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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 14th of May 2021

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09-MAY-2021 :: The Lotos-eaters
World Of Finance

The Markets

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

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09-MAY-2021 :: The Lotos-eaters

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." 


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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'We are fed up': Thousands pray at Portugal's Fatima shrine for world without COVID-19 @Reuters.

"We are fed up with this and it changed our lives a lot," Barbosa said. "I'm tired of the mask. It's horrible. I hope Our Lady will help us get rid of this (pandemic) as soon as possible."

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The effectiveness of the Iron Dome has been gutted by exhausting their supply with a constant barrage of rockets @IbnRiad
Law & Politics

The effectiveness of the Iron Dome has been gutted by exhausting their supply with a constant barrage of rockets - now as they become more vulnerable, strikes aimed straight at them have a higher chance of taking each targeted battery out.

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Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof?
Law & Politics

At the beginning of From Russia With Love (the movie not the book), Kronsteenn is summoned to Blofeld’s lair to discuss the plot to steal the super-secret ‘Lektor Decoder’ and kill Bond. 

Kronsteen out- lines to Blofeld his play Blofeld [read Trump]: 

Kronsteen, you are sure this plan is foolproof? 

Kronsteen [read Pompeo]:  Yes it is because I have anticipated every possible variation of counter-move.

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I feel like we’re starting to see signs that this is not a limited confrontation in the eyes of the resistance, but possibly, just possibly, something much, much more. @IbnRiad
Law & Politics

I feel like we’re starting to see signs that this is not a limited confrontation in the eyes of the resistance, not simply a showcasing of capabilities and a setting of new rules of engagement ... but possibly, just possibly, something much, much more.

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Why is the universe so uncannily, so eerily, so terribly quiet? Because in the dark forest, anything that makes a sound gets eaten.

The alien researcher on the other side of the communication warns her that its society is utterly twisted and that she must never make contact again, lest they invade Earth:

Do not answer!

Do not answer!!

Do not answer!!!

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"The Dark Forest," which continues the story of the invasion of Earth by the ruthless and technologically superior Trisolarans, introduces Liu’s three axioms of “cosmic sociology.” @nfergus
Law & Politics

First, “Survival is the primary need of civilization.” 

Second, “Civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.” 

Third, “chains of suspicion” and the risk of a “technological explosion” in another civilization mean that in space there can only be the law of the jungle. 

In the words of the book’s hero, Luo Ji:

The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost ... trying to tread without sound ... 

The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. 

If he finds other life — another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod — 

there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them. In this forest, hell is other people ... any life that exposes its own existence will be swiftly wiped out.

This is intergalactic Darwinism.

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War With China Over Taiwan Is Not A Fictional Worry @NoemaMag @stavridisj
Law & Politics

Think of Taiwan as a porcupine — it won’t defeat the dragon of China, but it could be very hard to digest. That might create real deterrence. 

Similarly, we should bluntly communicate to China that an armed invasion is unacceptable and would provoke a significant diplomatic, economic — and possible military — response by the U.S.

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Xi Jinping is both Sun Tzu ‘'The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting'' And hard edged at the same time.
Law & Politics

He has brought Hong Kong to heel, he is prowling around Taiwan like a Lion prowled around our Tent one night in the Tsavo.

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

“Complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable trend..no one and no force can ever stop it!” 

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Xi has taken calculated risks. The muscular and multi-faceted nature of Chinese Power is seen in its handling of COVID19
Law & Politics

Controlling the COVID19 Narrative, suppressing the Enquiry, parlaying the situation into one of singular advantage marks a singular moment  

Xi Jinping has exhibited Chinese dominance over multiple theatres from the Home Front, the International Media Domain, the ‘’Scientific’’ domain over which he has achieved complete ownership and where any dissenting view is characterized as a ‘’conspiracy theory’’

It remains a remarkable achievement.

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Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 11 May 2021 @WHO

Global overview: The number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths globally slightly decreased this week, with over 5.5 million cases and over 90 000 deaths. 

Global 5 517 602  -4%

Case and death incidences, however, remain at the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic. 

New weekly cases decreased in the regions of Europe and Eastern Mediterranean, while the South-East Asia Region continued an upward trajectory for 9 weeks and reported a further 6% increase last week.

