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Monday 07th of February 2022

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29-NOV-2021 :: Regime Change
World Of Finance


The Music has been playing for Eternity and its about to stop


Love Fellini. So brave, with that whiff of insanity. @DiAmatoStyle Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 @tcm

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Traders are now pricing for more than five Fed rate hikes by year end, with an implied rate of nearly 1.4% after the Dec. 14 meeting. @isaabramowicz1
World Of Finance

"The case for near-term tightening has just been further reinforced and, inevitably, there will be speculation around a potential 50bps move in March:" Principal's Seema Shah

The @federalreserve could entertain the novel idea of a sharp interest rate rise a la Volcker


The Optimal move is to go to 0.75% immediately in order to do less in the round 

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6 sigma move in European rates. The bond bogeyman is coming to an equity market near you! @AlessioUrban
World Of Finance

Equity investors, especially in the US could be forgiven for thinking that the most important events of the last 48hrs were #Facebook and #Amazon numbers. WRONG! It was the 6 sigma move in European rates. The bond bogeyman is coming to an equity market near you!

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The Lotus Sutra was written about 100 AD is full of references to Maitreya. the cult of Maitreya flourished especially in Central Asia and Western China: the big Buddha at Bamiyan is Maitreya.@DalrympleWill

The Lotus Sutra was written about 100 AD is full of references to Maitreya. As it spread north and west, intermingling with the cult of Mithras, the cult of Maitreya flourished especially in Central Asia and Western China: the big Buddha at Bamiyan is Maitreya.

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My Struggle: Book 5 karl ove knausgard

I recognised the smell, it was the same as at Eg Hospital, where I had worked three years before, and the same as at the school I had attended in the 1970s, a mixture of green soap and a faint odour reminiscent of cellars and sewage, something dark and damp and subterranean in all the assiduously maintained hygiene.

It was no surprise that time went more slowly there, it was a place where nothing was supposed to happen, where no progress was possible, you noticed that as soon as you entered, this was storage, a warehouse for unwanted people, and the notion was so awful that you did whatever was in your power to act as if this were not the case.

The rain was pelting down. The forest on the shore stood like a green wall behind the completely flat light grey surface of the water, the prow ploughed through it, converting it into swirls of white, with some almost transparent, almost glasslike layers below, and I had a distinct sense of depth, of being on the surface of an immense depth, which was reinforced when we stopped by the fishing net and the boat was rolling on its own waves and the net was drawn closer and closer together, then the spine of a fish appeared far below. It swam round and round, came higher and higher, and it was enormous. It was as big as a child and as shiny as silver. It came higher and higher, and when at last it lay in the boat and Gunvor’s brother hit it repeatedly on the head with a wooden mallet the resistance it put up was so great he had to sit astride it while we did what we could to hold it down. The power in its slender body was frightening.

On the way home, as it lay still between our feet, with only the occasional twitch running through it, inside my head I had the image of it rising through the water. It was as though it came from an era other than ours, up and up it came from the depths of time, a beast, a monster, an ur force, yet there was something so clear and simple about it. Just water, the glint of silver in the depths, the immense power it possessed, surging through it in its dying throes.

One evening we went for a swim in the sea down by the rocks. The air was warm and full of insects, the blazing sun hung just above the treetops. Afterwards we sat next to each other gazing at the water. Gunvor got up, went behind me and covered my eyes with her hands.

‘What colour are my eyes?’ she said.

I went cold.

‘What is this? Are you testing me?’ I said.

‘Yes,’ she said. ‘Tell me. What colour?’

‘Stop that,’ I said. ‘You don’t need to test me. Of course I know what colour your eyes are!’

‘Tell me then!’

‘No. I won’t. I don’t want to be tested.’

‘You don’t know.’

‘Of course I know.’

‘Then tell me. It’s simple.’


gazed out of the window, the queue of cars that formed so quickly after the lights had turned red, dwindled and re-formed. The cars were in constant flux, and the people in them, but the patterns they were part of remained the same. Death also made patterns. The raindrops running down windscreens, the sand blown into heaps, the waves beating against the shore and retreating. If you took a closer look, inside a grain of sand for example, patterns were there too. Electrons moving round atomic nuclei. If you went outside there were planets orbiting round suns. Everything was in flux, everything was inside and outside everything. What we didn’t know, and never would, was what size really was. Think of the universe, how we considered the universe, infinity, imagine if it were small. Teeny weeny. Imagine if, in fact, it was inside a grain of sand in another world. And that this world was also small and inside another grain of sand.

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Correct. We have the acute simultaneity problem now because we refused to reckon with reality. Now we don't have good options. @ElbridgeColby
Law & Politics

Correct. We have the acute simultaneity problem now because we refused to reckon with reality. Now we don't have good options. We should have been less "balanced" before. Now we'll really have to face sharp, stark tradeoffs.

