inciting violence or dehumanizing people is against our rules,” the company explained in a tweet. 

“We hope this measure will reduce the risk of coordination that could incite violence or cause harm.” 

This is bizarre, backward reasoning. Make no mistake: Though Dorsey would never explicitly admit it, removing the trending section was an admission of guilt. 

Twitter realized it could not manage the rate at which it was amplifying hateful content. 

But instead of acknowledging that it had designed the Trends algorithm to be easily weaponized and make hate speech highly transmissible, or noting it would make deliberate efforts to improve the feature, it effectively blamed Ethiopians (for using the feature as designed). 

Here, too, Twitter has borrowed from the colonialist playbook: Blame the harms the colonialists have inflicted on Africans on the Africans.
There’s a trend to Twitter’s trends problem; it’s also harming Kenyans. In my own research with the Mozilla Foundation, I’ve explored how Twitter’s trending algorithm has helped allow a disinformation-for-hire industry to thrive in Kenya, and for Kenyan journalists to suffer wave after wave of attacks. 

When the Pandora Papers implicated Kenya’s president for having millions of dollars stashed in offshore accounts, propagandists exploited Twitter to diffuse public outcry. 

When I’ve reported my findings to Twitter, the best the platform has done is it’s typical whack-a-mole approach, suspending or delete a smattering of the offending accounts I and my fellow researchers identified but providing no clarity on what, if anything, it would do to prevent propaganda from continuing to spread.
Jack Dorsey ruled over Twitter at a time when popular sentiment toward Big Tech soured, and it’s telling that during this time Twitter turned a profit for the first time. 

Dorsey’s Twitter milked all it could from one of the internet’s darkest eras, becoming increasingly reliant on outrage and hate speech for engagement. 

The company was happy to take advertising dollars from Africans, but has been very ineffective in weeding out falsehoods and harmful behavior. 

Twitter has no local moderation office on record in the African continent. 

It has no partnerships on record with civil society organizations in Africa. It has no partnerships with any of the region's independent fact-checking organizations. 

It has never been clear about how much of their trust and safety team it dedicates to address problems on the continent. 

It has left volunteer journalists, researchers, and activists to try to clean up its mess, and it has left those volunteers vulnerable to being abused on its platform for trying to clean up its mess.
Still, Twitter must survive in Africa. It is used to hold public officials accountable, to build businesses, and, yes, to connect. 

Parag Agrawal, Dorsey’s successor, must learn from Dorsey’s failures to know what it means to stand up for Twitter’s user base across the continent. 

That starts by knowing Africa is not a country. He’ll also need to open more regional offices across the continent that involve local civil society and ordinary users to help solve local safety and trust problems. 

He’ll need to increase transparency and make internal research and data from the platform available to African journalists and academics. 

Finally, he’ll need to have his teams pay attention to the safety of the platform all the time as opposed to only during elections or when a country is on the brink of war. 

Twitter must ensure that enforcement of its rules is consistent and accommodative of the realities of vulnerable groups that it affects. 

Jack Dorsey was right about one thing when he tweeted from the airport in Ethiopia. Africa will define the future. And that future can be brighter without Jack Dorsey trying to define it.

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17-SEP-2012 Information warfare will not be couched in rationale of geopolitics, the author suggests, but will be spawned - like any Hollywood drama - out of raw emotions

“Hatred, jealousy, and greed - emotions, rather than strategy - will set the terms of [information warfare] struggles”.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

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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China’s Africa Policy Is Evolving. Can the West Follow? @bopinion @ClaraDFMarques H/T @lajohnstondr

Myths tend to linger longer than fact, and few have been more resilient in the face of evidence and data than the idea of a Chinese debt trap ensnaring African economies. 

Last week alone, Britain’s spy chief warned of Beijing trying to “get people on the hook,” while an exaggerated report on China seizing Entebbe Airport in Uganda spread far and wide, despite the fact the grace period for a Chinese loan had not even expired.
Less attention was paid to China’s just-concluded meeting with African leaders. 

A closer look at its multifaceted outcomes offers reminders that for Beijing, the continent is not just a source of raw materials, agricultural goods and construction business. 

It’s a valuable political ally — a crucial voting bloc in the United Nations, for one — and a market of 1.4 billion mostly young consumers, to which the country is willing to direct ample private sector capital and soft power.
The tendency to see China’s engagement only through the prism of a resource grab is blinding the West to China’s widening and maturing relationships. 