While India continues to account for 95% of cases and 93% of deaths in the South-East Asia Region, as well as 50% of global cases and 30% of global deaths, worrying trends have been observed in neighbouring countries.

The highest numbers of new cases were reported  

India (2 738 957 new cases; 5% increase)

Brazil (423 438 new cases; similar to previous week) 

United States of America (334 784 new cases; 3% decrease)

Turkey (166 733 new cases; 35% decrease) 

Argentina (140 771 new cases; 8% decrease)

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How India’s Covid-19 crisis diminished @narendramodi @FinancialTimes

Anarya is haunted by her father’s last request as he lay dying in an Indian government Covid hospital, where doctors struggle with a deluge of critical patients. 

“The last clear words I heard from him were, ‘Get me some help. Get someone to attend to me’,” the 30-year-old art educator, who uses only one name, recalls.

She and her brother had hunted desperately for a hospital for their 67-year-old father, who was struggling to breathe at home despite having an oxygen cylinder. 

Delhi’s private hospitals were full, so they rushed by ambulance to a public hospital only to find it barricaded shut. 

“The hospital staff told us to leave because there was no bed available,” Anarya says.

They wound up at a makeshift government Covid isolation facility, with four junior doctors monitoring more than 100 patients. Her father got oxygen but no medication. 

Admitted to hospital two days later, he was left without oxygen or care for an entire night. When he finally got an oxygen bed, it was too late. “The harm was already done,” Anarya says.

Today, the young woman is overwhelmed with grief — as well as rage at her family’s ordeal. 

It is a fury pervasive in urban India, as citizens struggle to obtain medical care for ailing loved ones — and scarce vaccinations — amid an enormous wave of deadly Covid-19 infections.

This anger has exposed the first cracks in the armour of a charismatic strongman who had until weeks ago seemed all but politically invincible: Narendra Modi, India’s most powerful and popular prime minister in decades.

Modi — propelled to power in 2014 by promises to bring acche din or “good days” to aspirational Indians — now appears a diminished figure, presiding over what many see as the biggest disaster to befall the country since its independence from British colonial rule in 1947

His pledges to increase job-generating economic growth, deliver administrative efficiency — or “minimum government, maximum governance” as he called it — and boost India’s stature on the global stage remain unfulfilled.

Instead, many Indians struggling to keep Covid-stricken relatives alive in the face of daunting obstacles feel abandoned by a leader who appears strangely indifferent — if not paralysed — amid their suffering.

“It’s not our job to find medicine, to find oxygen, to find an ICU bed,” says Anarya. 

“Going from hospital to hospital — that is not what should happen. Our job is to pay taxes. It is the government’s job to provide basic facilities. They are failing the people. It’s criminal negligence.”

Tough questions are being asked of Modi’s pandemic management, including public health messages that suggested the virus threat had passed; the failure to heed repeated expert warnings of an imminent second wave; and a botched procurement strategy that has led to an acute shortage of vaccines.

Meanwhile, the planeloads of emergency medical relief supplies pouring in from around the world — including from countries such as Uzbekistan and Romania — have punctured many Indians’ proud perception of their country as an emerging global power.

“This is the first time in seven years that we are seeing a sense of public anger against Modi,” says Asim Ali, an associate at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research. 

“It is coming from the urban middle class, which is his most loyal base. These are people who shape opinion.”

Modi’s popularity is still at elevated levels that would make most other global leaders green with envy. 

According to Morning Consult — the data analytics agency, more than 65 per cent of Indians still approve of Modi’s performance, while just 29 per cent disapprove

But Modi’s standing has eroded significantly since late March, when his approval rating was 74 per cent and disapproval rating just 20 per cent.

The question now is whether the prime minister — who during his seven years in power has consolidated most decision-making authority in his own office — can divert public attention and deflect blame for the crisis, or whether disillusionment with his performance will deepen, gradually sapping his authority.

Ali says the premier’s carefully cultivated image as a self-sacrificing leader working tirelessly to serve the public has been badly hit by his intensive campaigning in state elections in West Bengal. 

He addressed more than 20 rallies, gloating about the huge crowds gathered to see him — even as India’s Covid cases surged and Delhi hospitals ran out of oxygen.