24-JAN-2022 ::   Furthermore, We exist in a Tripolar World and the West appears to be inviting its own triangulation.

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Lack of foresight & deficit in geopolitical thinking of US largely responsible. Now, has pushed them together by treating both as adversaries at same time. Rest of the world suffers. @KanwalSibal
Law & Politics

Lack of foresight & deficit in geopolitical thinking of US largely responsible.Built up communist China & deliberately cornered Russia, scotching its early democratic stirrings. Now, has pushed them together by treating both as adversaries at same time. Rest of the world suffers.

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We really need serious statecraft that engages with global geopolitical realities. That sounds about the opposite of it. Borderline delusional. @ElbridgeColby
Law & Politics

The Charge of the Light Brigade

The sheer arrogance and naivete of the Hashtag Warrior #StandWithUkraine @SecBlinken and ''the UK and our partners would impose a severe cost on Russia'' @LizTruss is simply unfathomable.
It is difficult to know who is producing a bigger guffaw in the Kremlin. It is a ''Charge of the Light Brigade'' moment.

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It's like the captain trying to throw the crewmates overboard to stop the ship sinking. @SkyNews
Law & Politics

Shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband says the prime minister "doesn't have the scruples to resign".

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Gold wallpaper, prosecco-fuelled parties, gourmet takeaways, cocktails, Christmas quizzes, champagne, DJ's playing cheesy ABBA songs, weddings, leaving do's with wine and cheese @DanielaNadj
Law & Politics

Gold wallpaper, prosecco-fuelled parties, gourmet takeaways, cocktails, Christmas quizzes, champagne, DJ's playing cheesy ABBA songs, weddings, leaving do's with wine and cheese, Christmas do's with the baby sitter and lots of wine. That's a summary of Johnson's time in No.10.

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As soon as NIH and CDC knew the furin cleveage site was the key to transmission, they knew they funded the research. This was in Dec/Jan 2020. Since then you've been lied to every step of the way. @still_a_nerd

27-JUL-2020 It is impossible to ignore the introduction of a PRRA insert between S1 and S2: it sticks out like a splinter. This insert creates the furin cleavage site

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When I first saw the furin cleavage site in the viral sequence... I said to my wife it was the smoking gun... mak[ing] a powerful challenge to the idea of a natural origin for #SARSCoV2." virologist David Baltimore, former president of @Caltech

Since Omicron was first identified 10 weeks ago, almost 90 million #COVID19 cases have been reported to @WHO @DrTedros

We are now starting to see a very worrying increase in deaths, in most regions of the world. It’s premature for any country either to surrender, or to declare victory.

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The advent of #Omicron, one of the most mutated variants has exposed the limitations of these vaccines, particularly their ability to prevent infections @vipintukur

Most of the Covid19 vaccines are based on spike-protein of SARS2. They have worked reasonably well so far. However, with the advent of #Omicron, one of the most mutated variants has exposed the limitations of these vaccines, particularly their ability to prevent infections

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In a pandemic, vaccines should stop the virus ongoing transmission. The current generation of COVID vaccines don’t provide significant protection on this front. @vipintukur

In a pandemic, vaccines should stop the virus ongoing transmission. The current generation of COVID vaccines don’t provide significant protection on this front. And this is the reason why we are witnessing intense viral transmission even in the highly vaccinated countries

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.14365
Dollar Index 95.541
Japan Yen 115.367
Swiss Franc 0.92560
Pound 1.352510
Aussie 0.708600
India Rupee 74.7075
South Korea Won 1199.575
Brazil Real 5.3288
Egypt Pound 15.751412
South Africa Rand 15.45525

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Fascinating to see $META testing the bottom of its log regression channel. It is clearly having a S-curve moment - where network adoption begins to fail OR the market is underpricing the meta verse pivot and future network value. @RaoulGMI
World Currencies

Fascinating to see $META testing the bottom of its log regression channel. It is clearly having a S-curve moment - where network adoption begins to fail OR the market is underpricing the meta verse pivot and future network value. I don't have a strong view yet tend towards latter

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Amazon suffered a Free Cash Outflow of $14 bn for the trailing twelve months @SeanPeche
World Of Finance

Alexa, what was the Stock-Based-Compensation compensation expense that was added back and without which the outflow would have been worse?

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At $54bn but only made $1m of sales last quarter? Yes Alexa, how much did Amazon earn in Q4 before the Rivian Gain? $2.5bn @SeanPeche
World Of Finance

Alexa, how much did Amazon earn in the same quarter 2 years ago before Covid? I calculate $2.8bn Alexa, are you saying that operating income fell

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Over 2 years despite a lower depreciation charge this year because of a longer useful life estimate? Yes @SeanPeche
World Of Finance

Alexa, how much long-term debt did Amazon raise in 2021 to fund the negative Cash flow? $19bn Alexa, what is the total of Amazon’s long-term debt, lease, and other

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Long-term liabilities? $140bn Alexa, what forecast revenue growth rate in Q1 is management guiding? Between 3% - 8% @SeanPeche
World Of Finance

Alexa, I understand Amazon is raising the Prime membership by $20 per year, how much revenue does this add?