It does a disservice to African governments, denying the agency they clearly have as well as the differences among them. 

Worst of all, it overlooks the West’s own failings in a region that, from climate to health to migration, will be central to every global problem in the coming century.
To be clear, Africa is overindebted. The headache existed prior to Covid-19, but the pandemic made it worse by prompting governments to take on more debt, while eroding most countries’ ability to service it as revenues crashed and Covid-19 undid years of progress. 

Zambia last year became Africa’s first coronavirus-era sovereign default.
China is a significant part of this story, with financiers making commitments worth $153 billion to African governments and state-owned enterprises between 2000 and 2019 according to the China Africa Research Initiative, often with little transparency. 

That has left ample room for corruption, which has stoked public concern and hampered wider loan restructuring efforts. 

But China did not engineer the problem of African debt writ large; its credit is concentrated in a handful of nations. 

While Beijing plays a key role in cases like Zambia, there are many others where non-Chinese private creditors do instead. 

There’s no evidence that bungled outcomes were the result of concerted policy. Chinese takeovers and attendant graft, as with mining companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, were not the result of ambushes.
Even “data traps” — as the head of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency described the threat to a country’s sovereignty when it surrenders too much of its societal data — suggest singular purpose and effectiveness when sometimes neither is present

Such formulations ignore that China is not alone in providing information and telecommunication technology to Africa.
The biggest problem with all of these preconceptions, though, is that they obscure Beijing’s evolving strategy — on display at last week’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Senegal, a once-in-three-years gathering that sets the tone for engagement with the continent. 

It was lower key than some past iterations, and China trimmed its high-level financial commitment. 

That’s less a reaction to criticism than a sign of more straightened times, of changing policies back home and a desire to promote private sector deals instead of state splurges. Local banks will play a bigger role.
The headline from President Xi Jinping’s virtual address, though, was a pledge to provide a billion vaccines to the continent, including 600 million donations and the rest to be supplied through joint local production. 

Considering that Beijing has so far delivered under 110 million vaccines to Africa of which only a fraction were gifts, that’s a leap — but one that puts wealthy nations to shame.
No less significantly, Xi tackled another major regional concern, the asymmetric trade relationship with China and demands for improved market access. 

China committed to increasing imports of African goods and to opening “green lanes” for agricultural produce — a promising start, especially if combined with planned connectivity projects and the newly minted African Continental Free Trade Area.
There were also poverty reduction initiatives and rural development plans that seek to replicate, as Lauren Johnston, visiting senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide, pointed out to me, China’s own path to middle income — with demonstration centers and ventures that aim to boost trade and enrich new consumers.
These initiatives may not amount to a revolution — even with a sprinkling of green finance, security, digital innovation, skills — but the fanfare signals China’s commitment in Africa remains constant, significant and visible, even at a time when China is in other respects closing itself off. And optics matter.

The West is not absent, Folashade Soule of the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford told me, but its contributions have been less in tune with demand in a continent where the African Development Bank in 2018 put the infrastructure financing gap at $68 billion to $108 billion a year. 

“China’s cooperation has been much more tangible and aligned on African priorities like infrastructure funding, although criticism can be made on the modalities,” Soule said.
China’s understanding of the market has helped its companies to tailor products for Africa, like the popular mobile phones sold by Shenzhen Transsion Holdings Co, which are cheaper, allow users to have multiple SIM cards (common due to patchy coverage) and even have cameras designed for darker skin tones. 

Its brands accounted for nearly half of Africa’s smartphone market in the three months to June, and over three-quarters of more basic feature phones.

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Xi’s model is one of technocratic authoritarianism and a recent addition to his book shelf include The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos. Xi is building an Algorithmic Society.

19 APR 20 ::  The End of Vanity China Africa Win Win

Interestingly, At that 2018 FOCAC Meeting Xi Jinping also delivered a thinly veiled warning
China's Xi says funds for Africa not for 'vanity projects' Reuters #FOCAC2018
Our African Leaders did not take notes and that Warning was missed.

