In chance for Trump, youth at rally see him as answer to economic woes By Reuters

By Nathan Layne and Tim Reid

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (Reuters) – Thin with a boyish face and earrings in both ears, 23-year-old Isayah Turner does not look like a stereotypical Trump supporter, who tend to be middle aged or older.

Nevertheless, Turner drove two hours from his home outside Milwaukee on a recent Tuesday to see Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, one of a contingent of young voters there that some opinion polls suggest could be a growing and important demographic for Trump.

For Democratic incumbent Joe Biden, who overwhelmingly won the youth vote in 2020, an erosion of his support among young voters could potentially dampen his hopes of a second term.

Turner, who runs a dog breeding business with his mother, voted for Trump in 2020. He supports Trump’s pro-oil drilling stance, his opposition to gun control – Turner owns several firearms – and his pledge to crack down on illegal immigration.

“I cannot think of one thing that Trump did that upset me while he was in office. And now with Biden in office there are countless things I disagree with,” Turner told Reuters. “A lot of my friends are on the same page as me.”

A Reuters/Ipsos poll in March showed Americans age 18-29 favoring Biden over Trump by just 3 percentage points – 29% to 26% – with the rest favoring another candidate or unsure of who if anyone would get their vote.

If Trump, 77, stays close to Biden, 81, in this demographic all the way to Election Day on Nov. 5 it would be a major gain compared to 2020, when Biden won the youth vote by 24 points.

Concerns about Biden’s age and his support of Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza have fueled the erosion of his support among young voters at a time he is also losing Hispanic voters.

There are also signs young people are slowly warming to the Republican Party, despite Biden’s efforts to keep them on side by trying to cancel student debt, expand affordable housing and reverse curbs on abortion rights.

The share of Americans between 18-29 who identify as Republicans has ticked higher, from 24% in 2016 to 26% in 2020 and 28% so far this year, Reuters/Ipsos polling shows.

Despite a mixture of cold winds, sleet and rain, some 3,000 Trump supporters lined up outside a Green Bay convention center on April 2 to see Trump. The crowd skewed older, as usual, but there were hundreds of young people as well.

Reuters interviewed 20 people under the age of 30 to understand their support. The most common reason given for backing the former president was inflation and the perception the economy was not working for them, underscoring how the rise in prices for daily staples is more salient for some than high stock prices and low unemployment during the Biden years.

“I make decent money and I can’t afford a home on the salary I make now,” said Steve Wendt, 26, a security guard at a nearby hospital. “It’s time to get a man back into office that is going to lower our prices.”

At the same time, a majority said they agreed with Trump’s reticence about aiding Ukraine in its war with Russia, an isolationist stance at odds with Biden’s foreign policy agenda.

Collin Crego, 19, a history student, said funds spent overseas would be better used to tackle domestic issues like drug addiction.

“I don’t really like what we are doing with Ukraine,” Crego said. “When I hear him (Trump) talk, he’s very patriotic, very ‘America First’ and I like that.”

Of the 20 people Reuters interviewed, 15 cited inflation or other economic concerns for why they support Trump, while a dozen said his plan to restrict immigration was important to them.

All said they were unbothered by the four criminal cases Trump is facing, or the idea that his efforts to overturn the 2020 election made him a threat to democracy. One was Black, the other 19 were white. Eight will be casting their first presidential ballot this year.

Caitlyn Huenink, 20, said being a young Trump supporter can be hard because left-leaning young people tend to frown on her views. She said, however, that she has recently seen changes among her peer group at University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.

“They’re more open to the way I think and more of my friends are becoming Republican,” she said.

‘MAKING ENDS MEET’

To be sure, a group of young people willing to brave inclement weather to see Trump are not a representative sample of the broader electorate, and polling this early in the cycle could prove off. Younger people vote less frequently than older Americans, making them especially difficult to predict.

Moreover, some opinion surveys indicate that Biden is holding on to his significant advantage with the youth.

An Economist/YouGov poll conducted last week showed 51% of voters under 30 picking Biden, versus 32% for Trump, while the Harvard Youth Poll, released Thursday, put Biden’s lead over Trump among likely young voters at 19 points.

“Donald Trump is not winning the youth vote,” John Della Volpe, director in charge of the Harvard poll, told Reuters.

The Biden campaign is not sitting still. In March it launched a $30 million ad buy across digital platforms and announced a project to reach students and recruit volunteers in high schools and on college campuses. It is working to inform younger people of the administration’s investments in green energy and efforts to protect abortion access.

“That’s why the campaign is working tirelessly to earn the votes of young voters — investing earlier than ever and leveraging every opportunity to connect with young voters,” said Eve Levenson, the campaign’s youth engagement director.

The latest Marist College poll was nevertheless a red flag for Biden. Conducted in March, it showed Trump 2 points ahead among Millennial and Gen-Z voters, with 61% of 18-29 year olds saying they disapprove of the job Biden is doing as president.

The Trump campaign sees young people as a demographic for potential gains in 2024, a campaign adviser told reporters last month. He said the economy and overseas conflicts — Trump often claims Russia’s attack on Ukraine would not have happened on his watch — were key topics to message about to this group.

“Like many Americans, young people can’t afford rent, gas, or groceries, and they’re struggling to buy a home because real wages have plummeted,” said Anna Kelly, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.

Kelly also pointed to a finding in the Harvard poll – that only 9% percent of young Americans think the U.S. is on the right track – as proof that some were turning to Trump.

Among young voters, Trump appears to be doing better with males. The Harvard poll put Biden’s lead among young men at just 6 percentage points, down 20 points from 4 years ago. Trump’s deficit with women was 33 points, largely unchanged.

Della Volpe says that gender gap likely reflects several factors. One is that young men feel they are losing the right to speak frankly due to progressive views they believe are imposed on them about political correctness and toxic masculinity. These concerns are reinforced by Trump and podcasters like Jordan Peterson, popular with young men.

Trump has attended several Ultimate Fighting Championship events this election cycle, which are favored by young men. He also showed up at a Philadelphia sneaker convention where he put his golden “Never Surrender High-Tops” up for sale.

It was the kind of campaign stop meant to resonate with voters like Turner, a sneaker aficionado who was wearing a $400 pair of Nikes when Reuters spent an afternoon with him at his dog business two days after the rally.

Turner talked about the challenges of operating a business. He said gasoline was a major expense as he frequently drives to breeders hours away.

Turner said it was his Trump-loving mother, a former backer of President Barack Obama, who got him interested in politics.

Like other young people Reuters met at the rally, Turner said it was Trump’s way of speaking without care for the political consequences that made him attractive. He said some of Trump’s dehumanizing rhetoric bothers him, but he believes – as Trump has claimed – that Biden is the true threat to America.

“Some of it is extreme,” Turner said of Trump’s speech. “But at the same time if it means the country is going to do phenomenally better… and it’s still going to be a free country I can take my feelings getting hurt in exchange for that.”



