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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Friday 23rd of July 2021
 
Morning
Africa


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Tsavo Land of legends @africageo
Africa


There is something captivating about Tsavo – a feeling of vast space and ancient magic of the truly wild. 

Thick red soils stain the leathery skins of its sizeable elephant population, and the sight of a herd of red elephants crossing the Tsavo River beneath lush palm fronds is one not easily forgotten. 

Tsavo East and West account for the largest of Kenya’s protected spaces by a comfortable margin, over 20,000km² (2,000,000 hectares), and one of the world’s largest protected wilderness areas. 

Named for the Tsavo River that runs through Tsavo West before joining the Athi River to form the Galana River, this massive Big 5 ecosystem lies directly between Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, and Mombasa, the country’s main port city. 

This location is the reason behind the division of Tsavo East and West – they are split by both railways and the Nairobi-Mombasa Road, which sees the movement of around 50% of goods traded in East Africa. 

The enormous size of Tsavo makes it one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in Kenya, from the red semi-desert of parts of the East to the rainforests of the Chyulu Hills and everything in between.

Tsavo East National Park is the larger of the twin parks, covering 13,700km² (1,370,000 hectares), and is also the more arid of the two. 

Apart from some crags around Voi and gorges around the Galana River, Tsavo East consists mostly of plains of grassland and savanna that stretch as far as the eye can see. 

The park receives fewer visitors than Tsavo West, and it is easily possible to spend a day exploring without encountering another soul. 

The reopening of the “forbidden zone” (closed off during the poaching wars) has added yet another spectacular aspect to an already striking reserve, particularly for those keen to spot African wild dogs (painted wolves).

Geologically fascinating, Tsavo East is home to the Yatta Plateau (the longest lava flow in the world which begins near Nairobi and stretches for over 300km) and Mudanda Rock, which acts as a water catchment and offers visitors the perfect outlook to watch animals arriving to drink there. 

Wildlife enthusiasts are guaranteed a glimpse or two of the long-necked gerenuks, one of the most peculiar-looking antelope in Africa, and should keep their eyes peeled for the lesser kudu and fringe-eared oryx as well.

 Apart from the Kenyan-Somali border, Tsavo East is also the only other place to see the critically endangered hirola antelope, which were introduced there to help to save the species. 

Sightings of black rhino are rare but rewarding, as are sightings of striped hyena. 

The bird variety is equally diverse with over 500 bird species recorded in Tsavo East, including the golden-breasted starling, African orange-bellied (red-bellied) parrot, vulturine guineafowl and Somali ostrich.

Tsavo West is more developed than Tsavo East, particularly the accessible area between the Tsavo River and Mombasa highway, and runs to the Tanzanian border. 

Close to Mount Kilimanjaro, Tsavo West is topographically fascinating, and its dramatic mountains, inselbergs and sheer cliff faces are courtesy of ancient (and relatively recent) tectonic shifts and volcanic eruptions. 

As a result of a combination of fertile volcanic soils and higher rainfall levels, the vegetation of Tsavo West can be dense in places, which in turn can make the wildlife viewing slightly more challenging but the scenery even more spectacular.
The Mzima Springs are a significant attraction for visitors to Tsavo West. Below the volcanic Chyulu Hills, a natural reservoir of water percolates through the porous rock before eventually emerging, filtered, at Mzima Springs

Here, people can enter a glass viewing chamber to watch the life underneath the surface of a crystal-clear pool – including schools of fish, crocodiles, and the resident hippos. 

The dense date and raffia palms and an assortment of various other fruiting trees attract a variety of bird and primate life, making the springs a veritable oasis, especially during the drier months.

Not far from the Chyulu Gate, the Shetani lava flow is a vast expanse of folded black lava from an eruption believed to have occurred only 200 years ago, now inhabited by nimble klipspringers and ubiquitous hyraxes, and (for the fortunate few), a lounging leopard unfazed by the sharp rocks. 

The nearby caves, formed by the same volcanic activity can be freely explored, by those brave enough to do so! 

The name “Shetani” translates as “devil” in Swahili, which gives some insight into just how the original residents felt as they watched the lava flow across the earth.

No description of Tsavo would be complete without mention of possibly the most famous man-eaters in history. 

During the construction of the Ugandan Railway and bridge over the Tsavo River, a pair of male lions, nicknamed The Ghost and The Darkness, stalked and killed many labourers. 

