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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Wednesday 29th of January 2020
 
Afternoon,
Africa

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Macro Thoughts

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Sr. Trump adviser Jared Kushner says White House's Mideast plan is "a great deal" and if Palestinians reject it, "they're going to screw up another opportunity, like they've screwed up every other opportunity that they've ever had in their
Law & Politics


Sr. Trump adviser Jared Kushner says White House's Mideast plan is "a
great deal" and if Palestinians reject it, “they’re going to screw up
another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity
that they’ve ever had in their existence."

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Russian intelligence sources have claimed that Michael D'Andrea, head of CIA operations in Iran and who orchestrated the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US spy plane downed in Ghazni, Afghanistan.
Law & Politics


The plane with US Air Force markings reportedly served as the CIA’s
mobile command for D’Andrea, who earnt several nicknames including:
Ayatollah Mike, the Dark Prince, and the Undertaker. He is one of the
most prominent CIA figures in the region, appointed head of the
agency’s Iran Mission Centre in 2017.
Under his leadership, the agency was perceived to take a more
“aggressive stance toward Iran”.
The Taliban claimed to have shot down the plane but have yet to
provide evidence, whilst the US has denied the claim but has
acknowledged the loss of a Bombardier E-11A plane in central
Afghanistan.
Graphic images online have already circulated purportedly showing some
of the charred remains of those on board.

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"The virus is a devil and we cannot let the devil hide," state television quoted Xi as saying.
Law & Politics


“China will strengthen international cooperation and welcomes the WHO
participation in virus prevention ... China is confident of winning
the battle against the virus.”

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27-JAN-2020 :: #WuhanCoronavirus #nCoV2019 #coronavirus
Law & Politics


President Xi warned The Corona virus is 'accelerating' [and the]
country [is] facing 'grave situation'.
At the last count [Sunday 26th January 2020], more than 2,000 people
globally have been infected., the vast majority of them in China,
where 56 people have died from the disease.
[I, for one, believe this number is massively undercounted. Some
reports speak to 100,000 infections in China] It looks like it started
around December 1st and that it can take up to 23 days to show
symptoms.
Curiously, "Bill Gates kept telling us a pandemic was coming, in Oct
2019 he ran a simulation of a Coronavirus pandemic, just three months
later the real Coronavirus pandemic begins." @HenryMakow.
In an article carried in Business Insider in October last year  Bill
Gates said the following
thinks a coming disease could kill 30 million people within 6 months -
and Gates presented a simulation by the Institute for Disease Modeling
that found that a new flu like the one that killed 50 million people
in the 1918 pandemic would now most likely kill 30 million people
within six months.
The likelihood that such a disease will appear continues to rise. New
pathogens emerge all the time as the world population increases and
humanity encroaches on wild environments.
It's becoming easier and easier for individual people or small groups
to create weaponized diseases that could spread like wildfire around
the globe.
According to Gates, a small non-state actor could build an even
deadlier form of smallpox in a lab.
So who had ‘mutated bat-snake flu’ as their top market risk for 2020?
tweeted @tracyalloway.
The Precise origins of the Corona virus are yet to be established with
Wiley's Journal of Medical Virology saying it may be may be
snake-to-human transmission and some even pointing the Finger at the
Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan bio-safety level four
(BSL-4) laboratory
and surmising that the only explanation left is artificial DNA
modification, possibly by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which since
2007 has collected samples from thousands of bats across the country
and done genetic experiments with them.
What is clear is that the CCP suppressed information until we reached
a Groucho Marx ''Who Ya Gonna Believe, Me or Your Own Eyes'' moment.
Epidemiologists speak of Tipping Points. Malcolm Gladwell described
the ''Tipping Point''  as the name given to that moment in an epidemic
when a virus reaches critical mass. It's the boiling point. It's the
moment on the graph when the line starts to shoot straight upwards.
In an article in 2014 about Ebola I called it the moment of ''escape
velocity'' and wrote ''viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential
characteristics''
The Mathematics is the basic reproduction number of the infection
(R_0), which represents how many People each person infected with the
coronavirus is passing the disease on to. A number of less than 1,
means the virus dies out.
For a Frame of Reference, the typical R0 attack rate for the seasonal
flu is around an R0=1.28. The 2009 flu pandemic R0=1.48. The 1918
Spanish Flu =1.80. The R0 range is somewhere between 2.00-2.6 with Dr.
Eric Ding speaking of 3.8 over the weekend.
@DrEricDing tweeted the new coronavirus is a 3.8!!! How bad is that
reproductive R0 value? It is thermonuclear pandemic level bad - never
seen an actual virality coefficient outside of Twitter in my entire
career [before adjusting his calculations lower to 2.5]
Each person infected with coronavirus is passing the disease on to
between two and three other people on average at current transmission
rates, according to two separate scientific analyses of the epidemic.
Ferguson’s team suggest as many as 4,000 people in Wuhan were already
infected by Jan. 18 and that on average each case was infecting two or
three others.
A second study by researchers at Britain’s Lancaster University also
calculated the contagion rate at 2.5 new people on average being
infected by each person already infected.
''Should the epidemic continue unabated in Wuhan, we predict (it) will
be substantially larger by Feb. 4,” the scientists wrote.
They estimated that the central Chinese city of Wuhan where the
outbreak began in December will alone have around 190,000 cases of
infection by Feb. 4., and that “infection will be established in other
Chinese cities, and importations to other countries will be more
frequent.”
The Lancet now reports that the coronavirus is contagious even when
*no symptoms*: specifically: “crucial to isolate patients...
quarantine contacts as early as possible because asymptomatic
infection appears possible”
The overarching Point is that whether its 2.5 or 3.8 this is off the
charts. The CCP is building hospitals in a record breaking 7 days but
who will man them? China has locked down a total of 47m of its
Citizens.
Given the new hyperconnectedness of the World [For example, did you
know there is a daily Ethiopian Flight between Wuhan and Addis Abeba -
As of Thursday Ethiopian Airlines, which has multiple daily passenger
and cargo flights to China and Africa’s busiest airport hub, said it
was waiting for guidance from Ethiopia’s Health Ministry on how to
respond], I have to assume that the Corona virus is already in Africa
but just not diagnosed. Thats a racing certainty.
Paul Virilio wrote ''With every natural disaster, health scare, and
malicious rumor now comes the inevitable “information bomb”–live feeds
take over real space, and technology connects life to the immediacy of
terror, the ultimate expression of speed''
And in his book City of panic he described The city reconstructed
through the use mediatized panic.
Markets bought Gold and G7 Bonds on Friday as Investors dived into
Safe Havens, Next week we could see these moves turn parabolic.
“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.’’