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How AU, AfCFTA failed to deliver local content for energy security – Businessday NG

Riverson Oppong is the commercial manager at Ghana National Gas Company. He is an experienced oil and gas business analyst with solid technical and commercial knowledge in oil and gas field development and portfolio management. In this interview with BusinessDay’s ABUBAKAR IBRAHIM at the 8th SAIPEC Conference, he spoke about the opportunities and challenges with local content development, AU and AFCFTA, natural gas utilisation and energy security in Africa. Excerpts;

What are your thoughts about the 8th Sub-Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC)?

This is the 8th SAIPEC Conference and we’ve come here to Nigeria to share knowledge and experience across Africa. For me, this is one of the biggest conferences that’s held in Africa. Where, as you can see today, you have people from Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, and more.

So what we are witnessing today is a discussion on local content vis-à-vis national content and my presentation was very straight to the point that we need to look at national content that will look at the whole of Africa coming together, because there is no sense when a cement production happening here in Nigeria and can be transported to Ghana, Togo and Benin, where this tracks past through wouldn’t buy cement from Dangote, but will rather import from France.

What is national content to you if you cannot partake in whatever is produced by your neighbouring country? So basically, what I’m saying is that local content needs to cut across the value chain and I made a clear example when it comes to Ghana, we don’t flare and export any gas, every single gas produced is used in-house to generate electricity and promote industrializsation.

In your presentation, you talked about local suppliers, the workforce, and sustainable development. So how do you think we can go about this as a continent?

I was just throwing in the fundamental understanding of what local content is. Local content is talking about supplies, human capital enforcement, mainstream and development jobs in the oil and gas industry. However, the sustainability part of it is understanding that the entire value chain needs people in it.

Today, as we speak, have you ever heard local content in the downstream, no. Have you ever heard local content in the mainstream? No. The only local content you hear oil and gas talking about is upstream. So I’m challenging the third arm of local content pillars, which is the sustainability part.

Does it make sense to you to produce crude oil, export it, and sell it at $90 per barrel, or best case $100 per barrel, and import diesel at $700? Now look, remember you don’t control any of these prices. You don’t control the selling price of the crude oil. You don’t control the buying price of the diesel.

So where do you find yourself? In a hitch. Someone is controlling the price from another country, or another continent. I shared a picture in my presentation about where we are in Africa in terms of energy accessibility and availability against where we want to go. So how would we get there if 15 percent of locally produced gas is used domestically and everything else is exported?

Now, the next leg has to do with how much of the revenue that we make as a country and continent is used to develop the energy sector that we have a deficiency of. So, if you’re not using the gas or the resources to develop energy, use the revenue that you are making to support the energy industry. How many times has the light gone off today during this conference? More than 10 Times.

Meanwhile, we are the backbone of another region, while the pipeline which is supposed to supply gas across the whole of West Africa, stopped in Ghana. It couldn’t go to Senegal, Liberia, and the rest. But when Europe needed the gas, we were able to now connect the pipeline to go to Morocco and supply gas to Europe. What is natural content to you if you’re doing this?

You talked about how African countries are having difficult moving to other African countries. So how do we come together as a union?

The African Union (AU) has failed and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will fail if care is not taken. If you look at it, the AU and AFCFTA objectives are not different. So why do you think AFCFTA would work if its members are not buying things produced in other African countries?

Why do you think AFCFTA would work if its members are not buying things that are produced in other African countries? I gave an example of Benin and Togo to you. The same Dangote cement that passes through Benin and Togo comes to Ghana and we buy it but these guys don’t buy it. How is AFCFTA going to solve this? If we wanted to situate the AFCFTA head office, it would be a fight and it is political now. We are not united.

We forget that it doesn’t matter where it is sited, what matters is that the mission and the vision of the organisation are accomplished. That’s what matters. So, AFCFTA needs to work, and I believe that maybe this time around it will work and we want to make sure that we all play a role. So we are calling on all African countries, whether they have resources or not, to come together and have an African continent where we can depend on each other.

Look at how Nigerians have come together to buy Shell onshore. That’s a great example of how Nigerians furnished, designed, and constructed the original FPSO. It is a clear example that it is doable in Africa. You don’t need expertise from Singapore because they also learned like we did. They even had less experience than Nigeria had and they did it, so it is doable.

What should we do as a nation when it comes to the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline? The pipeline projects have been moribund for years.

We have seen what it’s done in Europe. I’ve lived in five countries. I’ve seen what is done in every country or every continent. If you see the kind of pipelines that you come across in China, the US, Russia, or Europe, you will marvel and look at the small pipelines we have across Africa, meanwhile, we also have the resources. Go to the Middle East they have these pipelines serving them. So why can’t we have the same?

There was a consortium that was working, but because of greed and political influence, they had to put a stop to it. We need to go back to the table, the pipeline that ended in Ghana, should please continue throughout Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Liberia, and even Mauritania. This is how we’re going to solve the issue of energy security in Africa. Gas is one of the best sources of fuel for electricity generation, for three reasons; it’s available, it’s accessible, and it’s affordable and technology-driven.

I always say that there should be a gas price that is not so low to forbid investment. But it shouldn’t be so high that the off-takers cannot buy; countries like Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, and the rest cannot buy. It should be so affordable that everybody can buy that gas and use it for electricity purposes, first of all. Then we’ll talk about industrialisation. Africa is one of the continents that don’t think about industrialisation at all.

Look at China’s scenario, no country uses coal more than China. But listen to their policy, no country has installed a capacity of solar than China. China understands the importance of power and electricity, vis-a-vis the industrialisation era. They’ve developed their industry with dirty, clean, and whatever kind of energy just to make sure that their industry is stable to generate income and revenue to buy off Africa.

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Homeownership isn’t for everyone, money coach says: Don’t fall for artificial ‘pressure to buy’

Jannese Torres is the founder of the blog Delish D’Lites and the podcast “Yo Quiero Dinero.”

Photo Jannese Torres

In her upcoming book, “Financially Lit!: The Modern Latina’s Guide to Level Up Your Dinero & Become Financially Poderosa,” author Jannese Torres discusses how she became the first woman in her family to graduate from college, build a career and achieve what she believed were marks of success.

Yet in her pursuit of the American dream, she realized that she didn’t know what to do with her financial success. She also realized certain milestones, such as homeownership, often aren’t so much achievements as a new set of challenges.

“It’s just important for people not to just feel this pressure to buy a home because you’re a certain age or you’ve reached a certain life milestone,” said Torres, a Latina money expert who hosts the podcast “Yo Quiero Dinero” and an entrepreneurship coach who helps clients pursue financial independence.

As part of its National Financial Literacy Month efforts, CNBC will be featuring stories throughout the month dedicated to helping people manage, grow and protect their money so they can truly live ambitiously.

CNBC spoke with Torres in early April about what drove her to write her new book, how she has worked through “financial survivor’s guilt,” and why pursuing the American dream can become a nightmare for some.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity).

‘Nobody talks about the grief that comes with growth’

“I wanted to write the book that I needed when I was graduating from high school and that could have saved me from making a lot of financial mistakes because I didn’t learn anything about money,” said Jannese Torres, author of “Financially Lit!: The Modern Latina’s Guide to Level Up Your Dinero & Become Financially Poderosa.”

