Tag Archives: Africa Rising

Jumia IPO – Prospectus Peek

Reading the F-1 filing for Africa Internet Holding GmbH, the Africa e-commerce company that will now be known as Jumia Technologies AG after it applied to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “JMIA”.

Not much about the management at Jumia has been shared since Rocket Internet was dissected in Bloomberg story on their formula for Africa.  “Rocket sends three people to a different country to start a business: a CEO, a CFO, and a COO. The CEO builds the team, does the marketing, and drives sales. The CFO manages the revenue growth and cash burn. The COO makes sure we have a big enough warehouse and that the packages get delivered… and .. (the brothers) didn’t feel bad about copying. They had this feeling like they have to make Germany great again, so they only care about building big companies.

Why Africa?: The company (Jumia) is Africa Internet Holdings, registered in Germany. Jumia sees Africa as a market with 1.2 billion people (Jumia is in countries with 55% of this population), GDP of $2 trillion and 453 million internet users (Jumia is in countries with 77% of these internet users) and (they) believe that this younger generation, born into an “online” world, is increasingly seeking access to a wider choice of food, consumer goods and entertainment options as it becomes increasingly connected to, and aware of, global consumer trends.

They now have 4 million active customers, 81,000 active sellers, handled 13 million packages in 2018 and had 54% of transactions done on Jumia Pay which they introduced in Nigeria in 2016 and Egypt in 2018.

Ownership: The company was incorporated in June 2012. Shareholders in December 2018 were Mobile Telephone Networks Holdings – MTN (31.28%), Rocket Internet (21.74%), Millicom (10.15%), AEH New Africa eCommerce I (8.86%), 6.06% each for Atlas Countries Support and AXA Africa Holding, Chelsea Wharf Holdings (5.51%), CDC Group (4.04%), Rocket Investment Funds (3.48%) and Goldman Sachs (2.83%). A new shareholder, Pernod Ricard, came on board investing €75 million cash in January for 7,105 shares which became 5.1 million shares in a capital increase in February 2019 and they are entitled to more shares if an IPO happens within 18 months of their investment.

Governance: Jumia has 2 Co-CEO’s – Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec who are both co-founders of the Company. There is also Antoine Maillet-Mezeray, the CFO – and the three, who all reside in Germany, comprise the management board of the company.

As part of the IPO, a supervisory board has been formed and it includes Gilles Bogaert (CEO Pernod Ricard SA), and Andre Iguodala, an NBA player with the Golden State Warriors. Other are Blaise Judja-Sato Jonathan D. Klein, Angela Kaya Mwanza (UBS Private Wealth), Alioune Ndiaye  (CEO Orange Middle East and Africa), Matthew Odgers (MTN Group) and John Rittenhouse.

Employees: The Company has a total of 5,128 staff including 1,213 in Nigeria, 572 in Egypt, 686 in East Africa and 183 in South Africa. Also, an ESOP (stock option plan) was set up in 2019 that will award options to key management of Jumia. The three members of the management board had total compensation of €1.04 million in 2018, and the two co-CEO’s each have 2.2 million shares as underlying options that were granted in 2016.

Assets: The Company has no real estate. It is headquartered in Berlin where they lease office space along with other spaces in Dubai and Portugal. They also have leased warehouses in Lagos, Cairo, Nairobi, Casablanca, Abidjan, and Cape Town.

Significant subsidiaries are CART (Nigeria), ECART Ivory Coast, ECART Kenya, ECART Morocco and Jumia Egypt.

Financials: For 2018 they had revenue of €130 million. Of the revenue, €66 million from West Africa, €378 million from North Africa, €15 million from South Africa and €10.8 million from East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda – up from €4.6 million in 2017. In February 2016, they had exited Tanzania and sold their four Tanzania subsidiaries to co-CEO Hodara who wanted to run them himself.

In 2018, the goods they sold cost €84 million and Jumia also spent €94 million on administrative expenses (including €48 million on staff), €50 million logistics, €47 million on selling and advertising, and €22 million on IT expenses (including 12 million staff)

As a result, in the year 2018, they lost €169 million, compared to a loss in 2017 of €153 million. As at December 2018, the company had cash of €100 million and accumulated losses of €862 million.

Taxation: There are potential tax liabilities that have not been assessed over and above the €30 million in pending and resolved matters.  Their effective tax rate was 0.5% in 2018 and 7.4% in 2017.

