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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Tuesday 24th of May 2022

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Derivatives, Alvin said. I don’t speculate about the future, I trade it. @NewYorker
World Of Finance

And they were cross‑linked and interwoven and resold in large bundles, “future on future,” Alvin said, handing me a paper towel. 

“Forget about the forces of the free market, my friend. Commodity prices no longer refer to any value, past or present—they’re just ghosts from the future.”

In the morning, when the window was fogged up and Alvin had fallen asleep with the computer on his stomach, I knew that he had told the truth. 

After half an hour of trading, we had switched places, so that I could do the clicking while he told me what to click on. 

I don’t know whether it was the friction of the mouse, its smooth, slightly greasy surface, or the amounts being transferred, disappearing and reappearing, inseparable from their I.D. numbers and in time with my clicking—or the fact that we were actually having a nice time together; 

Alvin heated up a can of curry soup and went out to buy more cigarettes, and at some point we laughed a lot because I had accidentally bought the right to buy a massive batch of chickens, millions of them, from a farm in Jerusalem a few months from now—in any case, I felt at home in derivatives trading, as if it had been waiting for me, and I for it. 

We brought the computer into bed with us and continued trading on Alvin’s stomach. 

He told me—in a neutral voice and with his eyes on the screen, as he said everything else—that his parents were dead, but that he had inherited some money, which he had grown large enough by investing in stocks to enter the world of derivatives trading, where you never actually buy the asset in question but always resell the agreement before the closing date. 

He mumbled something about a guardian and “trading without attachments” and fell asleep.

I didn’t mind lying in bed, watching Alvin’s face twitch, the contours of a dream quivering under his eyelids.

He said, “What’s mine is yours.” “Thanks” died unsaid on my lips, as if someone had placed a long, cold finger over them. 

I remember all the things he used to do: pelvis against the handlebars of the scooter, center of gravity sinking into his knees, he leans into the bumps on the road. 

The slight irony in the way his fingers hold a cigarette. 

That day, even the planes were beautiful. Broken air. Plants shooting up through broken asphalt. Rancid smell of beef and other dead animals in a market on the city outskirts. A gorgeous butcher shop, wasps floating in blood

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14-FEB-2022 :: Its the End of the Bull market obviously.
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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Anybody can be decisive during a panic It takes a strong Man to act during a Boom. VS NAIPAUL
World Of Finance

“The businessman bought at ten & was happy to get out at twelve; mathematician saw his ten rise to eighteen, but didn’t sell because he wanted to double his ten to twenty”

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The Donald Rumsfeld Thesis of the US need to be prepared to fight in two different theatres simultaneously is set to be tested Taiwan Ukraine
World Of Finance


1-4-2-1. The first 1 refers to defending what has since come to be called the homeland. 

The 4 refers to deterring hostilities in four key regions of the world. 

The 2 means the U.S. armed forces must have the strength to win swiftly in two near-simultaneous conflicts in those regions. 

The final 1 means that we must win one of those conflicts “decisively,” toppling the enemy’s regime.

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Chinese fighter jets will fly over Taiwan to declare sovereignty @globaltimesnews @HuXijin_GT @Newsweek
Law & Politics

"If Taiwan forces open fire, that will be the moment of all-out war across the Taiwan Strait,"  @HuXijin_GT added

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Gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire on a senior officer of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) outside his home, killing him in his car in the capital, Tehran. @AJEnglish
Law & Politics

Hassan Sayyad Khodayari was killed by five gunshots as he returned home near Mojahedin-e-Islam Street at about 4pm (11:30 GMT), reported the state news agency IRNA on Sunday.

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6 JAN 20 :: The Assassination (The Escalation of 'Shadow War')
Law & Politics

‘’But a response will have to come as this is nothing short of a declaration of war to a cornered country that has increasingly less to lose. The risks of miscalculation are at an all-time high’’ Vali Nasr.

