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Friday 06th of October 2017
 
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Macro Thoughts

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BREAKING NEWS The 2017 #NobelPrize in Literature is awarded to the English author Kazuo Ishiguro @NobelPrize
Africa


“And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her
breast the old kind of world, one that she knew in her heart could not
remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.” ―
Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

“Memory, I realize, can be an unreliable thing; often it is heavily
coloured by the circumstances in which one remembers.” ― Kazuo
Ishiguro

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Kazuo Ishiguro, the New Nobel Laureate, Has Supremely Done His Own Kind of Thing New Yorker
Africa


On reflection, however, you can see how his work shares similarities
with another British laureate, William Golding: both writers have been
drawn to allegory, and to historical fiction and fantastical
exploration (Ishiguro’s most recent novel, “The Buried Giant,” is set
in sixth- or seventh-century Britain; Golding’s “The Inheritors” is
about a Neanderthal family); and both writers have practiced a kind of
brilliantly imperturbable purity—they have supremely done their own
kind of thing, calmly undeterred by literary fashion, the demands of
the market, or the intermittent incomprehension of critics.
I’ve been one of those critics. I greatly admired Ishiguro’s early
novels, such as “An Artist of the Floating World,” from 1986, and “The
Remains of the Day,” from 1989 (the latter seems an almost perfect
book). But “The Unconsoled” (1995), narrated by a concert pianist and
set in an unnamed Central European city, too closely inhabited the
miasmic, drifting, dreamlike state it sought to evoke. I thought that
“The Buried Giant”(2015)—apparently admired by at least one member of
the Nobel committee—was an allegory at once too literal and too vague.
(Ancient Britain has been plunged into a nationwide historical amnesia
nicknamed “the mist,” which turns out to be the breath of Querig, a
tyrannical she-dragon that must be slaughtered. Enough said.)
But surely “Never Let Me Go” (2005), is one of the central novels of
our age, in part because Ishiguro perfectly mixes realism and
dystopian fantasy to produce an allegory of deep and lingering power.
“Never Let Me Go” is set in a boarding school called Hailsham, and
flatly narrated, in a style of almost punitive blandness, by a young
woman named Kathy. Hailsham seems banally similar to any British
school of its ilk, and it’s only very gradually that we begin to
discern the enormous differences: it is in fact a school for cloned
children, whose organs are being harvested for ordinary, luckier,
non-cloned British citizens. The cloned children will eventually be
“called up,” and forced to donate a kidney or a lung. By the fourth
“donation,” sometime in their early twenties, they will “complete”;
they will die, having served their function.

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On The Road The Star January 7th 2013
Africa


My Christmas holiday ritual is to jump into a car and take the family
down to the Coast. The Nairobi-Mombasa road arrows 'into immensities
and is 'impossible-to- believe.' It retains a near mystical hold on my
imagination and connects me to my childhood and beyond. Dad used to
once own an Alfa Romeo [of which there were only three then in the
country] and my pilgrimage along that road started then, when we used
to come from Mombasa. Now, of course, we set off from Nairobi but the
road still has its hold. The landmarks still reach out to me. This
time we were swarmed by doves near Emali which was breathtaking. There
is still the eerie and deserted very Oscar Niemeyer building which
might have been a petrol station with a restaurant. We stopped at
Makindu which is like being teleported to Amritsar and on New Years
day was packed to the rafters. We always stop at Mackinnon road where
there is a shrine which houses the tomb of Seyyid Baghali, a Punjabi
foreman at the time of the building of the railway who was renowned
for his strength.

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5 OCT 15 :: Russia began its intervention on the side of President Bashar Assad of Syria.
Law & Politics


You could hear the squealing start immediately from Ankara to Riyadh,
from the GCC to Washington. All these capitals have assets on the
ground in Syria, and what is clear is that Russia is not making a
distinction between IS or the ‘’moderate opposition fighting Assad’’
[which really means ‘’our’’ terrorists].

Lavrov said: “If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a
terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a
terrorist, it’s a terrorist, right?”

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5 OCT 15 :: Putin is a GeoPolitical GrandMaster @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics


Putin fancies himself the fly-catcher and syria the fly-trap. The
speed of execution confirms that Russia is once again a geopolitical
actor that will have to be considered. It is a breath-taking rebound.

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Inside the Saudi king's 1,500-person entourage in Moscow @business
Law & Politics


Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz brought 1,500 people, a golden
escalator and his own carpets on his historic, four-day state visit to
Russia, a person familiar with the matter said.

The 81-year-old leader of the Gulf kingdom exited his plane late
Wednesday and stepped out onto the special escalator he travels with.
But something went wrong: It malfunctioned halfway down, and he had to
walk the rest of the way. A cavalcade of cars sped the monarch to the
center of the city, flanked by Russian police escorts.

