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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Tuesday 11th of May 2021
 
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09-MAY-2021 :: The Lotos-eaters
World Of Finance






The Lotos-eaters BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON



"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land, 

"This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon." 

In the afternoon they came unto a land 

In which it seemed always afternoon. 

All round the coast the languid air did swoon, 

Breathing like one that hath a weary dream. 



Then some one said, "We will return no more"; 

And all at once they sang, "Our island home 

Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam." 

CHORIC SONG 


There is sweet music here that softer falls 

Than petals from blown roses on the grass, 

Or night-dews on still waters between walls 

Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass; 

Music that gentlier on the spirit lies, 

Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes; 

Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies. 

Here are cool mosses deep, 

And thro' the moss the ivies creep, 

And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep, 

And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep." 



The ''Political'' World



The '''Political'' World remains on a Knife edge but simultaneously vaudeville.

The ''bleeding Edge[s]'' are Taiwan which I expect to be occupied by the Great Unifier [“Complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable trend. no one and no force can ever stop it!”] before Year End and that will mark a singular moment.


That big thing may be that he who rules Taiwan rules the world said the International Man of History Niall Ferguson and he is not wrong.


The US is resiling from its position to defend Taiwan [admittedly that position was always wrapped up in some ambiguity]

but My view is @JoeBiden has bailed on @iingwen and Xi knows it.

Of course The World in the 21st century exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential characteristics and feedback loops which only become obvious in hindsight but make no mistake Xi is to be taken at his word and his word is

“Unity is iron and steel; unity is a source of strength,”

And after rolling over Hong Kong and unleashing COVID19, his opinion of his adversaries I am sure is of the Paper Tiger Variety.



Vladimir who recently dialled up the pressure on Ukraine in an old school show of force then dialled it down again will surely work in tandem with Xi and both will synchronise their moves to create a Pincer Move at some point.

On Sunday The ''Underpants'' Poisoner [Navalny's words not mine] was marking the 76th anniversary of victory in World War II

Russian inter-continental ballistic missiles, military parades in Moscow. * SS-15 Scrooge (RT-20P) first mobile ICBM, 1965. * SS-27 "Sickle B" (Topol-M), 2021] @CovertShores 



5 DEC 16 :: At this moment, President Putin has Fortress Europe surrounded.



The intellectual father of the new Zeitgeist that propelled Brexit, Le Pen, the Five Star movement in Italy, Gert Wilders in the Netherlands, is Vladimir Putin.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia "consistently defends international law. At the same time, we will firmly defend our national interests to ensure the safety of our people," as it marks the 76th anniversary of victory in World War II


and sent a coded message to his BFF



7 OCT 19 :: China turns 70


Of course the vaudeville element was seen when Boris Johnson ordered two Royal Navy patrol vessels to sail to the Channel Islands amid fears that French fishing boats were preparing to blockade Jersey’s main port.


Its a ''bleeding Edge'' World wherever you turn your Gaze



The Invisible Microbe COVID19 posted two record high weeks of Infections and that is the ''reported'' number


However, The Western World and China think they have the microbe licked with their Superpower Vaccine[s]

See Eric Topol
https://twitter.com/EricTopol/status/1391032285357428738? s=20
Unlucky Worst pandemic in > 100 years
Lucky To have vaccines, developed and validated at unprecedented velocity, with extraordinary efficacy and safety, that are superior to our immune response to natural infection, and can protect against all variants to prevent serious illness

For the rest of the World and India in particular it remains the case of a a virulent plague that “travelled through the air as if on wings, it burned through cities like fire”


"My concern right now is that this virus has huge kinetic energy”, said @DrMikeRyan

Benito Modi whose hyper incompetence even the Die Hard BJP ''Deadenders'' are finding it impossible to defend positively aided and abetted the “Kumbh Mela [which] may end up being the biggest super spreader event in the history of this pandemic.” Professor Ashish Jha


It is clear daily COVID related deaths are running at 10x the Official number and each Funeral Pyre is a testament to the Prime Minister a testament to what You can decide.
I appreciate the Dollar is on the slide but I would venture shorting the Rupee is a No Brainer Trade at this juncture.
Whilst Topol and his ilk indulge in their vaccine Modi level Hubris let me point this out

This chart shows how quickly cases of each of the variants have increased from time of first detection in England. The rapidness of B.1.617.2 is evident. @chrischirp
https://twitter.com/chrischirp/status/1390745901128368132? s=20

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." - Professor Allen Bartlett
It suggests a *whopping* 37% of sequenced cases in London might be B.1.617.2! @chrischirp
https://twitter.com/chrischirp/status/1390745913476489218? s=20


we all know by now ''viruses exhibit non-linear and exponential characteristics'


UK cases are now rising slowly, with smoothed cases higher than 4 days ago and one measure of R popping over 1.0. @video4me 


The cubic shows a clear rising trend - a few days earlier than @Forensic_Stats hypothesised from looking at B.1.617.

This might give The Winner of Hartlepool pause for thought because we all know now the microbe loathes hubris and visits its most violent revenge on those who express hubris.

Africa which as to date emerged relatively unscathed from the health element of COVID19 might be casting a weary glance over its shoulder at India and would certainly be prudent to do so.


The Markets



In 1929, President Herbert Hoover assured the country that things were already “back to normal,” Liaquat Ahamed writes in Lords of Finance.

The US NFP printed 266,000 versus 1,000,000 expected which was the biggest miss relative to expectations in Non Farm Payrolls since at least 1998. @bespokeinvest

on 28th March when the Bears had gotten hold of the US 10 Year, I wrote that I expected the 10 Year to target 1.45% well we got real close on Friday before the market reversed Ten- year yields initially plunged to a more than two-month low of 1.46%, then reversed to end the day at 1.58%. 

However, I am resetting my target Yield to 1.25% now.


Given the volume of money Printing and the extraordinary stimulus


I have to say that the US Recovery is actually really weak and I believe it will be very short lived and the Penny will drop soon with the Bond Market and the Shorts will be forced to cover.

The Consensus View appears to be that the Global economy is going to accelerate big time and that its going to BOOM! I beg to differ


Partying responsibly. @BobNeiwen




Furthermore The Central Banks are in a corner. They have fired a lot of bullets and even if there was a meaningful bounce they cannot raise rates.

Here is why central banks are trapped and cannot raise rates even if inflation rises: @dlacalle_IA Feb 2 The Markets Are Wilding




Of course There are ''Party like its 1999'' situations unfolding all over the place.

