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February 21, 2019

Its the End Game in Harare, Khartoum and Kinshasa

Africa development bank,AFDB,East Africa regional director Gabriel Negatu during the signing a loan and grant agreement to support irrigation projects in Kenya .ENOS TECHE
Africa development bank,AFDB,East Africa regional director Gabriel Negatu during the signing a loan and grant agreement to support irrigation projects in Kenya .ENOS TECHE

I was reading the @AfDB_Group #2019AEO Economic release which is rather a well put together report and in that report the AfDB pronounced that Africa’s average inflation fell from 12.6 percent in 2017 to 10.9 percent in 2018 and is projected to further decline to 8.1 percent in 2020.

‘’Inflation is highest in South Sudan, at 188 percent, due to the lingering economic crisis. Inflation is lowest, at 2 percent or less, in members of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community and the West African Economic and Monetary Union and particularly in members of the CFA zone because of its link to the euro’’

There is a ubiquitious Meme that Africa is not a Country and that Inflation continuum 2%-188% confirms as much. A further dive into the Inflation data and you will note some serious, non-linear inflation spikes. In Bashir’s Sudan Inflation rose to 72.94% in December.

In Zimbabwe, Inflation clocked 42.1% in December [nothing close to The peak month of hyperinflation which occurred in mid-November 2008 when the rate was estimated at 79,600,000,000% per month]. DR Congo is somewhere around 25% but data is difficult to gather as you would expect.

I have been reading Yuval Noah Harari and in his best-seller he says this about money;

“Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.”

“Cowry shells and dollars have value only in our common imagination. Their worth is not inherent in the chemical structure of the shells and paper, or their colour, or their shape. In other words, money isn’t a material reality – it is a psychological construct. It works by converting matter into mind.”

The Point I am seeking to make is that There is a correlation between high Inflation and revolutionary conditions, Zimbabwe is a classic example where there are $9.3 billion of Zollars in banks compared to $200 million in reserves, official data showed.

The Mind Game that ZANU-PF played on its citizens has evaporated in a puff of smoke. President Mnangagwa was cavorting around the World with his scarf [As violence unfolded on the streets, Mnangagwa traveled to Russia. He’s also scheduled to visit Kazakhstan, Belarus and Azerbaijan before flying to the World Economic Forum in Davos] at the very moment that his Citizens like Roberto Durán II in his fight with Sugar Ray Leonard turned away from Leonard towards the referee and quit by apparently saying, “No más” (Spanish for “No more”).

The Petrol price hike was the proximate cause and ‘’ignited the already dry tinder on the ground’’ [Piers Pigou International Crisis Group] Samm Farai Monro told the Guardian “The government can switch off the internet but not the frustrations of millions of people.”

I said to Aljazeera “What we’re watching across this continent - whether it’s Gabon, Sudan, or DR Congo [I should have added Zimbabwe and Chad and Cameroon and others] - is a kind of tipping point moment,” Ryszard Kapuxcinski characterised the revolutionary moment thus

‘’The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle of history’’ and also said “If the crowd disperses, goes home, does not reassemble, we say the revolution is over.”

What is clear to me is that Zimbabwe is at a Tipping Point moment. At the time of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunis the crowds chanted

“We are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God.” In Tunis, it was the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi ( 29 March 1984 – 4 January 2011) on 17 December 2010, which became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution. I don’t know where the match is coming from but what I do know is that not even Dr. Benedict Oromah’s Afreximbank [who have taken an enormous punt on Zimbabwe] can save the situation. There was a Trend Change on the street last week and it strikes me that the long-suffering Citizen has thrown off their Fear.

In Sudan I saw this Tweet from @daloya

Singing an old Sudanese revolutionary song: “we sing in our prison as you tremble in your castle” #SudanUprising.

President Bashir whose Prop is not a scarf but a Jig is hanging on by his fingertips. He has managed to claw his way back into position before and is a political Harry Houdini otherwise he would not have lasted more than three decades but its clear these are “the last days” or “end times.”

In DR Congo, the Constitutional Court has declared Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo the President. It is widely accepted that he received 20% or thereabouts of the Vote versus Martin Fayulu who received about 60%. Martin Fayulu told the FT’s @thomas_m_wilson

“I won’t let the victory of the Congolese people be stolen. If they don’t get the truth now, no one will trust any election ever again.”

The announced result is the equivalent of overturning @anc_party’s @CyrilRamaphosa [who will surely win the election in 2019] and investing @Our_DA’s @MmusiMaimane as President. It was a clever ruse by the outgoing President Kabila but it wont stand.

We are in the End Game now. It might be tomorrow, it might be months away but make no mistake Its the End Game in Harare, in Khartoum and in Kinshasa.

Aly-Khan is a financial analyst

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