Despite efforts to keep the lions away from the camps by building large fires and bomas, the lions regularly managed to find a way in and seemed to have no fear of people. 

Hundreds of workers fled, and construction was halted while Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson spent his evenings in a platform in a tree, attempting to bait and trap the lions before finally killing both. 

The number of people killed by the man-eaters of Tsavo is disputed – it seems likely that Patterson’s claim that they killed 135 people was exaggerated. Analysis of their fur suggests a number closer to 34 people but could not account for victims killed but not eaten by the lions.
There is no overarching accepted reason as to why those lions behaved in the way they did, and it was most likely due to a combination of different factors and opportunism born of a different age. 

Certainly, at that point in history, the rinderpest outbreak of the late 19th century would have decimated their available prey, and one was shown to have had a severe infection in the root of its canine.

Tsavo is famous for its herds of red elephants, including some of Africa’s last big tuskers, and these are a testament to both the resilience of nature as well as the enormous effort that went into protecting them. 

Historically, Tsavo’s incidental proximity to the main transport route to the coast spelt disaster for its elephant and rhino populations during Kenya’s poaching wars of the 1970s/80s. 

Populations dropped to 5,300 elephants in 1988 but thanks to concerted conservation efforts, have since risen to around 12,000 today – one of the largest elephant populations in Kenya. For elephant enthusiasts, a visit to Tsavo is a must.

Those that have visited Tsavo can bear testament to its unique feel and, without being too melodramatic, its profound and indelible impact on the soul. 

It is difficult to fully capture the Tsavo experience in words – the boundless skies and vast spaces combine with a rich sense of history to create a wilderness experience from a bygone era.

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A late evening encounter with Elephants at Mzima Springs Tsavo West @Finchhattons
Africa



Sunrise with a herd of elephants @finchhattons Tsavo National Park @Youtube

http://bit.ly/2VcJKxk

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Take a look at how events are unfolding From Cuba to Colombia, South Africa to Lebanon, and you will note tensions are igniting across the globe.
Misc.


To assume that contagion stops in country and does not turn viral in a c21st World where the Few control practically everything is another narrative I would prefer to be limit short.

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How to Read "Gilgamesh" @NewYorker
Misc.

A carnelian tree was in fruit,
hung with bunches of grapes, lovely to look on.
A lapis lazuli tree bore foliage,
in full fruit and gorgeous to gaze on.

To me, this is the most dazzling passage in the poem: the engulfing darkness, in which Gilgamesh can see nothing for hours—he is just an organism, in a hole—and then, suddenly, light, color, beautiful globes of purple and red hanging from the trees. God’s world, made for us, or so we thought.
Gilgamesh does not linger in the garden. He at last finds Uta-napishti, the man who gazed on death and survived. Gilgamesh wants to know, How did you do this? Unhelpfully, Uta-napishti explains:

“No one at all sees Death,
no one at all sees the face [of Death,]
no one at all [hears] the voice of Death,
Death so savage, who hacks men down. . . .
Ever the river has risen and brought us the flood,
the mayfly floating on the water.
On the face of the sun its countenance gazes,
then all of a sudden nothing is there!”

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Octavio Paz The Street
Misc.



A long and silent street.


I walk in blackness and I stumble and fall

and rise, and I walk blind,

my feet stepping on silent stones and dry leaves.

Someone behind me also stepping on stones, leaves:

If I slow down, he slows;

If I run, he runs.

I turn:

nobody.



Everything dark and doorless.

Turning and turning among these corners

which lead forever to the street

where nobody waits for, nobody follows me,

where I pursue a man who stumbles

and rises and says when he sees me:

nobody.

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19-JUL-2021 :: The World in the c21st exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential characteristics and feedback loops which only become obvious in hindsight.
Law & Politics


Look up @McConaughey

The World in the c21st exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential characteristics and feedback loops which only become obvious in hindsight.

It was in 1991 [3 decades ago now] that Krauthammer spoke of the “Unipolar Moment” and highlighted that the US had emerged as the center of world power and unchallenged superpower.
Thirty years later, The US is exiting Afghanistan and we can speak of a Tripolar World with the US, China and Russia now ruling the c21st Roost. 