Bill Hwang and $ARKK are Harbingers



$ARKK continues to get mutilated, considerably underperforming literally everything. @FadingRallies 


The liquidity of this complex is illusory, as the reflexivity embedded within creates a lurking shadow convexity that is vulnerable to predatory flows.

What's next for ARK? @QTRResearch

https://twitter.com/QTRResearch/status/ 1390768819287777280?s=20

- Hwang seeds ARK

- ARK buys TSLA

- Mysterious OTM call buys in TSLA gamma squeeze the stock by 10x higher for 18 months

- Hwang buys GSX

- Mysterious OTM call buys in GSX gamma squeeze shorts and 4x the stock

- Hwang blows up after gamma squeezes unwind

What's next for ARK?



Poetry pure: As it turned out the best hedge against the joke of unlimited money printing was a joke currency. #dogecoin @NorthmanTrader 


08-FEB-2021 :: The Markets Are Wilding




@elonmusk I am become meme, Destroyer of shorts And on February 4 He tested that hypothesis

No highs, no lows, only Doge @elonmusk Feb 4



Dogecoin is the people’s crypto @elonmusk Feb 4

The top 100 dogecoin addresses own 67% of the total supply & a single digital wallet currently owns 28% of the cryptocurrency's entire supply. @NorthmanTrader https://twitter.com/NorthmanTrader/status/ 1391126095295139841?s=20

Now imagine getting a cult celebrity to entice millions of retail buyers to chase a meme narrative pumping the positions of those 100 addresses who can then dump on said retail buyers. And imagine said celebrity being one of the 100. @NorthmanTrader


Nah, that could never happen. Could it?

Caveat Emptor



And VS Naipual delivered the most prescient warning in his book A Bend in the River

Anybody can be decisive during a panic It takes a strong Man to act during a Boom. VS NAIPAUL

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



Gold and Silver Have finally got the Big MO

Gold @artOSpeculation




28-MAR-2021 :: GOLD HAS COMPLETED ITS CONSOLIDATION AND IS HEADED BACK TO ATHS


Silver is the single most important asset that I’m focused on. @TaviCosta 

https://twitter.com/TaviCosta/status/ 1390696099229278213?s=20

If I had to boil down my entire macro thesis into one position, it would undoubtedly be that.

Once silver breaks above $30, I believe we will see an explosive move to new highs.


04-JAN-2021 :: What Will Happen In 2021 I expect Gold to top $2,500 this year and Silver to reach $50.00 







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The Lotos-eaters BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
Misc.




"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land, 

"This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon." 

In the afternoon they came unto a land 

In which it seemed always afternoon. 

All round the coast the languid air did swoon, 

Breathing like one that hath a weary dream. 



Then some one said, "We will return no more"; 

And all at once they sang, "Our island home 

Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam." 

CHORIC SONG 


There is sweet music here that softer falls 

Than petals from blown roses on the grass, 

Or night-dews on still waters between walls 

Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass; 

Music that gentlier on the spirit lies, 

Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes; 

Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies. 

Here are cool mosses deep, 

And thro' the moss the ivies creep, 

And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep, 

And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep." 


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28-MAR-2021 :: The Virus remains an exogenous uncertainty that is still not resolved #COVID19
Misc.



The Virus remains an exogenous uncertainty that is still not resolved though all the virologists who have metastasized into vaccinologists will have you believe its all sunlit uplands from here. 

Glorious sunrise at the Borana conservancy @nickdimbleby @JamboMagazine

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"Globally, we are now seeing a plateauing in the number of #COVID19 cases and deaths, with declines in most regions”, says @DrTedros at @WHO presser. @kakape
Misc.


"But it’s an unacceptably high plateau, with more than 5.4 million reported #covid19 cases and almost 90.000 deaths last week."

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In England, within TWO weeks to 1 May, B.1.617.2 (the new variant of concern) went from 1% to 11% of cases. Other variants <1%. @chrischirp
Misc.


Sanger removes cases from travellers to England & from surge testing to get a picture of what is happening in the community. 

read more


The Politics Behind India’s COVID Crisis @NewYorker
Law & Politics


Among the world’s autocratic populists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of India, is distinguished as a storyteller. 

He offers beguiling accounts of Hindu identity and Indian greatness, with the aid of allied newspapers and television networks, as well as on Twitter, where he has sixty-eight million followers and a phalanx of trolls. 

When the pandemic struck, last year, Modi summoned his loyal media barons and editors, who, according to the Prime Minister’s Web site, promised “inspiring and positive stories” about his government’s fight against the coronavirus. 

The country suffered tens of thousands of covid-19 deaths in 2020, but forecasts of even more dire outcomes did not materialize. 

In January, at Davos, Modi boasted that India had “saved humanity from a big disaster by containing corona effectively.” 

He loosened restrictions and invited worshippers to the Kumbh Mela, a weeks-long Hindu festival that attracted millions of people. 

As spring arrived, he staged mass rallies during an election campaign in West Bengal, a state with a population of a hundred million. 

At a gathering on April 17th, he extended his arms and proclaimed, “Everywhere I look, as far as I can see, there are crowds.




The coronavirus thrives off of complacent politicians. At the time of that rally, new infections in India, by official counts, had exploded to two hundred and fifty thousand a day, a figure that last week reached four hundred thousand.

Shortages of oxygen and hospital beds have driven desperate citizens—and even hospital directors—to beg for help on social media. 

State police have threatened or filed preliminary criminal charges against some of those seeking aid, because the “rumours” they generate may “spoil the atmosphere,” as Yogi Adityanath, a Modi ally and the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, put it. 

According to the Hindu, an English-language daily, he called for prosecutions under the National Security Act. 

On April 30th, India’s Supreme Court held that there should be no “clampdown” on those using social media to plead for oxygen or beds. 

Crematoriums are overwhelmed; photographs of makeshift funeral pyres have become iconic images of an unspeakable tragedy. 

Last week, at least a hundred and fifty people in India died of covid every hour. 

The surge reflects many factors, including the fragility of the underfunded health system. 

But, as Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, wrote last week, Modi’s government “appears obsessed about managing the narrative” rather than addressing urgent needs.

The Biden Administration and other governments have dispatched planeloads of small oxygen-making plants and vaccine ingredients to New Delhi, to bolster India’s vaccine industry. The aid is needed, but it alone cannot address the scale of India’s suffering. 