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7. Very strange: new mystery middle segment that has no #coronavirus history "This genomic part comprises also half of the spike region encoding a multifunctional protein responsible also for virus entry into host cells[30,31]". @DrEricDing
Law & Politics


7. Very strange: So what is in this new mystery middle segment that
has no #coronavirus history? The study authors continue: “This genomic
part comprises also half of the spike region encoding a
multifunctional protein responsible also  for virus entry into host
cells[30,31]”.

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Chinese bioengineers were the first to use CRISPR/Cas9, an RNA-guided targeted genome editing tool to fiddle with human DNA. @euripedies
Law & Politics


#武汉华南海鲜市場 一直被指是播毒源头,但近日出现另一论证,位于武汉的中科院病毒研究所因被指存在安全隐患,也引发是播毒源头的疑虑。该研究所未有公开回应公众质疑,仅私下否认与今次病毒危机有关。
https://twitter.com/RfaCantonese/status/1222127139652169729

#武汉新型冠状病毒肺炎疫情 持续扩散,世界多个国家也出现传入个案。#武汉华南海鲜市場
一直被指是播毒源头,但近日出现另一论证,位于武汉的中科院病毒研究所因被指存在安全隐患,也引发是播毒源头的疑虑。该研究所未有公开回应公众质疑,仅私下否认与今次病毒危机有关。

#武汉新型冠状病毒肺炎疫情 The spread has continued, and cases have been introduced
in many countries around the world. #武汉华南海鲜市場 It has been accused of
being the source of virus spreading, but another argument has emerged
recently. The Virus Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of
Sciences in Wuhan has also been suspected of being the source of virus
spreading because of alleged security risks. The institute has not
publicly responded to public questions, and has only privately denied
that it is related to the virus crisis.

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9. BOTTOMLINE: 1) Seafood market not source. 2) RNA #coronavirus mutates really fast. 3) has unusual middle segment never seen before in any coronavirus. 5) mystery middle segment encodes protein responsible for entry into host cells. @DrEricDing
Law & Politics


9. BOTTOMLINE: 1) Seafood market not the source. 2) This RNA
#coronavirus mutates really fast. 3) 🧬 has unusual middle segment
never seen before in any coronavirus. 4) Not from recent mixing. 5)
That mystery middle segment encodes protein responsible for entry into
host cells.

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China's slow response to coronavirus has shown the weakness of its centralised model @NewStatesman
Law & Politics


The crisis is the latest in a series of defining challenges presented
to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his administration during a period
that has already been marked by ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong
Kong, a trade war with the US, and the recent re-election of Taiwanese
President Tsai Ing-wen over pro-China candidate Han Kuo-yu. While
China has taken radical efforts to contain the spread of the virus and
provided regular updates, voices both within and outside of the
country have accused the government of covering up the initial
outbreak – allegations reminiscent of the 2003 Sars epidemic when
delays in reporting caused the disease to spread unchecked to 26
countries and kill nearly 800 people.

China’s slow response to the initial outbreak is symptomatic of a
governing system where power is increasingly centralised at the top
and local officials are not incentivised to take decisive action when
necessary. Despite identifying the first case on 8 December, Wuhan
officials only introduced screening measures on 14 January and
restricted information surrounding the disease in order to maintain
stability during a series of annual government meetings. Since
censorship was lifted after Xi last week ordered “resolute efforts to
curb the spread”, the circulation of online messages from Wuhan
hospitals appealing for medical equipment, videos of overworked
doctors and dark memes on Chinese social media have triggered rare
displays of public discontent, placing further pressure on authorities
to reassure citizens that they are competently tackling the crisis.