Courtesy: Jannese Torres

Ana Teresa Solá: What drove you to write this book? 

Jannese Torres: When I was doing the market research for the book, one of the things that I did was look and see what the competitive market looked like out there, or if there is a reason that this book needs to exist. 

I couldn’t find a single book that was specifically marketed to the Latina community or Latinos in general being the majority minority in this country. 

Our families have told us to go and pursue the American dream, but we haven’t been given instructions for how to manage the emotions that come with it.

I felt like I wanted to write the book that I needed when I was graduating from high school and that could have saved me from making a lot of financial mistakes because I didn’t learn anything about money. The more that I’ve talked to folks through the podcast and through my social media platforms, that’s been a very common sentiment. We’re told to go to school, get a job and make money, but then that’s the end of the conversation. What do we actually do with it? 

ATS: Like many younger generations of Latinos in the U.S., you overcame many hurdles and achieved major goals. But you describe in the book that these milestones also come with a sense of guilt. Why is guilt tied to success? 

JT: I call it “financial survivor’s guilt” because this is one of those things that we have not been prepared for. Our families have told us to go and pursue the American dream, but we haven’t been given instructions for how to manage the emotions that come with it. Nobody talks about the grief that comes with growth. Nobody talks about what it feels like to be on the other side of the struggle when so many people that you love are still there and you feel powerless to help them all. 

Looking back at it now, it’s like I was making all these decisions because of what other people valued versus asking myself what I actually value.

It’s going to require folks to give themselves some compassion, and to be okay to feel those feelings. But don’t let them sabotage you. It’s going to require some boundaries that you learn to exercise and also being okay with feeling like you’re on this island by yourself. When you’re the first to do something, it’s always going to feel uncomfortable. But if we don’t have examples of people who can make it out, I think it’s going to be much harder for folks to believe that they can do it, too. 

‘I was over my head very quickly’

ATS: Walk me through the chapter or that point in time when you bought a house, but it wasn’t all you thought it would be. 

JT: Looking back at it now, I was falling victim to the American dream. As a first-generation kid, my parents didn’t invest. The only thing that we saw as examples of “making it” was when family members would buy homes: The sacrifices were worth it and this is the thing that you have to show for your success.

When you’re the first to do something, it’s always going to feel uncomfortable. But if we don’t have examples of people who can make it out, I think it’s going to be much harder for folks to believe that they can do it, too. 

Jannese Torres

Latina money expert and entrepreneurship coach

I definitely felt the pressure to keep up with the Joneses in that respect. I was turning 30 years old and I saw friends buying homes, getting married, doing all those things that are on the successful adult checklist of life. When I decided to purchase the home, it was coming from a place of, “Well, I need to do this too, because this is just what everybody does.”

I quickly realized that I bought a home in a place that I didn’t even want to live in. 

Looking back at it now, it’s like I was making all these decisions because of what other people valued versus asking myself what I actually value. The freedom to have that flexibility that comes with renting is something that I valued much more.

But I felt like I was falling victim to that narrative that says, “You’re wasting money if you rent, and successful adults purchase homes.” It took a lot of unlearning of those narratives and realizing that just because something works for one person doesn’t mean that it’s universally applicable. 

Homeownership is one of those things where more people need to question if they have the personality, lifestyle, or the value system for this, or are you just wanting to do it because that’s what everybody else is telling you to do. 

Jannese Torres

Courtesy: Jannese Torres

ATS: What would you tell someone who’s financially comfortable or has reached certain benchmarks where they could potentially invest in a property but are still wary about it? 

JT: One of the things that made me realize I was over my head very quickly was the fact that two weeks into moving into the home, I discovered that the basement would flood. The sewer line was blocked, and that was not something that we checked during inspection. I ended up having to spend $4,000 on replacing the pipe in the basement two weeks after moving in. That pretty much depleted the little money that I had left over after closing costs. 

I ended up having to take a 401(k) loan to pay for repairs and putting things on credit cards. It’s important to realize that closing costs, the fees and the down payment are just the beginning.

There’s this narrative where if you get a mortgage, then you’re going to be paying the same amount of money forever and that’s why you should buy a home instead of renting. And I’m like, “Absolutely not.” Your property taxes and insurance will increase. You’re not going to be able to predict when things go wrong in the home and when you need to fix something. 

You have to make sure you can afford the maintenance costs and the things that will inevitably come with homeownership. And from a value perspective, you have to really be honest with yourself: “Does this suit my lifestyle? Do I want to stay in this place for like a decade or more? … Or do I want the flexibility to give my landlord 30 days’ notice and be able to move somewhere else? Are you in a job that feels like it’s something you want to do long term? Or do you want to make a career pivot?”

‘The American dream is more of an illusion’

ATS: Do you think the American dream has changed? 

JT: I definitely do think that the American dream is in the process of being redefined because it has become so inaccessible, especially to the newer generations. I think there was this path to “success” where you could go to school, you could buy a home with a regular job, and previous generations were not saddled with the level of student loan debt and the cost of living was not as high. There’s factors in play that are making the American dream obsolete or at least inaccessible to people. 

We are seeing sort of this questioning of it and this shift. I think that the Great Recession was a big impetus for people starting to wonder. It feels very much like the American dream is more of an illusion for a lot of folks, and I am curious to see where it goes.

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In-Factory Profile Provisioning (IFPP): 7 reasons why it makes sense for connected device makers

By Matt Hatton, Founding Partner, Transforma Insights.

The topic of eSIM and remote SIM provisioning has been at the forefront of many of the discussions related to cellular-based IoT connectivity in recent years. Typically the focus has been on in-field provisioning, but in the last few months a new approach has started to emerge, in the form of In-Factory Profile Provisioning (IFPP) involving the secure loading of mobile network SIM profiles during the manufacturing and/or order fulfilment process. In February, Transforma Insights and Kigen published a Position Paper ‘In-Factory Profile Provisioning (IFPP): new eSIM approach drives profitability and improves product performance in connected electronics manufacturing’ which examines the concept of IFPP as an emerging approach to remote SIM provisioning for IoT connected devices. In this article Matt Hatton explores the seven key reasons why manufacturers of connected devices may want to make use of IFPP.

What is IFPP?

Before we get onto the reasons why companies may wish to make use of In-Factory Profile Provisioning it is worth briefly explaining what it is.
IFPP is an extension to the idea of remote SIM provisioning (RSP) which has been quite widely discussed. With the increasing prevalence of soldered eSIM chips and in future iSIMs, as well as increasingly strict rules about network localisation in many countries, it was necessary to develop the capability to change the SIM profile through a mechanism other than physically swapping out SIM cards. That mechanism is Remote SIM Provisioning (RSP), i.e. over-the-air switching of profiles on the SIM card without needing to access it physically. As well as some non-standard and pre-standard approaches, the GSM Association developed a set of standards for the eSIM/RSP architecture: SGP.02 (“M2M”) introduced in 2014, SGP.22 (“Consumer”) in 2016, and now SGP.32 (“IoT”) which was introduced in 2023 and with some final standardisation to be completed.