A Saudi plane is traveling daily between Riyadh and Moscow to
transport supplies, said the person, who said that 800 kilograms
(1,764 pounds) of food has been brought in. Members of the royal
entourage also replaced some of the hotel staff with their own
personnel, who know exactly how they like their coffee made, the
person said. King Salman, who’s staying at the Four Seasons, also came
with his own furniture.

The Saudi government booked two entire luxury hotels for the visit:
the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons. The latter had to ask some
guests to cancel their reservations to make room—and even moved out
people who live in the hotel permanently, people familiar with the
matter said.

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Iraqi Kurdistan the fly to regional spiders Turkey, Iraq, Iran Pepe Escobar
Law & Politics


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan just visited Tehran and met
with President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

That’s a major geopolitical move by any standards. Iran and Turkey are
both part of the Astana negotiations aimed at effecting closure in
Syria.

Erdogan: “There is no country other than Israel that recognizes it. A
referendum that was conducted by sitting side by side with Mossad has
no legitimacy.”

Rouhani: “Turkey, Iran and Iraq have no choice but to take serious and
necessary measures to protect their strategic goals in the region, and
the wrong decisions made by some of the leaders of this region must be
compensated for by them.”

Is that it? Not really. Remember Twin Peaks: “the owls are not what
they seem.” Shadow play is very much in effect.

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U.S. intelligence sees China's military expanding bases globally
Law & Politics


China’s first overseas military base in the small African country of
Djibouti is “probably the first of many” the country intends to build
around the world, which could bring its interests into conflict with
the U.S., according to American intelligence officials.

“China has the fastest-modernizing military in the world next to the
United States,” according to insights provided Thursday by U.S.
intelligence officials, who asked not to be identified discussing the
information. That will create “new areas of intersection -- and
potentially conflicting -- security interests between China and the
United States and other countries abroad,” according to the officials.

According to the intelligence officials, “Chinese leaders see the
U.S.-led world order, most notably the U.S. alliance network and
promotion of U.S. values worldwide, as constraining China’s rise and
are attempting to reshape the world order to better suit Chinese
preferences and growing clout.”

Ahead of the Communist Party Congress, officials in Beijing have
increased “control of domestic dissent.” The world’s second-largest
economy is on track to reach its 6.5 percent annual growth target, the
officials said. The country is fueling that growth, in part, by
seeking deeper technology collaboration with U.S. companies.

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28-AUG-2017 :: China Rising. @TheStarKenya
Law & Politics


Apart from a few half-hearted and timid FONOPs [freedom of navigation
operations], China has established control over the South China Sea.
It has created artificial Islands and then militarised those
artificial islands across the South China Sea. It is a mind-boggling
geopolitical advance any which way you care to cut it. China has
advanced its footprint in Pakistan, where it has leased the Gwadar
Port [giving China and Central Asia access to the Gulf region and the
Middle East] for 43 years. Sri Lanka, which gorged on Chinese debt,
has had to disgorge the Hambantota Port to its creditor. And recently,
we saw China formally open a miitary facility in Djibouti. These moves
taken together speak to a material Chinese advance. The pivot to Asia
which was supposed to contain China is dead in the water and China has
sprung that trap.

China is also in Narendra Modi’s face in the Doklam Plateau, which
sits at the tri-junction region of Bhutan, China and India. It’s as if
Xi Jinping is goading Narendra Modi, who would be seriously
ill-advised to take on the Chinaman in that remote plateau.

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Is ex-warlord Charles Taylor pulling Liberia's election strings from prison? BBC
Law & Politics


Liberia's former President Charles Taylor is currently serving a
50-year sentence for war crimes in a prison in the British city of
Durham. But is he using that as a base to interfere in the elections
in his homeland next Tuesday?

"If he was to come back today, I'd roll out the red carpet," said
Justin Luther Cassell, a 32-year-old man sitting outside the Pray for
Peace Business Centre in Gbartala, central Liberia.

Gathered round on plastic chairs, drinking beer and discussing the
forthcoming Liberian elections, the men here are clearly frustrated.

This was Charles Taylor's rebel headquarters in the 1990s.

The former military base may be crumbling, with buildings almost
completely engulfed by the jungle, but Taylor's name is still as
strong as ever in Bong county.

The union between Mr Weah's Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and
the NPP came just before a phone call from the former warlord was
broadcast to a gathering of his supporters on his birthday in January
this year.

The call was made from inside a high-security prison in Durham.

He is heard saying that "this revolution is his life", he advises his
people not to betray the party: "Go back to base and everything will
be fine."