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27-MAY-2019 :: In one fell swoop, President Xi Jinping was President for Life. President Xi is on a Pedestal
Law & Politics


In China, however, there is only one decider who was pronounced as
much by Xinhua in a historical announcement in March 2018.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China “proposed to
remove the expression that ‘the president and vice-president of the
people’s republic of China shall serve no more than two consecutive
terms’ from the country’s constitution.”
In one fell swoop, President Xi Jinping was president for life.
President Jinping is on a Pedestal and is faced with the Strong Man
Conundrum. The Political Brand will not permit a retreat let alone a
Surrender

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20 OCT 14 :: it is about its 'escape velocity' viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential characteristics. EBOLA #WuhanCoronavirus
Law & Politics


“It is a numbers game, the more cases you have the more likely there
are going to be mutations that could change the virus in a significant
way,” said David Sanders, a professor of biological sciences at Purdue
University who studies Ebola.
“The more it persists, the more likely we are going to be thrown a curve.”

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14-OCT-2019 :: Xi Jinping "The End of Vanity" which I characterised at the time as a "a substantive linguistic recasting of China Africa by Xi Jinping"
Law & Politics


I recall #FOCAC2018 and the famous photograph where all the Chinese
officials had a pen and paper and not one African official was taking
notes. Had they been taking notes they would have heard Xi Jinping
specifically speak of ‘’The End of Vanity’’ which I characterised at
the time as a ‘’a substantive linguistic recasting of China Africa by
Xi Jinping’’
I only recently discovered Ecclesiastes and clearly Xi was ahead of me
in this regard.
Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 2 Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher 2 Vani-
ty[a] of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is
vanity. 11 There is no remembrance of former things,[c] nor will there
be any re- membrance of later things[d] yet to be among those who come
after.

International Markets

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1000
Dollar Index 98.065
Japan Yen 109.09
Swiss Franc 0.97405
Pound 1.3013
Aussie 0.6757
India Rupee 71.2145
South Korea Won 1178.565
Brazil Real 4.1949
Egypt Pound 15.7813
South Africa Rand 14.5758

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Crude Oil 6 Month Chart INO 54.13
Commodities


Emerging Markets

Frontier Markets

Sub Saharan Africa

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Breaking One suspected case of #coronavirus reported in #Ethiopia, Ethiopian Public Health Institute says @EsheteBekele
Africa


The suspect patient with flu-like symptoms and his other three friends
had returned from China recently and were admitted to a Secure health
facility, the institute said.

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Africa Debt Boom May Store Up Trouble for the Future @WSJ
Africa


African countries have loaded up on dollar debt, leading some to worry
that a tightening of global financial conditions could trigger
borrowing problems in coming years.
In the decade through 2019, debt levels in sub-Saharan countries
excluding South Africa have risen 23 percentage points to around 50%
of gross domestic product, according to the Institute of International
Finance, a banking industry research group.
Much of that issuance has occurred in dollar- or euro-denominated
bonds issued in the past three years.
Driving the issuance: copious demand from international investors for
higher-yielding debt, combined with a slide in local currencies and
commodity prices that has crimped government revenues.
The oil-rich West African nation of Gabon is looking to be the latest
issuer of an international bond from the region. The country is
canvassing investors this week to gauge interest in a $1 billion of
bonds, according to a person familiar with the sale.
“What worries me is whether or not we’ve put these countries into a
new kind of debt problem,” said Elina Ribakova, deputy chief economist
at the IIF.
She noted that repayments of African sovereign bonds will start to
cluster in 2024.
The concern is pressure will build on already heavily indebted
countries, particularly if foreign investors turn sour on the region
or retreat to home markets in a broad market downturn.
Countries such as Zambia are showing signs of starting to struggle,
she said. For instance, Zambia’s dollar bonds due in 2027, yield more
than 17%, up from around 9% when issued, according to FactSet.
The country has entered into talks with China about how to renegotiate
the terms of bilateral debts.
“They need supportive, calm climates in financial markets because most
investors don’t know these countries,” said Ms. Ribakova.
As bond yields in developed economies have touched record lows,
investor demand for higher-yield assets has risen, helping to support
demand for the flood of bond issuance by countries such as Nigeria,
Ivory Coast, and Angola, especially in the past few years.
“Overall, high growth and higher yields still appeal,” said Kaan
Nazli, portfolio manager for emerging markets debt at Neuberger
Berman.
Mr. Nazli said he had favored Ivory Coast in recent years due to its
sound economic management, but was concerned about levels of public
debt in Angola and Mozambique.
Sub-Saharan African bond repayments are set to peak in 2024 and 2025,
at $6.6 billion and $7.4 billion, respectively, according to the IIF.
Meanwhile, among the IIF’s sixteen-country sample, collective interest
costs have climbed from $1.6 billion five years ago to $4.3 billion in
2020.
Borrowing costs have been mostly steady. An S&P index of
dollar-denominated debt issued by African nations shows an average
yield of around 5.8%, similar to three years ago.
The index’s spread over Treasurys, a measure of the risk markets
assign these bonds compared with safe U.S. government debt, is around
4 percentage points, about 0.4 percentage points higher than before
the bond issuance boom started in 2017.
However, because the debts are denominated in foreign currencies, the
bonds expose the countries to foreign exchange risks.
High fiscal and current-account deficits mean that countries will need
to attract more investment from overseas or risk sharp depreciations
in their currencies, adding to the cost of debt repayments.
Investors should be checking how the money is being used, said Jacques
Nel, chief economist for South and East Africa at South Africa-based
NKC African Economics.
“The most obvious way to see if this money has been spent well, is if
the infrastructure is working. Are we seeing rail, roads, being
completed on time?” he said, adding that the train line from Kenya’s
capital Nairobi to the port of Mombasa was an example of a project
that has faced revenue generation problems.