However, that isn’t the end of the story. There is another scenario in which SIM provisioning might be more effectively supported: to set the initial SIM profile(s) during the manufacturing process. This In-Factory Profile Provisioning (IFPP) is aimed specifically at a particular type of use case: the secure loading of SIM profiles during the manufacturing and/or order fulfilment process based on characteristics such as the device capabilities or the geographic location into which it is expected to be deployed. And the GSM Association has also been active here, working on the SGP.41 specifications for an IFPP standard.

The way in which IFPP works is to allow the manufacturer to hold a digital inventory of Mobile Network Operator (MNO) eSIM profiles and integrate them by way of a profile loader in the manufacturing line, which will apply the next appropriate profile according to pre-established parameters. Typically it will be flashed to the device at the same time as firmware/software loading or when firmware is updated during personalization before the device ships.

Why use IFPP?

As part of the aforementioned Position Paper, Transforma Insights identified seven key characteristics of IFPP that make it stand out as particularly beneficial for manufacturers of connected devices. These are benefits both from IFPP specifically and remote SIM provisioning more broadly.

Graphic: The 7 benefits of In-Factory Profile Provisioning (IFPP)

1. Inbound logistics

Historically, manufacturers needed to maintain an inventory of SIM cards, which may have a lead time stretching into months. Customer orders could not be fulfilled until SIM cards were delivered to the factory, leading to potential delays. In many cases the manufacturer would have to pay for the SIM cards before they arrived in the factory. With IFPP, SIM profiles are used only at the point at which they are required and they can be deployed instantly.

2. Manufacturing process time

Removing the need to manually handle and fit a plastic SIM card into the device eliminates a mechanical step from the manufacturing process, reducing labour cost and speeding up production, which is clearly critical in volume manufacturing.

3. Manufacturing flexibility

Production lines can be adapted automatically and instantaneously to different requirements for SIM profiles, simply by changing the parameters sent to the profile loader. In some cases, manufacturers opt to create generic stock to which a profile is downloaded once the order is received, typically alongside the buyer’s firmware variant. IFPP gives the flexibility to use either approach.

4. Outbound logistics

The use of IFPP removes the need to support multiple SKUs, making distribution logistics more efficient. A manufacturer might easily have 2-3 profiles from major operators for a product in North America, but in Europe, this is 26-30 due to having one operator per country. IFPP simplifies this as production runs can be managed to ensure the right connectivity is selected and meets all operator testing requirements within the process time. We should note that full flexibility is delivered through in-field provisioning, i.e. changing the SIM profile after deployment. IFPP can be deployed in conjunction with in-field provisioning.

5. Out-of-the-box working

Because the device has been pre-configured with the correct profile at time of manufacturing it will automatically attach to the right network rather than having to spin through a bootstrap profile and localising. This provides an improved service for the customer and reduces some of the overhead for MNOs/MVNOs because there is no longer a requirement to support records for short-term bootstrap profiles on the Home Subscriber Server (HSS).

6. Power saving

The power saving benefits are particularly important for many use cases, specifically those devices that rely on lifetime battery power. The power requirement of SIM provisioning – in terms of the volume of data and authentication messages – can use up quite a significant portion of a battery; up to 15% in some cases. This can have a significant impact on the lifespan of devices that had been optimised to be ultra-efficient in their frequency and volume of data delivery. This is particularly relevant for applications using Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies such as NB-IoT, which are typically highly power optimised, for instance in smart gas and water metering.

7. Sustainability

The use of plastic SIM cards involves the production of quite large quantities of waste plastic. At the point of production card bodies are discarded in large numbers. Furthermore, if any network change might need to be initiated, the SIM related to the previous network would be discarded and replaced with a new physical SIM card. There is no such waste with eSIM.

Learn more on our 7th May webinar: If the topic of IFPP is interesting to you, we suggest you read the report linked at the top of the article. Additionally, Transforma Insights and Kigen are running a webinar on the 7th May entitled ‘Manufacturing Unleashed: In-Factory Profile Provisioning for connected cellular devices’ in which our experts examine in further detail what IFPP is, what the motivations are for deploying it, how it fits into the wider eSIM/remote SIM provisioning landscape, and which key verticals will make use of it and how will they benefit.

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US labor market stays resilient

WASHINGTON – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits was unchanged at a low level last week, pointing to continued labor market strength that is driving the economy.

Labor market resilience, together with elevated inflation have led financial markets and some economists to expect that the Federal Reserve could delay cutting interest rates until September. A few economists doubt that the U.S. central bank will lower borrowing costs this year.

“Overall, layoffs remain low,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. “We expect a continuation of the current trend, with a further adjustment in the labor market coming from a moderation in hiring rather than a surge in firings.”

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 212,000 for the week ended April 13, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 215,000 claims in the latest week. Claims have been bouncing around in a 194,000-225,000 range this year.

Unadjusted claims declined 6,756 to 208,509 last week. Filings in California jumped by 3,063. There were also notable increases in claims in Connecticut, Georgia and Oregon.

These were more than offset by a decline of 4,551 in filings in New Jersey. Claims in the state had surged in the prior week, a move that was blamed on layoffs in the accommodation and food services, transportation and warehousing, and public administration industries. There were also significant decreases in filings in Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell backed away on Tuesday from providing any guidance on when rates might be cut, saying instead that monetary policy needed to be restrictive for longer. Financial markets initially expected the first rate cut to come in March, but the timing got pushed back to June and now to September as data on the labor market and inflation continued to surprise on the upside in the first three months of the year.

The Fed has kept its policy rate in the 5.25%-5.50% range since July. It has raised the benchmark overnight interest rate by 525 basis points since March of 2022.

The claims data covered the period during which the government surveyed businesses and other establishments for the nonfarm payrolls component of April’s employment report. Claims were unchanged between the March and April survey weeks. The economy added 303,000 jobs in March.

Stocks on Wall Street were trading higher. The dollar gained versus a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury yields rose.

RISING LABOR SUPPLY

The Fed’s latest “Beige Book” report on Wednesday described employment as rising at a “slight pace overall” since late February, adding that “several districts reported improved retention of employees, and others pointed to staff reductions at some firms.”

It also noted that even as labor supply has improved, “many districts described persistent shortages of qualified applicants for certain positions, including machinists, trades workers and hospitality workers.”

Data next week on the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid, a proxy for hiring, will offer more clues on the state of the labor market in April. The so-called continuing claims edged up 2,000 to 1.812 million during the week ending April 6, the claims report showed.

Though still low by historical standards, the slightly elevated level of continuing claims suggests it could be taking longer for some unemployed workers to land new jobs.

With the outlook for rate cuts uncertain, the average rate on the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has drifted above 7%, data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac showed, combining with higher house prices to depress home sales.

A separate report from the National Association of Realtors showed existing home sales fell 4.3% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.19 million units.

Home resales, which account for a large portion of U.S. housing sales, declined 3.7% on a year-on-year basis in March.