“When I see the children of the martyrs, I want to smell their scent, and I lose myself.” It was Sulemaini who led the fight against Saddam

“The battlefield is mankind’s lost paradise—the paradise in which morality and human conduct are at their highest,” he says.
“One type of paradise that men imagine is about streams, beautiful maidens, and lush landscape. But there is another kind of paradise—the battlefield.”The front, he said, was “the lost paradise of the human beings.”
The supreme leader, who usually reserves his highest praise for fallen soldiers, has referred to Suleimani as “a living martyr of the revolution.” “In the end, he drank the sweet syrup of martyrdom.”

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Two-Step Flow Theory: @G_S_Bhogal
Law & Politics

Most people's opinions are copied from their favorite influencers, who in turn copy the opinions of their favored mass media. As such, politics is largely a battle between two armies of puppets being ventriloquized by a handful of actual thinkers.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.066520 
Dollar Index 102.05
Japan Yen 127.6065 
Swiss Franc 0.96655 
Pound 1.256975 
Aussie 0.708235
India Rupee 77.63355 
South Korea Won 1264.815 
Brazil Real 4.8151000 
Egypt Pound 18.406800
South Africa Rand 15.848300 

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Apocalypse now? The alarming effects of the global food crisis @observer Simon Tisdall
Food, Climate & Agriculture

Apocalypse is an alarming idea, commonly taken to denote catastrophic destruction foreshadowing the end of the world. 

But in the original Greek, apokálypsis means a revelation or an uncovering. One vernacular definition is “to take the lid off something”.
That latter feat is exactly what Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, achieved last week, possibly inadvertently, when he suggested Britain was facing “apocalyptic” levels of food price inflation

Tory ministers fumed over what they saw as implied criticism of the government’s masterly economic management.
In fact, Bailey was talking as much about the drastic impact of Ukraine-war-related rises in food costs and food shortages on people in poorer countries. 

“There’s a major worry for the developing world as well ... Sorry for being apocalyptic for a moment, but that is a major concern,” he said.
With most political and media attention narrowly focused on the emerging UK “cost of living crisis”, Bailey’s high-profile comments were timely – and revelatory. 

Months of warnings about a global tidal wave of hunger, rendered more urgent by Ukraine, have been largely ignored, not least by Boris Johnson’s aid-cutting government.
The cost of living is a problem in Britain. For UN agencies and humanitarian relief workers around the world, the bigger worry is the cost of dying.

Sounding the alarm again last week, António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said Ukraine-related shortages could help “tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity”. 

The result could be “malnutrition, mass hunger and famine in a crisis that could last for years” – and increase the chances of a global recession.

The World Food Programme estimates about 49 million people face emergency levels of hunger

About 811 million go to bed hungry each night. 

The number of people on the brink of starvation across Africa’s Sahel region, for example, is at least 10 times higher than in pre-Covid 2019.

The adverse impact of Russia’s invasion on the availability and price of staples such as wheat, maize, barley and sunflower oil – Ukraine and Russia normally produce about 30% of global wheat exports – has been huge.

Ukraine’s wheat production this year is likely to be 35% down, and exporting much of it may be impossible due to Russia’s Black Sea blockade. 

In March, global commodity prices, recorded by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, hit an all-time high. They remain at record-breaking levels.

Russia’s war has compounded or accelerated pre-existing food deficits and inflationary trends arising from a host of linked factors: the negative economic impact of the pandemic; resulting supply-chain, employment and transport problems; extreme weather and climate-crisis-related falls in output; spiralling energy costs; and numerous other ongoing conflicts worldwide.
Middle-income countries, such as Egypt and Brazil, are exceptionally poorly placed to cope with increased food insecurity, international risk consultants Verisk Maplecroft said in a report last week. 

Many governments had exhausted their financial and material reserves fighting Covid and incurred large debts.
Now the cupboard is bare. “Unlike low-income countries, they were rich enough to offer social protection during the pandemic, but now struggle to maintain high social spending that is vital to the living standards of large sections of their populations,” the report said.
Argentina, Tunisia, Pakistan and the Philippines, highly dependent on food and energy imports, were among many other middle- or lower-middle-income countries facing an elevated risk of civil unrest by the end of 2022, it suggested.