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Report alleges killings in Burundi as elections draw near @AP
Africa


“The discovery of dead bodies, many of them unidentified, in various
provinces in Burundi continues to be a deeply disturbing phenomenon in
early 2020,” the report says.
“Some of the bodies have been found with their arms tied, with
injuries, mutilations, or other indications that they did not die of
natural causes.”
Most of the victims of the repression are members of the opposition
National Freedom Council, known by its French acronym CNL, whose
leader is the president’s leading opponent, the report says.
There are at least four sites across the country where some of those
killed have been buried secretly in graves that do not identify their
names, according to the report, which cites anonymous sources in the
ruling party who oppose the violations.
Allegations of rights abuses brought Burundi to leave the
International Criminal Court in 2017, the first country to do so.
The government also kicked out the U.N. human rights office. Burundi’s
government strongly denies it targets its own people, saying such
reports are malicious propaganda spread by opponents.
Gaston Sindimwo, first vice president of Burundi, dismissed the new
report as one of many that “come as rumors in order to create fear
among Burundians.”
“They have been saying so. There is nothing we can do so they may be
satisfied. We are building our house and when it is fully built they
will end up coming back to us. Let us mind our business, and let them
mind their business,” he told The Associated Press.
The ruling CNDD-FDD party on Sunday chose its presidential candidate,
a military general who is a close ally of the president. That decision
signaled that Nkurunziza would step down.

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Zimbabwe's economy is run by master criminals who are fleecing the poor @dailymaverick
Africa