Sales also continued to be constrained by tight supply, especially in the lower price segment of the market, resulting in multiple offers for properties. The median existing home price increased 4.8% from a year earlier to $393,500 in March. That was a record high for the month of March.

Sales of houses in the $100,000-$250,000 price range declined 15.8% year-on-year. By contrast, sales for houses priced $1 million and above increased 14.0% from a year ago.

The weak sales followed data this week showing housing starts and building permits tumbled in March.

“We’re forecasting a very subdued recovery in existing home sales,” said Thomas Ryan, property economist at Capital Economics. “Borrowing costs will fall from where they are now, but not enough to fully offset mortgage rate ‘lock-in’ effects, which will continue to hold back sales volumes.”

While the housing market has regressed, signs of revival in manufacturing are growing. A third report from the Philadelphia Fed showed its gauge of factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region rising to a two-year high in April amid a jump in new orders. But businesses reported paying more for inputs, suggesting a pick-up in goods prices could be looming.

Some economists were, however, not too concerned about the rise in the survey’s prices paid measure, noting the recent rebound in oil prices amid tensions in the Middle East. Falling goods prices were the main driver of lower inflation last year.

Data this week showed manufacturing production rebounded in March from a year ago.

“While far from conclusive, this report provides some marginal support in favor of a recovery in the manufacturing sector after its prolonged slump,” said Oliver Allen, senior U.S. Economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. — Reuters

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With Trillion-Dollar Potential, the AI Boom is Set to Catapult these Stocks



With the artificial intelligence market expected to top $1 trillion in just a few years, some of the top companies set to benefit include VERSES AI Inc. (CBOE: VERS) (OTCQB: VRSSF), Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Meta (NASDAQ: META), and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD). In fact, according to Statista, the AI market could balloon to $1.8 trillion by 2030. All as it changes just about everything from drug discovery and education, to finances, and cyber threats.

Even more exciting, companies like VERSES AI are racing toward Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), where AI can perform all human cognitive skills better than the smartest human, as noted by Forbes. In fact, as also noted by TechTarget.com,AGI should theoretically be able to perform any task that a human can and exhibit a range of intelligence in different areas without human intervention. Its performance should be as good as or better than humans at solving problems in most areas.”

Here’s More on VERSES AI Inc. (CBOE: VERS) (OTCQB: VRSSF)

VERSES AI Inc., announced a non-brokered private placement of special warrants for gross proceeds of up to C$10,000,000 through the sale of 10,000,000 Units at a price of C$1.00 per Special Warrant. The Company is further pleased to announce that it has closed the first tranche of the Private Placement, which consisted of 7,000,000 Units for gross proceeds of C$7,000,000.

Each Special Warrant shall convert into one Unit of the Company at no additional cost upon the earlier of: (i) the Company obtaining a receipt from the applicable securities commission(s) in Canada for the final prospectus qualifying the distribution of the Units to be issued upon exercise or deemed exercise of the Special Warrants; and (ii) the date that is four months and a day after date of issuance of the Special Warrants.

Each Unit is comprised of one Class A Subordinate Voting share of the Company, and one-half of one Class A Subordinate Voting share purchase warrant. Each Unit Warrant shall be exercisable into one Class A Subordinate Voting share of the Company at a price of C$1.50 per Unit Warrant Share for a period of two (2) years from the date of issue of the Unit Warrants.

The proceeds received from the Private Placement are to be used for general corporate and working capital purposes, for the continued development of GeniusTM and the release of the Genius beta program, and the repayment of outstanding loans. In particular, US$2,000,000 of the proceeds received will be used to repay the outstanding principal amount of loans accepted by VERSES Technologies, USA Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, from two arms’-length investors, as further described in the Company’s news release dated March 18, 2024. All securities issued pursuant to the Private Placement will be subject to a four-month hold period from the date of issue.

Under the first tranche of the Private Placement, the Company paid fees to eligible finders consisting of: (i) C$90,400; and (ii) 90,400 finder warrants. Each Finder Warrant will be exercisable into one unit at a price of C$1.00 per Finder Unit until the date that is two (2) years from the date of issue of the Finder Warrants, which Finder Unit will be comprised of a Class A Subordinate Voting share of the Company and one-half of one Class A Subordinate Voting share purchase warrant. Each Finder Unit Warrant shall be exercisable into one Class A Subordinate Voting share of the Company at a price of C$1.50 per Finder Unit Warrant Share for a period of two (2) years from the date of issue of the Finder Unit Warrants.

A director and an officer of the Company purchased an aggregate of 76,582 Special Warrants under the first tranche of the Private Placement and such participation is considered to be a “related party transaction” as defined in Multilateral Instrument 61-101 – Protection of Minority Security Holders in Special Transactions. The Company has relied on the exemptions from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements of 61-101 in respect of such insider participation as neither the fair market value of the securities issued to the related parties nor the consideration for such securities exceeded 25% of the Company’s market capitalization. The Company did not file a material change report more than 21 days before the expected closing of the first tranche of the Private Placement, as the details and amounts of the insider participation were not finalized until closer to the closing and the Company wished to close the transaction as soon as practicable for sound business reasons.

The Special Warrants were offered to investors in both Canadian dollar and United States dollar denominations and as such, the aggregate proceeds from the first tranche of the Private Placement were determined in part by using an exchange rate of USD$1.00:C$1.3699.

Other related developments from around the markets include:

Nvidia announced that leading AI application developers across a wide range of industries are using NVIDIA digital human technologies to create lifelike avatars for commercial applications and dynamic game characters. The results are on display at GTC, the global AI conference held this week in San Jose, Calif., and can be seen in technology demonstrations from Hippocratic AI, Inworld AI, UneeQ and more. NVIDIA Avatar Cloud Engine (ACE) for speech and animation, NVIDIA NeMo for language, and NVIDIA RTX for ray-traced rendering are the building blocks that enable developers to create digital humans capable of AI-powered natural language interactions, making conversations more realistic and engaging.

Microsoft and Cloud Software Group Inc. announced they are deepening their collaboration through an eight-year strategic partnership agreement. The collaboration will strengthen the go-to-market collaboration for the Citrix® virtual application and desktop platform and support the development of new cloud and AI solutions with an integrated product roadmap. Additionally, Cloud Software Group will make a $1.65 billion commitment to the Microsoft cloud and its generative AI capabilities. The agreement will invigorate one of the industry’s most durable alliances between Citrix, a business unit of Cloud Software Group, and Microsoft. Under the partnership, Citrix is the preferred Microsoft Global Azure Partner solution for Enterprise Desktop as a Service when collaborating with joint Azure customers. The companies will jointly support customer success, offer tailored solutions, expert guidance, and support to accelerate customers’ cloud journeys. Additionally, Citrix will leverage Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud solution, providing Citrix customers with the comprehensive benefits of the Citrix platform, complemented by Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365. Further, the collaboration will create deeper paths to modern procurement options through Azure Marketplace, where customers can easily evaluate, expand, or renew Citrix solutions.