The ''Salami Slicer'' has snaffled up Hong Kong and the World waits on tenterhooks for the inevitable move on Taiwan.
Putin's Russia expanded into Crimea and has a firm foothold in the Middle East in Syria. It is often said that Russia's economy is a Pygmy [and comparable to Italy's] but then we have to admit Russia's Power Projection is practically miraculous.
The World is full of friction points and it is Xi Jinping [President for Life and Eternity] who has rolled the dice and is on a winning streak. 

The Virus whether by design or accident accelerated the advantage in China's favour whichever way you care to slice and dice it.

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Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa, is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, with the (WFP) warning recently that 1.14 million people are food-insecure and 400,000 people are headed for famine. @TIME
Africa


Hunger is already driving people to eat raw cactus, wild leaves and locusts, a food source of last resort. 

The WFP, which is on the ground helping with food distribution, describes scenes of unimaginable suffering, with families bartering everything they have—even cooking pots and spoons—for the paltry tomatoes, scrawny chickens and few bags of rice still available in the markets. 

“The next planting season is less than two months away and the forecast for food production is bleak,” writes WFP spokesperson Shelley Thakral in a dispatch from the most affected area. 

“The land is covered by sand; there is no water and little chance of rain.”

The WFP warns that the number of locals facing phase 5 catastrophic food insecurity—development speak for famine—could double by October. 

And the group has the responsible party squarely in their sight. 

“This is not because of war or conflict, this is because of climate change,” says WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

Madagascar is facing none of those, making it the first famine in modern history to be caused solely by climate change alone

It’s unlikely to be the last, says Landry Ninteretse, the Africa director for climate advocacy organization 350.org

“In recent years we’ve seen climate calamities hitting one country after another. Before it was the horn of Africa, and now it is Madagascar. Tomorrow the cycle will go on, maybe in the northern part of Africa—the Sahel—or the west. And unfortunately, it is likely to continue happening because of climate change.”

The southern part of Madagascar, a lush, largely tropical island famous for its biodiversity, has experienced below average rainfall for the past five years. 

Most people in the south depend on rain-fed, small-scale agriculture for survival, but because of the drought, rivers and irrigation dams have dried up.

“This famine in Madagascar, the heat wave in America, the floods in Germany, this is an indicator that climate change needs to be taken seriously,” says Ninteretse. 

“In the same way the world reacted the pandemic and were able to get vaccines in less than a year—If the world would have reacted in the same way when we started sending the first warning signals of climate change, the situation would be much better than what it is now.”

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.@RahulGandhi was mocked for saying this. @SriniSivabalan @srinivasiyc
Law & Politics


Conclusions



What if this is a Harbinger for later in the Year? 



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19-JUL-2021 :: COVID-19
Misc.


The Virus remains unresolved. I recall a few months ago every Pharma Co. pronounced how their Vaccine had an efficacy of close enough to 100%. 

Today the relative viral loads in the Delta variant infections are 1260 times higher than the 19A/19B strains infections @GuptaR_lab
Thread
We now further define Delta immune evasion using a panel of 38 monoclonal antibodies, showing significant loss of potency of NTD and RBD targeting antibodies. @GuptaR_lab 


Far from ebbing, the virus has gained virulence and you have to be a Naif to believe the Microbe is licked.
554,753 cases yesterday also above accelerating 485,767/day avg (up 28% past 2wks). @jmlukens 


We are now approaching the FIFTH peak in COVID cases and deaths in just sixteen months @greg_travis 


Certainly, the Vaccine has mitigated Mortality but lets see for how long because in a hyperconnected World just about everyone has to be vaccinated for the World to reach Herd Immunity. Its just not going to happen.

The standard (albeit rough) calculation for herd immunity threshold is (1/E) x (1-1/R) where E is vaccine effectiveness in reducing transmission above calc suggests would need to vaccinate (1-1/6)/0.85 = 98% of population @AdamJKucharski 

https://twitter.com/AdamJKucharski/status/1415587170941874178?s=20
In scenario where R is 6 (plausible for Delta in susceptible populations without any restrictions), and vaccination reduces infection/infectiousness such that onwards transmission reduced by 85%, above calc suggests would need to vaccinate (1-1/6)/0.85 = 98% of population. 2/
If transmission reduction is less than this (which is likely the case for some vaccines against Delta), or R higher, then herd immunity wouldn't be achievable through current vaccines alone. @AdamJKucharski 

https://twitter.com/AdamJKucharski/status/1415587175794679810?s=20
So, my Point is this, our Attention span is short and Many Folks seem to feel we are in the final Act of the COVID-19 Play. I would be limit short that particular narrative.