Ordinary Zimbabweans have suffered for years as a result of currency
manipulation and corruption by the elites who have siphoned US dollars
away into their overseas bank accounts.
Now, a recent ruling by the Zimbabwe Supreme Court, declaring that up
until February 2019, the US dollar and Zimbabwe RTGS dollar were
valued at 1:1, has provided another windfall for the rich.
In a country in the throes of a deepening food crisis, it will also
deepen the economic meltdown at the expense of human rights.
During the government of national unity, which ran from 2009-2013,
Zimbabwe “dollarised” the economy. We found ourselves using what we
called a “multi-currency” system and this meant you could use any
currency, but the (almost) official currency was the US dollar (USD).
We got our salaries in USD and prices were quoted in USD.
In 2013, ZANU-PF won the harmonised elections and by 2014, we started
to experience cash shortages. At first, it seemed like we just had a
shortage of coins, or at least that is the explanation we received
from the government.
They explained that because we had no solid contract with the
countries whose currencies we were using, we were not receiving coins
and thus we were battling a shortage of small change.
On 18 December 2014, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced the
1, 5, 10 and 25cent coins. They called them bond coins and claimed
they were on par with the USD in value, because apparently, the coins
were backed by a $50-million loan given to our government by Afrexim
bank.
The full details of the agreement were never made public.
By March 2015, they had introduced the 50c coin. This had many
Zimbabweans wondering, was this still about shortage of small change?
Or was the government secretly introducing a Zimbabwean currency?
In 2016, Zimbabwe started experiencing major cash shortages. By then,
the USD had completely vanished from circulation. Zimbabweans begged
the government to join the rand union, or find a way to bring back the
USD from wherever it had gone.
Their pleas fell on deaf ears.
On 28 November 2016, much to our shock and horror, the RBZ not only
introduced the $1 coin, but also the $2 note. This time, they
explained, these bond notes were backed by a $200-million loan
facility, again from the infamous Afrexim bank.
Surprisingly though, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), through
their press officer Andrew Kanyengire, professed ignorance over the
existence of such a loan.
Two months later, while we were still trying to make sense of the
introduction of the $2 note, $5 bond notes to the value of $15-million
dollars (according to the government), were being circulated.
Government again claimed the value of these notes was backed by a loan
facility with Afrexim bank and insisted the bond note was on par with
the USD. Its value against the USD was, according to them, 1:1.
The USD comes in $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. If the
issue was about availing change for these notes, all we ever needed
was the first set of coins.
If the bond currency was on par with the US dollar in value, why then
would the government feel the need to introduce a $2 and $5 bond note
when we already had the USD versions of those two notes?
Where had the USD gone for us to have to replace them with our own
version of them?
The whole thing stank!
It became quite clear that the government had been trying all along to
deceive the public into thinking all we had was a problem of loose
change, yet clearly, the problem was more astronomical than that. The
USD had disappeared from circulation.
It became apparent that the bond notes were introduced because somehow
all the “hard currency” had been siphoned out of circulation and the
government urgently needed to do damage control.
Unfortunately, the introduction of the bond notes didn’t just fail to
ease the cash shortages, it seemed to worsen them.
We spent 2017 and 2018 in bank queues and most of us never managed to
withdraw any cash, bond, or USD. Withdrawal limits kept falling and at
some point, the maximum withdrawal limit was just $50 (bond) per week.
Now the USD had completely vanished.
Those who had USD savings found themselves with no access to their
hard currency. The government continued to insist that the value of
the bond currency was the same as that of the USD.
Had the bond note actually been a real currency and on par with the
USD, and also accessible to the public, people would have been able to
use bond notes in other countries by exchanging them for foreign
currency, or used their visa cards and master cards outside the
country.
Unfortunately, no other country was accepting the bond note and by
2017, no country was accepting Zimbabwean bank cards unless pre-loaded
with foreign currency. The currency was not recognised as legal tender
anywhere else, but in Zimbabwe.
Yet through all this, the government continued to insist the bond and
USD were 1:1.
Because there was no cash, USD or bond, people had no choice, but to
resort to using “plastic money” and mobile money transfers to pay for
goods and services.
The first choice being ecocash, a mobile money company run by Strive
Masiyiwa’s Econet. Ecocash allows one to transfer, or receive money
using their mobile phone and also allows one to make payments for
almost all goods, and services using their phones. Ecocash charges a
commission on every transaction.
The second option was bank cards. One could swipe for goods and
services, but only in major outlets as few informal and/or small
businesses offered that service.
As the crisis worsened, more people, including street vendors,
acquired swipe machines. This proved unsustainable to most, probably
because of the bank charges, so most informal traders chose to use
ecocash.
Thanks to the cash crisis, both ecocash and the banks are making a
killing from digital money transfers without having to lift a finger.
Do you think they want the situation to change?
As it became more and more evident to all that the bond note was not
on par with the USD, the black market came up with a street value of
the bond note against the USD.
Miraculously, cash reappeared, not in the banks where it should have
been, but in the streets. (The current rate is USD$1: ZWD$25.)
Black market forex dealers are popularly known as “money changers”;
somehow they have had in their possession since then, an unending
supply of the local and foreign currencies that disappeared from the
banking system.
They brazenly display and trade thick wads of USD, rands and brand new
bond notes sometimes still sealed in their Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
packaging. Who is supplying them?
The money changers offer two main services. They sell bond notes to
people who need cash as some retailers do not accept card, or ecocash
payments.
Cash (bond notes) is sold in the streets at a 30% premium. For
example, if one wants $100 bond cash, they must transfer $130 to the
money changer via ecocash, or bank. The rates fluctuate daily.
Money changers also buy and sell forex. By 2018, $100 USD cost $300
Bonds. What this meant was that one who earned $300 bond, in USD
terms, actually earned only $100 USD. Today, USD$100 gives you
$2,200bond/RTGS.
These black market traders operate in broad daylight and one
identifies them by the thick wads of cash they wave to attract
customers. Government officials, who most suspect to be the source of
the cash in the black market, turn a blind eye.
Instead of going out of their way to solve the cash crisis, our
government chose to jump on the gravy train. In November 2018, the
government introduced a 2% tax on all bank transfers. This is a human