Meta Platforms announced that the company’s first quarter 2024 financial results will be released after market close on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Meta will host a conference call to discuss its results at 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET the same day. The live webcast of the call can be accessed at the Meta Investor Relations website at investor.fb.com, along with the company’s earnings press release, financial tables, and slide presentation.

Advanced Micro Devices announced the expansion of the AMD Versal adaptive system on chip (SoC) portfolio with the new Versal AI Edge Series Gen 2 and Versal Prime Series Gen 2 adaptive SoCs, which bring preprocessing, AI inference, and postprocessing together in a single device for end-to-end acceleration of AI-driven embedded systems. These initial devices in the Versal Series Gen 2 portfolio build on the first generation with powerful new AI Engines expected to deliver up to 3x higher TOPs-per-watt than first generation Versal AI Edge Series devices, while new high-performance integrated Arm CPUs are expected to offer up to 10x more scalar compute than first gen Versal AI Edge and Prime series devices.

Legal Disclaimer / Except for the historical information presented herein, matters discussed in this article contains forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Winning Media is not registered with any financial or securities regulatory authority and does not provide nor claims to provide investment advice or recommendations to readers of this release. For making specific investment decisions, readers should seek their own advice. Winning Media is only compensated for its services in the form of cash-based compensation. Pursuant to an agreement Winning Media has been paid three thousand five hundred dollars for advertising and marketing services for VERSES AI Inc. by VERSES AI Inc. We own ZERO shares of VERSES AI Inc. Please click here for disclaimer.

Contact:

Ty Hoffer
Winning Media
281.804.7972
[email protected]

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G Mining Ventures to Present at OTCQX Best 50 Virtual Investor Conference April 18th, 2024 at 2:00pm ET

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All amounts are in USD unless stated otherwise

BROSSARD, Quebec, April 17, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — G Mining Ventures Corp. (“GMIN” or the “Corporation”) (TSX: GMIN) (OTCQX: GMINF) today announced that Dušan Petković, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy, will present live at the OTCQX Best 50 Virtual Investor Conference hosted by VirtualInvestorConferences.com, on April 18th, 2024. Dušan will give an update on progress made at GMIN’s 100% owned Tocantinzinho Gold Project (“TZ” or the “Project”) currently under construction in the State of Pará, Brazil. With the spot gold price trading at $2,344/oz (LBMA Gold Price PM as at April 15, 2024), the Project is 87% complete and remains on track and on budget for commercial production in H2-2024.

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DATE: April 18th
TIME: 2:00pm ET
LINK:
https://bit.ly/48OzEYk

This will be a live, interactive online event where investors are invited to ask the company questions in real-time. If attendees are not able to join the event live on the day of the conference, an archived webcast will also be made available after the event.

It is recommended that online investors pre-register and run the online system check to expedite participation and receive event updates.

Learn more about the event at www.virtualinvestorconferences.com.

Recent Company Highlights:

  • TZ has achieved 87% overall completion and construction is 89% complete.
  • Total spending on the Project to-date is $433 million (95% of project total).
  • The Project is trending on time and on budget for commercial production in H2-24.
  • Updated virtual site tour available through VRIFY platform at https://vrify.com/decks/14338.

About G Mining Ventures Corp.
G Mining Ventures Corp. (TSX: GMIN) (OTCQX: GMINF) is a mining company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of precious metal projects, to capitalize on the value uplift from successful mine development. GMIN is well-positioned to grow into the next mid-tier precious metals producer by leveraging strong access to capital and proven development expertise. GMIN is currently anchored by its flagship Tocantinzinho Gold Project in mining friendly and prospective State of Pará, Brazil.

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About Virtual Investor Conferences®
Virtual Investor Conferences (VIC) is the leading proprietary investor conference series that provides an interactive forum for publicly traded companies to seamlessly present directly to investors.

Providing a real-time investor engagement solution, VIC is specifically designed to offer companies more efficient investor access. Replicating the components of an on-site investor conference, VIC offers companies enhanced capabilities to connect with investors, schedule targeted one-on-one meetings and enhance their presentations with dynamic video content. Accelerating the next level of investor engagement, Virtual Investor Conferences delivers leading investor communications to a global network of retail and institutional investors.

Additional Information
For further information on GMIN, please visit the website at www.gminingventures.com or contact:

Jessie Liu-Ernsting
Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications
647.728.4176
[email protected]

For further information on Virtual Investor Conferences®, please visit the website at www.virtualinvestorconferences.com:

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John M. Viglotti
SVP Corporate Services, Investor Access
OTC Markets Group
212.220.2221
[email protected]

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information
All statements, other than statements of historical fact, contained in this press release constitute “forward-looking information” and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of certain securities laws and are based on expectations and projections as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, without limitation, those related to (i) the Project remaining on schedule and on budget for commercial production in H2-2024; (ii) the Project commitments tracking in line with the Feasibility Study; (iii) the power transmission line to be energized imminently (or in the near term); (iv) the commissioning activities in respect of various process plant components being planned for, or starting in April or, as applicable, May 2024; (v) the operational readiness being well advanced; and (vi) more generally, the horizontal bar chart entitled “Project Development Timeline” as well as the section entitled “About G Mining Ventures Corp.”.

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Forward-looking statements are based on expectations, estimates and projections as of the time of this press release. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Corporation as of the time of such statements, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. These estimates and assumptions may prove to be incorrect. Such assumptions include, without limitation, those relating to the price of gold and currency exchange rates, those outlined in the Feasibility Study and those underlying the items listed on the above section entitled “About G Mining Ventures Corp.”.

Many of these uncertainties and contingencies can directly or indirectly affect, and could cause, actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements. There can be no assurance that, notably but without limitation, the Corporation will (i) continue to progress on all fronts at the Project, (ii) continue taking care of the health and safety of all its stakeholders, (iii) keep its expenditures and schedule in line with the Feasibility Study, (iv) carry its next steps as per the above timetable and effect the transition to commercial production as contemplated, (v) energize the transmission line in the near term and bring the Project into commercial production in the H2-2024, or at all, or (vi) use TZ to grow GMIN into the next intermediate producer, as future events could differ materially from what is currently anticipated by the Corporation. In addition, there can be no assurance that the State of Pará, in Brazil, will remain a mining friendly and prospective jurisdiction.

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By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that estimates, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved or that assumptions do not reflect future experience. Forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about management’s expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important risk factors and future events could cause the actual outcomes to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates, assumptions and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. All of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements and those made in the Corporation’s other filings with the securities regulators of Canada including, but not limited to, the cautionary statements made in the relevant sections of the Corporation’s (i) Annual Information Form dated March 27, 2024, for the financial year ended December 31, 2023, and (ii) Management Discussion & Analysis. The Corporation cautions that the foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive, and new, unforeseeable risks may arise from time to time. The Corporation disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or to explain any material difference between subsequent actual events and such forward-looking statements, except to the extent required by applicable law.


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How Narendra Raval quietly secured exclusive iron ore deal in Uganda

Playing politics is becoming a second successful game for steel tycoon and fortune reader Narendra Raval.