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Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 20 July 2021 @WHO
Misc.



The global number of new cases reported last week (12-18 July 2021) was over 3.4 million, a 12% increase as compared to the previous week. 

Globally, COVID-19 case weekly incidence increased with an average of around 490 000 cases reported each day over the past week as compared to 400 000 cases daily in the previous week

Following a steady decline for over two months, the number of weekly deaths reported was similar to the previous week, with almost 57 000 deaths reported. 

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Other interesting one is Luxemburg. P.1 / Gamma is taking over from B.1.617.2 / Delta, with Gamma estimated to have 6% growth advantage per day over Delta, corresponding to it infecting 33% more people than Delta. @TWenseleers
Misc.



Other interesting one is Luxemburg. ECDC TESSy data and there show that P.1 / Gamma is taking over from B.1.617.2 / Delta, with Gamma estimated to have 6% growth advantage per day over Delta, corresponding to it infecting 33% more people than Delta.

Conclusions 

Noteworthy and of interest 

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08-MAR-2021 The bottom line: P.1 is 2.5 times more transmissible than the wild-type B lineage. And way more transmissible than B.1.1.7. @bollemdb
Misc.



Exponential growth unlike any other that we have seen. Brazil is a global threat @bollemdb
Model-based evaluation of transmissibility and reinfection for the P.1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2
https://j.mp/3rooXGK
The variant of concern (VOC) P.1 emerged in the Amazonas state (Brazil) and was sequenced for the first time on 6-Jan- 2021 by the Japanese National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
It contains a constellation of mutations, ten of them in the spike protein.

Prevalence of P.1 increased sharply from 0% in November 2020 to 73% in January 2021 and in less than 2 months replaced previous lineages (4).

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China says WHO plan to audit labs in Covid origins probe 'arrogant @AFP
Misc.


China on Thursday said a WHO proposal to audit Chinese labs as part of further investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic showed "disrespect" and "arrogance towards science".

Last week, the World Health Organization said a second stage of the international probe should include audits of Chinese labs, amid increasing pressure from the United States for an investigation into a biotech lab in Wuhan.
The proposal outlined by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus included "audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019" -- referring to the Chinese city of Wuhan.
But China's vice health minister Zeng Yixin told reporters Thursday that he was "extremely surprised" by the plan, which he said showed "disrespect for common sense and arrogance towards science".
Long derided as a right-wing conspiracy theory and vehemently rejected by Beijing, the idea that Covid-19 may have emerged from a lab leak has been gaining momentum.
Beijing has repeatedly insisted that a leak would have been "extremely unlikely", citing the conclusion reached by a joint WHO-Chinese mission to Wuhan in January.
At the same time, Chinese officials and state media have pushed an alternate theory that the virus could have escaped from the US military research lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Yuan Zhiming, director of the National Biosafety Laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, told Thursday's press conference "no pathogen leakage or staff infection accidents have occurred" since the lab opened in 2018.
Zeng hit back at what he called "rumours" about the lab, insisting that it had "never carried out gain-of-function research on coronaviruses, nor is there a so-called manmade virus".

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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
Misc.




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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19-JUL-2021 :: The World is full of friction points and it is Xi Jinping [President for Life and Eternity] who has rolled the dice and is on a winning streak.
Misc.



The Virus whether by design or accident accelerated the advantage in China's favour whichever way you care to slice and dice it.


01-MAR-2020 :: The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19





“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”


“There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”




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13-JUL-2020 :: Year of the Virus ’Zoonotic’’ origin was one that was accelerated in the Laboratory
Misc.


There is also a non negligible possibility that #COVID19 was deliberately released

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



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

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.