rights violation. I say so because seeing as there is no cash in the
banks, Zimbabweans have no option, but to use digital money.
It is a gross crime against the people because consumers have no
choice, but to trade digitally.
How does the government, whose role is to protect consumers, decide to
join capitalists in the exploitation of citizens?
I will illustrate this with an example of what happens to someone who
earns $100.
The punishment starts the moment your salary hits the bank and the
bank takes a monthly service fee of about $5. To transfer the
remaining $95 to a service provider one is charged the following:
2% by the government;
A fee by the bank to move the money from the bank to ecocash; and
A fee by ecocash to send money from your ecocash account to the receiver’s.
This happens with every single transaction one makes. The government
is in cahoots with our banks and with Econet to fleece already
impoverished Zimbabweans of the little money they get if they’re
lucky.
Because of how much these stakeholders are making in their personal
and institutional capacities, they are unlikely to solve the cash
crisis.
In 2019, the government renamed the bond note “RTGS dollar” and
announced that it was no longer on par with the USD. They announced
what they called an interbank rate, which is currently pegged at
USD$1: RTGS$17.
They then banned all use of foreign currency marking the end of
dollarisation. Again, the people were the biggest losers.
Because for the longest time, the government had insisted that the USD
was 1:1 with the local currency, salaries, which had been pegged at
USD during the government of national unity remained unchanged.
This meant that if one was earning USD$500 in 2010, after the
introduction of the bond note, they automatically started earning $500
bond. $500 bond was in real terms in 2018, worth USD$150.
The introduction of the bond note eroded salaries by at least 65%, but
the government insisted the value of the bond note was 1:1.
The introduction of the RTGS dollar and interbank rate was even more
catastrophic. Because most salaries were not adjusted to the new
rates, a salary of $500RTGS is now worth $29, according to the
government’s interbank rate of 1:17.
The government will tell you they have doubled civil servants
salaries, but what they did was adjust civil service earnings from an
average of $500USD in 2018 to RTGS$1000, which is worth USD$58
according to the interbank rate.
This not only daylight robbery, it’s a human rights violation of
criminal proportions.
Victims of these criminal monetary policies can no longer afford basic
human rights of food, health, education and clean water among other
necessities.
The Zimbabwean economy looks to many like it’s being run by people who
have no idea what they are doing. One would be forgiven for thinking
it’s run by clowns who keep making economic blunder after blunder.
But it is not.
Our economy is run by top-grade criminals. Geniuses who have mastered
the art of looting and disguising it as ignorance. The biggest
beneficiaries of Zimbabwe’s economic woes is Zimbabwe’s ruling elite.
It is they who siphoned USD out of the banking system and replaced
them with worthless bond notes. It is they who have access to the
scarce bond note and are selling it in the streets at a 30% premium.
It is our ruling elite that continues to have access to the little
forex we earn from exports.
In 2019, Neville Mutsvangwa, son of the Minister of Information,
Monica Mutsvangwa and Chris Mutsvangwa was caught with USD$200,000,
which he was apparently illegally trading in the black market, but
nothing was done to him. Where did he get that kind of money?
In December 2019, the fight between Vice President Chiwenga and his
wife exposed how the political elite has access to forex through the
CBZ bank.
Clearly, the majority of people are facing cash shortages caused and
exploited by the ruling elite.
Chief Justice comes to the rescue – of the elite
On 21 January 2020, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe,
Luke Malaba, ruled that all debts incurred before February 2019 were
1:1 with the USD. Who stands to benefit from such a ruling?
In 2014, when ZANU-PF stalwart and former security minister, Didymus
Mutasa was kicked out of ZANU-PF, they went after him by exposing that
he owed $69,000 to the electricity authority, ZETDC.
It is clear that as a government official, he had not been paying for
electricity.
In September 2018, Sydney Sekeramayi, a ZANU-PF politburo member and
former minister of state security, was sent to the high court over a
USD$327,481 debt owed to the electricity company.
If he did not clear the bill, he can now go and pay RTGS$327,481m
equivalent to USD$1,488. He was not the only one named.
Tendai Savanhu, former ZANU-PF MP for Mbare owed USD $19,116.20.
ZANU-PF MP for Buhera South, Joseph Chinotimba owed USD $43,716.
Ambrose Mutinhiri owed USD$54,000. Robert and Grace Mugabe owed
USD$345,000 in December 2011, who knows what the figure is now?
According to The Telegraph, on 19 March 2012, Emmerson Mnangagwa then
the defence minister, Sekeramayi, Mutasa and Webster Shamu then
information minister, owed a combined 650,000 British pounds in bills.
Saviour Kasukuwere, then youth minister, owed £70,000 and Morgan
Tsvangirai £4,000. One can only wonder how much they now owe.
More ZANU-PF leaders have been exposed as owing ZETDC over the years
including Oppah Muchinguri, the current minister of defence, who was
reported in 2015 by the Zimbabwe Independent as having last paid her
electricity bill for her highlands home in 2012.
Christopher Mutsvangwa, Chris Mushowe and many others have been implicated too.
If we assume that all ZANU-PF leaders do not pay their municipal and
power bills, it means combined, they owe our parastatals millions of
USD. If any of them owed USD$500,000, it means they can pay it back as
RTGS$500,000 today, worth a paltry USD$29,000.
The judgment has managed to reduce any debts they have by over 90%!
Zimbabwe currently owes millions of dollars to Mozambique and South
Africa for electricity. How much of that bill belongs to ZANU-PF
leaders?
Because of this judgment that has slashed their debts, it is ordinary
Zimbabweans who will for years be tasked with paying those foreign
debts.
Government, as an institution, is another major beneficiary of this
ruling. Government, known for not paying bills, owes hundreds of
millions of USD to parastatals for telephone services, power, water
etc. Their debt has just been slashed.
It is said that the domestic debt bill stands at USD$9-billion,
according to finance minister, Mthuli Ncube in 2018. This judgment, at
the expense of the companies government owes, has reduced that debt to
just over USD$400-million.
The biggest loser in all of this is the people. The institutions owed
money by government officials and the state will suffer huge losses
from this and are unlikely to ever be able to provide services
efficiently.
We shall continue to face water and electricity shortages. Companies
will close, jobs will be lost and prices will increase.
Pensioners who were owed their payouts in USD will now be given their
pensions in RTGS at 1:1. Insurance we paid for in USD will be paid out
in the worthless RTGS.
Zimbabwe is in the hands of ruthless parasites who will suck the
nation dry if not stopped. MC
Thandekile Moyo is a writer and human rights defender from Zimbabwe.
For the past four years, she has been using print, digital and social
media (Twitter: @mamoxn) to expose human rights abuses, bad governance
and corruption.
Moyo holds an Honours degree in Geography and Environmental Studies
from the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe.