Days after declaring President William Ruto should serve for 25 years, it has emerged Mr Raval quietly secured an exclusive deal in Uganda to export iron ore worth Sh15 billion every year after the Kenyan leader broke bread with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni.

The deal will see Mr Raval, popularly known as Guru due to his priestly background, tighten his grip on the region’s cement and steel industries.

Before closing the Uganda deal, Kampala changed the law to accommodate Mr Raval and end a five-year freeze on exports of raw and semi-processed iron ore.

It is yet another win for Mr Raval, who has boasted of having the ears of four of Kenya’s five heads of State and the powerful Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu has published regulations that have seen Narendra’s Devki Group of Companies given the exclusive permit for the export of raw and semi-processed iron ore from Uganda in a deal brokered by President Ruto.

The Mining and Minerals (Export of Raw and Semi-Processed Iron ore) 2023, which has recently been made public, will allow Mr Raval to export from Uganda up to one million tonnes of raw or semi-processed iron ore in a year to feed its Kenya operations.

Regulations giving Narendra Raval exclusive rights to export iron ore from Uganda. 

Iron ore is a key input for the manufacture of cement and steel, which are critical for the building and construction industry. 

“These regulations apply only to Devki Group of Companies (Devki Steel Mills Limited),” reads part of the regulations that demanded State ownership in the firm given the exclusive deal.

The Ugandan unit of Devki Steel Mills, where Kampala has an undisclosed stake, will pay a royalty of five percent of the gross value, notes the regulations.

Mr Raval did not respond to requests for comment.

Moratorium lifted

With a tonne of iron ore going at an average of $115, it means Mr Raval will ship out of Uganda iron ore valued at Sh15 billion annually.

President Museveni had since February 2015 imposed a moratorium or freeze on the export of unprocessed iron ore and other minerals to protect the country’s local industries.

But the moratorium was lifted in the wake of a meeting of Mr Raval with Presidents Museveni and Dr Ruto.

Mr Raval says he grew up dirt poor in India and arrived in Kenya over four decades ago to serve as a priest before planting the seeds of his steel empire through a hardware store in Nairobi’s Gikomba Market.

Since then, Mr Raval has put together a regional business empire that straddles the steel, cement, infrastructure and aviation sectors.

President William Ruto with Devki Group Chairman Narendra Raval

President William Ruto with Devki Group Chairman Narendra Raval (left) during the official opening of Devki Steel Mills Factory in Samburu, Kwale County on November 18,  2022.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

But it is in the cement and steel industries that he has maintained a stranglehold on the back of multibillion-shilling buyouts.

His stable includes Devki Steel Mills, roofing sheets maker Maisha Mabati Mills, National Cement, which makes ‘Simba Cement’, and Northwood Agencies Ltd, a helicopter charter company.

The group has been on a multibillion-shilling expansion in recent years, including the construction of a Sh11.9 billion new roofing sheet manufacturing plant in Lukenya, outside Nairobi.

In 2018, his National Cement with its Simba Cement brand launched a Sh30.3 billion cement clinker plant in Merrueshi/Mbirikani in Kajiado County.

The following year, he acquired the Kenyan assets of bankrupt cement manufacturer Athi River Mining (ARM) for Sh5 billion and constructed two new cement factories in Njoro, Nakuru and Mariakani in Mombasa.

He recently bought Rwanda’s oldest cement manufacturer, Cimerwa Plc.

The investments are the product of Devki’s internal resources and bank loans.

In 1992, he took out a loan and started a roofing and fencing materials business while developing a small steel rolling mill near Athi River on the outskirts of Nairobi. That business morphed into the behemoth that is Devki Group.

Devki recently sold back a majority stake in a geothermal power plant, Sosian Menengai Geothermal Power, to Gideon Moi, son of Kenya’s second President and former Baringo Senator for an undisclosed sum.

Mr Raval had bought the majority stake in the geothermal venture through an entity called Sosian Energy in 2017.

His entry into the power-generating business underlined the lucrative nature of Kenya’s energy sector, which continues to attract deep-pocketed investors.

Mr Raval is now eyeing the virgin production of steel, the first in Kenya and one of the few in the continent where the bulk of firms use scrap metal to produce the commodity.

The iron ore from Uganda is expected to feed Mr Raval’s new factory in Kwale County, billed to be the second such plant in Africa.

The Sh45 billion plant was unveiled by President Ruto in late 2022 in his first major public assignment after clinching the presidency, underlining Mr Raval’s proximity to the head of State, who April 10 graced the opening of the tycoon’s clinker plant in West Pokot.

“I was with him (Raval) in Uganda during my recent travel to the country, and I talked to President Museveni for him to give us raw materials, and he accepted to give us five million tonnes of iron ore to be brought yearly to the Kwale factory,” said Dr Ruto on November 18 when he presided the launch of Devki Steel Plant in Kwale.

In an earlier interview, Mr Raval said the Kwale plant would utilise locally sourced iron ore.

Export ban

Kenya in 2022 introduced an export levy of $175 per tonne of the raw and semi-processed iron ores in what was aimed at protecting the local industry.

This has made it almost impossible for companies to export iron ore mined from Kenya, a big blow to companies that had started mining and exporting the commodity.

The tax has technically banned the export of iron ore from Kenya given the global price of $115 a tonne.

In the deal between Devki and the Ugandan government, the iron ore imported to Kenya from the neighbouring country cannot be re-exported. 

Virgin production of steel, however, requires a lot of power, which is why both cement and steel firms import a lot of coal.

To deal with the high cost of electricity, however, Mr Raval said in an earlier interview that the Kwale plant had begun to produce its own power.

Mr Raval through his Devki Steel Mills, which operates in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, is the dominant player in the steel industry.

Devki, which was among the nine companies that were penalised by the competition watchdog for engaging in cartel-like behaviour, says on its website that it enjoys over 50 percent of the steel market.

Despite the introduction of the export levy on iron ore, Kenya has continued to import iron ore from countries such as South Africa, India, the United Kingdom and China, mostly the less dense Hermetite that is used mostly by local cement manufacturers.

In 2023, Kenya’s imports of iron ore increased, reflecting increased demand for the commodity, which is also key for cement production.

According to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) database, iron ore imports were approximately 418,500 metric tonnes (excluding Uganda’s) between March 13, 2023, and March 3, 2024, valued at approximately Sh6.4 billion.

The KPA database further shows that there has been a significant increase in the import of steel coils between December 2023 and March 2024.

Last Monday, Mr Raval unveiled a Sh150 billion clinker plant in West Pokot as part of his plans to be the major supplier of local cement manufacturers with this raw material.

The plant will most likely rely on iron ore from Uganda, as it is the less dense type that is used by cement manufacturers to produce clinker.

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Israel Under Pressure To Refrain From Striking Iran After Attack

Israel faced pressure from its allies on Wednesday to refrain from striking back at Iran for its unprecedented missile and drone attack as Washington and Brussels vowed to ramp up sanctions against the Islamic republic.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock were the first Western envoys to visit Israel and urge calm after Iran’s weekend attack, against which Israel has vowed to retaliate.