The pandemic has laid bare—and exacerbated—the contours of global inequality. The conditions incubating India’s outbreak also exist in other emerging countries, such as Brazil and Argentina, where thousands perish daily. 

In the U.S. and a few other wealthy nations, about half of all adults have now received at least one vaccine dose, and economies are reopening, whereas in much of the rest of the world it will require many months—perhaps a year or two—before vaccination rates are likely to rise enough to suppress the virus. 

India’s crisis will make that campaign longer, since to address its own emergency New Delhi has suspended vaccine exports to covax, a World Health Organization project established to assure equitable access to vaccines in low-income nations.


Both India and South Africa have asked the World Trade Organization to waive coronavirus-vaccine patent protections, arguing that this will jump-start manufacturing worldwide and speed global recovery. 

American and European pharmaceutical companies protest that waivers won’t work, because making the vaccines is too complex to scale up quickly. 

Last Wednesday, the Biden Administration departed from years of precedent to announce support for a temporary waiver of some patent protections. 

“The extraordinary circumstances of the covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, said. 

But it isn’t clear whether Biden’s decision can overcome European opposition at the W.T.O. in order to change existing treaty arrangements. 

In April, in a signal of political opinion on the Continent, the European Parliament voted decisively against waivers of intellectual property.

The moral and public-health case for prioritizing rapid global vaccination over corporate profits is inarguable. (Last week, Pfizer reported that sales of its covid-19 vaccine during the first three months of the year brought in three and a half billion dollars.) 

But the patent dispute lies in the realm of “vaccine diplomacy,” a phrase that describes the use of supplies to win influence and that aptly evokes the cynical maneuverings of great-power politics. 

While we justly celebrate the heroic service of individuals during the pandemic—nurses, doctors, delivery workers, bus drivers—our governments have often acted with unapologetic selfishness in order to protect national interests. 

Like the climate emergency, the coronavirus has challenged political leaders to discover new models of collective survival that might overcome threats that even the most hardened borders cannot stop. The record to date is not encouraging.

India’s death toll from covid-19 has now officially crossed two hundred thousand, a figure that experts say is almost certainly an undercount. Yet Modi’s government continues to expend energy on censorship

The Wire, an independent news outlet, reported that on May 3rd Sun Hospital, in Lucknow, released an emergency announcement on social media that it was “not able to get enough oxygen supply,” despite repeated pleas to the government. 

Appearing to disregard the Supreme Court’s ruling of three days earlier protecting such appeals, the state police alleged that the hospital didn’t really need oxygen. 

“No rumours should be spread to create panic among the people,” a police statement read.

Last year, Amartya Sen, a Nobel laureate best known for his work on the causes of famine, who is now eighty-seven, wrote in the Guardian about his country’s slide toward tyranny. 

“The priority of freedom seems to have lost some of its lustre for many people,” he said, and yet “the growth of authoritarianism in India demands determined resistance.” 

Modi, though, by rallying his followers and suppressing dissent, has weathered many previous challenges, and he is not likely to face another national election for several years. 

The history of independent India is one of political and humanitarian crisis followed by self-renewal, and the country’s eventual recovery from covid-19 can hardly be doubted. 

Whether its democracy can also regenerate seems, at this dark hour, a less certain prospect. ♦



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A prime minister unfit for a pandemic @asiatimesonline
Law & Politics



Parallel to Modi's leadership failures is the pressure Indians are under to choose between quackery and medical science


The widely respected publication The Lancet in a May 8 article said, 

“The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that India will see a staggering 1 million deaths from Covid-19 by 1 August, 2021. If that outcome were to happen, [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi’s government would be responsible for presiding over a self-inflicted national catastrophe.”

The catastrophic decisions in India’s Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) have doomed the country of 1.3 billion to a season of untold suffering. 

And it demanded a leader who would put the country’s well-being first, above his obsession with winning elections.

However, what we saw instead was a prime minister who was outmatched by the pandemic. 

A prime minister who in April 2020 urged Indians to light candles and diyas (lamps fueled by oil or ghee) for nine minutes at 9pm to “defeat the despair” brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to clap, ring bells or clang utensils on March 22, 2020.


Like any competent quack, India’s PMO focuses on a winning vibe, not a factual case. 

Modi positions himself as an alternative to “the scientists” and “the doctors” such that followers have to choose between trusting them or him.

This process, in extreme forms, leads to what some psychologists refer to as “identity fusion.”

 William Swann, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, coined the term in 2009 while studying theories of individual identity.

Once fused with a group or leader, he observed, followers seem tied to them in such a way that things are true because the leader said they were true. Dystopian as that may seem, it can be a coping mechanism: 

Orienting your sense of truth around a person can be more comforting than doing so around a nebulous, uncertain, or otherwise threatening reality.

Identity fusion is not appealing because it makes sense; it is appealing because it alleviates the cognitive and emotional burden of thinking. 

However, it also warns us about the dangers of having a prime minister who is manifestly unprepared to govern.


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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies





Euro 1.2143

Dollar Index 90.231

Japan Yen 108.91

Swiss Franc 0.9029

Pound 1.4119

Aussie 0.7839

India Rupee 73.32

South Korea Won 1118.90

Brazil Real 5.2246

Egypt Pound 15.6682

South Africa Rand 14.0052



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Which countries are the winners from rising commodity prices? @RencapMan
Commodities


This morning its probably #Ukraine (iron ore, red) and Australia ... but food (light green) and copper (dark green) have been helpful for months, for some rarely cited countries like Armenia and Georgia

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Europe–Africa Connectivity Outlook 2021: Post-Covid-19 Challenges and Strategic Opportunities | IAI Istituto Affari Internazionali @michaeltanchum
Africa



The European Union stands at a critical junction in the international scramble to establish Europe–Africa commercial corridors

Morocco, Algeria and Egypt are the geopolitical gatekeepers in the competition for three emerging corridors: Morocco’s West Africa–Western Europe corridor, an Algeria- anchored Central Maghreb corridor and an Egypt-based East Africa-Eastern/Central Europe corridor. 

Undeterred by the Covid-19 pandemic, China, Russia, Turkey and the Arab Gulf states have expanded their economic investments in these countries, reshaping the configuration of the trans- Mediterranean corridors. 

North Africa’s leading foreign partners will be the countries that invest in local manufacturing on a strategically significant scale to create manufacturing value chains. 

The EU still retains a window of opportunity to influence the direction of Europe–Africa connectivity to promote European priorities and ensure European interests.




