If 2019 were a football match, we would be getting ready for the half time – 15 minutes of rest and serious evaluation. Please, take out time to evaluate your decisions in the past six months of 2019 and make plans for the next six months.

While you do your restful evaluations, please take 70 seconds to evaluate us at the end of today’s newsletter. We would really appreciate it. 👍


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Nigeria

Eagles to get $95,000 each for triumphing over preys at AFCON
 

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has promised to give each of the 23 Super Eagles players at the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) a total of $95,000 (~N34 million) bonus. Our German coach, Gernot Rohr, will get double ($190,000) for his trouble over the players, while other backroom staff will receive 75% of his bonus ($142,500).

That’s a lot of money. Let’s break it down.

Each player (including the bench-warmers) will get $10,000 for each win in the group stage. So, for narrowly flying over Burundi and Guinea, they have secured $20,000 in their bags already. If they survive the round of 16, they will each be getting $12,500; $15,000 for the quarter-final; $17,500 for semi-final; and $20,000 for winning the tournament.

But this is Nigeria…It is ‘constitutional’ to promise and fail. Promises are not even worth the paper (or saliva) they are written on (made with). NFF didn’t fulfil its promises to the Super Falcons nor the Flying Eagles, the Super Eagles will not be different. Funny enough, this bonus incentive rarely motivates the team to victory.

When the president becomes a spiritual leader, citizens become prayer warriors

The Story
As Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of Kaduna is about to approve a religious bill that will require pastors to be licensed before they can preach and proscribe certain religious activities, Rev. John Hayab [Chairman of CAN in the state] has appealed to Christians to pray to God so that the governor will change his mind. This is despite the ruling of the Kaduna High Court that the bill should be reworked since the government can only regulate religious activities but has no right to license preachers.

We know Nigeria is religious, but…

This is quite absurd. Elected officials no longer have regard for the very constitution that legitimizes them and they easily abdicate their constitutional duties to God. President Buhari has led by example in both instances.
 

Zoom out: The bill didn’t surface yesterday, it was drafted three years ago. But what the governor wants to achieve with it is not quite clear. Truthfully, religious activities need to be regulated especially noise pollution caused by their loudspeakers and allegations against men of God. But in Nigeria, religion is a polarized issue and the governor must tread softly.

 

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce

When Nigerian banks were recapitalized in 2005 – asked to increase their capital base to N25 billion from N2 billion – a lot of merger and acquisition happened, which reduced the number of banks in the country from 89 to 24. It is about to happen again. This time, the CBN is asking the banks to maintain N50 billion in their bag.

What will happen to the money in my bank accounts?

From experience, it’s a good move by the CBN. It is simply a process of separating the shafts from sheaves – the strong banks will acquire the weaker ones or the weak ones will consolidate like they did to form now defunct Skye Bank. And your money would be safe too as it is insured with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). The cause for concern, however, is how the CBN manages the whole process.

Zoom out:  Banks are wont to have a big portfolio of non-performing loans (debts way past their repayment date) –  cousins of bad debts. So a large capital base serves as a cushion against shocks of economic recession and NPLs and bad debts. The capital base of  Nigerian banks have gone up from N10 million in 1988 to N50 million in 1991, and so on. 

From single to double-digit growth rate

What’s happening?

The CBN governor seems to be off to a bright start as he has laid out his second tenure plans for Nigeria. Emiefele rolled out a 5-point agenda that the apex bank will pursue in the next five years to ensure Nigeria’s economy grows at a double-digit rate.

How’s Nigeria doing?

Nigeria’s economy grew by 2.0 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, that’s less than 2.4 per cent expansion in the previous period and below market expectations of 2.1 per cent. So even though a double-digit growth seems quite ambitious, it’s possible.

What’s slowing down the economy?

Internal Issues: Unemployment, Insecurity.

External Issues: Rising trade tension between the United States and China, the United States and Mexico, Brexit.

Volatility in the Crude Oil Market, remember Nigeria is still very dependent on Oil revenue.

So What’s the way forward?

  • Diversify the economy. Yeah, we’d never stop hearing about this.
  • Encourage banks to support the education sector. In the first quarter of 2019, the education sector received the least amount of loan (0.54%) from financial institutions.
  • Improve access to credit for small and medium scale enterprises.
  • Increase financial inclusion. As at the end of 2018, about 36% of Nigerians did not have access to financial services.
  • Support youths with entrepreneurial skills
  • Growing external reserves. As at May 2019, Nigeria’s total external reserve was $45billion, up from $44billion in April.

At the end, the only outcome we expect is…

Africa

Shots Fired in Amhara

BBC

What’s happening?

The president of Ethiopia’s Amhara region and his top adviser were killed in an attempted coup in which the country’s army chief was also shot dead.