As the food “apocalypse” approaches, the poorest peoples will suffer, as they always do, while the wealthiest may be insulated, up to a point. 

But it is feared that the pain will rapidly move up the global food chain. With it is likely to come a surge in political turbulence, humanitarian crises, instability and geo-strategic rivalries across a hungry world.

Political upheaval & revolt
Scarce food, combined with price increases, electricity blackouts and shortages of petrol, cooking gas and medicines, provoked a political crisis in Sri Lanka this spring that serves as a discomfiting template for countries facing similar problems.
Months of protests culminated in the resignation of the prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, but even his scalp did not prevent unrest turning violent. 

Desperate, Sri Lanka obtained a bridging loan from the World Bank last week to help pay for essential imports. On Thursday, it defaulted on its debt for the first time ever.
Double-digit inflation that left many Pakistanis unable to afford basic foodstuffs was also a major contributory factor in the fall from power earlier this year of the prime minister, Imran Khan. 

His attempt to cling to office created a crisis of democracy with which Pakistan is still grappling.
Longer-term factors – repressive governance, corruption, incompetence, polarisation – fuelled unrest in both countries. 

But dire food shortages and inflation were the catalyst that rendered the objectionable intolerable. 

That’s a prospect now facing insecure and unpopular regimes from Peru, the Philippines and Cuba to Lebanon and Tunisia.

Analysts compare what is happening today in the Middle East with the Arab spring revolts. 

Egypt, whose government was overthrown in 2011, is the world’s largest wheat importer. 

About 70 million people rely on state-subsidised bread. Russia and Ukraine accounted for 80% of Egypt’s grain imports last year.

Today’s high prices and supply shortfalls, especially if they worsen, could do for Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s regime what similar grievances did for his deposed presidential predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.
Another country to watch closely is Iran. Violent protests erupted last week in Khuzestan after the government raised the price of bread, cooking oil and dairy products. 

Iranians’ situation is made worse by tough US sanctions and a tyrannical, corrupt clerical regime. 

If living standards continue to fall, there could be an explosion similar to the thwarted nationwide uprising of 2017-18.
Starvation & famine
In many parts of the world, especially Africa, food insecurity is anything but a new phenomenon. 

Hunger is the norm and the risk of famine is ever-present, often exacerbated by conflict and climate change. That said, the situation, broadly speaking, is deteriorating.
The total number of people facing acute food insecurity and requiring urgent food assistance has nearly doubled since 2016, according to the Global Network Against Food Crises, a joint UN and EU project. 

And the scale of the challenge is expanding, up by 40 million people, or 20%, last year. 

The network’s latest report pinpointed countries of particular concern: Ethiopia, South Sudan, southern Madagascar and Yemen, where it said 570,000 people – up 571% on six years ago – were in the most severe or “catastrophe” phase of food insecurity, threatened by the collapse of livelihoods, starvation and death.

Guterres, the UN chief, warned that Vladimir Putin’s war was seriously affecting efforts to fight hunger in Africa. 

It was imperative, he said, to “bring back the agriculture production of Ukraine and the food and fertiliser production of Russia and Belarus into world markets”. 

As Russian state media often note, western sanctions have added to global price volatility.
The UN is calling for Ukraine’s blockaded Black Sea and Azov Sea ports to be reopened so that grain exports can resume, not least to African countries. 

Especially badly affected is the drought-hit Sahel region. “An absolute crisis is unfolding before our eyes,” the World Food Programme’s director, David Beasley, said following visits to Benin, Niger and Chad

“We’re running out of money, and these people are running out of hope.”
That’s partly because aid now costs more. The UN and international agencies are obliged to pay inflated prices, up about 30% from pre-Covid norms, to secure vital food aid. 