The company has accumulated tax losses of €358 million including €145 million in Nigeria, €61 million in Egypt, €39 million in Kenya (~Kshs 4.5 billion), €28 million in South Africa and €25 million in Morocco.

Jumia Filing Matters: 

  • Filing costs about not confirmed but there will be a $12,120 SEC registration fee and an estimated $15,500 FINRA filing fee.
  • The public offer price is not known, but the maximum value after the listing is estimated to be $100 million.
  • Underwriters are Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Global and Berenberg
  • Ernst & Young auditors since 2014 and have provided two years of audited results.

Growth Strategies: 

  • Leverage their e-commerce platform to grow the consumer base in each market.
  • Drive consumer adoption and usage through increased consumer education as they continue to strive to deliver a positive online shopping experience
  • Increase the number of sellers and level of seller engagement
  • Develop Jumia Logistics in to better serve consumers and drive economies of scale.
  • Increase the adoption of JumiaPay.  They have agreements, through partners, in Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, and Ivory Coast to offer JumiaPay, but they don’t offer the full JumiaPay wallet range of services possible, which would require additional eMoney permissions in every country (e.g. Morocco would require €1 million in core capital and €450,000 for Ivory Coast). In Kenya, where they currently operate as a direct lender, they are preparing a new licensing application for JumiaPay.

Risks cited in the Jumia offer:

  • One caution cited is that (US) investors may have difficulty enforcing civil liabilities against us or the members of our management and supervisory board – (as) we are incorporated in Germany and conduct substantially all of our operations in Africa through our subsidiaries.
  • We do not expect to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future.
  • We have broad discretion in the use of the net proceeds from this offering and may not use them effectively.
  • We face competition, which may intensify.  Current competitors include Souq.com in Egypt (affiliated with Amazon), Konga in Nigeria and Takealot, Superbalist and Spree, which are all part of the Naspers group, in South Africa. Also .. some of our competitors currently copy our marketing campaigns, and such competitors may undertake more far-reaching marketing events or adopt more aggressive pricing policies.

€1 = Kshs 115 (Kenya shillings)

AfDB 2019 Annual Meetings set for Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

The African Development Bank, the leading development finance institution on the continent,  has announced that it will hold its 2019 series of annual meetings from 11 to 14 June in Malabo.

Hosted by the Government of Equatorial Guinea, the meetings are expected to feature over 3,000 participants including finance ministers, bankers and business leaders. The country’s preparedness to host the event was confirmed at a signing ceremony during a consultative meeting between representatives of the Bank and its African shareholders at the Bank’s headquarters city of Abidjan which was attended by the Finance Minister of Equatorial Guinea. 

The annual meetings which this year will have the theme of “Regional Integration” mark a return to Africa after a two-year break.

They were held in May 2015, in Abidjan, which also marked the 50th anniversary of the bank and the return to its statutory headquarters city in Côte d’Ivoire, after a temporary relocation to Tunis for 11 years.

The 2016 meetings were held in Lusaka Zambia,  where the Bank, as an agent of change, introduced their ‘ High 5s’  of five development priorities which were to “Light up and power Africa”, “Feed Africa”, “Industrialise Africa”, “Integrate Africa”, and “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa.”  

The 2017 meetings were held in Ahmedabad, India, with the 2018 annual meetings at Busan in the Republic of Korea, and they had themes in each of the years, of “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa,” and “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialisation,” respectively.

The regional integration theme for the 2019 meetings is derived from one of the pillars of the High 5s and focus on the opportunities of Africa with one billion people and a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion to trade with each other.

WEF Davos 2019

The annual meetings of the World Economic Forum (WEF) take place in Davos Switzerland this week. The 2019 event will feature over 3,500 attendees from 115 “economies” (according to WEF) of who 118 are from Africa. Among this number, 57 are from South Africa, 16 from Nigeria, 13 from Kenya, 9 from Egypt, 6 each from Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, 5 Rwanda, 4 Cote d’Ivoire and 3 from Morocco.

This year Qz has drilled down the attendees by continent, and listed under Kenya are Jesse Moore (M-Kopa), Katie Hill (Liquid Telecom), Mohammed Hassan (Kakuma Refugee Camp), Patrick Njoroge (Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya), Dr. Githinji Gitahi (CEO, AMREF) Agnes Kalibata (AGRA President), Paul Okumu (AfricaPlatform), Peter Munya (the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives), Liz Muange and Kanini Mutooni (both of USAID), Kennedy Odede (CEO Shining Hope), Mohamed Al-Beity (Savannah Fund) and Winnie Byanyima (Executive Director Oxfam).