“The core of Modi’s image was of a selfless person, who wasn’t after power or money,” Ali adds. 

“This image has suffered. He was hankering after electoral power in West Bengal while people in other parts of the country suffered. He just seems like another politician to people now.”

Ronojoy Sen, a senior research fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore, says Modi appeared caught off-guard as the second wave hit last month, creating the impression of a leadership vacuum.

“The certitude, the leadership qualities that the prime minister is famed for, and that he had shown last year — that seems to be missing,” says Sen. 

“They [ruling party officials] seriously believed India had really vanquished Covid. You had the health minister say in March, ‘We’re in the endgame’. Now, when things are probably at their worst, the central government seems to be either overwhelmed or missing in action.”

Interpreting suffering

India’s next general election isn’t until 2024. But India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, now run by the controversial Hindu cleric Yogi Yogi Adityanath from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party, will elect a new state government next year.

The poll will provide an early test of voters’ opinions on the BJP’s management of the crisis.

Ashutosh Varshney, a political scientist at Brown University in the US, says the outcome will depend partly on whether Indians interpret the destruction and losses of the pandemic as the result of governance failures, or a force beyond any administration’s control.

“The question is, ‘How is suffering interpreted?’” Varshney says

“Some will say, ‘This is God’s punishment for your deeds’. [Others] will say this is excessive suffering and this is because of government mistakes and bureaucratic brutality. I can’t believe more and more people will not think this was inflicted by the government.”

Most analysts still believe Modi will be able to overcome his current woes, given his consummate political skills, the weakness of India’s opposition parties and his proven ability to maintain his standing in voters’ eyes despite inflicting disruptive shocks since he became leader.

His unorthodox plan to demonetise much of the country’s currency in 2016, and poorly executed adoption of a new tax system a year later, brought much public misery and severely damaged the economy. 

But voters kept faith, seeing Modi’s actions as well-intentioned efforts to shake up a rotten system.

At the start of the pandemic last year, Modi imposed one of the world’s most draconian lockdowns on just four hours’ notice. 

This created a humanitarian crisis for millions of vulnerable migrant workers, who were trapped in cities without earnings or forced to take arduous journeys hundreds of kilometres back home on foot.

Yet the urban middle classes — and even many migrants themselves — still thought Modi had taken a tough but necessary decision to protect public health.

Gilles Verniers, a political scientist at Ashoka University, says Modi’s resilient popularity has so far reflected his perceived personal qualities as a strong decisive leader, rather than on “accountability or an evaluation of the consequences of his action or inaction.”

But he believes Modi, and the BJP, will face a tough battle to regain control of the narrative about their handling of the crisis.

“The contrast between the projected image, and the actual capacities, has never been so stark,” Vernier says

“There is a sentiment of powerlessness that the government exudes that we haven’t been accustomed to before . . . There is simply no way that this situation can be spun into anything that is remotely positive.”

The true magnitude of India’s current Covid wave — and the human toll — may never be known or officially acknowledged. 

India’s testing capacity remains limited, especially in small towns and rural areas, where the virus is spreading rapidly. 

Officially, India has recorded just over 250,000 Covid deaths since the pandemic began, still behind the US and Brazil.

Harsh Vardhan, India’s health minister, has repeatedly cited these official figures to argue the country has handled Covid far better than richer countries — a key mantra in the BJP’s rhetorical arsenal in the debate over its pandemic management.

According to Johns Hopkins University, India has recorded 23.3m cases with the most recent seven-day rolling average of daily infections put at more than 380,000. 

Other independent experts believe the true number of new daily infections is running at between 1.5 and 2m a day, with daily Covid deaths estimated at 25,000 to 50,000. 

Such a widespread trauma is unlikely to be forgotten easily, given the distressing nature of Covid deaths.

“You can ignore, fail to test for, or undercount whatever disease you want,” Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, wrote on Twitter last week. 

“But you can’t ignore the dead. In India, the dead are telling us that the disease is much worse than the official statistics. And we have to listen.”

False narrative

As crematoriums work overtime to dispose of the dead, the BJP’s is shifting into aggressive damage control mode, with party leaders likening the second wave to an unforeseeable natural disaster.

Jay Panda, national vice-president of the BJP, says senior government figures are “working close to 24/7 to tackle the problem” of oxygen shortages and boost vaccine supplies.