There are 200m members so it adds $4bn per yr

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Alexa, given an extra $4bn of income, is Amazon, therefore, forecasting operating income to grow next quarter? No @SeanPeche
World Of Finance

Alexa, do you think $1.4trillion for a company with $140bn of debt, negative cash flow, 3% revenue growth and declining operating income is compelling value?

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These are India’s growth rates. 5 years, with each year’s growth less than previous has never happened after 1947. @kaushikcbasu
Emerging Markets

2016-17: 8.2%
2017-18: 7.2%
2018-19: 6.1%
2019-20: 4.2%
2020-21: -7.3%
These are India’s growth rates. 5 years, with each year’s growth less than previous has never happened after 1947. Sad. Let us not live in data denial, reducing everything to politics.

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Pandemic hit to growth and trade fuels instability @Africa_Conf

Several African economies could still take years to recover from the loss in GDP suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, according to the latest World Bank data.

That is worse than all developing regions except South Asia, and in stark contrast to advanced economies on course to return to pre-pandemic trends by next year.
Ratings agency Moody's calculates that the worst-hit African economies could, by end-2022, have registered even greater cumulative losses in output. 

In some cases, these losses amount to 10% or more of GDP when compared to the pre-pandemic forecasts.
Latest projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank suggest overall SSA real GDP growth should meet or exceed 3.6% this year. 

This level of growth is forecast even without the benefit of significant 'base-effects' that pushed up 2021 growth to around 4%, when several of the region's economies partly recovered from their Covid-driven 2020 contractions.
Along with those in South Asia, Africa's economies have been the hardest hit by the global pandemic. 

The danger in Africa comes not just from faltering growth, but also from the political reaction to the toll of hardship.
Initially, the momentum from Africa's growth surge in the early 2000s had carried many economies into an era of reform and restructuring. 

By 2010 many economies resumed a growth path, helped by a global commodities boom. New technologies, digitisation and renewable energy were driving change, but not yet on the required scale.
In many areas, such as the coastal economies of West Africa, the Indian Ocean seaboard in East Africa, and Morocco with its state-led industrialisation, the new economic policies were succeeding. 

In other cases, grand industrial projects were not enough to make a significant impact on growth – examples being Aliko Dangote's gargantuan oil refinery, fertiliser and petrochemical plant in Nigeria, and the Ethiopian government's agro-processing schemes 
The economic planners also have to contend with security crises. Insurgencies in northern Nigeria and civil war in Ethiopia are putting the federal systems in both countries under serious strain 
Voter  verdict
In August, voters in Angola and Kenya, both countries hit by rising debt service burdens and slowing growth, will cast their verdict on the performance of the João Lourenço and Uhuru Kenyatta governments 

In both countries, opposition politicians hope to capitalise on social discontent and can look towards Zambia as an example of what they could achieve. 

Last year, Zambians overwhelmingly voted out Edgar Lungu's Patriotic Front government, primarily because of economic mismanagement and galloping corruption.
In South Africa, the African National Congress has seen its share of the vote shrink, due in large part to anger over corruption. 

In neighbouring Zimbabwe, where conditions are far worse, the ruling party has kept its grip on power through ruthless repression and tearing apart the opposition.
In the countries of the Sahel, organised criminal gangs and Islamist insurgents are stealing resources and preying on local communities, exploiting their grievances against economic injustices.
In Sudan, in the wake of the generals' coup last October, resistance committees are confronting the regime on the streets, week after week. 

The crashing economy means the opposition is widely supported, despite the junta's use of deadly force to break up protests.
Latest World Bank figures suggest that by the end of last year, almost 110 million in sub-Saharan Africa were experiencing 'food crisis'. 

Average inflation in the region, although varying considerably between countries, is predicted by the IMF to return to single digits this year. 

Yet prices remain vulnerable to unpredictable events, whether related to African security or global developments impacting oil and gas prices.
Standard Chartered's chief Africa economist Razia Khan warns of 'social pushback', where proposed government measures to increase taxes and eliminate subsidies – the latter typically being among the reforms urged on governments by the World Bank and IMF – provoke domestic opposition.
In Nigeria, plans to end fuel subsidies now look likely to be shelved until after next year's general elections. 

In Ghana, a controversial levy on electronic transactions has sparked parliamentary protest and a walkout from opposition politicians 
Moody's predicts only a modest improvement in average sub-Saharan Africa fiscal deficits, from 5.2% in 2021 to 4.5% this year, in the face of competing social demands from those at the sharp end of Covid-driven increases in poverty.
The growth rates of key African oil producers Nigeria and Angola are set to lag behind the African average, at around 2.5% and 3% respectively, according to the World Bank. 