 

Other familiar attendees from the continent include Tony Elumelu (Chairman of UBA Group), Ahmed Heikal (Qalaa), Cyril Ramaphosa (President, South Africa), Abiy Ahmed (Prime Minister, Ethiopia) Yoweri Museveni (President, Uganda), Moussa Mahamat (Chairperson African Union Commission), Akinwumi Adesina (President, African Development Bank), and Paul Kagame (President, Rwanda), Elizabeth Rossiello (CEO BitPesa – now in Senegal), and Emmerson Mnangagwa (President, Zimbabwe) who may have withdrawn to deal with the latest chapter in the country’s economic crisis.

Others are Mthuli Ncube (Finance Minister, Zimbabwe), from Botswana President Eric Masisi and Investment Minister Bogolo Kenewendo, Kamissa Camara (Foreign Affairs Minister Mali) and from the DRC is Denis Mukwege, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.  Qz notes that the youngest attendee at Davos this year is the 16-year-old photographer Skye Meaker from South Africa. 

Also on the list is William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, a now frequent attendee at Davos. In his fascinating book, “Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice”, he writes of his first visit to Davos – where in 1996, he gatecrashed the town of Davos with an investment banking friend. They did not have an innovation to the $50,000 annual summit, “an A-list party of the business world,” in which all hotel rooms are booked a year in advance. But they did mingle around the town and met a former finance minister of Russia in a group where they had an eerie conversation about investing in Russia.

“Don’t worry about the election, Yeltsin is going to win for sure.”
“How can you say that? His approval rating is barely 6%”
“These guys will fix that”

M&A Moment: January 2019

The Competition Authority of Kenya recently approved the completion of several corporate merger and acquisition (M&A) deals. They are interesting in that they reveal some revenue and deal value numbers that private companies, acquirers, and equity funds usually don’t make public.  The deals were all approved with exclusions as the transactions between the affected companies  will not affect competition negatively and they met the threshold for exclusion under the “merger threshold guidelines.”

The deals and exclusions include:

Airline/ Oil/Energy/Mining M&A

  • (The Competition Authority of Kenya [CA-K]) .. Excludes the proposed acquisition of 51% of Selenkei Ltd by Frontier Energy as the acquirer assets for the preceding year (2017) was KShs. 225 million while the target’s assets was KShs. 4 million and the combined assets valued at KShs. 222 million meet the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of control of Paygo Energy by Novastar Ventures East Africa Fund 1 LP and FPCI Energy Access Venture Fund as the acquirers had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while the target’s turnover was KShs 2 million
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 51% of Cedate by Frontier Energy as the acquirer assets for the preceding year 2017 was KShs. 225 million while the target’s assets was KShs. 355 million and the combined assets valued at KShs. 580 million meet the threshold for exclusion.
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of the entire issued share capital in Iberafrica Power (E. A) by AEP Energy Africa
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of control of Consolidated Infrastructure Group by Fairfax Africa Holdings.
  • edit The CA-K has approved the acquisition of Cemtech Ltd by Simba Cement, which is owned by the Devki Group. Cemtech has limestone and clay deposits and licenses for extraction in West Pokot but has been dormant for a decade. Its shareholders have been looking for a partner (another deal had been mooted in 2013 ) to finance a cement plant, and Simba plan to resuscitate it by acquiring its land, business, intellectual property, records, equipment, goodwill, licenses, stock and third party rights. Simba has an 8% share of the cement market behind Bamburi (33%), Mombasa Cement (16%), East African Portland (15%), Savannah (15%), National (8)and Athi River Mining (13%) (March 2019).