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21-JAN-2019 :: "money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised." @harari_yuval
Africa


“Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any
system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient
system of mutual trust ever devised.”
“Cowry shells and dollars have value only in our common imagination.
Their worth is not inherent in the chemical structure of the shells
and paper, or their colour, or their shape. In other words, money
isn’t a material reality – it is a psychological construct. It works
by converting matter into mind.”
The Point I am seeking to make is that There is a correlation between
high Inflation and revolutionary conditions, Zimbabwe is a classic
example

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21-JAN-2019 :: What is clear to me is that Zimbabwe is at a Tipping Point moment.
Africa


At the time of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunis the crowds chanted “We
are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God.”

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Vodafone Group has agreed a preliminary deal to sell its 55% stake in its Egyptian unit to Saudi Arabia's largest telecoms operator STC for $2.4 billion
Africa


The non-binding deal values Vodafone Egypt at $4.4 billion and the two
companies have agreed to long-term use of the Vodafone brand and other
services in Egypt.
Selling the stake is in line with Vodafone efforts to streamline its
operations to focus on Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, Vodafone Chief
Executive Nick Read said.
“It will reduce our net debt and unlock value for our shareholders,” he said.

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THE BEST STARTUP CITIES IN AFRICA @StartupBlink
Africa


10. Casablanca, Morocco
Ranked 284th globally, Casablanca is a leading country’s startup hub.
This city is also a port city and commercial hub in western Morocco,
fronting the Atlantic Ocean. Casablanca, unlike other locations in
Morocco, has several coworking spaces to choose from. Other than that,
there are organizations and local startups that work hard to connect
ecosystem players and encourage idea-sharing for a culture of
collaborative innovation.
9. Kampala, Uganda
From the North, going down to the East-Central, there is a small
landlocked country, Uganda. It’s the capital city is the 9th
best-ranked startup ecosystem in the continent and stands 279th
globally (after a jump by 243 places!). Kampala’s startup ecosystem
players actively engage in startup ecosystem building due to events
and activities organized by the Innovation Village, Startup Uganda,
and various coworking spaces. Both founders and organizations are
working hand in had to tackle some of the local challenges and promote
entrepreneurship.
8. Johannesburg, South Africa
To start off, South Africa is better positioned than any other African
country and boosts with extremely high potential as it has already
nurtured several unicorns. Its largest city, Johannesburg, appears 8th
on the best-ranked startup ecosystems and is 248th in the world. Since
ages, it has been known as an international centre for finance and
trade due to the gold rush. Despite its struggled past, it is rising
as the fintech space with around 30 percent of startups working only
in this sector. Therefore, there are a couple of hundred programmes
that support startup activities.
7. Accra, Ghana
Number 7 is Accra, the capital of Ghana. This top city ranks only 4
places higher globally than Johannesburg (at 244th). Accra, and the
whole country as such, has seen some major improvements. That
includes, receiving direct foreign investment from various
organizations like the Ghana Startup capital fund, the Ghana-India Kof
Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, and 3 Day Startup. These programs
confirm that entrepreneurship is spreading not only in the capital
city bus across the country as well. This country is well known for
mobile payment apps and it is home to some of the startup successes
like Meqasa, Omgdigital, and Expresspay.
6. Kigali, Rwanda
For the top 6, there is a true phoenix rising from the ashes of a
civil war to form a robust African startup ecosystem. Its top city,
Kigali, ranks at 232nd spot in the global city rankings. With the help
of the African Development Bank, the influx of tech companies,
investors and tailored government support and private sector
engagement, economic innovation received a substantial boost in
Rwanda. The whole country is famous for ICT startups and Entrepreneur
Visa created to increase local and foreign interest in
entrepreneurship. Despite some infrastructural challenges, Kigali has
great connectivity and stable electricity that facilitates the path of
startup founders.
5. Tunis, Tunisia
5th on the list in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, that takes us up to
North Africa. Tunis is a port city on a large Mediterranean Sea gulf
favoring the country’s economy with the sea trade. Tunis stands 223rd
in the world. Just like other coastal cities, the regional economy
benefits greatly from the tourism sector. Additionally, the Tunisian
government is starting to notice the importance of creating startup
hubs and has passed a Startup Act that encourages startup growth by
easing tax policies, providing government-sanctioned salary to
founders, and helping startups get international patents. Having
proximity to the Middle East, the rest of Africa, and Europe, Tunisia
has the advantage of making international business connections.
4. Cairo, Egypt
Moving to the East of Tunisia, we get to Cairo, the heart of Egypt.
This city ranks as the 4th best startup ecosystem and stands at 177
spot globally. Local and foreign financial support in the country has
opened several opportunities to take entrepreneurship to the next
level and use it as a way to tackle local challenges like unemployment
and education. Its low cost of living and a massive population of
young people (Africa is the youngest continent!) who want to become
entrepreneurs makes it a convenient place for global companies to open
up their branches.
3. Cape Town, South Africa
At No. 3 stands Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa. As
mentioned before, South Africa fits among the most affluent countries
in the continent. Talking about Cape Town, it ranks 157th in the world
and is an important hub for financial services, retail, and tourism.
The country and the city faces a lot of challenges due to rooted class
division and big corporation dominance. But the wave of
entrepreneurship that started less than 10 years ago is building
connections to boost the ecosystem by finding solutions to tackle
local and regional problems. Cape Town, as the whole country, is into
the tech sector with a reel of startup success stories from mobile
payment app Snapscan and online learning platform Get Smarter.
2. Nairobi, Kenya
2nd on the list is Nairobi in Kenya that ranks 105th globally. The
country has a coastline of the Indian Ocean which favors sea trade and
very rich wildlife and landscape puts Kenya into millions of bucket
lists. Other than the breathtaking nature, Kenya’s startup ecosystem
is booming too with revolutionizing mobile payment apps, like m-Pesa
and global tech giants, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Intel that are
choosing Nairobi as a convenient place to expand into. The majority of
the country’s startups are coming from the tech sector. Additionally,
organizations like Konzo Techno City supports and promotes
entrepreneurship spirit.
1. Lagos, Nigeria
The title of the best startup ecosystem city in Africa belongs to
Lagos in Nigeria which is a top 100 startup ecosystem city in the
world. Despite the fact that the country’s ecosystem has started to
form later than the one in Kenya or South Africa, Nigeria has
accelerated quickly and even nurtured a unicorn called Jumia, an
online shop for electronics, phones, and fashion. Just like other
African countries, Nigeria has infrastructural challenges, but
overcome those, and Nigerian founders will be able to move forward for
the benefit of their country and economy.