Africa's most populous nation could grow more slowly than any of the other 15 smaller economies in the West Africa region, even if likely growing faster than sluggish South Africa and oil exporters Chad and Equatorial Guinea.
Yet oil prices north of $80/barrel, combined with gradually increasing crude oil output from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (known as OPEC+), could boost revenues and spur on oil sector investments in Nigeria and other oil- and gas-producing nations.
African officials oppose the push for a 'zero-carbon' policy, which would hamper oil and gas projects in Nigeria, Mozambique and elsewhere that African policymakers laud as key for development. 

This opposition will surely persist, even during a year when the COP27 climate summit is scheduled to be held in Egypt. 

In fact, Egypt's economy could significantly exceed 5% growth this year, thanks in part to an expanding gas sector.
A number of non-resource-intensive economies, and economies dependent on tourism, could see relatively strong 2022 growth, despite the potential impact of high commodity prices on the formers' fiscal balances and the risks to international travel posed by Omicron or another major Covid variant. 

Likewise, some agricultural commodity producers (including increasingly-indebted Kenya and Tanzania) could see growth of around 5%.
Conflict continues to be a major growth disruptor, whether in the Sahel region or elsewhere

Due to its Tigray conflict, the IMF now declines to release growth figures for Ethiopia, which averaged around 9% annual growth from 2010 to 2019.
The slow pace of African Covid vaccinations, which lags other developing regions, reflects the low capacity to administer the vaccine as much as Africa's shortfall of doses. 

IMF economists are now calling for an extra $23.4bn in financing for the World Health Organization's Access to Covid-19 tools Accelerator, for vaccination campaigns and medical infrastructure in developing countries. 

But Africa's relatively low death rate from recent Covid variants could indicate it will be protected from the worst Covid scenarios.
Africa faces finance squeeze as US rates rise
Africa economies seeking to borrow on the international markets could be in difficulty if the US federal reserve rates are increased more than anticipated.
Greater-than-anticipated US federal reserve hikes could prompt significant capital outflows, and put pressure on central banks to increase the price of domestic credit, potentially dampening growth. 

Although Nigeria and Ghana have held rates this month, and Covid-era Africa rates cuts significantly outnumber hikes, South Africa's reserve bank now tends to take its cue on interest rates from the likely direction of the Fed.
On the plus side, some African economies should be able to dedicate part of last year's Special Drawing Rights receipts towards financing their 2022 budgets, and further concessional financing remains an option for a portion of Africa borrowings 

But many economies remain at high risk of – or are currently in – debt distress, and there is considerable uncertainty over how ongoing debt negotiations will play out, whether or not under the G20's Common Framework in which Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia are participating.
Recent calls by IMF deputy managing director Gita Gopinath for the Common Framework to be 're-vamped' for speedier debt restructuring, and for creditors to suspend debt servicing during these negotiations, illustrate the persisting uncertainty over how the framework will operate  

World Bank economists comparing the framework to major historical debt restructurings say that maturity extensions and reduced interest rates are more likely than debt haircuts. 

They also observe that the framework's requirement for borrowers to obtain 'comparable' debt relief from private sector creditors is ill-specified and without a 'mechanism' to push private sector creditors to play ball.

Citi's chief Africa economist David Cowan takes the view that Zambia's Common Framework negotiations could be resolved within half a year, and that could set the precedent for other African countries. 

While Zambia's Eurobond holders could accept outright forgiveness of some of debt, he says, it is harder to assess whether Zambia's numerous Chinese lenders – including China Exim Bank and the China Development Bank – will also do so. 

Zambia's China lenders may push for private sector status in negotiations where at all possible (AC Vol 63 No 1, Hichilema enjoys a honeymoon).
At November's Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Senegal, China pledged US$40 billion in financing and investment to Africa over the next three years. 

Large as this may be in absolute terms, this is a reduction in China's commitments. 

Another worrying development is the ongoing fallout from China's property market from the Evergrande crisis, which could hurt commodity prices, and thus also the African borrowers dependent on them.

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Africa Emerging from The Pandemic

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

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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@HHichilema Zambia & why Frontier markets are all about Politics

Time to Big Up the Dosage of Quaaludes


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

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Abiy roadshow heads to UAE to pay homage @mailandguardian @thecontinent_

Abiy thanked his counterpart for “the UAE’s stances and its initiatives that support peace and security” in Ethiopia.
A BBC investigation published this week revealed what that support looks like. 

It found evidence of 119 cargo flights over five months last year between UAE military airports and the Harar Meda air- base near Addis Ababa, as well as Bole, the main international airport in the capital.

20 JAN 20 :: The Intrusion of Middle Powers

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Looking a bit shaken but otherwise unharmed, Embaló addressed the nation that evening. Everything is under control he said. @mailandguardian @thecontinent_

For the next five hours, the gunmen – dressed in civilian clothes – fought a pitched battle with the presidential security team. 