“The prime minister repeatedly appealed to people not to let their guard down,” says Panda. 

“The number of cases has surged far more than was anticipated by anybody. Nobody — not even the critics today — predicted this either.”

Scientists and public health experts counter that they warned in early March of the risks posed to India by more infectious new variants in circulation — and of the dangerous consequences of New Delhi giving the nod to mass political and religious gatherings, like the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival that drew at least 9m devotees to the banks of the Ganges up to the end of April.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand there would be a second wave,” says virologist Shahid Jameel of Ashoka University. 

“Look at every country in the world that peaked before India, they all had a second wave — why would India not have one? This really false narrative was built that Indians are somehow special — and everyone participated in that.”

However, the BJP is also using its extensive network of WhatsApp groups to discourage expressions of “negativity” that it warns could undermine public morale. 

Facebook and Twitter have been ordered to remove content critical of Modi’s government, while Uttar Pradesh police authorities have filed criminal complaints against hospitals and individuals publicly complaining about the acute shortage of life-saving medical supplies.

New Delhi is also trying to deflect blame for the crisis to state governments, even adopting a new decentralised vaccine procurement policy which could leave states taking the flak for the acute shortage of jabs.

It has also identified another culprit for the Covid calamity: the Indian people themselves

Officials have criticised people who failed to wear masks and started socialising intensively after Covid case numbers fell earlier this year.

“Instead of just blaming the government and instead of blaming institutions, I would tend to blame the people of India also,” Amitabh Kant, chief executive of Niti Aayog, the government’s main policy think-tank, told a recent FT Global Boardroom online event. 

“All of us need to be far more responsible. It’s very important that the people of India become disciplined.”

Yet the increasingly critical tone of India’s once deferential media reflects the furious popular mood. 

On the cover of its latest issue, the weekly news magazine India Today used a photo of a queue of corpses awaiting cremation, with the words “The Failed State”.

Gujarat Samachar, the most read daily newspaper in Modi’s home state Gujarat, compared Modi to Nero, fulminating that construction on his pet project of a new parliament building — and a palatial new prime ministerial residence — was continuing after being declared an “essential service” exempted from Delhi’s lockdown.

“PM is busy with his $2.9bn Central Vista Project,” the newspaper said in a recent front page headline. “While Indians swing between life and Covid death, our ‘public servant’ has turned dictator.”

Criticism of Modi’s pandemic management extends beyond India. In a withering editorial last week, The Lancet, the medical journal, said Modi’s government had “squandered its early successes” and warned the premier was at risk of “presiding over a self-inflicted national catastrophe”.

‘If not Modi, who else?’

India’s struggling opposition parties — long overshadowed by Modi’s towering political persona — sense opportunity. 

Rahul Gandhi, de facto leader of the enfeebled Congress, last week wrote a scathing letter accusing the premier of “hubris” that has not just cost Indians their lives but imperilled global health.

Regional parties have been buoyed by the victory of West Bengal’s incumbent chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, who withstood the full force of the BJP’s electoral machinery in just concluded state elections.

Modi, even if he has been weakened by the crisis, still appears well-entrenched. 

A 31-year-old sweet shop owner in an Uttar Pradesh temple town acknowledges the widespread public anger at the prime minister, but says India had no viable alternative as a national leader.

“Almost everyone has lost a loved one in this second wave,” says the man, a self-proclaimed Modi supporter who asked not to be identified. 

“But whenever people ask me about Modi’s leadership, I wonder, ‘If not Modi, who else?’ There’s no other eligible leader around.”

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09-MAY-2021 :: Benito Modi whose hyper incompetence even the Die Hard BJP ''Deadenders'' are finding it impossible to defend
Law & Politics

For the rest of the World and India in particular it remains the case of 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.

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Lula Would Defeat @jairbolsonaro in Presidential Vote, Poll Shows @bpolitics
Law & Politics

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is set to defeat the country’s current leader Jair Bolsonaro by a wide margin in next year’s presidential runoff, according to a survey by Datafolha.

Lula would capture 41% of votes in the first round of the election, compared to Bolsonaro’s 23%, the poll released Wednesday said.