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China Seeks First Military Base on Africa’s Atlantic Coast, U.S. Intelligence Finds @WSJ

BATA, Equatorial Guinea—Classified American intelligence reports suggest China intends to establish its first permanent military presence on the Atlantic Ocean in the tiny Central African country of Equatorial Guinea, according to U.S. officials.
The officials declined to describe details of the secret intelligence findings. But they said the reports raise the prospect that Chinese warships would be able to rearm and refit opposite the East Coast of the U.S.—a threat that is setting off alarm bells at the White House and Pentagon.
Principal deputy U.S. national security adviser Jon Finer visited Equatorial Guinea in October on a mission to persuade President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his son and heir apparent, Vice President Teodoro “Teodorin” Nguema Obiang Mangue, to reject China’s overtures.
“As part of our diplomacy to address maritime-security issues, we have made clear to Equatorial Guinea that certain potential steps involving [Chinese] activity there would raise national-security concerns,” said a senior Biden administration official.
The great-power skirmishing over a country that rarely draws outside attention reflects the rising tensions between Washington and Beijing. 

The two countries are sparring over the status of Taiwan, China’s testing of a hypersonic missile, the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and other issues.
World-wide, the U.S. finds itself maneuvering to try to block China from projecting its military power from new overseas bases, from Cambodia to the United Arab Emirates.
In Equatorial Guinea, the Chinese likely have an eye on Bata, according to a U.S. official. 

Bata already has a Chinese-built deep-water commercial port on the Gulf of Guinea, and excellent highways link the city to Gabon and the interior of Central Africa.

The “most significant threat” from China would be “a militarily useful naval facility on the Atlantic coast of Africa,” Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command, testified in the Senate in April

“By militarily useful I mean something more than a place that they can make port calls and get gas and groceries. I’m talking about a port where they can rearm with munitions and repair naval vessels.”

Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony with a population of 1.4 million, secured independence in 1968. 

The capital, Malabo, is on the island of Bioko, while Bata is the largest city on the mainland section of the country, which is wedged between Gabon and Cameroon.
Mr. Obiang has ruled the country since 1979. The discovery of huge offshore gas and oil reserves in 1996 allegedly allowed members of his family to spend lavishly on exotic cars, mansions and other luxuries, according to U.S. Senate and Justice Department investigations.

Contacted by The Wall Street Journal, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s oil minister and one of the president’s sons, requested that questions about his country’s relationship with China and allegations of corruption in his family be submitted in writing. 

He didn’t respond to those questions. Equatorial Guinea’s ambassador in Washington didn’t respond to multiple interview requests.

U.S. intelligence agencies began picking up indications of China’s military intentions in Equatorial Guinea in 2019. 

During the closing days of the Trump administration, a senior Pentagon official visited the country, but the approach apparently left the Obiangs uncertain about how seriously the U.S. took China’s military aspirations.

The Biden White House has sought to deliver a sharper message: It would be shortsighted of Equatorial Guinea to insert itself between the front lines of U.S.-China global competition.

At the same time, the U.S. has taken steps to warm relations. In March, the U.S. offered aid after an apparently accidental ammunition explosion leveled an army base near Bata, killing at least 100 people.
The same month, Equatorial Guinean troops participated in U.S.-led naval exercises in the Gulf of Guinea. 

In August, an American Navy ship anchored off the Bata port, and the captain invited local officials and naval personnel aboard to observe firefighter training.
The White House doesn’t know whether its diplomatic outreach will have the desired effect and believes it will require a persistent, long-term effort to fend off a Chinese naval presence.

At the same time, the U.S. wants to convey a nuanced message: Washington isn’t asking Equatorial Guinea to abandon its extensive ties with China, but just to keep relations within bounds the U.S. considers unthreatening.

The U.S. concern “is that the Chinese would develop a naval base in Equatorial Guinea, which would then give them naval presence on the Atlantic,” Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, commander of the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force—Africa, said in a June interview.
Following the visit by Mr. Finer, Mr. Obiang Mangue, the president’s son and de facto head of Equatorial Guinea’s security forces, announced that the White House had named him “the No. 1 interlocutor in relations between our two countries.”
He tweeted a thank-you video showing the protocol gift he received from Mr. Finer’s delegation, a silver platter engraved with the U.S. presidential seal. 

A few days later, Mr. Obiang Mangue and the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Malabo discussed proposals raised during Mr. Finer’s visit.
Shortly afterward, however, Mr. Obiang, the president, spoke by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping, after which Beijing put out a statement highlighting that “Equatorial Guinea has always regarded China as its most important strategic partner.”
China helps train and arm the Equatorial Guinean police.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t respond to a written request for comment on any basing plans in Equatorial Guinea or elsewhere on Africa’s Atlantic coast.