According to the government, 11 people died, including seven soldiers, although it did not clarify whether they were attackers or defenders.
Unlike recent coups in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, this attempt to overthrow a civilian government did not succeed: 

Looking a bit shaken but otherwise unharmed, Embaló addressed the nation that evening. “Everything is under control,” he said.
So far, there are precious few details about who instigated the coup attempt, or why. Embaló said the attack was linked to his policies “to fight drug trafficking and corruption”, and that it was “an isolated coup attempt”.
Guinea-Bissau is a major hub in the drug trafficking network that links South America and Europe. It has experienced four successful coups d’etat since independence in 1974.

23. Cocaine and a very murky coup in Guinea-Bissau @FT @neiLmunshi & @AndresSchipani 

After a five-hour gunfight with unidentified attackers at the government palace in Guinea-Bissau this week, President Umaro Sissoco Embaló declared that one of the assailants, three civilians and seven security personnel had been killed.
But Embaló, the target of the attack, had seen off the assault and pointed the finger at the drug traffickers that have made the country of 1.8m people a key hub for South American cocaine bound for Europe.
The “attempt to kill the president, the prime minister and all the cabinet” was perpetrated by “an isolated force . . . linked to the people we fought”, Embaló said after the attack had ended. 

The “failed attack against democracy . . . was well-prepared and organised and could also be related to people involved in drug trafficking”. 
The attempted assassination comes amid a surge in coups across West Africa. If successful, it would have been the second in a week after Burkina Faso and the fourth since last May. 

On Thursday, regional body Ecowas said it would deploy troops to help stabilise Guinea-Bissau. 

But while the unrest elsewhere reflects unhappiness with government’s ability to stem rising jihadi violence, the situation in Guinea-Bissau is seen as related to internal power struggles as well as the country’s relationship with the drug trade. Some even question if it was really a coup attempt.
Embaló, who won the presidency in a highly disputed 2019 election, has pitched himself as a foe of drug traffickers that are deeply entwined in the ex-Portuguese colony’s economy, politics and military.
Trafficking has been central to power in Guinea-Bissau since South American drug cartels turned the cashew-rich country into a trafficking hub in the 2000s, exploiting its endless labyrinthine creeks and islands, and a history of instability that has seen the country suffer at least 10 attempted or successful coups. 

More than a decade ago, the US and UN dubbed it Africa’s first narco state.
A turning point came in 2013. The US Drug Enforcement Administration arrested the ex-head of the navy on a luxury yacht in the middle of closing a deal that would have paid him $1mn for a tonne of cocaine transited through the country. 

José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto, the ex-Navy chief, served time in prison in the US.
Traffickers switched their attention to neighbouring countries but Guinea-Bissau is again central to the trade, according to experts. 

Antonio Indjai, the ex-general that the US government last year called “one of the most powerful destabilising figures in Guinea-Bissau” when it put up a $5mn reward for information leading to his arrest, lives freely in Bissau.
Indjai, who according to a 2013 US indictment helped orchestrate a cocaine-for-arms deal with Colombia’s Farc rebel groups, now tends his rural cashew farm. 

He was pictured with Embaló at the presidential palace in 2020. Embaló has ruled out extradition, and said last year during a trip to the US that he would encourage authorities to drop Indjai’s case.
Critics charge that the president’s record belies his anti-trafficking rhetoric. 

“Contrary to what the government pretends, since Sissoco Embaló has come to power we have not witnessed a reduction of narco-trafficking,” said Carlos Lopes, the Guinea Bissau-born ex-head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Embaló, an ex-general who has never been implicated in trafficking, won the 2019 election but was only installed in office with the military’s help.
Embaló “seems very keen to make sure everybody knows this was an attack against him and his government because they are standing up against drug trafficking,” said Lucia Bird, director of the West Africa Observatory for the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC). 

But “we have no indications that cocaine trafficking has decreased in Guinea-Bissau since Embaló came to power — there’s lots of indications that it very much continues”.
The last big cocaine seizures — roughly 2.6 tonnes worth over €100mn — were in 2019, and it was widely thought that the drug had been brought in to the country “to fund the 2019 electoral campaigning for parliamentary and presidential elections”, according to GI-TOC. 

Bird noted that there had been no major publicised seizures since Embaló took office.
Blaming the attack on traffickers is a politically savvy move, Luis Vaz Martins, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist, told the Financial Times. 

“But this has nothing to do with drug trafficking,” he said. “The general sentiment here is that this is a fake coup d’état.”
The murkiness surrounding the attack — and questions of how the president survived a five-hour gun battle in a country where coups are normally bloody and swift — may partly reflect tensions with prime minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam, who is close to the military.
“The relationship between the president and his allies is tense, and because of that he might not feel safe being protected by his allies, so he’s trying to bring [West African regional bloc Ecowas] forces in order to have the protection he needs,” Vaz Martins said. 

