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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 10th of April 2017

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Macro Thoughts

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Evening by the River London

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be
able to do it.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

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@London_W4 Woohoo! It's sunny, it's the weekend and this is London. She looks happy about it.

“If London is a watercolor, New York is an oil painting.” ― Peter Shaffer

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Trump's options on North Korea 'include nukes in South and assassination of Kim Jong-un @thetimes
Law & Politics

President Trump’s security advisers have proposed putting US nuclear
weapons in South Korea or assassinating Kim Jong-un as possible
responses to North Korea’s nuclear programme, according to reports.

The National Security Council (NSC) presented options to Mr Trump
ahead of his meeting with President Xi of China this week, NBC News
reported. Most controversial among them was the suggestion of
deploying nuclear weapons overseas for the first time since the Cold

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Not even 100 days into his presidency, Trump has done exactly what he attacked Hillary Clinton for contemplating.
Law & Politics

Some have described this reverse as “hypocritical.” This description
is not accurate. A hypocrite says one thing while inwardly believing
another. The situation with Donald Trump is much more alarming. On
October 26, 2016, he surely meant what he said. It’s just that what he
meant and said that day was no guide to what he would mean or say on
October 27, 2016—much less April 6, 2017.

Voters and citizens can expect literally zero advance warning of what
Donald Trump will do or won’t do. Campaign promises, solemn
pledges—none are even slightly binding. If he can reverse himself on
Syria, he can reverse himself on anything.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.0585
Dollar Index 101.27
Japan Yen 111.42
Swiss Franc 1.0091
Pound 1.2386
Aussie 0.7485
India Rupee 64.27
South Korea Won 1137.89
Brazil Real 3.1461
Egypt Pound 17.9900
South Africa Rand 13.8100

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Will economics prevail against politics in Africa? By ALY-KHAN SATCHU

Pascal Lamy, the director-general of the World Trade Organisation
until 1 September 2013, was quoted as follows by the @Mo_IbrahimFdn at
their #Ardebates:

Will economics prevail against politics in #Africa?

And I could not help thinking to myself that along with job creation
that this is the biggest challenge facing Africa. The dimensions of
the political economy differ across the continent, but wherever we
care to turn, we can see that the political economy is exacting a very
heavy price.

Take South Africa where Fitch Ratings followed S&P by downgrading it
to junk status.

Fitch Ratings said: “The Cabinet reshuffle, which involved the
replacement of the finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and the deputy
finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, is likely to result in a change in
the direction of economic policy. The reshuffle partly reflected
efforts by the out-going finance minister to improve the governance of
state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The reshuffle is likely to undermine,
if not reverse, progress in SOE governance, raising the risk that SOE
debt could migrate on to the government’s balance sheet.”

The cost to South Africa Inc after the latest reshuffle at the
Treasury is measurable [South African banks are now rated at ‘’Junk’’]
and it’s egregious. Why? Politics.

I remember the cries of ‘’South Sudan Oyee!’’ as Juba got its
independence. There was so much momentum, but look at what has
happened. Everything became binary [Dinka versus Nuer] and the economy
has crashed and burned. The River Nile flows through Juba, it could
have been the ‘’bread-basket’’ of East Africa, but today a biblical
famine stalks the land. Why? Politics.

North of our border, Ethiopia [the poster child for Sub-Saharan gross
domestic product growth] has extended the State of Emergency for
another four months. A State of Emergency represents a situation that
is in disequilibrium. A lot of folks have invested in Ethiopia’s
future but returning to equilibrium looks problematic.

This past week the president of DR Congo Joseph Kabila [sporting a
virtuoso moustache] appointed Bruno Tshibala prime minister, but the
political uncertainty has sent DR Congo’s GDP into a tail-spin. Congo
should be an economy the size of Brazil!

Here in Kenya we are set to embark on an election. I have seen some
seriously credible research that puts the estimated cost of our
elections at anywhere between $2 billion-$4 billion(about Sh206.88
billion-Sh413.76 billion). That includes the presidential,
gubernatorial and all other elections put together. You have to ask if
Kenya Inc can afford to bear such a heavy burden.

In Greek mythology Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra. He was punished
for his self-aggrandising craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced
to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it come back to
hit him, repeating this action for eternity. The political economy is
like that boulder.

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Congo's Kabila names opposition figure Tshibala prime minister

Tshibala was expelled from the UDPS last month after he and other
prominent opposition leaders contested the designation of successors
to veteran leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in February.

Tshisekedi's son, Felix, who replaced his father as president of the
main opposition bloc, said Kabila violated the deal by not naming a
candidate of the alliance's choosing.

"We continue to demand the application of the Dec. 31, 2016 accord,"
he told Reuters. "The nomination of Bruno Tshibala is a departure from
the accord."

Tshibala will be confronted immediately with stern security and
economic tests. Congo's franc currency has lost nearly half its value
since last year and militia violence has worsened across the country
in the wake of Kabila's decision to stay on.