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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies


Euro 1.1770
Dollar Index 92.867
Japan Yen 110.27
Swiss Franc 0.9199
Pound 1.3750
Aussie 0.7372
India Rupee 74.4345
South Korea Won 1151.03
Brazil Real 5.2010
Egypt Pound 15.6689
South Africa Rand 14.7235

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19-JUL-2021 :: Now lets turn to Africa. lets look at the Virus first
Africa



"Over the past month, #Africa recorded an additional 1 million cases. This is the shortest time it’s taken so far to add one million cases." Dr @MoetiTshidi #COVID19 @WHOAFRO
"Comparatively, it took around three months to move from 4 million to 5 million cases." - Dr @MoetiTshidi #COVID19
From the Africa CDC. (Note: this is based only on official statistics and formal testing, so it undercounts the real situation.) @geoffreyyork
We are on the cusp of the Gladwellian moment
Malcolm Gladwell ‟Tipping Point‟ moment in an epidemic when a virus reaches critical mass. It‟s the boiling point. It‟s the moment on the graph when the line starts to shoot straight upwards. 
https://bit.ly/35ekJJr
“Past next year we will be moving toward endemicity of this virus on our continent and the consequences will be catastrophic,” ⁦@JNkengasong

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.@WHO regional overviews - Epidemiological week 12 – 18 July 2021 African Region
Africa



Following an increasing trend in the weekly number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths since early May 2021, the Region reported a slight decrease in case incidence (with over 202 000 new cases) and mortality (over 4800 new deaths) in the past week, as compared to the previous week

These trends were largely driven by decreases reported in South Africa, which reported the highest numbers of new cases (104 583 cases) and more than 50% of the cases reported in the region in the past week

Other countries reporting high numbers of new cases include: 

Zimbabwe (15 760 cases; 106.0 cases/100 000; +20%), 

Botswana (10 745 cases; 456.9 cases/100 000; +172%), 

while the highest numbers of new cases per population were reported in 

Seychelles (545 cases/100 000; -28%)

Botswana (see above) 

Namibia (317 cases/100 000; -19%).
The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from South Africa (2538 deaths; 4.3 deaths/100 000; -4%), Namibia (595 deaths; 23.4/100 000; -109%), and Zimbabwe (462 deaths; 3.1 deaths/100 000; +73%).

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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 26 days @ReutersGraphics
Africa



32,370 Daily Infections July 21st versus 49.991 all time high print July 9

The region is currently reporting a million new infections about every 26 days

6 countries are still at the peak of their infection curve.

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Turning To Africa
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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Looks like the road from Djibouti to Ethiopia has been closed, Satellite images (Sentinel-hub) shows long lines of trucks, closely packed @Quen10Tarantino
Africa





Looks like the road from Djibouti to Ethiopia has been closed, Satellite images (Sentinel-hub) shows long lines of trucks, closely packed, Stretching about 8km from the border in to Djibouti and no sign of passing trucks in Ethiopian side.

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November 8, 2020 @PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.
Africa


PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst
@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province

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19-JUL-2021 :: Prime Minister of Ethiopia who cloaked his messianic zeal in the language of Mandela 1994 is unlikely to last more than twelve months.
Africa



In the Horn of Africa the Prime Minister of Ethiopia who cloaked his messianic zeal in the language of Mandela 1994 is unlikely to last more than twelve months.

His Army has been defeated and now he is sending conscripts to slaughter whilst his Adversaries are fighting for their existence. 

The Contagion will surely boomerang as far as Asmara and destabilise the Horn of Africa for the forseeable future.
If I could I would be limit short the Ethiopian Birr [It trades at 60 to the $ on the black market]

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#Tigray - 250 days ago PM Abiy claimed the war was a "law enforcement operation" and would "wrap up soon". Delusional them, looks like madness now. @martinplaut
Africa


Ethiopian and Eritrean armies repulsed; Somalis withdrawn. Now ethnic militia are thrown into the war.  A desperate strategy

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There is no ENDF capable of fighting anymore. The Ethiopian army has collapsed, will take 10 years to rebuild it to fighting shape. @RAbdiAnalyst
Africa


Explains why Abiy had to cobble together the army of the wretched drawn from ethnic states to fight in Tigray.

What a depressing state of affairs.

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Common Framework and Conflict Still Weigh on Ethiopia’s Rating @FitchRatings
Africa



Fitch Ratings-Hong Kong-22 July 2021: The timeline and shape of Ethiopia’s debt treatment under the G20 Common Framework (CF) remains unclear, with Ethiopia’s one outstanding Eurobond still at risk of reprofiling as part of the broader agreement, says Fitch Ratings. 
A restructuring of the USD1 billion (less than 1% of GDP) Eurobond, such as a maturity extension or coupon reduction, may represent a distressed debt exchange (DDE) under Fitch's sovereign rating criteria. 