Beijing set up its first overseas military base in 2017 in Djibouti, on the opposite side of the continent. 

The former French colony looks onto the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, a strategic chokepoint for shipping traffic transiting the Suez Canal. 

The Chinese facility has a pier capable of docking an aircraft carrier and nuclear submarines, according to U.S. Africa Command.

The base is 6 miles from the largest American base in Africa, Camp Lemonnier, home to 4,500 U.S. troops.
“China doesn’t just build a military base like the U.S.,” said Paul Nantulya, research associate at the Pentagon-funded Africa Center for Strategic Studies. “The Chinese model is very, very different. It combines civilian as well as security elements.”
Chinese state-owned companies have built 100 commercial ports around Africa in the past two decades, according to Chinese government data.
This spring, U.S. intelligence officials uncovered what they said was construction on a secret military base at a Chinese-run commercial port in the United Arab Emirates. 

The Biden administration persuaded Emirati authorities to halt construction, at least temporarily.
American diplomats in Mauritania, along Africa’s northwest coast, have advised local authorities to rebuff any effort by Beijing to use a Chinese-built port for military purposes, according to a U.S. official.
In a report to Congress this year, the Pentagon said China “has likely considered” African bases in Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania and Angola.
There are no visible signs of major construction at the Bata port, which was upgraded by China Road & Bridge Co., a state-owned enterprise, between 2009 and 2014.

The U.S. knows it faces challenges in its bid for Equatorial Guinea’s favor, seeking help from a country it has pointedly criticized.

The State Department has accused the Obiang regime of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture and other abuses.
A U.S. Senate committee issued a report in 2004 criticizing Washington-based Riggs Bank for turning “a blind eye to evidence suggesting the bank was handling the proceeds of foreign corruption” in accepting hundreds of millions of dollars in deposits controlled by Mr. Obiang, his wife and other relatives.
The bank said it regretted that it “did not more swiftly and more thoroughly complete the work necessary to fully meet the expectations of our regulators.” 

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. acquired Riggs the following year.
Separately, the U.S. Justice Department pursued the allegedly ill-gotten gains of the president’s son Mr. Obiang Mangue.

In 2011, Mr. Obiang Mangue called the U.S. ambassador in Malabo asking for help clearing his name against what he said were unfair allegations surfacing in the press. 

“I have never stolen money from our country’s treasury,” he told the ambassador, according to a State Department cable entered into court records. 

He told the ambassador he had earned his riches by winning legitimate government contracts during the country’s oil-fueled infrastructure boom.

In a series of civil cases, however, U.S. government lawyers accused Mr. Obiang Mangue of amassing a fortune of more than $300 million “through corruption and money laundering” while earning less than $100,000 a year as minister of agriculture and forestry. 

In a 2014 settlement, Mr. Obiang Mangue surrendered to the federal government proceeds from a Malibu mansion, a Ferrari and other assets.
This fall, the Justice Department announced that it would steer $26.6 million of the surrendered assets back to Equatorial Guinea in the form of Covid-19 vaccines and other medical aid, bypassing the government.
The Equatorial Guinean Foreign Ministry responded with a statement condemning the U.S. announcement as a “misrepresentation” of the facts. 

In a series of tweets, Mr. Obiang Mangue said it had been his desire to use the funds for medicine and that the U.S. government hadn’t forced him to do so.
Though often at odds with the Obiang regime, the U.S. isn’t without leverage.
Equatorial Guinea relies on American oil companies to extract offshore resources that have made the country the richest on the sub-Saharan mainland, as measured by per capita annual gross domestic product.
And the State Department recently raised Equatorial Guinea’s ranking in the annual assessment of how diligently countries combat human trafficking. 

The upgrade could allow the Biden administration to offer maritime-security assistance to help win Equatorial Guinea’s cooperation.
The country faces a growing threat from pirates and illegal fishing in its waters on the Gulf of Guinea.
“We think there is a fair amount we could do together on the maritime-security side that would be in our interest and of interest to them,” said the senior administration official.

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The Indian Ocean Economy and a Port Race.

Jostling for optimal ’geo-economic’’ positioning.

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Renaissance Capital says KES is 20% overvalued, fair value placed at 144 units to the greenback. @AmbokoJH
World Currencies

Monetary policy rate expected to retained at 7.0% in 2022, risks to  outlook are surge in inflation & weakening of the shilling.

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

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