The leftist leader’s popularity has surged since Brazil’s top court cleared him of corruption convictions earlier this year that barred him from running for office. 

While Bolsonaro’s popularity continues to erode amid the pandemic, no other opponent of the far-right president has garnered significant support. 

Notably, no other potential candidate captured more than 7% of voter intentions, the survey said.

In a potential second and final round, Lula would handily win with 52% of votes compared to Bolsonaro’s 32%.

Datafolha interviewed 2,071 people across the country May 11-12. The poll had 2% a margin of error.

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States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”
Law & Politics

Ibn Khaldun explained the intrinsic relationship between political leadership and the management of pandemics in the pre-colonial period in his book Muqaddimah 

Historically, such pandemics had the capacity to overtake “the dynasties at the time of their senility, when they had reached the limit of their duration” and, in the process, challenged their “power and curtailed their [rulers’] influence...” 

Rulers who are only concerned with the well-being of their “inner circle and their parties” are an incurable “disease”. 

States with such rulers can get “seized by senility and the chronic disease from which [they] can hardly ever rid [themselves], for which [they] can find no cure”

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We get the following evolution of lineage frequencies. B.1.617.2 @TWenseleers

Overall, in terms of raw data we get the following evolution of lineage frequencies. As others noted there may be sampling biases on this, but very unlikely that labs would e.g. only submit data from the second subvariant B.1.617.2 and withhold data from B.1.617.1.

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Indian variant of concern B.1.617.2 would have a growth rate advantage of 7% per day over B.1.617.1 or of 10% per day relative to the Kent variant B.1.1.7. @TWenseleers

Overall for the whole of India, we get this fit. This pattern would imply that the Indian variant of concern B.1.617.2 would have a growth rate advantage of 7% per day over B.1.617.1 or of 10% per day relative to the Kent variant B.1.1.7.

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Based on my multinomial fit the estimated growth rate advantage of the Indian VOC B.1.617.2 is 12% per d [7-17%] over B.1.617.1 and 15% per d [13-18%] over the Kent variant B.1.1.7. @TWenseleers

Based on my multinomial fit (below on a regular linear scale as opposed to a logit scale), the estimated growth rate advantage of the Indian VOC B.1.617.2 is 12% per d [7-17%] over B.1.617.1 and 15% per d [13-18%] over the Kent variant B.1.1.7.

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Data from @sangerinstitute (which excludes data from travellers & surge testing ) with S dropout data from @PHE_uk superimposed show that also in the UK the Indian VOC B.1.617.2 is rapidly spreading. @TWenseleers

Data from @sangerinstitute (which excludes data from travellers & surge testing, and forms subset of @CovidGenomicsUK data) with S dropout data from  @PHE_uk superimposed (marker for the Kent variant B.1.1.7) show that also in the UK the Indian VOC B.1.617.2 is rapidly spreading.

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09-MAY-2021 :: However, The Western World and China think they have the microbe licked with their Superpower Vaccine[s]

See Eric Topol 

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

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The Markets The Lotos-eaters
World Of Finance

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 stimulusI 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 

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2106

Dollar Index 90.596

Japan Yen 109.39

Swiss Franc 0.9044

Pound 1.4058

Aussie 0.7736

India Rupee 73.368

South Korea Won 1128.625

Brazil Real 5.3093

Egypt Pound 15.6554

South Africa Rand 14.1016

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The Markets The Lotos-eaters Gold and Silver Have finally got the Big MO


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

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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Remittances during the COVID-19 Crisis: Resilient and no longer small change @WorldBank @DilipRatha
Emerging Markets

Defying projections of a severe contraction, officially recorded remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) reached $540 billion in 2020, just 1.6 percent below the 2019 total of $548 billion, according to the latest Migration and Development Brief.

The decline was smaller than the one during the 2009 global financial crisis (4.8 percent). 

Also, remittances did not decline as much as FDI flows to LMICs, which, excluding flows to China, fell by over 30 percent in 2020. 

As a result, remittance flows to LMICs (excluding China) surpassed the sum of FDI and overseas development assistance in 2020. 

remittances from oil-dependent economies declined more than they did in non-oil economies. 

For example, in the case of Russia, the twin effects of weak oil prices and the depreciation of the source-country currency caused a nearly 10 percent fall in remittance flows to the Europe and Central Asia region. 