European Union stands at a critical junction in the international scramble to establish Europe-Africa commercial corridors across the Mediterranean basin. 

Prior to the pandemic’s outbreak, the EU already faced a pressing strategic challenge to form a coherent policy in North Africa, which has become an arena of intense global competition over the new nexus of trade and energy transit routes as well as industrial manufacturing value chains that will connect Europe, Africa and Middle East.

During the previous decade, China became Africa’s top trade partner while Russia and Turkey massively expanded their trade relationships on the continent, witnessing rates of growth in trade that surpassed the EU by a factor of seven and five respectively.

The members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), especially Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, have similarly increased their economic engagement with Africa.

By 2025, Africa will have over a hundred cities with more than one million inhabitants.



The fundamental architecture of trans-Mediterranean connectivity consists of the three Europe-Africa corridors: Morocco’s West Africa-Western Europe corridor, an Algeria-anchored Central Maghreb corridor and an Egypt-based East Africa- Eastern/Central Europe corridor via the Eastern Mediterranean (Figure 1). 

Prior to Covid-19’s outbreak, Morocco’s West Africa-Western Europe corridor was the most advanced in its development while the Egypt-based East Africa-Eastern/Central Europe corridor was at a more preliminary stage, albeit with enormous economic potential. 

The Algeria-based, central corridor remains in a formative state, characterised by a jockeying among international actors for position. 

Algeria’s political paralysis since early spring 2019 and the resultant pause in foreign manufacturing investments endanger the corridor’s development.



On 9 March 2020, the European Commission and the High Representative for EU foreign and security policy issued a joint communication for “a new comprehensive EU strategy with Africa”, 

based on a programme of “five partnerships” for (1) green transition and energy access; (2) digital transformation; (3) sustainable growth and jobs; (4) peace and governance; and (5) migration and mobility.



China’s early post-Covid economic recovery has provided Beijing with a first-mover advantage in each of the three emerging trans-Mediterranean commercial corridors, opening the possibility for Beijing to reorient them towards its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework.




The deepening commercial interests of Turkey, its strategic partner Qatar, and their main regional rival, the UAE, ensure that all three actors will remain engaged across North Africa.

Undeterred by the pandemic’s severe economic impact, China, Russia, Turkey and the Arab Gulf states have expanded their economic involvement in North Africa to reshape the commercial configuration and geopolitics of the trans-Mediterranean connectivity.
1. The West Africa–Western Europe Corridor: The model of Morocco


Morocco’s success in advancing its West Africa-to-Western Europe corridor stems from the considerable investments made by Rabat and its foreign partners in the concurrent development of Morocco’s transportation infrastructure and its industrial base, anchoring Morocco’s emerging trans-Mediterranean commercial connectivity in manufacturing value chains
Prior to the pandemic, Morocco’s 2018 inauguration of the al-Boraq high-speed rail line – Africa’s first high-speed rail transportation connecting Tangier to Casablanca – consolidated Morocco’s unrivalled position as a Europe-Africa commercial corridor (Figure 2). 

The first segment of the 2.3 billion US dollars, 362 km rail-link was built as a Franco-Moroccan joint venture. The Boraq line is linked to Morocco’s new state-of-the-art Tanger Med port on the country’s Mediterranean coast 40 km east of Tangier.
In June 2019, Tanger Med became the Mediterranean’s largest port with a total container capacity of 9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), surpassing Spain’s Algeciras and Valencia ports. 

The 1.5 billion US dollars capacity expansion was supported by substantial Chinese investment, but China has failed to capitalise on the investment as Beijing has so far been unsuccessful in establishing an independent, Chinese-led manufacturing chain in Morocco.


The importance of integrating infrastructure investment with industrial manufacturing chains is illustrated by Morocco’s successful automotive industry, producing over 700,000 vehicles annually and serving as the western corridor’s centrepiece. 

In 2012, Groupe Renault established a second Moroccan manufacturing plant in Tangier to benefit from the expanded Tanger Med Port and rail link. 

In 2019, Europe’s third largest automaker sent six trainloads of Renault vehicles daily from its Tangier factory to the Tanger Med port for shipment.

In June 2019, France’s Groupe PSA, Europe’s second largest automaker, opened a manufacturing plant in Kénitra, north of Rabat, because of the Boraq high-speed rail link to the Tanger Med port.

In early 2019, automotive sectors sales accounted for 27.6 per cent of Morocco’s exports.

Morocco’s present vehicle production led by Groupe Renault and Groupe PSA is supported by approximately 200 international suppliers operating their own manufacturing plants in the country, including major firms headquartered in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium. 

Some Chinese manufacturers are using the opportunity of Groupe PSA’s new plant in Kénitra to integrate into the French-led European value chain, such as CITIC Dicastal, whose 400 million US dollars Kénitra plant can produce 6 million pieces annually to supply Groupe PSA.





1.1 The future Western Corridor: Between Europe and the Western Sahara



The EU faces several challenges coordinating its policy towards Morocco, the principal of which is the disputed Western Sahara region. 

As Morocco continues to expand its Boraq rail line, Rabat’s highest priority is to extend the high-speed rail to Lagouira (La Güera) in the southernmost point of the Western Sahara, which Morocco considers its Southern Provinces. 

Running from Morocco’s Tanger Med Port westward and then down the Atlantic coast to the Mauritanian border, the Tangier–Lagouira line would create high-speed commercial transportation connectivity from the western Mediterranean shore to the border of West Africa.


In November 2020, the Polisario Front ended its 29- year ceasefire with Rabat and resumed armed resistance.



Morocco became the first country to sign a green hydrogen agreement with Germany.

The German–Moroccan initiative seeks to create Africa’s first industrial plant for green hydrogen production using Morocco’s extensive solar power infrastructure. 

In January 2021, Morocco and Germany signed a letter of intent for the transport of Moroccan-produced hydrogen from Tanger Med to Germany’s Hamburg port. 



The Boraq high-speed rail line, as a French–Moroccan joint venture, is emblematic of France’s role as Morocco’s leading foreign investor. 

France provided 51 per cent of the financing for the initial segment with Morocco providing another 27 per cent. The project’s remaining 22 per cent was financed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait



The EU27 collectively is Morocco’s largest trade partner, accounting for 55 per cent of Morocco’s 2019 total bilateral trade volume. 

Nonetheless, France’s principal partners for strategic economic engagement with Morocco are Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, not Madrid, Rome or even Berlin.