Our decision to downgrade Ethiopia’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) in February to 'CCC', from ‘B’, reflected a significant risk of a DDE.
We have previously highlighted how political developments might weigh further on Ethiopia’s sovereign credit metrics. 

Persistent political strife could, for example, depress FDI and tax collection and undermine attempts to reduce consumer price inflation, which averaged just over 20% yoy in 1H21. 

It could also aggravate relations with some bilateral partners and hold up donor flows, as illustrated by the suspension of some flows from the EU in December 2020.

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WHY THE WORLD SHOULD CARE ABOUT ZAMBIA’S AUGUST ELECTION @VanguardAfrica @CharlotteSc0tt
Africa



Zambia goes to the polls on 12 August, with the two main candidates offering very different visions for the southern African state. 

Edgar Lungu, the populist incumbent, has presided over a ballooning debt, escalating inflation, frequent allegations of large-scale corruption, and a rapidly shrinking democratic space. 

His main opponent, Hakainde Hichilema, is a successful businessman offering a progressive economic reform program.
The recent death of Zambia’s first President, Kenneth Kaunda, served as a reminder that Zambia has often been a bellwether for the region

Under Kaunda’s 27-year leadership, Zambia was at the forefront of freedom struggles across the region. 

In 1991, Kaunda’s peaceful departure from office, after losing an election, was among the first democratic transitions in the region, which had previously been ruled for decades by coup-leaders and self-appointed presidents-for-life. 

Since then, Zambia has managed two more particularly difficult transitions, with the defeat of the ruling party and fourth President Rupiah Banda in 2011, and the infighting that surrounded Guy Scott’s acting Presidency from 2014-15. 

But difficult as these periods were, Zambia’s constitution ultimately prevailed, and political tensions did not spill over into violence. 

Today, the prospects of holding a credible and peaceful election are looking dim. 

In Lusaka, the U.S. Chargé d’Affairs and British High Commissioner have, on several occasions, expressed concern, highlighting government restrictions on the opposition, including media control and cancellation of opposition campaign events. 

Their expressions of concern have been met with vocal criticism and intimidation from members of the ruling party. 

And these words may not be empty threats: in recent years, an American ambassador and an IMF representative have been withdrawn based on government’s response to their comments about corruption and the struggling economy, respectively. 

An election victory next month for President Lungu would likely entrench this authoritarian style of governance and bring with it further economic woes on an already struggling population. 

At first glance, the Zambian election might seem – to outside observers – to be low down the list of priorities. 

A tense situation in South Africa, ongoing protests in eSwatini, the growing threat of insurgent terrorism in Mozambique, and a second decade of crisis in Zimbabwe may very well weaken any sense of urgency or concern about Zambia. 

However, this prevailing view needs to be challenged.
 Failure in Zambia’s upcoming election will fuel further instability in the southern Africa region. 

Although its economic potential has remained largely unrealized through successive regimes, Zambia has often played an important role in demonstrating progressive politics and the rule of law for regional counterparts. 

And at this time of uncertainty, it is even more important to recognize Zambia’s geopolitical importance. 

With eight international borders, Zambia serves as a bridge between southern Africa and east Africa, and between Angola on the Atlantic and Mozambique on the Indian Oceans; it is also home to the most southern part of the Great Lakes and has a border of 1200 miles with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is thus critically important for Zambia to be a neighbour that serves as a force for good, not the ally of failure. 

Aside from the intrinsic importance of maintaining its hard-won democratic gains, stability, and progress, Zambia can provide the best possible example of an inclusive and liberal administration in a region where democracy and human rights are under mounting threat.

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More probes and prosecutions will follow failed insurrection @Africa_Conf
Africa



Despite the government's slow response, it has public support to crack down hard on the looters and their sponsors
President Cyril Ramaphosa managed to get through his national TV address on Friday (16 July) condemning the people behind this 'attempted insurrection' without once mentioning the name of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma. 

He didn't need to. When the President spoke about an attack on South Africa's constitution and democracy, the audience drew its own conclusions.
The past week of armed confrontations between criminal gangs and the police and army started as protests against the jailing of Zuma for 15 months for contempt of court. 

