Hello, It’s been a week filled with mixed emotions, a lot of sadness from the Onitsha Fire incident and celebration as the  Nobel prize winners for  2019 were announced.  We hope it was more of celebration for you?

Let’s dive into the news 😊

Nigeria

Winter is Coming 

Things are getting more expensive in Nigeria and It’s not because the holiday season is just around the corner. 

Tell me more

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that inflation increased to 11.24% in September 2019. The reason for this isn’t far fetched as the prices of food items have been on a steady increase since August when the Federal Government closed Nigeria’s borders to neighbouring countries.

A few things about this border closure

It’s temporary and only land borders are affected for now. Meaning that you can still import foreign items through Nigeria’s seaports and airports. 

Someone has to be benefiting from this right? 

Of course, right now nobody is happier than the Customs which is making between N4.7 billion to N5.8 billion daily (Yes, it’s daily) on import duties as goods that used to be smuggled before have to be channelled through the appropriate routes. 
 

Why it matters

As usual, whenever inflation increases, the ability of consumers to buy the same quantity of goods with the same income level worsens. 
 

December is almost here, we’re not sure what the Federal government is thinking but this is a reminder that things could get more expensive as winter is coming.

Speaking of Winter…

 Things keep getting ‘cooler’ for Nigeria as the federal government makes key monetary decisions.


Spoil me.

You asked for it. Earlier this week, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed disclosed that the FG requested a $3 billion loan from the World Bank to reform the power sector. Then President Buhari approved N10 billion for the upgrade of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

Interesting. So what’s the problem?

Experience. You see, infrastructural developments like these are made with an end goal to generate more revenue for the government. With more revenue, Nigeria could begin to reduce her foreign debt which currently stands at N25.7 trillion (about $71 billion) and, in fact, reduce external loans whilst re-investing in the economy. However, this isn’t the first time such developments are being made–and they don’t always yield the expected fruits.

The Finance Minister had earlier stressed that Nigeria does not have a debt problem, but a revenue problem. According to her, Nigeria only needs to increase her revenue-generating capacity to 50% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Apparently the government plans to achieve this quicker, hence the requesting of such a humongous sum. Only time will tell how effective this is.

Do we need more oil traders?

We think we do because Seplat Petroleum seems to be securing the bag this time as they are fast becoming the biggest Nigerian oil exploration company after announcing the acquisition of the Eland Oil and Gas (an exploration company that has  been listed in both the Nigerian and London Stock Exchange)   

Why it matters?

Well, Companies join forces when they see an opportunity to grow and Seplat clearly isn’t slowing down for anyone. meanwhile, Julius Berger has also announced its purchasing 20% ownership of PEL, a firm that sources oil and gas prospect in African countries. 

What does this mean?

Although still subject to regulation, consent and approval, it means that the giant construction company who is known for structural Engineering and Infrastructure works is now gradually venturing into the oil sector, diversifying its sources of revenue. We stan harder than ever before. 

Africa

The Nobel Peace Prize stays In Africa

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the world’s most prestigious award for maintaining peace within a region or state.

What did he do?

Upon assuming the office of Prime Minister in April 2018. He met a Country experiencing widespread unrest and protests with thousands of people hurt or killed. 

At the core of the tensions was the critique of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara, of the dominance of Tigray people in the country’s politics, economy and military.

Interestingly Ahmed is a son of an Oromo father and an Amhara mother. He embarked on a number of political reforms which led to freeing of thousands of political prisoners and increasing the room for public debate.

Why it matters

Ahmed represents a new generation of African leaders who are not focused on extending their constitutional term limits. However, While what Ahmed did is laudable, many think it’s too early to have given him this award as his initiatives have barely taken root and could fall off anytime. This award brings pressure on him to ensure it succeeds even though it’s obvious the success inside within his control.

Trivia: Including Ahmed, five of the last 15 Nobel Peace laureates are African. Others are Congolese  Denis Mukwege (2018), the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (2015) and the Liberian peace activists and politicians Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee (2011). 