And it is partly because food is more expensive relative to income. An average UK household spends 10% of its income on food. In Kenya or Pakistan, it is over 40%.

Conflict & instability

Conflict is the biggest driver of hunger, whether it is the depredations of Islamist jihadists in Mali, Nigeria and the southern Philippines, the crass rivalries of regional powers in Yemen and Libya, or an unpardonable full-scale war, as in Ukraine.
The UN estimates that 60% of the world’s hungry live in conflict zones. 

Ukraine has shown again how war, by causing shortages of essentials and rendering normal life insupportable, leads to internal displacement, aid dependency, refugee emergencies and mass migration.
Syria’s civil war provides a cautionary example – although there are many others. A

 relatively prosperous country has been reduced by over a decade of conflict to something approaching a basket case. 

About 12.4 million people – 60% of the population – suffer food insecurity, a figure that has more than doubled since 2019.
Ethiopia’s disastrous war of choice in Tigray, which was invaded by government troops in 2019, is another case of famine following folly. 

The UN estimated in January that 2 million people were suffering from an extreme lack of food, and were dependent on aid in a province that was previously mostly self-sufficient.
In contrast, South Sudan has never been fully able to feed itself since independence in 2011. 

Ethnically rooted rivalries have often combined with competition for land and food resources with catastrophic effects. 

Cattle rustling is a key source of violence, while drought is another big factor.
Even when a struggling country is in the international spotlight – rarely the case with South Sudan – and the war is supposedly over, its fortunes do not necessarily improve. 

The plight of many Afghans appears to have gone from bad to worse after the 20-year occupation by US and Nato forces ended last year and the Taliban took charge.
The billions of dollars of aid ploughed into the country since 2001 now count for naught. 

Save the Children said this month that 9.6 million Afghan children are going hungry due to deepening economic woes, Ukraine, and ongoing drought. It is the country’s worst hunger crisis on record, the charity said.
Climate crisis & hunger
It is no longer controversial to assert that destroyed crops, lost livelihoods and impoverished communities – key micro-ingredients of mass hunger emergencies – are intimately connected to, and affected by, climate change and extreme weather events. 

But it is still hard to find concerted, effective international action or public pressure to shift the dynamic.
Horn of Africa countries such as Somalia, for example, are experiencing the worst drought in 40 years amid unprecedentedly high temperatures. 

As Foreign Policy magazine reported recently, when the rains did come, they were extreme and short-lived, causing flooding and breeding swarms of locusts.
It is claimed that about 3 million livestock have perished in southern Ethiopia and semi-arid parts of Kenya since last year. 

Pointing to climate change, the UN says 20 million people across the region could go hungry this year. Their plight, too, has been exacerbated by Ukraine.
But when the charity Christian Aid commissioned polling on the Horn of Africa region to find out what the British public thought should be done, only 23% of those questioned were aware there was a problem. In contrast, 91% were aware of Putin’s war.
India recently demonstrated the lack of joined-up international thinking on climate, hunger and war. 

A record-breaking heatwave in north-west India has damaged this year’s crops. T

hat led the government to suspend wheat exports this month. 

Global markets had been relying on India, the world’s second-largest producer, to make up the Ukraine shortfall. Instead of helping, Narendra Modi’s government did the opposite.
Critical links between the twin crises of climate and hunger are broadly recognised by governments and analysts, but acting to effect real change is proving harder, as the less-than-stellar outcomes of last year’s Cop26 summit in Glasgow suggest.
In the meantime, the World Bank is throwing money at the problem – at the latest count, $30bn to help low-income countries embroiled in climate and food crises.
Food & politics
When the history of the Ukraine war is written, Russia’s reckless action in weaponising food and deliberately disrupting global supplies, thereby risking the lives of countless millions, may be counted a bigger crime than even its unprovoked attack on its neighbour.
Russia’s role as a key grain and energy exporter is likely to outlive the current regime in Moscow. But its global standing and influence is diminished, probably permanently.
That is largely due to Putin’s personal failure to recognise, or accept, that the era of Soviet exceptionalism is over – and that Russia, like other countries, inhabits a newly interconnected, interdependent, mutually responsible world of rules, rights and laws.
The UN general assembly vote in March, overwhelmingly condemning as illegal Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, brought together many once Moscow-friendly developing countries shocked by Putin’s disregard for national sovereignty and borders – and his apparent indifference to the wellbeing of poorer nations dependent on food and fuel imports. It was a watershed moment.
China’s refusal to condemn the invasion, and its failure to show international leadership in addressing the resulting global hunger and supply crises, may also significantly damage its reputation and, with that, its hopes of hegemony. The contrast presented by the US is striking.
Addressing the UN last week, Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said the world faced “the greatest global food security crisis of our time”. 

