Brake-Through

Brake-Through

The malaria vaccine is continuing good news in the battle against disease in Africa, but it’s not a cause for great celebration. I’m a bit peeved, in fact, with the PR-rollout of Mosquirix by GlaxoSmithKline which strikes me more as an attempt by the pharma to remain relevant after the failure of its Sanofi–GSK Covid vaccine.

Here’s the thing. Mosquirix has been around in some form since 1987. Much improved, its efficacy is still as low as 26% (the highest in any study was 50%) and only for toddlers. It’s not effective against young adults and older.
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Lion on Safari

Lion on Safari

Early this morning I finished a number of phone conversations with friends, staff and property owners in East Africa, mostly in Tanzania and Kenya. I’m encouraged … with caveats.

The small companies are dying like flies. The big, mid-market companies are also on life-support and some of them already hanging from the edge. Upmarket companies, or small companies owned by deep pocketed investors seem to be all that’s left. Even the bottom feeders seemed to have fled Dodge.
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malariaRNA

malariaRNA

It took a pandemic that killed millions of people, but the developed world seems ready to manufacture a malaria vaccine that works.

The Covid pandemic clearly demonstrates that Africa will never vaccinate enough of its people against Covid-19 (or any other disease) until manufacturing takes place there. It also made clear that if a disease is allowed to flourish in Africa, it will forever be present globally.

The scientific triumph and economic success of Pfizer’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine juxtaposed on the battle Africa is losing with Covid because it can’t get the vaccine has finally shamed enough western powers to loosen international patents and in other ways underwrite the serious acceleration of both a Covid and a malaria vaccine for manufacture in Africa. We could have the malaria vaccine within a few years.

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Still a Pig

Still a Pig

Did you bathe recently? Use any body creams or lotions? Cream cheese or margarine on your bagel? Drive your Corolla to work? Then you’re one of the 4+ billion world-wide users of palm oil.

Today palm oil comes mostly from Africa. Ten times the value and quantity of oil is produced from a single acre of palm trees as from an acre of soybeans. And for the time being, anyway, it’s cheaper.

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When To Go

When To Go

Everyone in sub-Saharan Africa is gearing up for an expected surge in tourists in just a few weeks. Oh how they’ll be disappointed.

The uncertainty of airline schedules, the flux in which European airports in particular continue to alter their in-and-out rules, much less the reliability of lodge and hotel services following more than 14 months of closure will make those travelers who actually have booked early departures balk before stepping on the plane.

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Lion Love

Lion Love

One of the hunter’s best friends on the African continent has been the South African Government. Until last week.

You might remember the dentist from Minnesota a few years back who shot the famous lion “Cecil” in a private Zimbabwean reserve. The outcry was profound, the ramifications wide. South Africa kept trying to sweep it under the rug and finally agreed to a comprehensive commission. Late last week the government accepted really strict anti-hunting regulations rcommended by the panel.

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New Day

New Day

In the runup to Earth Day a leading bank in Africa convened some of the world’s most provocative if controversial financiers to foretell Earth’s future.

ABSA may not have the assets or power of Deutsche or CitiGroup but it has the unique advantage of being untied to the world’s toughest institutions like The Fed, Exxon or the Trump Family. Unfettered from a world economy that is about to massively change, ABSA’s Daniel Mminele is probably a better convention organizer for the view of a future world economy than Jamie Dimon.

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Nonemployment

Nonemployment

Is “unemployment” an important metric? Very similar controversies in the United States and South Africa throw this goldmark standard for economic planning into question.

Both countries currently suffer from chronic waves of refugees exacerbated by a wry mixture of politics with pandemic. Both countries’ fairly liberal policies towards refugees are at contentious odds with large parts of their citizenry. Both deal with growing social unrest that many argue impedes difficult struggles with institutionalized racism.

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Covid Check

Covid Check

Good news for South Africa. Bad news for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

Kenya issued an emergency “Cessation of Movement” directive today, and South Africans are bracing for a surge that won’t peak until the end of April. So how does that mean “good news” for South Africa but not for Kenya?

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Mutant Tax

Mutant Tax

Only one country in all of Africa can join Elizabeth Warren’s debate about a wealth tax: South Africa.

And in earnest. In just the last few years America’s fiscal situation has grown surprisingly aligned with South Africa’s. Probably because of the pandemic, but certainly because of globalization. Since South Africa’s politics have presaged ours for the last decade, it’s worth looking at what’s going on there.

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Vaccinated!

Vaccinated!

This blog is for old people who want to travel to Africa or similar places. Since old people are often spunkier and certainly smarter than young people, young’uns wouldn’t be wasting any time reading it, too. Just get your macchiato or Glenfiddich, whichever relaxes you best, find a rocking chair or bean bag then take a deep breath. Some brain scratching required.

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Not Yet

Not Yet

Why shouldn’t you buy a current RyanAir ticket for $11.85 between London and Shannon? Because you can use those funds to buy a cup of coffee and actually drink it.

Western travelers excited about returning to Africa and other far off places have a number of hurdles facing them. The most important one is how to get there. Current enticements by ridiculously discounted air tickets is not a solution.

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Covid Conservation

Covid Conservation

Wild animals and wildernesses are seriously endangered by the pandemic … not from disease, but from humans.

Poaching is increasing worldwide… not as in the past for black-market animals, but for food. Equally important communities worldwide are reducing their support for wildlife conservation, because wildlife authorities are ignoring the increasing human/wildlife conflict.

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