Weak oil prices affected the employment of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, leading to declining outbound remittances from the region. 

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RESILIENCE COVID-19 CRISIS THROUGH A MIGRATION LENS Migration and Development Brief 34 May 2021
Emerging Markets

Remittance flows have proved to be resilient during the COVID-19 crisis. 

In 2020, officially recorded remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached $540 billion, only 1.6 percent below the $548 billion seen in 2019.

Among regions, remittances to Latin America and Caribbean grew by 6.5 percent in 2020 and were supported by a recovering economy and moderately improving labor market in the United States. 

In South Asia, there was a slight moderation in the growth of remittance flows in 2020, to 5.2 percent, while flows to the Middle East and North Africa grew by a modest 2.3 percent. 

Flows to Europe and Central Asia are estimated to have fallen by 9.7 percent, to East Asia and the Pacific by 7.9 percent, and to Sub- Saharan Africa by 12.5 percent

In 2020, in current US dollar terms, the top five remittance recipient countries were India, China, Mexico, the Philippines, and Egypt.

India has been the largest recipient of remittances since 2008. 

As a share of gross domestic product, the top five recipients in 2020 were, by contrast, smaller economies: Tonga, Lebanon, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and El Salvador. 

The United States was the largest source country for remittances in 2020, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the Russian Federation.

In 2020, in current US dollar terms, the top five remittance recipient countries were India, China, Mexico, the Philippines, and Egypt. 

India has been the largest recipient of remittances since 2008. 

As a share of gross domestic product, by contrast, the top five recipients in 2020 were smaller economies: Tonga, Somalia, Lebanon, Kyrgyz Republic, and South Sudan. 

The United States was the largest source country for remittances in 2020, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

Sub-Saharan Africa continued to have the highest average cost, at 8.2 percent.

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WHO African Region Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 11 May 2021 @WHO

The African Region reported over 40 000 new cases and over 1000 new deaths, a 5% decrease and 3% increase respectively compared to the previous week. 

This follows a long-term downward trend in case and death incidence; however, this trend may soon reverse with cases and deaths beginning to climb again in some countries. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

South Africa (11 975 new cases; 20.2 new cases per 100 000 population; a 41% increase), 

Ethiopia (4155 new cases; 3.6 new cases per 100 000; a 42% decrease)

Cameroon (4126 new cases; 15.5 new cases per 100 000; a 10% decrease)

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (318 new deaths; 0.5 new deaths per 100 000 population; a 13% increase) 

Ethiopia (162 new deaths; 0.1 new deaths per 100 000; a 9% decrease) 

Kenya (139 new deaths; 0.3 new deaths per 100 000; a 1% decrease).

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09-MAY-2021 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.

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
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.

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Africa braces itself for a Covid catastrophe @thetimes

The omens augured well when the first big vaccine delivery arrived. 

Heavy rain, always a sign of good fortune in South Africa, fell as a masked President Ramaphosa stood on sodden tarmac to welcome the first tranche of a million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca.

Within days of the delivery in February, however, the rollout was in chaos. Results of a trial among younger patients suggested that the vaccine did not work against variants of the virus prevalent in South Africa. 

Confidence in the Oxford vaccine plummeted, and the entire consignment was either thrown away or donated.

Today South Africa has reason to rue its extreme caution. It is battling a third wave of cases while its public vaccination programme has yet to get under way.

A 40 per cent rise in infections in the past week, the approach of winter and the arrival of highly contagious variants from Britain and India threaten a crisis much worse than the previous wave, which overwhelmed hospitals.

South Africa’s nervousness over vaccines is mirrored in other African states, where stocks of jabs have been routinely dumped, to the frustration of senior health officials across the continent. 

“While we call for vaccine equity, Africa must also knuckle down and make the best of what we have,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation’s Africa director. “We must get all the doses we have into people’s arms.”

Health authorities are now looking with alarm at the Covid catastrophe in India, fearing that a similar alignment of circumstances — a stalled vaccine rollout, emerging variants and a largely poor population with patchy health provision — might be replicated in Africa.

John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that the Indian catastrophe should put the continent’s health ministers “on high alert” to prepare oxygen supplies, hospital beds and medical staff. 