They started within hours of Zuma handing himself over to the police just before midnight on 8 July Over 200 have been killed in the ensuing mayhem.
Loud demands for Zuma's release quickly morphed into violent clashes and mass looting when groups of armed militants, some apparently with military training, took to the streets in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma's home base, and Gauteng, site of the country's political and commercial capitals.
Some of the looters were desperately poor, while others turned up in expensive cars or hired trucks to grab some of the goods on offer. 

As well as the big department stores and supermarkets, looters stripped local stores bare. Some will not reopen.
After three days of looting, the gangs turned to arson, setting fire to looted stores and the apartments above them. 

Then they broadened their targets to electricity sub-stations and water-treatment plants. For a few days, they paralysed the workings of the oil refinery in KwaZulu-Natal, one of the biggest in Africa.
As water and food started running out and power cuts worsened, some state officials accused former security officials loyal to Zuma of fomenting, even planning the chaos as a putsch against Ramaphosa.
By the middle of the week, Ramaphosa announced he would send in 2,500 soldiers to quell the turmoil. Hours later he raised the number to 25,000.
Three things are clear in the aftermath

public sympathy for Zuma has fallen sharply as has the prospect of him being offered a pardon should he be convicted on any of the corruption charges he faces; 

investigators are following leads about the organisers of the insurrection and there are likely to be some high-level prosecutions; 

and the government faces more political pressure than ever to improve local services, partly by sacking corrupt officials.
On 21 July, former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke is to announce whether local elections will go ahead as scheduled on 27 October or be postponed until the latest wave of coronavirus infections has subsided.
A weird fact of the country's political life is that despite its ruinous factional disputes and many of its senior cadres being besmirched by corruption claims, the African National Congress still dominates the electoral field, even though it may lose a few more municipalities to opposition parties 

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There is a clear attempt at rendering South Africa ungovernable. To use state paralysis as a bargaining chip to achieve a political objective. Call this what it is, its an insurgency @Pol_Sec_Analyst
Africa


We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point
This week’s violence has stretched the social fabric to breaking point and left the economic powerhouse of the continent on a knife-edge. — Karl Maier
Phase Two: looting was just the start say investigators and intelligence @mailandguardian
https://j.mp/3hP8itT
A source close to Zuma told the M&G that it would be wise to remember that the instigators are soldiers. They know where to hit and how to plan economic sabotage.
“The plan was not for the looting but to hit the white capital that supports [President Cyril] Ramaphosa so that they will go to him and say; ‘Stop what you are doing. This is hurting us now.’ They will now strike where they don’t expect it. Zuma must be released, and Ramaphosa must go,” said the source.
According to an ANC national executive committee (NEC) leader, Ramaphosa was warned by intelligence that this was the first phase of a programme that aims to destabilise the country.
The NEC member said they were told that the instigators are equipped with heavy machinery and the looting is only phase one.
“This is what we are hearing. The second phase is to burn resources and this is what I foresee will happen soon,” said the source.
I am limit short the ZAR

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Pressure is growing in South Africa to reintroduce the covid grant and maybe make it permanent. Could cost 0.2-0.3% of GDP. @SergiLanauIIF
Africa


Not huge but hints at how hard it will be to do the huge fiscal consolidation needed to stabilize debt 

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Authorities in #Nigeria's Zamfara State confirm that a military jet was shot down as it was carrying out operations against 'bandits'. It is the fourth military plane to crash since February @NKCAfrica
Africa


Authorities in #Nigeria's Zamfara State confirm that a military jet was shot down as it was carrying out operations against 'bandits'. It is the fourth military plane to crash since February, raising concerns over equipment degradation but also a military getting outgunned.

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Third wave cases mount as tourism jobs crash @Africa_Conf
Africa



For the second year running, many of the continent's most popular tourist attractions have been shuttered by the pandemic
While case numbers and deaths from Covid-19 continue to rise across Africa, the devastating costs of the travel restrictions that have been imposed on visitors as a consequence continue to grow 

The economic damage caused by the closure of the tourism economy in Southern and North Africa last year is continuing, perhaps worsening, this year.
Namibia and Tunisia now have the highest number of Covid-19 cases per capita in the world. 

Along with them, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe reported the highest numbers of new infections.
In the first week of July, 254,000 cases were reported on the continent, a 22% increase compared with the last week of June, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), surpassing the second-wave peak.
According to medical experts, the biggest threat to lives, health services and economic recovery on the continent, is the desperately slow pace of vaccination programmes. 