What’s next?

Nearly 250 people suspected to be connected to the coup have been arrested in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa and the city of Bahir Dar.

Also, Internet access was immediately cut off to curtail the flow of information.

Why it matters

People are losing money. It is estimated that Ethiopians lose $4.5m each day they are forced to stay offline.

Ethiopia was sub-Saharan Africa’s second fastest-growing economy last year, according to the International Monetary Fund. With an estimated population of 110 million people, its projected growth rate for 2019 is 7.7 per cent.

International

What goes up…keeps going up

The Story

Bitcoin is on a five-month winning streak this year, the longest since August 2017. It has risen over 300% this year i.e from ~$3,826 = 1 bitcoin in January to ~$12,284 = 1 bitcoin as at today.

But what could be responsible for this?

  1. Bitcoin’s price is primarily driven by supply and demand, next year there’s going to be a reduction of supply as the amount of bitcoin produced would be halved. The anticipation of less supply is driving up prices.
  2. Due to the trade war between the US and China, Chinese investors are stacking bitcoin to protect their wealth. As per Yahoo Finance, some analysts argue Chinese investors are dumping the Chinese yuan for bitcoin, reasoning that bitcoin will likely hold its value more than yuan over the next few months. The Chinese currency fell to its lowest level against the dollar since December earlier this week. Higher demand = Higher price.
  3. Facebook unveiling Libra – its own cryptocurrency. With prominent companies like Visa, Mastercard and Uber backing a crypto there must be something in it. Increase in perception of value.
     

What’s on the mind of Bitcoin owners?

The US vs Iran: We don’t want to fight but if we do, we’d wipe you out

NYTimes

The Story

President Trump says the US doesn’t want to go to war with Iran but if it has to, it’d lead to “Obliteration like you’ve never seen before.”

A brief History lesson

On May 8, 2018: Trump announces that the U.S. will pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a deal that Iran would keep its levels of Uranium below such that it can’t create Nuclear weapon with them in exchange for relief from sanctions.

Iran denied any wrongdoing and initially continued to comply with the deal, while it urged the other European signatories of this deal to work towards saving it.

Over time: Iran’s economy suffers – currency value plunges, cost of locally produced staples such as eggs and meat soar – till Iran can’t take it again so…
 

June 17, 2019: Iran announces that it will breach uranium enrichment levels under the 2015 deal by June 27.
 

June 20: Iran shoots down a U.S. drone worth over $100m, it says was in its airspace but the U.S. provides evidence it was over international waters.

Trump almost orders a retaliation strike but reconsiders after he is told 150 lives would be lost.

June 22: President Trump issues new sanctions on Iran in retaliation for the air strike.

Iran’s response: President Hassan Rouhani, said “The actions of the white house show that it is mentally retarded”

Why it matters:

With a 50% chance that conflict might soon break out between the US and Iran, a conflict would disrupt energy supplies causing oil price per barrel to rise up to $100 per barrel, currently, oil price is at ~$60 per barrel.

It appears U.S. sanctions are losing their bite as Trump’s administration punitive actions on China, Iran and a growing list of countries doesn’t seem to be working.

 Amazon is now the king of Shipping too

 The Story

It appears the world would need more than two eyes to keep track of Amazon as it keeps catching us by surprise. With more employees (648,000) than both FedEx(450,000) and UPS(481,000), and an infrastructure that’s difficult to replicate: 390 warehouses50 planes300 truck power units and 20,000 delivery vans, Amazon is now it’s own biggest shipper.

 What does this mean?
 

Amazon does about 50% of all e-commerce in the US. If they’re handling half of their own shipments, that’s 25% of the whole US market. Now that’s huge.

Amazon is already faster than it’s competitors and it doesn’t plan to slow down. It takes Amazon an average of 3.2 days to deliver a parcel after a shopper clicks “buy,” per Rakuten Intelligence. For all other e-commerce companies, the average time is 6 days.

Why it matters

Competing with Amazon: Competing with Amazon head-on is going to be tough – Amazon has other services like AWS and Ads ( almost 40% of online ads is done through Amazon) that gives it a significant income to serve as a buffer and enable other parts of the company to run at-cost/losses. Other retailers will either have to offer something different or find their niche and get really good at it. 

Backward Integration: The only link in the supply chain that Amazon hasn’t completely integrated is manufacturing. However, Amazon has already started making moves as it’s already begun promoting Amazon made products across many categories.

Others are scared: Amazon’s shipping partners have begun cutting ties with it as it encroaches into their territory. Earlier this month, FedEx chose not to renewits contract with Amazon for air shipments. It’s only a matter of time before others could follow suit.

Zoom out: It’s not a lost cause yet though because like Amazon, Walmart also has a logistics business of its own and could emerge as a shipping competitor.

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