Ever heard about the Nobel Protest Prize?

Turns out Abiy Ahmed’s tale cannot be told about his friends up North.

What’s happening?

Egypt is happening. Five years after the military coup that enthroned Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, another wave of peaceful protests, sparked by an exiled businessman named Mohamed Ali, erupted but was crushed by the security forces who have arrested more than 2300 people since September 20th – the largest wave of mass arrests since El-Sisi assumed power.
 

I’m gonna need a backstory.

We got your back. After the 2011 revolution that saw the ousting of long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood took the reins. However, their plan to reform the constitution with an emphasis on Islamic law was met by strong opposition, after which they were overthrown by an El-Sisi led military sect. (Unfortunately,) El-Sisi’s plan was to brutally repress any opposition, and he’s been ‘successful’ ever since.

I’m gonna need a backstory.

We got your back. After the 2011 revolution that saw the ousting of long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood took the reins. However, their plan to reform the constitution with an emphasis on Islamic law was met by strong opposition, after which they were overthrown by an El-Sisi led military sect. (Unfortunately,) El-Sisi’s plan was to brutally repress any opposition, and he’s been ‘successful’ ever since.

So why are they protesting?

Unemployment. Low incomes. Low standards of living.

That’s pretty bad.

Indeed. And what’s worse, the future isn’t looking bright either. Learning lessons from 2011 and 2013, El-Sisi has internalized the danger which organized civil society can pose to his rule. Thus, he’s ensured that his security forces remain united and retain the resources to suppress the opposition with benefits. More so, the UK and US  have apparently turned a blind eye to these terrors whilst strengthening political and economic ties with the dictator. However, protesters are driven by the success of the 2011 revolution with hopes that they can get to the end of this tunnel with the light still shining.

Mozambique’s Elections: How did we get here?

The Southern African country has just proven to the world that you can play breach-of-trust with your pen pal, but not with the IMF.
 

Sounds scary to me.

Yup, it is. On Tuesday the 15th, Mozambican citizens headed to the polls to elect their president. While votes are still being counted, unofficial results show sweeping victories for the ruling Frelimo party and President Filipe Nyusi. Because this party still controls the rules of the election game since 1975, the campaign was marred by worrying levels of violence. But there’s an even bigger problem. 

Which is?

The international community. Here’s the story: In 2015, Nyusi took over a nation characterized by rising levels of insecurity due to rebellions to a heavy-handed government. After a few months of an excellent start, shocking revelations emerged that under the previous government, state-owned companies had secretly contracted $2 billion of debt for dubious projects. This scheme violated the Constitution and agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international partners.

So how was it handled?

Quite poorly. First, Nyusi, who was part of the former government, denied these allegations – and then admitted wrongdoing after the IMF and international donors, who had previously contributed more than 40% of Mozambique’s annual budget, cut funding. The economy went into recession within a short period.

And what’s the way forward?

Undecided, for now. Nyusi has been stuck between protecting the previous administration, satisfying the IMF, and keeping a good name for himself. With reports that opposition parties are gunning for governmental and parliamentary seats, a second term for him might be even more challenging.

International
 

Can we take a break from Brexit?

Yes, we thought so too and we weren’t surprised when a study released this summer found that 33% of people are avoiding any news that has Brexit in it – blaming it for being such a downer.

Well someone listened and took action. Sky News decided to make it easier to avoid it by introducing a Brexit free channel.

But you’re not Sky News?

Yes, we aren’t so we’d still give you an update. To everyone’s relief, the deadline for Brexit, Oct. 31st is almost here. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has secured a pretty decent deal with the EU, now all he has to do is get a nod of approval from the members of Parliament who would vote today.

Turkey agrees to a ceasefire

@trish_regan

Turkey has finally agreed to let down their guard after days of constant military attack on the Kurds at the Northern Syrian borders. 