Blinken announced an additional $215m in global emergency food assistance on top of $2.3bn already donated by the US since the Ukraine invasion began on 24 February.
If the looming global “apocalypse” revealed to parliament by Andrew Baileydoes indeed materialise this winter, it will be to the US, the UK, their allies and the much-battered UN system – not China, the 21st century’s self-designated superpower – that the world must look for earthly salvation. 

The challenge ahead is truly biblical.

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Sunday, April 10, 2022 Apocalypse Now
World Of Finance

Commodity Prices will continue to surge. Just look at Food Prices last month.

Food prices are soaring at a record pace, rising another 13% in March. @lisaabramowicz1
“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola They must have guessed, once or twice -guessed and refused to believe -that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chance, no return.’’
Gravity’s Rainbow is a 1973 novel by Thomas Pynchon
The consequences for global stability are now unfathomable.

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After $5 Trillion Rout, Emerging Markets Seek Turnaround Signal @markets @SriniSivabalan and @karllesteryap
Emerging Markets

THE wreckage of a US$5 trillion rout in emerging markets is starting to look like a buying opportunity to some intrepid investors. 
The pain points are all too obvious: Stocks have fallen below their average valuations of the past 17 years. 

Local-currency bond yields have soared through a range that’s held since the 2008 crisis. 

Spreads on dollar bonds are close to thresholds seen only during times of distress. 
After 15 months of capital outflows, emerging markets are at an advanced stage of pricing in the risks. 

For some money managers, that means it’s time to start buying again - not in a bullish outburst, but in gradual, cautious steps. 

Still, the risk of deeper losses remains, especially if China’s economy slows further or the Federal Reserve turns more hawkish.
“We have reduced our bearishness on the emerging-market asset class,” said Paul Greer, a money manager at Fidelity International in London. 

“While fundamentals remain very challenged, the valuations on offer, coupled with a more favourable technical picture, have meaningfully altered the near-term risk-reward asymmetry.”
The combined equity values of the 24 nations classified as emerging markets by MSCI Inc has fallen US$4 trillion since a peak in early 2021, while Bloomberg gauges of dollar bonds and local-currency debt have lost US$500 billion each from their highs. 

Fed rate hikes and quantitative tightening are the top concern for investors, but surging inflation, fresh pandemic outbreaks in China and the war in Ukraine also play a role.
The selloff pushed a JPMorgan Chase & Co measure of the extra yield investors demand to own emerging-market sovereign dollar bonds over Treasuries to 489 basis points on Friday. 

That’s a whisker away from the 500 basis-point mark that triggered a turnaround in 2015, and above the level that sparked one in 2011.
“It’s reasonable to expect the panic selling to be behind us,” said Jennifer Kusuma, a senior rates strategist with a focus on Asia at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. 

“The market provides decent entry levels for tactical positioning or for long-term investors who are less affected by market volatility.”

Local-currency bonds are also flashing signals of cheapness. The average yield on the EM Local Currency Government Universal Index has jumped to 4.94 per cent, above the downward sloping range in which it has fluctuated since 2008. 
“Yields are now sufficiently attractive at cyclical highs,” said Leonard Kwan, a fixed-income portfolio manager at T Rowe Price Group in Hong Kong. 

