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Donkeys Are South Africa’s Latest Hot Export To China

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Chinese demand for traditional medicines has sent poachers hunting for African animals from rhinos to pangolins, now donkeys.

But as in countries from Burkina Faso to Kenya, South Africa is now seeing its donkey population plunge, threatening other businesses that make soaps and creams from donkey milk.

The produce extracted from them can sell for up to $360 per kilogram in China.

According to Jesse Christelis, Co-owner of Donkey Dairy, “In South Africa we have seen a rapid decline of the donkey population due to illegal slaughter to supply the Chinese skin trade. It is believed that in China, if you eat the donkey skin, that’s boiled in a certain way, it has certain health benefits, very similar to what they believe, health benefits that are found in rhino horn.”

Once prized by emperors, a gelatin called ejiao — made from donkey skins — is increasingly sought after by China’s middle class.

The health benefits are believed similar to products derived from rhino horns, from working as a blood thinner to acting as an aphrodisiac, placing it on high demand on the market.

Donkey Dairy farm is a on a mission to salvage poor donkeys that have been placed in areas of misery, a way of fighting against its illicit trade.

The shrinking supply has sent prices soaring. According to Christelis, a donkey would fetch about $30 at auction five years ago. Now they cost about $125 each.

That is still a relative bargain in China where donkey hides that sold for $473 in 2018 now sell for $1,160.

We’ve seen, you know, a rapid increase in price of donkeys as well since the trade of donkey skins hit South Africa, whereas prices were quite low about five years ago, they’ve gone up almost five, sixfold. And often the donkeys that we do find are not in good condition, weight is down, or there is a high parasite load.” added Christelis.

South Africa legally exports about 10,500 donkey hides to China every year, but the real quantity is believed much higher as smugglers have tapped into the trade.

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Togo: Cement-Maker Cimtogo Raises Its Prices By 15%

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Cimtogo, a cement company, has upped its delivery costs from its plants in Lomé and Kara to distribution points. The measure became effective on August 1, 2022.

The company attributed the decision to the “recent measures that led to the increase of oil products in the country.” Its commercial directorate added that the price increase will “help ensure the continuity of carriers’ activities in the best conditions.”

It should be noted that Cimtogo’s cement is currently sold at CFA81,000 a ton throughout the country.

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Why Elon Musk Terminated The $44 Billion Twitter Deal ?

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Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla and the world’s richest man, is looking to pull out of his $44 billion bid to buy microblogging platform Twitter.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Musk said that he wanted to terminate the deal because Twitter was in “material breach” of their agreement and had made “false and misleading” statements during negotiations.

The social media company, meanwhile, has said it plans to pursue legal action to enforce the agreement.

Musk’s action to bail out of the deal marks the latest twist in a long-running saga after he decided to buy Twitter in April.

Why Musk is backing out of the deal

Musk has claimed that Twitter has not provided him with necessary information on the prevalence of fake or spam accounts on its platform, a concern he had first raised in May. At the time, he had said that the deal was “temporarily on hold”, until he received the data from Twitter, which had asserted that spam and bot accounts make up less than 5 per cent of its total users.

In his filing with the US SEC, Musk’s legal team said that “for nearly two months, Mr. Musk has sought the data and information necessary to ‘make an independent assessment of the prevalence of fake or spam accounts on Twitter’s platform…Twitter has failed or refused to provide this information. Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr. Musk’s requests, sometimes it has rejected them for reasons that appear to be unjustified, and sometimes it has claimed to comply while giving Mr. Musk incomplete or unusable information”.

Musk also said he was pulling out because Twitter fired senior executives and a third of its talent acquisition team, breaching Twitter’s obligation to “preserve substantially intact the material components of its current business organisation.”

While these are broadly the two main reasons that Musk has intimated the SEC for terminating the deal, a number of external factors could have also played a role in his decision. Firstly, tech stocks globally have seen a massive correction since the deal was announced. On Friday, Twitter’s stock on the New York Stock Exchange closed at a value of $36.81, compared to $51.70 on April 25 when the company had accepted Musk’s offer, a decline of nearly 29 per cent. Tesla’s stock price has fallen by more than 24 per cent since the deal was announced.

Secondly, there were also question marks around how Musk would finance the $44 billion deal. In May, Musk had told the US SEC that the deal would include $33.5 billion in equity, up from an earlier commitment of $27.25 billion. He had also sold Tesla stock worth around $8.5 billion and had lined up about $7 billion from investors including Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. However, he had told the SEC that he was continuing to seek additional financing and was in talks with Twitter shareholders, including former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, about potentially retaining their stakes in the company. It is unclear if Musk has managed to raise enough money to finance the deal.

What happens next?

Musk and Twitter could be looking at a lengthy legal battle, as the social media platform has made it clear that it will pursue legal action to enforce the terms of the deal.

“The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery,” said Twitter’s chairman Bret Taylor. The original merger agreement also includes a $1 billion break-up fee.

According to Reuters, disputed mergers and acquisitions that land in Delaware courts more often than not end up with the parties re-negotiating deals or the acquirer paying the target a settlement to walk away, rather than a judge ordering that a transaction be completed.

The many twists and turns in the Musk-Twitter deal

Musk started buying Twitter’s shares in January 2022, and his shareholding in the company subsequently rose to over 5 per cent in March and 9.2 per cent in April, making him the largest individual stakeholder in the company.

On April 4, Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal announced that Musk would be joining Twitter’s board, however, just four days later, on April 9, Musk told the social media company that he would not take a board seat, and instead make an offer to take the company private.

On April 14, Musk made his offer to buy Twitter for $44 billion, leading to Twitter’s board adopting a ‘poison pill’ strategy to thwart any attempts of a hostile takeover of the company. After Musk made details of his financial plan known, mentioning that he has secured commitment to raise $46.5 billion, the company on April 25 accepted his original $44 billion offer to buy Twitter and take it private.

In the subsequent weeks, Musk sold Tesla shares worth around $8.5 billion and raised $7.1 billion to finance the deal from the likes of Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, Sequoia, Binance, a16z and others.

Soon after that, Agrawal announced that two top Twitter executives, Kayvon Beykpour and Bruce Falck, will leave the company. He also announced a hiring freeze and other cost-cutting measures.

On May 14, Musk said that the Twitter deal was “temporarily on hold” flagging fake and spam accounts on the platform as a concern.

Despite Agrawal’s explanation that less than 5 per cent of its users are spam or fake accounts, Musk said that the deal “cannot move forward” without proof on fake accounts.

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Togo: Minister Of Finance Encourages Local Production Amid Strong Inflation

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The Togolese Minister of Economy and Finance, Sani Yaya, recently urged local economic actors to put local production first. The official did so on June 15, at the 2nd annual State-Private sector Consultation Framework meeting in Lomé.

Referring to the negative impacts of the Ukrainian war on African countries, such as the spike in prices of basic commodities, Yaya said:  We must learn from these various crises and firmly change the paradigm to produce what we consume and consume what we produce.

He stressed that the ongoing global crises (the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, etc.) and their consequences, should serve as a wake-up call for all actors regarding the importance of protecting macroeconomic equilibrium, and the social resilience of vulnerable communities.

The minister’s words echo that of the Prime Minister who, during the first annual State-Private sector Consultation Framework meeting in March, urged economic operators to  produce and transform local products,” not only for the benefit of the population but also to conquer the African market in the context of the African Free Trade Area (AFTAA).

Started since last February 24th, the Russian invasion in Ukraine caused global energy and food prices to explode. In addition to oil reaching levels not seen since 2014, global prices for grain products, milk and edible oils also peaked at record levels, according to experts.

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