In 2020, Morocco’s economy underwent a 7 per cent contraction, but is expected to accelerate to 4 per cent GDP growth in 2021.20 

The EU27 accounts for 59 per cent of Morocco’s foreign direct investment (FDI).

A slowdown in the EU’s economic engagement with Morocco opens further opportunities for China. 

Beijing’s attempt to establish its own industrial chain in Morocco though Chinese Automaker BYD’s effort to create an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant has so far stalled



Morocco is well-suited for electric vehicle manufacturing and hydrogen production, both EU priorities. 

Spain’s new Horizonte África (Horizon Africa) initiative to facilitate the operation of Spanish companies in Africa, with Morocco at its core,23 may provide a platform for deeper French– Spanish coordination



From 2006 to 2018, Russia’s trade with Africa grew by more than 300 per cent and Turkey’s by more than 200 per cent, while the European Union’s trade with Africa grew by 41 per cent; Economist



Europe–Africa Connectivity Outlook 2021: Post-Covid-19 Challenges and Strategic Opportunities | IAI Istituto Affari Internazionali @michaeltanchum [continued]




2. The Central Maghreb corridor: Post-Covid challenges



The central Maghreb Europe–Africa corridor presently centres on Algeria’s road connectivity from its Mediterranean coast to West Africa via the Trans- African Highway system  but has much potential to link up with other infrastructure connections with Tunisia.



Indeed, the recently formed Turkey–Italy–Tunisia transportation network that slices across the centre of the Mediterranean, creating an arc of commercial connectivity from the Maghreb to the wider Black Sea, forms the primary link in the embryonic central Maghreb Europe–Africa corridor that utilises Algeria’s connectivity



The Turkey–Italy–Tunisia network’s central hub is Italy’s deep-sea port of Taranto located on Italy’s southern tip at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea

Managed by Turkish port operator Yilport, the Taranto port began servicing the Turkey– Italy–Tunisia network in early July 2020 

The Taranto–Tunisia segment of the network simultaneously forms the core link of a potential Europe–Africa commercial transportation corridor by connecting the central Maghreb’s coast to Europe via Italy’s high-speed rail system

From Tunisia’s Bizerte port, the corridor can also reach (by highway) Algiers, the Mediterranean terminal for the Trans- Saharan Highway, potentially extending the Italy–Tunisia corridor southward into West Africa as far as Lagos, Nigeria.



The Europe–Africa segment of the Turkey–Italy–Tunisia network’s central node at Taranto extends southward to Malta’s Freeport Terminal at Marsaxlokk – also owned and operated by Yilport – and then to Tunisia’s port of Bizerte. 

The Taranto–Malta maritime link is also supported by the EU as the southernmost link in the Union’s own “Scandinavian–Mediterranean Corridor”, one of the nine core corridors of the European Commission’s Trans-European Transportation Network, or TEN-T programme.



Because the Taranto–Malta segment of the Turkey–Italy–Tunisia connectivity network was previously designated as TEN-T’s Scandinavian–Mediterranean corridor’s southern terminal link, Turkey’s Yilport could eventually become the operator of the hub of what could be the most prized Europe–Africa corridor. 

Interconnecting the EU’s Scandinavian–Mediterranean Corridor with Africa’s Algeria-to-Nigeria Trans-Saharan Highway, the Italy–Tunisia segment of the Turkey–Italy–Tunisia network could potentially form the vital link for a mega- corridor connecting Europe and Africa.



Italy is laying the groundwork for the Turkey–Italy–Tunisia network’s extension to Algeria through the involvement of Italy’s leading construction firms in Algeria’s East-West highway mega-project traversing the entire length of Algeria’s coast



Turkey has made strong inroads in Algeria through 3.5 billion US dollars of investments, ranking Turkey as one of Algeria’s top foreign investors.

One month into Turkey’s game-changing Libya intervention, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Algeria in late January 2020, where he announced the goal of raising Turkey–Algeria bilateral trade to 5 billion US dollars. 

Declaring Algeria as “one of our strategic partners in North Africa”, Erdoğan explained that “Algeria is one of Turkey’s most important gateways to the Maghreb and Africa”.



Turkey’s strategic partner Qatar also has invested in Algeria, creating a Qatari manufacturing presence. In 2013, Qatari Steel International opened a steel manufacturing complex, Algerian Qatari Steel, with an annual production capacity of 500,000 tons of wire rod and 1.5 million tons of reinforcing bar.

Qatar has also made sizable investments in Tunisia. Doha’s approximately 3 billion US dollars of investments makes Qatar Tunisia’s second largest investor, behind France but leapfrogging ahead of both Italy and Germany.



it remains unclear when construction will begin on Tunisia’s proposed deep-sea port at Enfidha. In the absence of a modern deep-sea port, the Turkey–Italy–Tunisia network could become a sub- system in China’s BRI architecture.



Algiers inked a 2016 deal with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation and the China Harbor Engineering Company to construct El Hamdania as a massive transhipment port located about 60 km west of Algiers.

With a container capacity of 6.5 million TEU, El Hamdania could function as the hub of a Europe–Africa corridor linking the Taranto port to the Trans-Saharan Highway.



Algeria’s economy contracted by about 6 per cent in 2020, forcing Algiers to reduce planned investments, slashing investments of its state-owned energy company Sonatrach by 50 per cent.

Requiring seven years of work at an estimated 6 billion US dollars cost, El Hamdania’s completion remains uncertain.

In 2020, Algeria’s crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports dropped by about 30 per cent each



Algiers would require an oil price of 135 US dollars to balance its budget, which is hardly a realistic scenario



The central corridor’s greatest challenge is the lack of progress in establishing a manufacturing base in Algeria, reflecting both a delivery deficit on the part of Algeria’s principal European partners and the inhospitable business climate created by the country’s political system



Algeria’s commercial connectivity to Europe has focused on hydrocarbon energy exports, with the trans-Mediterranean natural gas pipeline to Italy and the MedGaz pipeline to Spain emblematic of the relationship.



Among European energy majors, France’s Total stands out for its 2018 investment in Algerian petrochemical production, forming a joint venture under Algeria’s 51/49 framework called Sonatrach Total Entreprise Polymères (STEP) to produce the thermoplastic polypropylene.

Annual global demand for the thermoplastic is expected to grow by 5 per cent throughout the decade.