Banking and Finance: Finance, Law, & Insurance M&A

  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 44% of Cellulant Corporation by The Rise Fund Certify, L.P. as the acquirer had a turnover of KShs. 93 million for the preceding year 2017 while target had a turnover of KShs. 752 million and therefore, the combined turnover of KShs. 844 million meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 12% of Pezesha Africa with certain controlling rights by Consonance Kuramo Special Opportunities Fund 1 as the acquirer’s turnover for the preceding year 2017 was KShs. 6.2 million while the target’s turnover was KShs. 3.1 million
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 100% of Serian Asset Managers by Cytonn Asset Managers as the acquirer had a turnover of KShs. 0.9 million for the preceding year 2017 while target had a turnover of KShs. 1.1 million for the preceding year 2017 and therefore, the combined turnover of KShs. 1.9 million meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of indirect control of Abraaj Investment Management by Actis International. Abraaj controls Star Foods Holdings, which ultimately controls Java House Ltd in Kenya.
  • CA-K approved the proposed purchase and subscription of up to 25% shareholding in Prime Bank by Africinvest Azure SPV

Agri-Business, Food & Beverage M&A

  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 99.9% of  Twiga Foods Limited by Twiga Holdings as the acquirer has no operations in Kenya and therefore had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while the target’s turnover was KShs. 140 million and the transaction meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of the business and assets of Anchor Flour Millers Company by Archaic Industries Kenya as the acquirer is a natural person with no business activities and had no turnover or assets for the preceding year 2017 while the target’s turnover was KShs. 97.3 million.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of class B ordinary shares in Fertiplant East Africa by Oikocredit, Ecumenical Development Cooperative Society U.A as the acquirer is a natural person and had no turnover or assets for the preceding year 2017 while the target’s assets were valued at KShs. 47.5 million.
  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 100% of Art-Caffe Coffee and Bakery Ltd by Artcaffe Group
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of certain assets and part of the business of Kreative Roses limited by Kongoni River Farm on condition that the target retains 43 of its employees while the acquirer employs the remaining 362 employees for at least one year after the completion of the proposed transaction.
  • edit The biscuit manufacturing and selling business carried on by Golden Biscuits (1985) at L.R. No. 209/4260, Kampala Road, Industrial Area, Nairobi, will be transferred to Trufoods Limited pursuant to the terms of a business and asset transfer agreement entered into between the Transferor and Transferee on 7th February, 2019.

Health and Medical, Pharmaceutical M&A

  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 32.5% of the shares with certain veto rights in King Medical Supplies by LGT Capital Invest Mauritius PCC Cell E/VP as the acquirer is a newly incorporated company and had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while the target’s turnover was KShs. 20.9 million.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 32.5% of the shares with certain Veto Rights in City Eye Hospital by LGT Capital Invest Mauritius PCC Cell E/VP as the acquirer is a newly incorporated company and had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while the target’s turnover was KShs. 62.1 million.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of sole control of Hain Lifescience East Africa Kenya by Bruker Daltonik GMBH as the acquirer’s turnover for the preceding year 2017 was KShs. 102 million while the target’s turnover was KShs. 106 million and the combined turnover of KShs. 208 million meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of the manufacturing and distribution business of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company (Kenya) by Shalina Healthcare Kenya as the acquirer’s assets for the preceding year 2017 was KShs. 0.4 million while the target’s value of asset was KShs. 43 million and the combined value of asset of KShs. 44 million meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of certain assets of Maghreb Pharmacy by Goodlife Pharmacy as the target had a turnover of KShs. 15 million for the preceding year 2016 and therefore, the transaction meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 60% shareholding in AK Life Sciences by CSSAF Lifeco Holdings as the acquirer had a turnover of KShs. 377 million for the preceding year 2017 while target had a turnover of KShs. 125 million for the preceding year 2017 and therefore, the combined turnover of KShs. 503 million meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • The competition authority approved the proposed acquisition of the entire share capital in Arysta Lifescience Inc by UPL Corporation.
  • The Competition Authority authorized the proposed investment by Tunza Health Investments in Pyramid Healthcare Ltd.
  • The Competition Authority approved, the acquisition of 100% of the business and assets of Desbro (Kenya) by Brenntang (Holding) B.V. on condition that Brenntang retains the 80 employees of Desbro for a period of one year. Desbro distributes over 600 industrial chemicals to various industries in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.