“To try to prevent what has happened in places like Mali, Conakry and Burkina.”
Ruth Monteiro, an ex-justice minister who fled to Portugal when Embaló took office, added to the scepticism. It “doesn’t look like a coup d’état”, she said. 

“Nobody claimed the coup. The borders were not closed, the [national TV and radio] were not taken — we are talking about 5 hours of shooting, but no deaths.”
Vincent Foucher, a consulting senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, said the truth may yet be hard to parse.

 “Bissau has [a] special property: many key events never get really clarified, nobody is too sure who killed who,” he wrote on Twitter. 

“And so competing versions remain, with various political actors choosing the one that fits best with their narrative.”

Turning To Africa

Democracy has been shredded.
We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point
“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''
Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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Left unchecked, Egypt's population could nearly double by 2050 @BBGAfrica

Metropolitan Cairo already Africa’s largest city.

With the country’s population now soaring beyond 100 million, that adage is being put to the test like never before. 

In the past three decades, the number of Egyptians has quadrupled and, if unchecked, could nearly double again by 2050

Even now, about half of all Egyptians are under 25.

“There is an entrenched culture unique to our country that one can buy things and receive services for less than they cost, and have children and expect someone else to feed them,” President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in December. 

“This has held the country back in recent years.”

Egypt’s current birth rate is 3.4 children per woman. Under the government’s most optimistic scenario, the target rate is 2.11 by 2032 and 1.65 by 2052. 

The worst-case projection shows 2.1 by 2052, which would bring the nation’s population to 191.3 million -- a surge equal to the populations of Canada, Saudi Arabia and Portugal combined.
Some 98% of the population lives on just 3% of the country’s territory, either on the banks of the Nile or in the fertile northern delta. 

Cities are choked and chaotically developed, with metropolitan Cairo already Africa’s largest city.

Downtown Cairo. Photo courtesy of Mohamed Reyad. @EgyptianStreets

Mohamed Reyad, a Cairo-based phone photographer, used to go out walking before working hours after Fajr prayer before sunrise to take photos of the downtown Cairo area.

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In 2020, due to Covid restrictions, rough diamond sales by Debswana Diamond Company fell 30%, but then rose by 67% last year. @mailandguardian @thecontinent_

Debswana is owned in equal parts by the Botswana government and De Beers. 

Last year, it exported diamonds worth $3,466-billion. Diamonds are at the heart of Botswana’s economy, which contracted by 8.5% in 2020 but improved by 9.7% in 2021.

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Since 1911, only 12 category 4 cyclones have hit Madagascar. Eight have been since 2000. @thecontinent_

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. 

Lorenz wrote:
"At one point I decided to repeat some of the computations in order to examine what was happening in greater detail. I stopped the computer, typed in a line of numbers that it had printed out a while earlier, and set it running again. I went down the hall for a cup of coffee and returned after about an hour, during which time the computer had simulated about two months of weather. The numbers being printed were nothing like the old ones. I immediately suspected a weak vacuum tube or some other computer trouble, which was not uncommon, but before calling for service I decided to see just where the mistake had occurred, knowing that this could speed up the servicing process. Instead of a sudden break, I found that the new values at first repeated the old ones, but soon afterward differed by one and then several units in the last decimal place, and then began to differ in the next to the last place and then in the place before that. In fact, the differences more or less steadily doubled in size every four days or so, until all resemblance with the original output disappeared somewhere in the second month. This was enough to tell me what had happened: the numbers that I had typed in were not the exact original numbers, but were the rounded-off values that had appeared in the original printout. The initial round-off errors were the culprits; they were steadily amplifying until they dominated the solution." (E. N. Lorenz, The Essence of Chaos, U. Washington Press, Seattle (1993), page 134)[7]
Elsewhere he stated:
One meteorologist remarked that if the theory were correct, one flap of a sea gull's wings would be enough to alter the course of the weather forever. The controversy has not yet been settled, but the most recent evidence seems to favor the sea gulls.

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The EU will no longer be a 'donor but a trading partner' with Kenya, said EU foreign affairs supremo Josep Borrell following a two-day visit to Kenya. @Africa_Conf

'We have been having, the European Union and Kenya, a long-standing relationship. But we are no longer the donor of development aid. We are a strategic partner,' Borrell told a joint press conference with his Kenyan counterpart Raychelle Omano in Nairobi at the weekend.
The 'Strategic Dialogue' will cover peace and security in the region, fighting poverty through trade and investment, environmental conservation, climate change, defending democracy and the rule of law, and human rights. There will also be an additional $361 million in funding from Brussels.

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Kenya: Things Fall Apart @theelephantinfo @RasnaWarah

When do families fall apart and begin dying? Is it when the one holding them together – a grandfather, a mother, or perhaps a child – dies or moves away? 

Or it is when members of that family start competing, rather than cooperating, with each other? 

Or maybe it’s when an adverse or traumatic event forces members of that family to split up? 