“They are better able to cushion against a further rise in core rates and still provide positive returns over the next year.”
Meanwhile, MSCI’s equity benchmark for emerging markets has fallen every month this year, extending its 2021 declines. 

Its price-to-book value, which relates stock prices to balance sheets rather than their profit-and-loss accounts, fell to 1.44 times, below the 1.47 average since 2005.
All these indicators don’t necessarily mean emerging markets are ripe for a turnaround. 

A meltdown in US markets will almost certainly pull developing nations down with it, and so will any escalation in monetary tightening or geopolitical tensions. 

Even without those shocks, most investors expect emerging markets to witness more losses before hitting a bottom.
“I am still bearish on local bonds despite the significant improvement in value this year,” said Rajeev De Mello, a global macro portfolio manager at GAMA Asset Management in Geneva. 

“My concern is that this cycle of developed-market central-bank tightening is much more aggressive than what investors were used to in the past 20-30 years.”
Two cues that traders are waiting for before dipping back into emerging markets are a peak in inflation and a halt to the dollar’s rally. 

The greenback posted a loss last week, after six weeks of gains, which should encourage them. 

They’ll also be looking for consumer-price data this week from at least eight developing nations including Mexico and Malaysia. US data such as personal-consumption expenditure will give clues on Fed policy.
“We are neutral with a view to get bullish toward the end of this year as we pass the peak in inflation,” said Edwin Gutierrez, the head of emerging-market sovereign debt at abrdn plc in London.
“There’s a high likelihood market focus will turn to recession worries in the US. That will also mean emerging-market bond yields will start to fall.”

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Angola’s ruling party faces united opposition in upcoming poll. But it’s pushing back @TC_Africa @jon_schubert & Gilson Lázaro

The election of Angolan President João Lourenço in 2017 raised hopes of a shift from the authoritarian and corrupt era of his predecessor. 

This was thanks to the new, more open and approachable style of governance he instituted in his first months in office. 

This included opening up the public media as well as symbolic gestures such as ending the practice of blocking off road traffic for the president’s motorcade to pass.
Yet ahead of the August 2022 elections, in which Lourenço is running for a second term, these hopes have largely been dashed.
Lourenço’s moves to ‘open up’ the Angolan economy have had little effect. 

Instead, an economic crisis that has endured since late 2014 has led to popular dissatisfaction and anger among Angolans. 

This anger is behind the formation of a broad political opposition front against the ruling party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). The new United Patriotic Front brings together key opposition leaders as well as civil society organisations.
This front could be the best hope for opposition and civil society activists to prevent yet another victory for the MPLA and João Lourenço. 

That’s because it brings together under one umbrella key opposition leaders and offers a credible alternative for those disaffected with Lourenço and his party.
That said, even though the ruling party’s voter share has been steadily declining, it is likely to win again with more than 50% of the vote due to electoral fraud and obstruction.
To quell potential threats to its continued dominance Lourenço’s party – which has ruled Angola since independence in 1975 — is using all instruments at its disposal to hobble the opposition.
Former president José Eduardo dos Santos stepped back ahead of the 2017 elections after 38 years in power. 

Lourenço, the MPLA’s new candidate for the presidency, was widely panned as an uninspiring party soldier and Dos Santos loyalist. 

Campaigning under the slogan, “improve what is good, correct what is bad”, Lourenço promised more of the same, just perhaps slightly better.
Yet he managed to surprise many by unleashing a flurry of dismissals of high-ranking government officials and civil servants.
The fight against corruption was his first major policy plank. This has been selectively successful. 

For example, he instituted high-profile corruption inquiries. These included several investigations into the dealings of the dos Santos family itself.
This earned him the praise of critics and citizens. And it was a crucial element towards his other main priority, which was to reposition Angola as a trustworthy partner on the global stage. 

