Much has been mentioned about ”the teens” being “Africa’s decade.” Let’s not forget there are 55 countries in Africa, 56 if you include Somaliland. There are still some fairly scary players in the group, including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burundi, the Congo and, of course, thuggish Somalia. But offsetting these neighborhood bullies are countries like Zambia, which is sub-Saharan Africa’s brightest star. Africa’s decade? Not hardly … but it could be Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana’s decade, for sure. If you want to get a foothold in these African nations, it starts with hiring employees on the ground you can trust. I’ll let you in on a little secret: that search starts with Northrise University graduates. Check it out at northriseuniversity.com.
It’s hard not to be impressed that global tablet sales were up 78 percent in 2012. In fact, manufacturers shipped 128 million of the little suckers. That’s good news for the cargo transportation industry, but I’m not going long on tablets. What are they good for? News? You can get that on your smartphone. Reading magazines? Ask any high school or college kid and they will tell you by a 10-to-1 margin that they prefer to hold a printed magazine in their hands. Books? Maybe … but only because the cost of college textbooks are so outrageous. With some textbooks going for $200 and $300, that would appear to be the best market for tablets. But once a person buys a tablet and spills coffee on it just once, they clamor back to print for their disposable reading. That’s why the smart guys like Warren Buffett and Aaron Kushner are buying up newspapers.
Brazil and Russia see each other’s potential. And even Japan, South Korea and China, which have been mortal enemies off and on for a millennium, are now on each other’s “A list.” Make no mistake, we will continue to see an increase in bilateral and tri-lateral trade agreements, as reported a year ago in Soundings. Russia and Brazil think they can increase their trade from $5.9 billion to $10 billion in the near future. The three Asian powerhouses have seen their trade amongst themselves grow to a whopping $684 billion, a more than five-fold increase since 1999. I predict that by 2015, it will top $1 trillion. More than anything, that will put the kibosh on North Korea’s blustering. You don’t want to reach into China’s mouth and grab its bone, or Japan’s for that matter, with its ever-increasing naval strength.
Yo ho, Yo ho… Speaking of naval superiority, let us not forget that the sole reason the world enjoys free access to trade is because of the U.S. Navy. Think about it. With its highly sophisticated satellite network and firepower, there is not a container ship, fishing trawler or, for that matter, a sailboat that leaves any harbor anywhere in the world unless it’s okay with the U.S. Navy. True, for political reasons it may not always act, but it has the ability to do so. It can check or checkmate any vessel in the world, any time it so chooses. And because of that, we can enjoy coffee from Colombia, sell iPods in India and watch Sony flat screens in Sweden. If you diminish the reach or effectiveness of the U.S. Navy, global trade will grind to a halt in direct proportion to an increase in piracy.
One would think that adding a Ferrari to its fleet of police cruisers would be an upgrade. Not so in this tiny Arab nation that boasts the world’s tallest building. The Ferrari acquisition comes on the heels of a Lamborghini Aventador, which it acquired earlier in the year for $550,000. Welcome to the sequester, Dubai style. Let’s see: The U.S. has 200 times the oil reserves of Dubai, yet they’re buying Ferraris for their junior police cadets while we can’t even get tours of the White House anymore. What’s wrong with this picture?
Relax. China Isn’t Taking Over!