STEP’s combined 1.4 billion US dollars investment will create Algeria’s first polypropylene production facility with an annual output capacity of 550,000 tons to supply Algerian and regional demand while Total will be responsible for the commercialisation of the remainder in Europe



Italy is also partnering with Algeria and Tunisia to interconnect electricity grids upon the scheduled 2025 completion of a 192 km-long, 600 MW undersea cable between Tunisia and Sicily.

The electricity interconnection could help promote the development of renewable power production in Algeria

In 2015, Algeria announced a strategic energy plan with the objective of adding 22 GW power production capacity from renewable energy sources by 2030, equivalent to approximately 27 per cent of the country’s total capacity. 

Nonetheless, Algeria’s installed solar capacity stood at a paltry 343 MW in 2020.

The majority of Algeria’s green energy production, 13.5 GW, is slated to come from photo-voltaic (PV) solar energy. Eni and Total’s involvement in Algeria’s solar plant construction is relatively small and progress has been slow. 



Algeria’s push for solar energy creates the potential for the establishment of a PV manufacturing value chain.


Among European energy majors, France’s Total stands out for its 2018 investment in Algerian petrochemical production, forming a joint venture under Algeria’s 51/49 framework called Sonatrach Total Entreprise Polymères (STEP) to produce the thermoplastic polypropylene.

Annual global demand for the thermoplastic is expected to grow by 5 per cent throughout the decade.

STEP’s combined 1.4 billion US dollars investment will create Algeria’s first polypropylene production facility with an annual output capacity of 550,000 tons to supply Algerian and regional demand while Total will be responsible for the commercialisation of the remainder in Europe



Italy is also partnering with Algeria and Tunisia to interconnect electricity grids upon the scheduled 2025 completion of a 192 km-long, 600 MW undersea cable between Tunisia and Sicily.

The electricity interconnection could help promote the development of renewable power production in Algeria

In 2015, Algeria announced a strategic energy plan with the objective of adding 22 GW power production capacity from renewable energy sources by 2030, equivalent to approximately 27 per cent of the country’s total capacity. 

Nonetheless, Algeria’s installed solar capacity stood at a paltry 343 MW in 2020.

The majority of Algeria’s green energy production, 13.5 GW, is slated to come from photo-voltaic (PV) solar energy. Eni and Total’s involvement in Algeria’s solar plant construction is relatively small and progress has been slow. 



Algeria’s push for solar energy creates the potential for the establishment of a PV manufacturing value chain.



Europe–Africa Connectivity Outlook 2021: Post-Covid-19 Challenges and Strategic Opportunities | IAI Istituto Affari Internazionali @michaeltanchum [continued]




3.The advance of Egypt’s East Africa–Eastern/Central Europe corridor



With approximately 103 million inhabitants, Egypt is the largest Mediterranean nation by population and the third largest in Africa. 

With its vast labour and consumer markets, Egypt is rapidly advancing towards becoming the hub of an emerging Euro–Africa commercial transportation corridor connected to the European mainland via the Eastern Mediterranean at the massive Chinese-run trans-shipment port in Piraeus, Greece. 

Piraeus’s port operator China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) provides freight rail service that ultimately reaches Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland

By linking Piraeus’ freight rail service with Egypt’s rail connectivity to the booming “African Lion” economies of East Africa, Egypt and its Greek partner will become the gatekeepers of a multi- modal East Africa-to-Eastern/Central Europe corridor




Egypt is increasing the total container capacity of its Mediterranean ports to partner with Piraeus as the dominant trans-shipment hubs in the Mediterranean basin. 

Similar to Piraeus, China occupies a preeminent position in both the operation of Egypt’s Mediterranean ports and their capacity expansion. 

The majority of Egypt’s foreign trade is handled by the Alexandria port and its auxiliary El Dekheila port with a combined container capacity of 1.5 TEU. 

The port is run by a Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings, as a joint venture between Hutchison, the Alexandria Port Authority and Saudi Al Blagha Holdings. 

Hutchison is also developing a 2 million TEU Egyptian port at the nearby Abu Qir peninsula that will start operations in 2022.56


In January 2021, Egypt announced its intent to partner with French shipping giant CMA CGM to develop an additional 1.5 TEU container facility at the Alexandria port, reflecting the wider strategic partnership between Egypt and France in Africa



The African segment of the eastern corridor will be primarily based on rail connectivity as Cairo has prioritised shifting its commercial transportation from road to rail.

Egypt’s creation of rail connectivity with Sudan is forging a new north-south rail corridor with the White Nile countries with which Egypt is also becoming increasingly aligned, extending southward to Egypt’s partner Tanzania and the other countries of the wider Lake Victoria basin. 

This development has been facilitated by Egypt’s warming relationship with the new Sudanese government after the April 2019 ouster of former strongman President Omar al-Bashir and the multibillion-dollar support provided to Sudan’s new government by Egypt’s close strategic partners the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

In October 2020, Egypt and Sudan signed a new transportation connectivity agreement that will create modern rail connections between the two countries (Figure 6).61 The project’s first rail link will be constructed from Egypt’s southern city of Aswan to the Sudanese border town of Wadi Halfa

Egypt will preside over a rail corridor that connects the growing economies of East Africa to the Eastern Mediterranean coast. 

With maritime connectivity from Egypt’s ports to Piraeus, Egypt will become Europe’s primary commercial gateway to eastern Africa as far as the equator.

China’s construction of a high-speed rail line from Egypt’s Red Sea port of Sokhna to its Mediterranean port at Alexandria will accelerate the development of the overland component of the eastern corridor

Despite its leading role in transportation infrastructure development, China has not developed a production base in Egypt anchored in manufacturing value chains to dominate the commercial landscape, notwithstanding its participation in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. 

There remains a significant opportunity for Europe to assume a strategic leadership role in the development of the eastern corridor through incentivisation of European businesses to open manufacturing plants in Egypt.

Cairo’s plans for an ambitious 61 GW of installed capacity from renewable energy resources – 32 GW from photovoltaic solar power, 12 GW from concentrated solar power and 18 GW – from wind power could make Egypt one of the world’s leading green hydrogen producers.



Comprised of 55 per cent locally manufactured components, El Nasr and Dongfeng expect to bring out Egypt’s first EV for sale on the Egyptian market during 2022.



Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Egypt’s finance ministry forecasts that the Egyptian economy will grow by 3.3 per cent in fiscal year 2020–21. 

The IMF’s June 2020 staff-level agreement with Egypt on a 5.2 billion US dollars stand-by arrangement to offset Covid-19’s adverse economic impact will help ensure that Egypt’s corridor development maintains momentum. 