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1696
Dollar Index 94.08
Japan Yen 113.00
Swiss Franc 0.9799
Pound 1.3071
Aussie 0.7770
India Rupee 65.285
South Korea Won 1141.78
Brazil Real 3.1540
Egypt Pound 17.6745
South Africa Rand 13.6905

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Plague Outbreak Kills 30 People in Madagascar With Hundreds Ill
Africa


An outbreak of pneumonic plague in the Indian Ocean island nation of
Madagascar has killed 30 people, with almost 200 others infected, the
Public Health Ministry said.

Seven of the deaths occurred in the capital, Antananarivo, where 43
people are suspected of having contracted the disease, the ministry
said in a statement Wednesday.

The outbreak started on Aug. 23 after the death of a 31-year-old male
in the country’s Central Highlands region, a plague-endemic area,
according to the World Health Organization. Ten cities have reported
outbreaks of pneumonic plague, while there have also been cases of
bubonic and septicemic plague, the United Nations body said on its
website.

read more


Investors Undeterred as South Africa Bond Inflows Soar
Africa


The lure of the highest yields among emerging-market peers is proving
irresistible, with foreign investors buying a net 18 billion rand
($1.3 billion) of South African bonds in September, the most in a
month since March. That brought inflows this year to 68 billion rand
and foreign ownership of the country’s local-currency debt to about 45
percent, compared with 20 percent for Turkey and 28 percent for
Russia.

“High real rates, a benign inflation outlook and scope for further
easing” of monetary policy could see yields falling in several
emerging markets including South Africa, Andre de Silva, head of
emerging-market rates research at HSBC Holdings Plc, said in a report
this week that recommended buying South African 13-year rand bonds.

“We don’t see any reason to be cautious.”

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How corruption became 'state capture' in South Africa @FT
Africa


Bell Pottinger. SAP. KPMG. McKinsey. Each has become sucked into the
reputational whirlpool otherwise known as Jacob Zuma’s South Africa.
Each has been spat out in varying degrees of dishevelment.

Bell Pottinger, the UK public relations company, went into
administration after running a racially divisive campaign against
“white minority capital”.

SAP, the German software company, suspended four executives and
launched a probe into allegations that it paid $7.5m in bribes to win
government contracts.

KPMG dispensed with eight senior executives after it wrote off a
client’s lavish wedding as a business expense and wrote a report,
since retracted, rubbishing one of South Africa’s most respected
ministers.

And McKinsey has stopped working with state power utility Eskom
pending the result of an internal inquiry into allegations that it
worked with Trillian Capital, a financial advisory firm, to secure
state contracts.

What is it about South Africa that is so toxic? And what, if anything,
links these four corporate car wrecks? The answer is to be found in a
single term: state capture.

To South Africans, it is a frequent topic of radio phone-ins and even
inspired a hip-hop song. Yet outside South Africa, the term, first
used by the World Bank in about 2000 to describe how former Soviet
economies were being bent to the will of oligarchs, barely registers.

Transparency International, the anti-corruption watchdog, defines
state capture as “a situation where powerful individuals,
institutions, companies or groups within or outside a country use
corruption to shape a nation’s policies, legal environment and economy
to benefit their own private interests”.

State capture is more systematic than plain vanilla (banknote-stuffed
envelope) corruption, which seeks to exploit existing opportunities.
State capture goes one better by changing personnel, regulations and
laws to work in one’s favour.

Both sides deny wrongdoing. The Guptas backed Mr Zuma from an early
stage. In the mid-2000s, his path to the presidency seemed blocked by
allegations of corruption and rape, but in 2007 against all the odds
Mr Zuma unseated Thabo Mbeki, then president, and by 2009 he was the
nation’s leader.

Nearly two presidential terms later, a report in 2016 by former
government ombudsman Thuli Madonsela, entitled The State of Capture,
detailed alleged manoeuvres by the Guptas to bring the state to heel.

Her report, whose publication President Zuma tried to stop, alleges
that the Guptas sought to influence the appointment of two ministers.

Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas testifies that, with Mr
Zuma’s son, Duduzane, present, Ajay Gupta offered him the post of
finance minister, along with a bag containing R600,000, about $45,000,
an accusation rejected by the other parties.

The alleged offer was made in the Guptas’ compound in a glamorous
Johannesburg suburb. The report says that mobile phone records place
all three in the residence when the alleged wad was flashed.

Ms Madonsela’s State of Capture report ended with a recommendation for
a full judicial inquiry. Nearly a year later, no such inquiry has
begun. To understand why not, one may have to reread that definition
of state capture.