Logistics, Engineering, & Manufacturing M&A

  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 100% of the shares in JGH Marine A/S and JOHS. Gram-Hanssen A/S by Pitzner Gruppen Holding A/S  as the acquirer has no presence in Kenya and, therefore, had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while target had a turnover of KShs. 392 million for the preceding year 2017 and therefore, the transaction meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of the assets and business of Socabelec East Africa by Cockerill East Africa as the acquirer had a turnover of KShs. 193, million for the preceding year 2016 while target had a turnover of KShs. 226 million the preceding year 2016 and therefore, the combined turnover of KShs. 419 million meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 55% of  Air Sea Logistics (ASL) by Expolanka Freight PZCO as the acquirer had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while the target’s turnover for the preceding year 2017 was KShs. 8 million and therefore meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of the assets of Rich Logistics (K) by Bigcold Kenya as the acquirer is newly incorporated and hence, had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while the target had a turnover of KShs. 48 million for the preceding year 2017 and therefore, the transaction meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of the stationery and shavers manufacturing, sales and distribution of stationery, lighters and shavers business of Haco Industries Kenya  by BIC East Africa.
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of the Kenyan freight forwarding business and assets of Dodwell & Co (East Africa) and those of Inchcape Shipping Services Kenya by ISS Global Forwarding (Kenya) – which is owned by Investment Corporate of Dubai (ICD). 
  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of the assets and business of Blue Nile Wire Products by Blue Nile Rolling Mills.
  • The Competition Authority approved the acquisition of the assets and business of Wild Elegance Fashions by Wild Elegance Africa.
  • The Competition Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 73.6% of Sintel Security Print Solutions by Ramco Plexus. Sintel is involved in the printing and supply of scratch cards, highly secured cheques and custom labels.
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of the business and assets of Office Mart by Sai Office Supplies
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of the business and assets of Lino Stationers by Sai Office Supplies on condition that the acquirer employs not less than 57 out of the 74 employees after the completion of the proposed transaction.

Real Estate, Tourism, & Supermarkets M&A

  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 40% of Dufry Kenya by Ananta as the acquirer had no turnover for the preceding year 2016 while the target had a turnover of KShs. 269 million for the preceding year 2016 and therefore, the transaction meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed joint venture between Scan-Thor Group and Otto International GmbH as the acquirer has no market presence in Kenya and, therefore, had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while target had a turnover of KShs. 11 million for the preceding year 2017 and therefore, the transaction meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • Excludes the proposed transfer of 100% of Norbu Manda Pwani Ltd to Margot Kiser from the provisions of Part IV of the as the acquirer is a natural person and had no turnover or assets for the preceding year 2017 while the target’s assets were valued at KShs. 47.5 million.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of the business and assets of Giraffe Ark Game Lodge by Archaic Industries Kenya as the acquirer is a newly incorporated company and had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while the target’s turnover was KShs. 51.5 million
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of the business of Ocean Sports (2006) by Ocean Sports Hotel as the acquirer had no turnover for the preceding year 2016 while the target’s turnover was KSh. 44.6 million.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 34.48% of African Forest Lodges by Earth Friends LLP as the acquirer is a newly incorporated company and has no assets or turnover for the preceding year 2016 while the target’s assets was KShs. 197 million.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of the (Furniture, fittings, equipment and Prefabricated building) assets of Me To We Ltd by Bogani Training, excludes the proposed acquisition of the (motor vehicle) assets of Me To We Ltd by Minga Ltd and excludes the proposed acquisition of the assets  (vehicles, beads, stocks) of Me To We Ltd by Araveli For Mamas as the acquirers had no turnover for the preceding year 2016 while the target’s turnover for the preceding year 2016 was KShs. 68 million and therefore, meets the threshold for exclusion.
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of control of Tumaini Self Service by Sokoni Retail Kenya. Tumani operates retail stores in Nairobi, Kisumu and Kajiado.
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of Nova Academics Tatu City Property Ltd by Summit Real Estate Pty
  • The Competition Authority of Kenya approved the proposed acquisition of 100% of Hillcrest Investment Holdings by Education Asia Holdings – which is an investment holding company owned by GEMS Global Schools. Hillcrest operates three learning institutions in Nairobi – Hillcrest Early Years, Hillcrest Preparatory School and Hillcrest Secondary School.

Telecommunications, Media & Publishing M&A

  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 39% of the shareholding in the Star Publication by Avandale Investments and 10% of the shareholding by Adil Arshed Khawaja as the acquirer had no turnover for the financial year ending 30th June 2017 while the target’s turnover was KShs. 679 million.
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of Mobile Web (trading as Hivisasa) by Novastar Ventures Easy Africa Fund 1 L.P.  as the acquirer had no turnover for the preceding year 2017 while target had a turnover of KShs. 14 million or the preceding year 2017 and therefore, the transaction meets the threshold for exclusion.