India’s health system, especially its ratio of doctors to patients, is far more robust than what exists in much of Africa. Yet India is in crisis, with patients unable to access hospitals and oxygen supplies running out.

It seems a long time ago that India’s government boasted it had escaped the worst of the virus and was happy to export the vaccinations it was making. 

Having avoided the huge death tolls seen in western countries, Africa too now looks increasingly vulnerable. 

It accounts for just 1 per cent of vaccine doses administered globally, according to WHO figures, down from 2 per cent a few weeks ago, as it lags behind other regions in distribution.

It is a failure that authorities warn everyone in the world should fear, vaccinated or not. 

In reservoirs of unchecked infections the coronavirus is mutating — which will prolong the pandemic for rich and poor nations alike.

“What is happening in India cannot be ignored by our continent,” Nkengasong said. 

“We do not have enough healthcare workers, we do not have enough oxygen … We cannot and should not find ourselves in [India’s] scenario because of the very fragile nature of our health systems.”

According to the official tally, Africa has recorded about 125,000 Covid deaths, fewer than 4 per cent of the global total. 

The true figure is likely to be higher: South Africa, for example, has 55,000 official deaths, but its excess mortality figures hint at a true total two or three times that.

A big concern is that only a third of South Africa’s 1.25 million health workers have so far been vaccinated. 

A stuttering programme has put Africa’s most developed economy near the bottom of a continental league table of doses administered.

The recent delivery of Pfizer-BioNTech jabs will enable the vaccine to be offered publicly for the first time next week, at first to those aged 60 and over. 

But plans to vaccinate 80 per cent of the population in the next nine months, which will require more than a million jabs a week, already seem overambitious. 

The cumulative total of 21 million vaccinations given in Africa so far is the same as America does in a single week.

And the rollout may well be too late to avoid the chaos of six months ago, when a surge in infections driven by the aggressive local 501Y.V2 variant left hospital doctors agonising over who should be prioritised for scant oxygen supplies and beds.

Mosa Moshabela, professor of public health at KwaZulu-Natal university, said he was shocked by “the lack of any sense of urgency” in the government since the second wave, which crashed at Christmas.

The deadline to vaccinate a million health workers by the end of March came and went unmet because of delays in supplies, concerns that the AstraZeneca jab showed little protection against mild to moderate infection of the local strain in a small trial and clotting fears linked to the Johnson & Johnson one.

Even so, the catastrophe predicted for Africa a year ago by the WHO and others has not so far materialised. 

A blend of factors are said to have eased the crisis in its first year, including the imposition of swift lockdowns, the isolation of countries from global networks of travel and trade and the youth of Africa’s populations.

Most of the vaccines shipped so far to Africa have been AstraZeneca shots via the global vaccine-sharing scheme Covax and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. 

With India suspending exports to meet its own needs, supply has come to an abrupt halt

Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal have already sped through their Covax supplies, but even Africa’s most efficient at jabbing have managed to administer only a fraction needed.

Scant supply of vaccines is only part of the problem. Care, a global humanitarian charity, estimates that for every £1 spent on doses, an extra £5 is needed to get them into arms. 

Fewer than half the 37 million doses Africa has received have so far have been given to patients.

In the absence of sufficient funding for chronically underpaid health workers and vaccination training programmes, many of the few doses that have been delivered are either sitting in warehouses or being dumped as their expiry date passes.

The appetite to get jabbed is also limited: coronavirus has had far less of a negative impact than economic lockdowns. 

Western warnings about very rare vaccine side effects have also spread on African social media, making people wonder whether they were being used as guinea pigs for shots that much of Europe has doubts about.

After South Africa turned against the Oxford jab, the government pivoted to the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, securing 500,000 doses under a research programme dubbed “Sisonke”, the Zulu word for “together”.

However, even that scheme faced problems when US data suggested the J&J vaccine might not meet safety standards. Sisonke was temporarily suspended while additional tests were hurriedly carried out.

Eventually Sisonke was cleared again, but even when complete at the end of this month, the scheme will have reached at most half of all health workers.

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The African Union’s health agency urged countries on the continent to increase testing for the coronavirus as more states report different variants of the disease. @business.

Testing dropped 21% last week, John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an online briefing Thursday.