When do cities fall apart and begin dying? Is it when the authorities stop providing essential services such as water and electricity, forcing people to migrate and seek services and opportunities elsewhere? 

Or is it when citizens fail to adhere to a social contract that says that civility, compassion and respect for others should dictate how they behave towards each other? 

Or maybe it’s when the yawning gap between slum dwellers and mansion dwellers becomes so huge that people have no choice but to stage a revolution or a civil war, which ends up destroying the city? 

When do nations fall apart and begin dying? Is it when leaders start plundering their countries, leaving the majority to wallow in poverty, without any dignity or hope? 

Or is it when leaders betray the trust of the citizenry by using them as pawns in their political ambitions? 

Or maybe it’s when citizens decide they don’t want to be part of that nation because it is too painful. 

So they flee or become passive victims of the state rather than active and proud citizens of their country. 

I recently asked Kenyans on Twitter what was the one event that made them lose faith in their country, the one thing that killed their idea of a prosperous, united and hopeful Kenya. 

I was asking this question because I am becoming increasingly disillusioned by the country and city of my birth, and have been wondering if others are feeling the same way. 

The responses were fast and furious. (Note: I have not included explanatory remarks in their responses because almost every Kenyan will know what the respondents are talking about.) 

Here are a few samples: “The day Langata Road School children were teargassed for protecting their playground from landgrabbers.” 

“When a medical student was murdered by her boyfriend and people called her a slay queen.”  

“No one event, just the healthcare system.” 

“When a patient dies at a hospital doorstep because the people who brought him couldn’t raise a deposit.”  

“When we forgot the difference between a leader and a politician.” 

“When 147 students were killed in Garissa University by Al Shabaab during a 7-hour ordeal and no one has been held to account for this grave lapse in security.” 

“When a man at the helm asked us, ‘Nifanye nini jameni?’

” “When Kenyans voted for ICC indictees.” 

“When a governor who killed a mother and her unborn child remained in office.” 

“When Babu Owino walked free after shooting a deejay.” 

“Realising neighbouring countries have cheaper commodities, never mind they pass through our ports.” 

“Spending the night in traffic.”  

“When a cop in Kisumu shot a school kid and removed the bullet with a knife.” 

“When police killed the Kianjokoma brothers for breaking a curfew.” 

“The day BBI was rammed down our throats and county assemblies were bribed to pass it.” 

“Water and electricity shortages.”  

“I will never forget 2007/2008. The darkest moment in Kenya’s history.”  

“When the same leaders who caused grave losses and deaths due to reckless choice of words were re-elected into office and still hold those offices…Kenyans are beyond redemption.” 

“Opaque SGR contracts.” 

“Imperial Bank. My father lost all his money and it killed him.” 

As I write this, the responses are still coming but I no longer have the stomach to read them because they remind me of how broken we are as a society, as a people, and as a nation. 

In the last 24-hours I have had to deal with power and water cuts (the latter seems to be a perennial problem precipitated by water cartels at the Nairobi Water Company). 

As I look at my huge pile of unwashed clothes, I think about all those living in slums who make do with 20 litres of water a day. How can one live in this city and stay sane? 

(Meanwhile our leaders are either throwing lavish birthday parties for themselves and eating cake or throwing huge amounts of money at boda boda riders from helicopters during election rallies. Where did all this money come from? Do we ask?) 

A devout Christian friend tells me politicians in Kenya are not true Christians because even Jesus would have denounced their contempt for the poor. 

Some Kenyans believe the church in Kenya is itself responsible for our moral decay. Collective trauma  

The four themes that seem to stand out in most of the responses are violence, greed, betrayal, and impunity. 

And of course, the trauma that is related to all four. 

My American friend Angi tells me that all Kenyans suffer from some form of collective trauma. 

The first book Angi read when she was moving to Kenya was Caroline Elkins’ Britain’s Gulag, so maybe her view of Kenya is clouded. 

But like her, I also believe that while all Kenyans (even muhindis like me) suffer from the effects of some kind of trauma – whether it is torture or intimidation at the hands of a police officer or abuse by a family member or lack of basic services such as water), the Kikuyus (because of their proximity to white colonial settlers who grabbed their land and killed and tortured them when they demanded their land back) suffer and have suffered the deepest forms of trauma both before and after independence.  

This is because the vast majority of them suffered at the hands of fellow Kikuyus – the Home Guard – who continued with the grabbing and the torture after the country gained independence. 

This betrayal by one’s own is something we rarely talk about because even history has become an optional subject in schools. 

(Until Elkins published her book, few of us knew the extent of the brutality endured by the Kikuyu during the Emergency.) 

Meanwhile our leaders are throwing lavish birthday parties for themselves and eating cake. 

My Luo friends tell me that their fortunes deteriorated after the assassination of Tom Mboya. 

That day in July 1969 reminds them to this day that they are Kenya’s most dispensable – and perhaps most feared – ethnic group. 