How it all started 

Two weeks ago, Turkey made an incursion into Northern Syria, against the Kurdish (a semi-autonomous group spread across the Middle East region, including Syria and Iran), who have been a US ally in fighting ISIS for several years. But Turkey sees them as a terror threat hence they launched a Military action against them. 

How did they get here?

After 11 days since the US withdrew their Troops from the Syrian border and left the Kurds to be slaughtered at the war front by Turkey, the fight intensified with more people getting injured and millions displaced. 

So what’s a good deal?

After his ultimate threat of destroying the Turkish economy and advising Recep Erdogan not to be a fool, Trump called for a permanent ceasefire. Well, we thought it was about time already.  But then, Turkey only agreed to a five days Military action pause, threading carefully huh?

And after then what?
After this time, Kurdish would have garnered enough time in their hands to pull back about a few miles away from the Turkish border and if this happens, the Turkish would permanently ceasefire, although not necessarily withdrawing their troops from the Syrian border. We think it’s a fair deal, do you?

How they performed in Q3

In the past few weeks, many companies have released their report on how they performed from July – September 2019. We look at two unrelated companies today. 

Netflix: The US streaming service’s report produced mixed feelings as it’s profit beat it’s forecasted profit but all eyes are on the weaker subscriber growth – it’ll add 7.6 million paying subscribers this quarter – lower than the ~9 million investors hoped for. Reason being, it has seen more competition from Disney’s Disney+, Apple’s Apple TV+, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max amongst others. Netflix says they’re all small compared to TV’s market share so it’s not that bothered. It’s not afraid to take “bold swings” when necessary, but it also won’t chase every deal on the table. 

ASOS: The British fashion retailer, saw its profit drop 68% lower than a year ago due to problems with warehouse in the US and Germany. It’s transitioning from being UK-focused to a global model, this has lead to unavailability of certain products. This is definitely not a smooth transition, however, thankfully it’s almost done with this change as it gets ready to redeem itself in front of its 20 million active customers in the upcoming Black Friday.

Facebook is moving on anyways

Facebook is kicking off Libra despite some of its initial partners – Paypal, Visa, Stripe and Mastercard –  dropping out of the project.

Remind again, what is this about?

Everyone knows Facebook, it’s the big social network you spent most of time on a few years ago or maybe you still do. 

And Libra which we bet fewer people haven’t heard about is simply a digital currency that has been proposed to the world by Facebook. An attempt to provide fast international and cross-border payment options for Facebook’s 2.7 billion users at a lower cost than is currently available. It sounds like a great innovative idea but apparently not everyone does.

Tell about those against it

Finance thingy always comes with regulations, loads of them. And you can understand why too because money needs to be controlled to avoid detrimental financial crises. Financial regulators around the world have cited critical issues with launching the digital currency, mostly around money laundering, consumer protection, privacy and sovereignty of existing currencies. The US, France, Germany, UK, Switzerland and Japan have all voiced concerns about the impact it would have on the delicate world financial system. 

With 2.7 billion users, Nobody wants to put Facebook, a private company in charge of controlling the money supply for many of the world’s citizens.

So what’s up now?

It would seem that Facebook and its partners would have to jump from hurdles to hoops to meet the regulatory compliance that the regulators want. However, amidst the scrutiny, the Project is still alive, and its co-creator, David Marcus claims that the Libra Association (a bunch of guys managing the platform) has 21 members, and 1600 companies have expressed interest in joining.

Which Emojis are most used?

The Unicode Consortium ( the organisation that decides which emojis we see on our devices) recently published a report on which emojis are used most frequently.
 

Did your favourite emoji make it?

The Future of Emojis?

Some folks aren’t waiting for the Unicode Consortium to decide that as they’ve found creative ways to mash-up different emoji.

@EmojiMashupBot

@EmojiMashupPlus

Your dream emoji is probably a mashup away 😉

Worth Reading 📚

A pointless twitter thread of Lagos state Governor pointing 😂

Getting Rich vs. Staying Rich
 

Hundreds of thousands of people read novels on Instagram. They may be the future

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