Vaccine deliveries from the Covax international vaccine facility slowed in May and June and the number of fully inoculated Africans stands at 1%.
Because of the low vaccination rates and increasing case numbers, travel to and from almost all African countries to Europe has been closed for the bulk of this year, and there is little sign that restrictions will be eased any time soon.
A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) published at the end of June suggests that South Africa will be the continent's biggest single loser from lost tourism to the tune of between 7% and 8% of its GDP this yearwhile East Africa will be the worst hit on a regional basis, losing 9.3%

IHS Markit, meanwhile, has warned that tourism revenues in sub–Saharan Africa will not return to pre–pandemic levels until 2025/2026.
Unctad's assessment is based on the direct impact of lost income to tourist spots such as hotels and restaurants, as well as the knock-on effects of lost spending on food, drink, transport and communications.

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4 JUN 12 :: Maputo, Boom Town
Africa



GREETINGS from the Serena Polana, Maputo. I can confirm that Maputo is the land of wonderful and flavoursome tiger prawns.
The Architecture is also deliciously retro. By the way, the Polana was built in 1922 and the flavour is fabulously Riviera and very swanky. It is less than 4 hours by plane from Nairobi and surely set to be the most of in things and places to visit.
Of course, Mozambique has popped large onto the global radar because of gas reserves that have been discovered offshore and in the deep sea. 

I have said before, that I believe the eastern seaboard of Africa is clearly the last great energy prize in the c21st and I believe this lake of hydrocarbons stretches from Mozambique up through Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia. 

We remain in the early stage of this discovery process but Mozambique is further along the curve.
Some estimate that Mozambique has gas which is equivalent to 2m barrels of crude oil per day for 50 Years.

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3 JUN 14 :: Mozambique: #Africarising - Mozambique Could Be the Next Qatar
Africa

The second Africa Rising conference in Maputo last week. Maputo sits at the end of the ancient Indian Ocean maritime route.
“The precocity of the Indian Ocean as a zone of long-range navigation and cultural exchange is one of the glaring facts of history’, made possible by the ‘reversible escalator’ of the monsoon.” [Professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto].
Today, it is self-evident that Mozambique sits on gas reserves which will [if the execution is optimal – and optimal execution around our natural resources is a sine qua non of the #Africarising narrative] in my opinion transform Mozambique into the next Qatar.

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Ambitious Ruto parks his tanks on Kenyatta's lawn @Africa_Conf
Africa


By beating the ruling party in the Mount Kenya region, Deputy President Ruto has scored a palpable hit against the President
Deputy President William Ruto notched up another success in his bid to win next August's presidential election after his personal political vehicle, the United Democratic Alliance, won a parliamentary by–election in President Uhuru Kenyatta's back yard.
Official results published by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had UDA candidate John Njuguna Wanjiku defeating Jubilee's Kariri Njama by a narrow 21,773 votes to 21,263. 

A low turnout of 45%, after numerous reports of voter intimidation and bribery, points to an ugly battle for the presidency 
In a ward by–election in Muguga, in the same constituency, the Jubilee candidate also secured a narrow victory.
The result in Kiambaa, in Kenyatta's home county of Kiambu, was not unexpected. 

Jubilee candidate Njama had played down his chances of holding the seat. 

Even so, the turnaround in the UDA's fortunes, particularly in what should be the President's heartland, has been startling.
A few months ago, the UDA was widely derided as 'a letterbox party', lacking any organisational structure and funding, and was soundly beaten in a series of by–elections. 

Though the party still appears to be being bankrolled by Ruto personally, its field operation in Kiambaa was reported, including by Njama, to have been superior to Jubilee's.
Although Ruto has not formally left the Jubilee party that he founded with President Uhuru Kenyatta, a formal split appears to be only a matter of time although Ruto aides, following his meeting with Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni last week, indicated that they have not given up on Kenyatta endorsing Ruto 
Should Ruto succeed in switching large swathes of the Kikuyu vote in the Mount Kenya region he will be hard to defeat. 

After several years of warning his deputy to stop playing politics, Kenyatta and his allies will have to change their strategy if they are to present an alternative contender for the presidential elections next August.

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Kenya's annual debt service consumed 41% of government revenues in last financial year. @Africa_Conf
Kenyan Economy


It would have been much higher if not for an emergency #IMF loan to stem the downturn from the #pandemic and a moratorium from #China on pending repayments.

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