This is how the list of the 10 best startup ecosystems in Africa looks
like. The list was made based on the results of Global Startup
Ecosystem Rankings Report 2019 ranking 1,000 cities and 100 countries
worldwide.
If you did not find your city on this list yet but would love to see
its startup ecosystem momentum, feel free to download the Report for
free here and start discovering.

Wonder how we filtered regional changes and best startup ecosystems in
a particular region? All of that is possible with the help of the PRO
account, which allows filtering all the results by region and
population and getting only the information that one needs.
StartupBlink PRO Members get access to a variety of analysis tools and
the raw data of the ranking algorithm that allows them to dig deeper
into startup ecosystem analysis. For more information about the PRO
account, contact us here.

Kenya

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U.S., Kenya to Start Trade Talks Viewed as Template for Africa @economics
Africa


The U.S. and Kenya are expected to announce negotiations on a
free-trade agreement next week, America’s first such deal with a
sub-Saharan country, a person familiar with the plans said.
The Trump administration wants the accord to be a model for future
pacts with other nations in the region, one of the people said,
declining to be identified because the talks are private.
An announcement on the discussion will coincide with Kenyan President
Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Washington next week.
Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s principal secretary for foreign affairs, said
the nations expect real progress on an agreement by the third quarter
of this year, depending on how the negotiations go.
Now that President Donald Trump has signed the first phase of a trade
pact with China, and the Senate approved his U.S.-Mexico-Canada
agreement, the White House is turning its attention to scrutinizing
trade relationships with other nations and regions including the
European Union, the U.K. and Africa.
The White House referred questions to the U.S. Trade Representative’s
office, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
‘Deepen AGOA’
Any potential pact won’t replace the African Growth and Opportunity
Act, which provides 39 sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access
to the U.S. for about 6,500 products ranging from textiles to
manufactured items, Kamau said by phone.
An agreement will instead “deepen and expand” AGOA, he said.
AGOA was first signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in
2000 and extended for 10 years by former President Barack Obama in
2015.
The East African nation’s cabinet will probably approve discussions
with the U.S. this week, Kamau said.
The U.S. currently has one free-trade agreement on the African
continent -- with Morocco.
In August, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor
Nagy said in August that the nation was pursuing a trade deal with an
unidentified country in sub-Saharan Africa, adding that it would be
used as a model for others when AGOA expires.
The U.S. favors bilateral trade agreements with African nations, Nagy
said in the same interview.
That differs from the view held by the African Union, which favors a
free-trade agreement to replace AGOA when it expires, AU Trade and
Industry Commissioner Albert Muchanga said at the time.
America is engaged in talks with some African countries, Nagy said
Monday, declining to name them.

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Kenyan GDP expected to grow 6.2% in 2020, central bank says @ReutersAfrica
Africa


Kenya’s economy is forecast to grow 6.2% this year, up from 5.7% last
year, central bank governor Patrick Njoroge said on Tuesday, as
regional trade shields Kenya from the effects of a global downturn.
The bank expects recovering agriculture, medium and small businesses
and robust private-sector credit growth to support that growth.
“We will end up with 6.2%. Frankly, this is a very benign baseline,”
Njoroge told a news conference.
Kenya is East Africa’s richest economy and is enjoying an extended
rainy season after several years of drought. The government also
lifted caps on bank lending rates last year, which had inhibited loans
to private business.
Njoroge said Kenya’s trade with other African countries had a
stabilising effect.
Exports to the regional East African Community accounted for 23% of
total exports and the rest of the continent made up about 37% in 2019,
he said.
“If there are problems in the rest of the world, at least around us
there is some stability. It offers a sense of security,” Njoroge said.
On Monday, the central bank cut the benchmark lending rate for the
second meeting in a row, to 8.25% from 8.50%. It said the economy was
operating below potential and it saw room for a more accommodative
monetary policy.
The finance ministry said earlier this month economic growth probably
slowed to 5.6% last year, from 6.3% a year earlier, compared with
government’s initial estimate of about 6%.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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January 2020
 
 
 
 
 
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