Company News – June ’16

Birds of Interest

In association with Zambezi Birding, in May 2016 Alavan successfully launched the Livingstone birders WhatsApp network ‘Birds of Interest’. In addition to linking up birders in the Livingstone area, the network also works with Birdwatch Zambia — http://birdwatchzambia.org — to advise birders visiting the region.

Finfoot -June '16sml

Keystone International

In April 2016, Alavan entered into an agreement with Keystone International with the aim of raising capital to finance a major wholesale infrastructure project.

Nutrition Consultation 

BrowsersGrazers consulted the Livingstone branch of an international hotel chain. This work included training chefs and waiting staff about special diets and providing guidance on ways to expand the salad options within the buffet menu.

 

Public Speaking – June ’16

 

On 12 April 2016, Alastair presented on geopolitical risk at the annual conference of the Norwegian Guarantee Institute for Export Credits (Garantiinstituttet for eksportkreditt) for the second year in succession, as well as holding meetings with a number of the GIEK’s key clients.

 

On 21 April, Alastair was one of the speakers on the lead panel at the 2016 Zambia International Investors’ Forum (ZIIF) in Lusaka. He presented a well-received ‘ten-point plan’ for the economy, as follows:

  • Macro-economic stability — even at the expense of bringing in the IMF (now reportedly working on a new programme in liaison with the government).
  • Ensuring government borrowing does not crowd out the private sector.
  • Continued boosting of the education system coupled with the same for the health system (ie healthy children are better learners).
  • Implementing a long-term energy strategy to overcome long-running under-investment in generating capacity, especially base-load.
  • Labour laws aimed at opening the door wider for those looking for jobs in the formal sector  as well as protecting those already in it.
  • Reducing ‘red tape’ for those already invested in Zambia (foreign and domestic) consistent with the very good job the ZDA does attracting investors in the first place.
  • Policy development based on more consultation with the private sector.
  • Taxation predictability.
  • Widening the tax base, eg through a lower turnover tax rather than a higher profit tax which would encourage trade locally and should be, at worst, revenue neutral.
  • A tax system designed to encourage value-adding activity. For example, commercial farming is taxed at 10% but food processing at 35%. Why not tax both at 15-20% which would be revenue neutral and help boost investment in the latter?

 

On 26 May 2016, Alastair presented on the politics of the Middle East at Nomura International’s first Annual Emerging Markets Credit Conference in London.

 

On 30 May 2016, Alastair presented on geopolitical risk at the annual conference of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Malaysia.

Publications – June 2016

Arab Digest

In June 2016, Alastair was appointed as a guest editor to the online journal Arab Digest (www.arabdigest.org)

Pivots: Economics, Tectonics and Geoploitics  Revisited [Published June 2016]

Last September, Alastair spoke on geopolitical risk at the biennial Aon Benfield Hazards conference in Australia. The proceedings have just been published and Alastair’s conference paper is available on request. It is slightly dated now – notably by the emergence of Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee in the US presidential election – but the paper’s fundamental principles and much of the detail still hold good.

The Challenges North Korea Poses
Alastair’s thoughts on the challenges which North Korea poses to the next president of the United States, published in Global Policy on 30 May.