Conclusions

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25-SEP-2017 :: Reputational Risk and a Cautionary Tale from South Africa. @TheStarKenya
Africa


There is an old adage in the markets, that of greed versus fear. What
has happened in South Africa has moved the dial from greed to fear. If
KPMG and Mckinsey were listed on the markets, both would have tanked
big. What this scenario informs us is that, clearly, both global
businesses have insufficient oversight over what have become far-flung
operations and that the bottom-line has blinded headquarters to what
is going on on the ground.  is is a startling situation.

read more


South Africa All Share Bloomberg +12.98% 2017 [record closing High]
Africa


Dollar versus Rand 6 Month Chart INO 13.6974

http://quotes.ino.com/charting/index.html?s=FOREX_USDZAR&v=d6&t=c&a=50&w=1

Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 17.6735

http://quotes.ino.com/charting/index.html?s=FOREX_USDEGP&v=d3&t=c&a=50&w=1

I'll ALSO be doing a one-shot issue of my Nigerian superheroine
Ngozi (from my Venomverse short "Blessing in Disguise"). @Nnedi

https://twitter.com/Nnedi/status/915580477817356288

Nigeria All Share Bloomberg +33.11% 2017

http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/NGSEINDX:IND

Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index Bloomberg +35.40% 2017

http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GGSECI:IND

read more


Brand Africa partners with GeoPoll & Kantar TNS to find Africa's Best Brands
Africa


Highlights - Most Admired Brands in Africa:

Samsung rises to #1 Most Admired Brand in Africa.
MTN drops from top spot to #9 overall, but retains top rank as Most
Admired African Brand.
Non-African brands are the Top 3 brands in all markets, except in
Nigeria (with Glo at #3), Kenya (with Safaricom/Mpesa #2 and Tusker
#3) and Tanzania (with Azam #2).
African brands’ share among most admired brands drops from 23% to 16%.
Europe leads the table with 42 of the Top 100 most admired brands. USA
leads all countries with 25/100.  South Africa leads Africa with
6/100.
Lacoste (+52) made the most gains. Levi’s (-68) lost the most ground.
Highlights - Most Valuable brands in Africa:

Google valued at $109bn, is #1 Most Valuable Brand in Africa 100.
MTN valued at $2,975m is the Most Valuable African brand.
African brands represent 0.75% share of the value of the Top 100.

read more


Magufuli on the warpath 6TH OCTOBER 2017 @africa_conf
Africa


An assassination attempt against an opposition leader raises
suspicions about sinister government tactics

When 40 bullets were pumped into the car carrying Chama Cha Demokrasia
na Maendeleo (Chadema) member of parliament Tundu Lissu outside his
Dodoma home on 7 September, claims of the country's descent into
authoritarianism suddenly became more credible.

read more



Massive volcano eruption now imminent in Tanzania... the "Mountain of God" is set to blow
Africa


Geologists warn that Tanzania’s most active volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai,
will erupt in the very near future. Archaically known as the “Mountain
of God” by the Maasai people, Ol Doinyo Lengai will “explode
imminently” and “poses a significant threat” to the surrounding areas

read more


Kenyan Opposition Protests Are Slowing Down Business, Government Says
Kenyan Economy


Kenya will deploy security forces to monitor protests planned by the
main opposition alliance, the government’s spokesman said, as he
criticized the demonstrations for slowing down business.

The opposition National Super Alliance plans to hold demonstrations in
the capital, Nairobi, and other cities on Friday. The coalition began
a campaign of twice-weekly protests on Monday to press its demands for
an overhaul of the electoral commission before a rerun on Oct. 26 of
the country’s annulled presidential elections.

“It seems that Nasa has deliberated to adopt a political approach that
creates a lot of uncertainty in the business environment of our
country,” government spokesman Eric Kiraithe told reporters Thursday
in Nairobi. “To Kenyans, we are telling them to go to work, don’t go
to demonstrations.”

Conclusions


Opposition is set to boycott.

read more


Billionaire industrialists take on Nakumatt in bad debt row
Kenyan Economy


A number of wealthy industrialists have formed a beeline to the
retailer’s empty treasury seeking settlement of their debts worth
billions of shillings.
Court documents show that the list of Nakumatt’s prominent creditors
includes the Kenyatta family (Brookside Dairies), Chris Kirubi (Haco
Industries), Kimani Rugendo (Kevian Kenya) and Linus Gitahi (Tropikal
Brands).
Brookside, whose executive chairman is Muhoho Kenyatta, is owed Sh457
million. Mr Kirubi is claiming Sh71.8 million, Mr Rugendo (of the Peek
‘N’ Peel brand) Sh90.2 million while Mr Gitahi is seeking to recover
Sh56.3 million from the retail chain.
“Nakumatt’s problems have impacted Haco too much. My goods are not on
their shelves so where is my money? That is my only question,” Mr
Kirubi, the Haco chairman, said in an interview.
“We have had several meetings with them to discuss this matter.
Nothing changed so we stopped supplying them three months ago.”

read more






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