Other M&A

  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of Dc Xiang Kenya Company by Lin Bingwei from the provisions of Part IV of the Act as the acquirer is a natural person with no business activities and had no turnover or assets for the preceding year 2017 while the target is a newly incorporated company and had no turnover or assets;
  • Excludes the proposed acquisition of 100% of the shares in Kesar Investments by Dipak Lakshman Halai and Ramesh Kurji Visram as the acquirer are individuals and had no turnover for the preceding year 2016 while the target’s assets was KES 0.07 million
  • CA-K approved the proposed acquisition of Zelepak Africa by PPG  Holdings

CA-K, as a regulator, has not yet reported on two mega deals; the proposed bank merger between CBA and NIC and the buyout of Kenol by Rubis that will lead to a delisting of the company. edit: Later in January 2019, the Competition Authority approved the Rubis-Kenol deal along with a few other deals. 

Also, see some other deals approved six years ago.

$1 = Kshs 101

The reason for the collapse of the Zimbabwe Economy

Anonymous guest post. 

Land redistribution (or seizures) didn’t sink the Zimbabwe economy. In fact, a 2011 independent study, quoted at the time in the New York Times (it’s unlikely to get more sceptical than that) declared that the redistribution programme had actually worked – that Zimbabwe was not just more productive; its food security had also rebounded to pre-redistribution levels.

But many (especially Western) analysts politicize the economic crisis without properly comprehending it. They link the collapse of the currency with the collapse of settler production, which in turn is caused by misrule. Misrule is then metaphorised as a trust problem, which is then looped back into the economic crisis, this time as its very basis.

The land redistribution-economic collapse analysis was deliberately trotted out in the early 2000’s by both the British and the white settlers. It’s a myth, as carefully and boldly planned and executed as anything Goebbels ever put out. It’s the Big Lie Theory stunningly executed. The Big Lie worked on a very plausible assumption: given that the white settler control of agro-industry was the heartbeat of the Zim economy, it followed that dismantling it would trigger the disintegration of the economy. This was only true to the extent that the land seizures disrupted productivity so severely as to halt it altogether.

Herein lies the Big Lie: it was easy to assume that a change in land ownership would mean a collapse in agricultural production. This evidently (as the statistics demonstrate) was a manifestly racist assumption. For one, it failed to account for ongoing smallholder production. More to the point, a decade after land redistribution, agricultural production was at the same levels, if not higher than what they were prior to redistribution.

So: what accounts for the collapse of the Zim dollar? The simple answer is sanctions. In 2002, and at the height of the land redistribution programme, (then President) Mugabe refused to sign onto the second phase of the IMF ESAF programme.

In response, Zimbabwe was suspended from the Fund. At the same time, and in solidarity with the white farmers, Bill Clinton (presidency ended in 2001) and the US Congress instituted sanctions against Zimbabwe. The result: Zimbabwe lost ALL its major export markets. And as a follow-on, its hard currency reserves began to tank.

Those sanctions have still not been lifted. This makes Zimbabwe, after perhaps Cuba, Iran and North Korea, the biggest pariah country on earth. Attempts to lift sanctions and the IMF suspension over the past two decades have all been unsuccessful.

One last thing, which I think is at the core of the sanctions question: why haven’t they been lifted? I was at a press briefing in 2010 or thereabouts with (then Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy, Arthur Mutambara. These were clearly individuals who had been brought into Uncle Bob’s cabinet (at the instigation of Mbeki and the grand coalition peace deal) precisely on the calculation that they were acceptable faces to the West.

And the question they were asking was: why have the sanctions not been lifted now after the peace deal? Almost a decade later, the whole determination of the Emmerson Mnangagwa government to conduct a credible poll turned on the assumption that, following such credible poll, sanctions would be lifted.

In fact, one could argue that the current design of the post-election Commission of Inquiry is itself an attempt to convince Bretton Woods and Washington that Zimbabwe now has a ‘credible govt’. But still, there are no clear indications that even if the poll had been deemed credible, that sanctions would be lifted.

So one is now driven very close to the conclusion that Zimbabwe is being turned into the new Haiti i.e. that its punishment for daring to stand up to Western capital and threaten the very idea of white supremacy is going to be punished for generations to come.

Also, read the Guide to Harare, the work of the late Professor Sam Moyo.