Additionally, the Egypt–IMF agreement was bolstered by a subsequent 2 billion US dollars loan coordinated by UAE-based lenders Emirates NBD Capital and First Abu Dhabi Bank.




Conclusion



Africa’s large supply of affordable land and labour in combination with its expanding yet under-served urban consumers markets make the continent a primary locus of global economic growth. 

International companies are increasingly scrambling to locate more of their operations in Africa, a trend that will accelerate with the shortening of supply chains in post-Covid economies and the recent launching of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The EU should pursue its aspirations in North Africa through European investments in trans-Mediterranean connectivity, on a strategically significant scale, to create local manufacturing that participates in European value chains. 

Any space left by the EU in the development of trans-Mediterranean connectivity will be filled by China, Russia, Turkey and the GCC states, potentially introducing rule-sets and business practices antithetical to EU values and standards. 

The emergence of non-European-led manufacturing value chains anchored in North Africa would reconfigure trans-Mediterranean commercial relations, reducing the EU’s economic and political clout in its southern neighbourhood.


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Morocco Risks Spat With Second European Power as Spain Hosts Foe @bpolitics
Africa


Morocco’s prime minister condemned Spain for hosting the leader of a movement fighting for the independence of the disputed Western Sahara, signaling a possible second feud between the kingdom and a major European partner.

The government plans an “appropriate response” to the presence of the Polisario Front’s chief in Spain, premier Saad Eddine El Othmani told lawmakers in Morocco’s capital, Rabat, on Monday. 

The North African nation is already mired in a dispute with Germany, which it accuses of having a “negative attitude” regarding Western Sahara.

A Polisario official was quoted by Algeria’s state news agency last week as saying its leader Brahim Ghali was being treated for the coronavirus in Spain, one of Morocco’s major trade and investment partners. 

Spokespeople for Spain’s government weren’t immediately able to comment.

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Turning To Africa
Africa



Democracy from Tanzania to Zimbabwe to Cameroon has been shredded.

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''

Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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On 6 May, US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, paid a visit to Asmara, Eritrea, for a 3-hour meeting with Pres Isaias. @martinplaut
Africa


The first meeting of a senior US official with high-level Eritrean officials in Eritrea.



Conclusions



He is the Puppet Master after all. 



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BREAKING: "Today, (US) Ambassador (to Ethiopia) Geeta Pasi hosted His Holiness Abune Mathias, at her residence'' @Yonigussie
Africa


''The two discussed the current situation in #Ethiopia and specifically the humanitarian crisis in #Tigray, inc his recent public message."

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Mystery of Sanctioned Tycoon's Assets in Zimbabwe Revival Plan @bpolitics
Africa



In December, the government of Zimbabwe announced a multibillion-dollar project called Kuvimba Mining House Ltd. that would hold some of the nation’s most valuable gold, platinum, chrome and nickel mines and whose revenue would be used to revive the country’s moribund economy.

The venture would be 65% owned by the government and 35% by private investors, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said in a January interview, predicting it would be “highly profitable” within two years. 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said in December the venture will help “in unlocking the inherent richness and value of our country’s mineral deposits,” according to the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

The announcement was met with skepticism among local journalists and some industry analysts. Decades of graft and economic turmoil have left once-prosperous Zimbabwe a ruined state. 

The country has little formal employment, and inflation last measured 194%. 

Past state works projects failed to turn things around, not least because public money had a way of disappearing into private hands. 

Mnangagwa’s declaration that “Zimbabwe is open for business” and promises of a fresh start after he came to power in late 2017 have come to nothing. 

The government won’t say where it got the funds to cover its purchase of the mines, smelters and platinum concessions the Kuvimba venture says it now owns. 

Officials have provided no evidence of transactions confirming Kuvimba does in fact own the mines it says it acquired. 

Ncube, in interviews with Bloomberg, has declined on two separate occasions to identify the private partners, who stand to make billions of dollars from the project.



Kuvimba is held by government pension funds and Zimbabwe’s sovereign wealth fund, Ncube said in a separate interview. 

The pension funds haven’t disclosed what assets they’re managing and the sovereign wealth fund isn’t operational. 

Previously unreported documents, emails and WhatsApp messages seen by Bloomberg help fill in some of the blanks. 


They show how, through a complex series of transactions, the mining assets that form the core of Kuvimba’s holdings were until recently owned by or tied to Kudakwashe Tagwirei,a politically connected businessman and presidential adviser who was sanctioned for corruption by the U.S. last year. 


Calls and emails to Ncube over the past month seeking responses to questions about Kuvimba and Tagwirei’s involvement weren’t answered; nor were messages that Zimbabwe’s Permanent Secretary of Finance George Guvamatanga, his assistant, and an outside communications adviser said they would deliver to him.



The documents, which cover a period from mid-2019 to late 2020, show that, at least until late last year, key Kuvimba entities —- including Freda Rebecca Gold Mine, Bindura Nickel Corp. and a 50% stake in platinum company Great Dyke Investments -- were held by Sotic International Ltd.

a Mauritius-based holding company that was part-owned by Tagwirei during that time frame through a complicated financial arrangement that makes his involvement difficult to see. 


“The lack of transparency is stock-in-trade for the government, the party’s acolytes and its business and professional services’ enablers,” said Tara O’Connor, executive director of London-based Africa Risk Consulting, which in March produced a 46-page report on the links between Zimbabwe’s most powerful politicians and businessmen. 

“All the companies associated with this new company, Kuvimba, carry Tagwirei’s DNA.” The Africa Risk report said that Tagwirei had been an owner of Sotic.

The government has publicly and repeatedly denied Tagwirei has any involvement in the Kuvimba venture and Tagwirei didn’t respond to questions about whether he still has a stake in or control over any of the assets that now fall under Kuvimba. 

Connections to a person under U.S. sanctions might deter investors and complicate the government’s hopes to sell a stake in Kuvimba on a foreign stock exchange. 

The U.S. sanctioned Tagwirei for using his political influence to “gain state contracts and receive favored access to hard currency” and linked him to the disappearance of $3 billion from a farm-subsidy program, calling him “notoriously corrupt.”

The Kuvimba project’s success is critical for President Mnangagwa, who has yet to deliver on the turnaround he promised after longtime ruler Robert Mugabe was deposed in a power tussle. 

He needs the revenue to pay for public services, including civil servants’ pensions and compensation for White farmers driven off their land two decades ago. 