The negotiation of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a multibillion credit line to stabilise the ailing economy in 2018, was trumpeted as evidence of Angola’s openness to reform.
The change paved the way for new oil investments and some debt rescheduling.
Yet these ‘reforms’ have largely been geared towards external audiences – including regaining the trust of foreign investors.
Rather than improving socio-economic circumstances, self-inflicted austerity measures have hit the poorer parts of the population hardest. 

Debt servicing stands at 60% of government expenditure. 

Health and education are languishing at levels of spending that are among the continent’s lowest. And service standards are just as low.
The cost of living has skyrocketed, with the price of basic foodstuffs exploding.
Opposition consolidates
A newly invigorated opposition is promising to capitalise on rising popular dissatisfaction. This has resulted in frequent strikes and protests across the country.
The opposition has never been in a better position to earn the vote of Angolans. 

In an initial phase (2017-19) the Angolan public was willing to trust the new president’s willingness to reform. Since then, the socio-economic situation has got worse.
Many citizens (including some within the MPLA) are dissatisfied with a selective fight against corruption that targets Dos Santos’ allies while promoting oligopolies associated with Lourenço.
The end of the honeymoon coincided with change at the head of the opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA ), one of Angola’s three historic liberation movements turned rebel group turned opposition party, which elected Adalberto Costa Júnior in November 2019. 

He was, until his election to the party presidency, the head of the party’s parliamentary bench. He’s a fierce critic of the MPLA and its anti-corruption policies.
Costa Júnior (60) quickly gained in popularity, articulating clear positions and cutting a much more presidential figure than his predecessor, Isaías Samakuva.
Costa Júnior’s ascendance also paved the way for the creation of the United Patriotic Front.
The front includes large sectors of organised civil society opposed to the MPLA as well as political parties. 

These include UNITA, the Bloco Democrático of Filomeno Vieira Lopes and the political project Pra-Já servir Angola, of Abel Chivukuvuku (ex-UNITA and ex-CASA-CE).
The empire strikes back
A politicised judiciary is playing a key role in Lourenço’s fight back.
Rattled by the threat posed by Costa Júnior, Lourenço has mobilised the Constitutional Court, where most of the judges are associated with the MPLA.
After a bogus claim by some alleged UNITA member, the court in October 2021 annulled the party’s 13th congress held in 2019 that had elected Costa Júnior as leader on spurious grounds.
This was a political rather than a legal decision, with a majority of judges following the wishes of the president. The ruling triggered angry protests across the country.
An extraordinary UNITA party congress in December 2021 reelected Costa Júnior with an overwhelming majority. 

But a further six-month delay by the court in validating that second congress (plus those of five other parties) tied UNITA up in exhausting legal challenges. 

This prolonged insecurity and impeded Costa Júnior from pre-election campaigning or signing any agreements in the name of the party.
Looking forward
Three months ahead of elections, Angola presents a paradoxical picture. 

While foreign investors hail Lourenço as a “courageous” great reformer, hunger, poverty, and popular dissatisfaction are on the rise.
The MPLA is reverting to old authoritarian reflexes – legal-administrative obstacles, harassment and intimidation, physical violence, arbitrary detention, extra-legal killings, media manipulation, judicial bias and electoral fraud – to thwart any possible opposition threat to its dominance.
The United Patriotic Front faces likely legal challenges, voter registration is marred by obstacles, human rights violations and the repression of protests are on the rise again. S

tate-controlled media give overwhelming airtime to the MPLA while censoring opposition voices.
As a result, the elections are likely to be marred by fraud, intimidation and violence, with a subservient judiciary again quashing any legal challenges to the MPLA.

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

Price: 26.65
Market Capitalization: $9.173b
EPS: 1.74
PE: 15.316

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@EquityGroupInc share data @KeEquityBank
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment

Price: 43.05
Market Capitalization: $1.395b
EPS: 10.38
PE: 4.147

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Diamond Trust Bank (Kenya) Ltd.
N.S.E Equities - Finance & Investment

Price: 49.60
Market Capitalization: 13,868,270,112
EPS: 13.98
PE: 3.548

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

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