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Only the beleaguered judiciary and Pravin Gordhan's fiscal management stand between South Africa and economic doom @Africa_Conf

Only the beleaguered judiciary and Pravin Gordhan's fiscal management
stand between South Africa and economic doom. This is an increasingly
common refrain within the political class as evidence mounts that, in
emulation of neighbouring Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's survival
strategy, President Jacob Zuma has not been deflected from a policy of
protecting widespread rent-seeking behind a populist smokescreen.

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South Africa's tender for the estimated 1 trillion-rand ($72 billion) expansion of its nuclear power plants will begin in June

South Africa's tender for the estimated 1 trillion-rand ($72 billion)
expansion of its nuclear power plants will begin in June when state
utility Eskom requests proposals from companies bidding for the
project, City Press newspaper reported on Sunday.

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Death toll in Egypt church bombing reaches 21, 50 injured - state television

Egypt's President Sisi to declare three-month state of emergency @Reuters

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Kenya will sell two re-opened 10-year Treasury bonds worth 30 billion shillings ($290.4 million) this month

The bank said in a newspaper advertisement that it will take bids
between April 10 and April 18 and auction the bonds on April 19.

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Our farm is in the eye of a terrible, murderous storm Aidan Hartley The Spectator

For weeks the farm has been in the eye of a storm, with violence
swirling all around us in clouds of dust kicked up by multitudes of
cattle. Last week to the west, tribal invaders burned down Kuki
Gallmann’s tourist lodge overlooking the Mukutan Gorge. On Sosian
ranch to the south our neighbours are bravely pushing on a month after
the invaders murdered Tristan and burned down several homes. To the
east on Suyian ranch, Anne’s safari lodge — the loveliest camp I ever
saw in Laikipia — also lies in ashes. To the north invaders are still
poaching elephant, as they are everywhere around us, spraying bullets
into their legs and then hacking out the tusks. Since they wandered
off with their herds before Christmas, the invaders have still not
returned to our place. This might be because we were left with no
grass and little water. It is dead quiet now. Walking through the bush
at noon, I hear only my own breathing and footsteps, which kick up
little explosions of dust. No birdsong, no wind. The landscape’s
colours are those you see in the images Nasa spacecraft transmit from
Mars, reddish and with stark light and shadow. There is no pasture
left and the animals are dying. In the valley our fever trees stand
like vandalised umbrellas, their branches collapsed on all sides from
starving elephant that smash them down in their desperation for
anything to suck out of the bitter, yellow bark. On my path I find a
waterbuck that must have collapsed only a few minutes before, its eyes
still open as it dies.

The invaders appear to have vanished, but I frequently see tracks in
the dust — and sometimes figures scampering away through the bush.
Beyond the farm’s perimeter fence I see vast herds of cattle, tens of
thousands of them. I am anxious to know why they have not smashed down
our fences again, as they did in October — and why they have not yet
burned down the farmstead, the hay barn and offices. Perhaps they are
just saving us until later. I question a Samburu friend about this and
he says, ‘to us you are like a white bird’. I wearily ask what on
earth he is talking about and after an esoteric conversation I finally
deduce that he is comparing me to an Egyptian vulture. Supposedly, the
Samburu avoid killing such creatures for fear of bringing curses down
upon themselves.

It is all very well being seen as an untouchable vulture, but at
nightfall I am reminded that in recent years this has failed to
protect me from being shot at, ambushed, pelted with rocks, spears,
knobkerries and abuse. And it’s also not true that the Samburu avoid
killing vultures, because this once abundant creature has all but
vanished from our neck of the woods. And in the dark the fun begins.

Around the farmstead itself is a high security electric fence with
thousands of volts pulsing through it. I’ve seen a baboon climb over
it — and I know a leopard got through it one night — but unless the
wires are cut there is no way a human can breach the line without
triggering loud alarms and flashing lights. The first alarm goes off
at about 9 p.m. I go out with the fencing team until we find the cut
wires, fix them and restore power. We have an askari defending the
barn, where our last hay reserves are stored for the farm’s cattle.
It’s just a matter of time before the invaders try to either steal it
or burn the barn out of spite.

At midnight the alarm goes off again. Wandering along the fence line
in the dark with the team, the hairs on my neck stand up. People
outside the fence are watching us and I wonder what arms they carry
and if they will use them. The cut is found and fixed. At 2 a.m. the
alarm sounds again — and then again at
4 a.m. After all the night fears, dawn in Kenya always lifts my
spirits. First I hear the sand grouse, then the bustards winging their
way towards the light, then the francolins. Briefly, I fancy there’s a
dew before the sun comes up and like breath lifting from a knife the
idea vanishes.

After rampaging their way through half a million acres of Laikipia,
some of Kenya’s best ranches and wildlife areas, the invaders’ cattle
have started dying like the other animals. On a drive through the bush
beyond the farm borders I cross invisible clouds of stench that are
overwhelming. The starving cows first sit down and refuse to get up
again. They stay there until they keel over. It’s happening to
hundreds, and soon it will be thousands — and then the invasions will
end and the rains will come at last.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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April 2017

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