The country has more than $8 billion in external debt and is effectively cut off from multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Tagwirei is known in local media as “Queen Bee” for his commanding position in business and politics. 

Since Mugabe stepped down, “Tagwirei used a combination of opaque business dealings and his ongoing relationship with President Mnangagwa to grow his business empire dramatically and rake in millions of U.S. dollars,” the U.S. claimed in its statement imposing sanctions on him.

Tagwirei didn’t answer four calls to his mobile phone or reply to emails seeking comment. He has not spoken publicly about the sanctions.

The documents viewed by Bloomberg show that at least until late last year, Tagwirei effectively had control over Sotic, the company that owned some of the largest assets now claimed by Kuvimba, including major platinum and gold mines.

Sotic is backed in part by Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, an investment firm registered in the Cayman Islands. 

It’s owned by Almas Capital Ltd., a company that is in turn owned by a businessman called Amardeep Sharma, Almas said in a response to queries.

“Almas became a shareholder of Sotic in quarter 1 of 2020,” the company said, without giving any details of what it paid.

Corporate documents show an agreement among Almas, Sotic and Tagwirei in which Sotic issued 9,000 debentures to Almas at a face value of $1,000 each, or $9 million in total. 

Almas then handed control of the securities to Tagwirei, effectively boosting his control over Sotic. The repayment terms weren’t disclosed in the document.

In the response to Bloomberg, Almas declined to comment on its relationship with Tagwirei.

“As per the legal obligations which the fund has to abide, it cannot comment on any of its relationships in any manner whatsoever,” Almas said. 

“We can confirm that the fund is committed to being responsible in all its legal and compliance obligations as a financial entity and adheres to all local and international laws.”


In communications about Sotic last year between executives of the company, Tagwirei was referred to as “the boss” or by the initials K.T. 

He authorized decisions and was copied in on much of the email traffic seen by Bloomberg. Pfimbi Ltd., a holding company, owns the rest of Sotic, according to documents seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by Almas.


“Pfimbi Ltd. owns the remaining 35% of Sotic,” Almas said. “Sotic owns a number of mining assets in Zimbabwe, some partially owned such as Great Dyke investments and others totally such as the Freda Rebecca Gold Mine.”

Pfimbi is also based in Mauritius and is controlled by Tagwirei through nominee agreements with six shareholders, the documents show. 

Those six nominee shareholders signed documents saying they’d hold their shares “for the sole benefit and on behalf of the owner” -- Tagwirei -- a clause in the agreement reads.

The shareholders included former traders at Puma Energy Ltd., a unit of commodities giant Trafigura Holdings Pte. that ended a fuel partnership with Sakunda Holdings

Sakunda is an investment company headed and owned by Tagwirei that was involved in a fuel import and distribution venture with Trafigura until February last year. 

None of the shareholders responded to emails or answered their mobile phones. Pfimbi could not be reached for comment.

Kuvimba says it now owns the assets, but the government has produced no evidence of those transactions or transfer of ownership and didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment on how or when they were acquired.

Further complicating matters: David Brown, the veteran mining executive Zimbabwe’s government chose as Kuvimba’s chief executive officer, is also CEO of Sotic.

In an emailed response to questions, Brown said he wasn’t aware that Tagwirei had an interest in Sotic and said he hadn’t been hired by Tagwirei to run Sotic and now Kuvimba. Brown declined to name Kuvimba’s private shareholders -- but denied that Tagwirei owns any of it.

“To the best of my knowledge,” he said in the email, “there was a restructure which resulted in Kuvimba being the holding company of the mining assets.” 

Brown declined to provide details or evidence of the restructuring, or say what remuneration Sotic may have received for its mines.

Christopher Fourie, a former Sotic executive, said in a response to questions that he was hired by Tagwirei to establish Sotic and lead the acquisition of mines including those Kuvimba now claims. 

A copy of his contract, dated 2018 and submitted in a July 2020 South African court case, describes Fourie as group executive for investment and business development of the company that preceded Sotic, Tagwirei’s Sakunda Holdings, and now is listed as one of Sotic’s subsidiaries. 

The contract is signed by Tagwirei in his role as CEO of Sakunda. Sakunda was also hit with sanctions by the U.S.


Fourie says he has been pushed out of Sotic by the shareholders of Pfimbi and is in a dispute with the company. 

According to an email seen by Bloomberg dated May 22, 2020, Brown asked Fourie to resign, as they had not been able to agree on a role for him in the company. 

In July of that year, Brown filed suit in the High Court of South Africa seeking to stop Fourie from continuing with “a campaign of disparagement and criticism” of an affiliate of the Sakunda Group on social media, according to the court documents.


“He is not an ex-employee, so he has not been pushed as he claims but due to various actions/behaviors he is an employee suspended on full pay pending the conclusion of an internal inquiry into his conduct,” Brown said in a response to queries.

In the same month that he filed the court case, Brown was cited by Bloomberg as saying that a unit of Sotic had bought two Zimbabwean gold mines and wanted to buy more. 

In October 2019, the chairman of Bindura Nickel told Bloomberg that Sotic had bought a 74% stake in the company.


Almas said in its response to emailed questions that its opportunity fund has investors from the Persian Gulf, Latin America and India. It declined to say who they were, citing legal obligations.

Almas said it’s now in negotiations to “disinvest from Zimbabwe” because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and greater-than-foreseen investment needed in some of the assets. It said it couldn’t disclose its interlocutor.

“After a review of our operations, the investment committee of Almas Fund has expressed its intention to disinvest from Zimbabwe,” it said in the March 30 response, citing negative financial impacts from its investment in the country, the pandemic’s effect on mining and a need for more debt and investment to realize the projects than previously foreseen.

“With this new company, they are just shifting deck chairs around on the Titanic,” said Jee-A van der Linde, an analyst at NKC African Economics in Paarl, South Africa. 

“I don’t see something like this is going to lift up the economy.”



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Kenya to pay oil marketing companies (OMCs) for lower profit margins made in April by not increasing pump prices. Consumers to pay an extra Ksh0.5 per litre in administrative costs @The_EastAfrican @MwangoCapital
Kenyan Economy


Kenya to pay oil marketing companies (OMCs) for lower profit margins made in April by not increasing pump prices. Consumers to pay an extra Ksh0.5 per litre in administrative costs for processing the receipt and disbursement of monies from the Treasury

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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May 2021
 
 
 
 
 
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