My Somali acquaintances tell me they are not just dispensable but invisible to the state, with or without Aden Duale. 

Some of them come from remote villages that have to this day not seen a tarmacked road or a clinic. 

Asians, who are generally viewed as trauma-free because they are among the wealthiest groups in Kenya, speak about feelings of alienation and rejection – a state of limbo ignited by past traumatic events, like the murder of Pio Gama Pinto, who among others, fought for the country’s independence, 

Idi Amin’s expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972, the 1982 coup attempt that saw many of their homes and businesses looted, and the exposure of mega-thieves like Kamlesh Pattni, who gave the whole community a bad name. 

The list of grievances among Kenyans is long. These grievances have been documented in the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission’s report, which sadly, was also ignored by none other than the president, who failed to implement its recommendations. 

(If you want to read its contents, go to the University of Seattle’s website; no Kenyan government department has bothered to archive it online.) 

I wrote a short story called Have Another Roti that was published in Nairobi Noir. 

The setting is the Parklands neighbourhood of Nairobi and memories of Mogadishu. I thought I was writing about trauma but many of my readers believed that I had written a story about forbidden love.

One even told me that she couldn’t stop laughing while reading it. While there are some humorous passages in the book, the humour underlines deep-seated trauma. 

Laughing at the ridiculous is Kenyans’ way of coping with trauma. We laugh because crying would take us too close to home. 

Angi tells me that there are four stages in trauma response: Fight, flight, freeze, and submit (in that order). 

Those who have watched wildlife documentaries will understand this. When a lioness is hunting a zebra (yes, it is usually the female of the species that does the hunting to feed her family), the zebra’s first instinct is to fight the lioness. 

If fighting doesn’t seem like a viable option (because the lioness is stronger, faster and bigger than the zebra), the zebra runs as fast as it can. 

When the lioness eventually catches up with the zebra and digs her fangs into its neck, the zebra goes into freeze mode, eventually submitting to the inevitability of its own demise

These trauma responses are not confined to wild animals. During colonialism and during the Moi era, many Kenyans were either in fight or flight mode

These Kenyans either joined resistance/pro-democracy movements or went into exile. The rest fell into freeze or submit mode, which allowed them to survive Moi without incurring his wrath. 

It also allowed them to become numb because freezing emotionally was preferable to feeling. 

That freeze mode lasted until December 2002 when a new president who ousted KANU offered hope for a better future. 

Kenya was then ranked as the most optimistic nation on earth. Violence and betrayal  But just when Kenyans were beginning to believe that they were about to reach nirvana, Mwai Kibaki began replicating the sins of his predecessor. 

Mega corruption scandals like Anglo Leasing began to surface. Kibaki also reneged on his promise to review the constitution. Then the post-election violence of 2007/8 happened, and we were back to enacting our trauma responses. 

For those who were raped, maimed or displaced during the violence, or who lost loved ones, the trauma remained raw for many years, and is still with them. 

For others, the violence reminded us of past traumas and strengthened our belief that we must never go to that place again. So we resisted. 

The period between 2008 and 2013 gave us an opportunity to regroup, to re-strategize, to work towards a better Kenya. 

We voted for a new constitution, which paved the way for a more accountable government and leaders with integrity. 

Commissions to unite the country and to provide oversight to our new institutions were formed, but their impact was minimal. 

The highly contested election of March 2013 that saw people indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) assuming the presidency led many of us to retreat to freeze or submit mode. 

Neither the new constitution nor the courts could prevent this bizarre development (regardless of the guilt or innocence of the accused, and of the fact that others who were most responsible for the mayhem of 2007/8 escaped any form of justice). 

What followed was a reckless government that had no qualms about piling up the national debt, runaway corruption in ministries and government departments, opaque Chinese contracts, impunity, and a leadership convinced of its invincibility. 

In the first four years of the UhuRuto presidency, poverty levels in Kenya increased from 38.9 per cent to 53 per cent. 

The four themes that seem to stand out in most of the responses are violence, greed, betrayal, and impunity. 

Then in 2018, a “handshake” between the president and the leader of the opposition killed any viable form of resistance in Kenya, leaving the sitting deputy president competing against his boss, a scenario that can only play out in highly dysfunctional societies

So, we are still in the throes of a trauma that has not yet been acknowledged or healed. The media, meanwhile, is living up to the adage that he who pays the piper calls the tune, leaving us wondering whether Kenyan journalists inhabit the world the rest of us live in. 

Last week, several bodies (no one is quite sure how many, but at least 20) were found dumped in the Yala River. 

Some had been tied up and placed in sacks. Others seemed to have been mutilated. Few have come forward to claim these bodies or to identify them. 

In other countries, this would be front-page news for days, but here it passes off as just another inexplicable (and forgettable) event. 

There is no shock or horror, or demands for justice for the victims. We are all in submit mode now.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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February 2022

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