Six African nations including South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Uganda and Kenya have reported the B.1.617 strain that is devastating India and which initial studies show spreads more easily. 

That’s in addition to the 24 African nations that reported cases of the B.1.1.7 mutation found last year in the U.K., with the same number of countries reporting the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa in 2020.

“We need to increase our testing all the time to catch up with the pandemic,” said Nkengasong. “These viruses tend to be transmitted very quickly and move with people.”

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Turning To Africa

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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Humponomics Why camel traders are getting the hump @TheEconomist


In 1906 lorenz hagenbeck received a request from the German government to supply its colonial army in South-West Africa (modern-day Namibia) with 1,000 camels.

The animal trader sought out the main force in the industry: Somalis. But upon seeing how they haggled, Hagenback was confounded, “for I had not mastered the secret finger-language used in that trade”.

More than a century later clandestine, tactile negotiating can still be seen in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. 

The city’s livestock market is a bustling and noisy place: goats bleat, camels bellow and sellers extol their animals’ constitutions. 

When it comes to reaching a price, however, all is silent. The parties on each side of the trade slip an arm under a shawl. The buyer makes an offer by grabbing the sellers’ fingers. 

The number of fingers gripped and knuckles pressed determines the bid. If it is too low the seller manoeuvres the hold. On and on they go, hands like human abacuses, until a deal is done.

Hassan Ahmed Hersi, a livestock broker, is not familiar with the economic term “asymmetric information”. It is a situation in which some participants have access to data or details that others do not, which can lead to market failures. 

“When brokers are negotiating, I don’t want others standing around to know the price,” he says

Brokers, who sell on behalf of rural herders, control much of the supply of humps. 

By using the cloak they hoard information about prices, too, giving them an edge. 

If the next buyer does not know the previous price, he can end up paying more.

Yet “change is coming”, says Warsame Ahmed of the University of Hargeisa. Herders like Mr Hersi grumble that using the cloak is becoming less common. One reason is that others in the market increasingly insist on bargaining in the open. 

“People think we’re hiding something,” he says, with his arm under a cloak. 

Meanwhile, mobile phones and messaging apps make it easier for buyers to ask fellow clan members in rural areas for the latest prices. That way they know if they are being stiffed.

Female traders are another big change. “There are becoming more and more of us,” says Hadan Yasin. 

Perhaps half of the market is staffed by women. Since imams say that Islamic law forbids men and women who are not related from touching, their deals are done verbally. 

By entering the market they are boosting competition and price transparency. And they are giving the likes of Mr Hersi the hump.


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@SafaricomPLC reports FY EPS -6.8% 2021 Earnings #SafaricomFYResults
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

Par Value:                  0.05/-

Closing Price:           40.85

Total Shares Issued:          40065428000.00

Market Capitalization:        1,636,672,733,800

EPS:               1.71 

PE:                23.88 


Safaricom reports FY Earnings through 31st March 2021 versus through 31st March 2020

FY Total Revenue 264.0265b versus 262.5557b +0.6% 

FY Service revenue 250.3518b versus 2512141b

FY Handsets and other Revenue 12.3165b versus 10.4878b

FY Direct Costs [80.0151b] versus [74.7010b] +7.1%

FY Expected credit losses [ECL] on financial Assets [3.0097b] versus [1.6696b] +80.3%

FY Other Expenses [46.0348b] versus [47.5597b] [3.2%]

FY Earnings before [EBITDA] 134.1292b versus 138.0415b [2.8%]

FY Depreciation and Amortisation [37.9643b] versus [36.5477b] 

FY Earnings before Interest and taxes [EBIT] 96.1649b versus 101.4938b [5.3%]

FY Profit before Income Tax 93.6355b versus 105.7730b [11.5%]

FY Profit after Tax 68.6762b versus 73.6579b [6.8%]

FY EPS 1.71 versus 1.84 [6.8%] 

Final Dividend 0.92cents a share [+Interim 0.45 =1.37]


In the context of the Reporting period - These are resilient even muscular results.

M-PESA will accelerate off this and might well reach double digit revenue acceleration in the next FY

Mobile Data speaks to to the ubiquity of the Information century.

The Ethiopia Project is material because we are yet to understand the balance sheet intensity that will be required. 

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

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