Cameron said: “We’re very anxious to avoid escalation and to say to our friends in Israel: It’s a time to think with head as well as heart, and in many ways this is a double defeat for Iran.

“Not only was their attack an almost total failure, but also the rest of the world can now see what a malign influence they are in the region,” Cameron told Times Radio.

Middle East tensions — which have soared amid the Israel-Hamas war raging in Gaza since October 7 — have been stoked further as Iran has vowed to hit back if its arch foe Israel launches any further attacks.

As Iran marked its annual Army Day, it showed off a range of its weapons Wednesday, including attack drones and longer-range ballistic missiles, in a military parade in Tehran.

President Ebrahim Raisi hailed the weekend attack, launched in response to a deadly strike on Iran’s Damascus consulate widely blamed on Israel, and warned that “the slightest act of aggression” by Israel would lead to “a fierce and severe response”.

In the large-scale assault from late Saturday, Iran and allied groups launched over 300 missiles and drones carrying a combined payload of 85 tonnes at Israel, according to the Israeli army.

Damage and casualties were limited as Israel’s air defences intercepted most of them, an effort joined by US, British, French and Jordanian forces.

Israel’s military chief Herzi Halevi has vowed “a response” to Iran’s first ever direct attack, and military spokesman Daniel Hagari also stressed that Iran would not get off “scot-free”.

It remained unclear how and when Israel might strike, and whether it would target Iran directly or attack its interests or allies abroad in places such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Israel’s top ally the United States has made clear it won’t join any attack on Iran and has called for de-escalation, as have a host of other Western and Arab leaders.

Washington has vowed instead to level more sanctions targeting Iran’s missile and drone programme, its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Iranian defence ministry.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the new measures “will continue a steady drumbeat of pressure to contain and degrade Iran’s military capacity and effectiveness and confront the full range of its problematic behaviours”.

Germany’s Baerbock said that Berlin and Paris were in favour of a European sanctions regime against Iranian drones to be extended to include “missile technologies in Iran’s arsenal”.

She and Cameron both met Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who urged a global push to “work decisively and defiantly against the threat by the Iranian regime which is seeking to undermine the stability of the whole region”.

Cameron, speaking to British broadcasters, also urged the G7 to adopt new “coordinated sanctions against Iran”, ahead of a meeting with counterparts from the Western-led grouping in Italy.

The sharply heightened Israel-Iran tensions have threatened to overshadow the Gaza war, even as deadly bombardment and combat raged on unabated in the besieged territory.

Talks toward a truce and hostage release deal have stalled for now, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, a key mediator, said, despite months of effort also involving US and Egyptian officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told new army recruits on Tuesday that Israel is fighting Hamas “without mercy”.

The military said Wednesday its aircraft had “struck over 40 terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip” over the past day and had “eliminated a number of terrorists and destroyed terrorist infrastructure”.

Vast areas of Gaza have been devastated by more than six months of war, while its 2.4 million people have suffered under an Israeli siege that has blocked most water, food, medicines and other vital supplies.

The war started after the Hamas attack of October 7 resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

The militants also took about 250 hostages, of whom Israel estimates 129 remain in Gaza, including 34 who are presumed dead.

Israel’s devastating retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,899 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

Israel has faced growing global opposition to the relentless fighting, which has triggered a dire humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations said it would launch an appeal on Wednesday for $2.8 billion to help Palestinians in Gaza and in the occupied West Bank.

The bloodiest ever Gaza war has revived the push for a two-state solution.

The Palestinians this month formally revived an application first made in 2011, though the veto-wielding United States has repeatedly expressed opposition.

The UN Security Council was preparing to vote Thursday on an Algeria-drafted resolution for full United Nations membership for a Palestinian state, diplomatic sources said.

The UN Security Council last month adopted a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza but this has had no effect on the ground.

A plume of smoke billows during Israeli bombardment in Gaza City on April 16, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement
AFP
Palestinians mourn a victim of Israeli bombardment in Maghazi, in the central Gaza Strip, on April 16, 2024
Palestinians mourn a victim of Israeli bombardment in Maghazi, in the central Gaza Strip, on April 16, 2024
AFP
Iranians hold a portrait of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a celebration following Iran's missiles and drones attack on Israel
Iranians hold a portrait of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a celebration following Iran’s missiles and drones attack on Israel
AFP
Children carry water as they walk past buildings destroyed during Israeli bombardment in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza
Children carry water as they walk past buildings destroyed during Israeli bombardment in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza
AFP
A plume of smoke rises after Israeli bombardment in Gaza City amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement
A plume of smoke rises after Israeli bombardment in Gaza City amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement
AFP
An Iranian military truck carries a Sayad 4-B missile past a portrait of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a military parade on April 17, 2024
An Iranian military truck carries a Sayad 4-B missile past a portrait of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a military parade on April 17, 2024
AFP
Iranian soldiers take part in a military parade during annual Army Day in the capital Tehran
Iranian soldiers take part in a military parade during annual Army Day in the capital Tehran
AFP
Israeli military personnel next to an Iranian ballistic missile which fell in Israel, at the Julis military base near the southern city of Kiryat Malachi
Israeli military personnel next to an Iranian ballistic missile which fell in Israel, at the Julis military base near the southern city of Kiryat Malachi
AFP

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Oleg Jelesko: Portfolio of Achievements at Da Vinci Capital Management

Oleg Jelesko, the founder of Da Vinci Capital, stands out as a seasoned figure in the realm of alternative investments. With a track record of notable achievements, including key roles in substantial M&A transactions, he established the firm amid global financial turmoil, guiding it to prosperity.

His strategic insight and deep market acumen enabled him to leverage distinct prospects, navigating his enterprise through an era of economic adversity.

Under the guidance of Oleg Jelesko, Da Vinci Capital has been identified with pioneering, durability, and methodical expansion. This approach has involved a keen emphasis on long-term value generation for its benefactors. Oleg Jelesko brought foresight that was not just about weathering the storm; it was about reshaping the functions of private equity and venture capital within the evolving worldwide economy, pioneering innovative benchmarks in investment methodology.

Name:

Jelesko Oleg ・ Oleg Jelesko Da Vinci Capital ・ Oleg Viktorovich Jelesko ・Oleg Zhelezko・ Zhelezko Oleg・ Олег Железко ・Железко Олег Викторович ・ Железко Олег ・Олег Железко фонд Да Винчи ・زيليزكو أوليغ فيكتوروفيتش ・ 热列兹科·奥列格·维克托罗维奇 ・ ジェレスコ・オレグ・ヴィクトロヴィッチ

Oleg Jelesko: Early Professional Milestones

Oleg Jelesko, who would eventually make a name for himself at Renaissance Capital and as the founder of his own venture in 2007, began his career in 1992 as an adviser at Andersen Consulting, securing his position promptly upon graduating from the Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology. During his time at the Institute, the future financier also spent studying at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania as part of an exchange program that offered him a six-month deep dive into economics, computer programming, and higher mathematics. This two-pronged educational experience, both at home and abroad, prove to be a major selling point in his search for employment.

It was in the city of London that Oleg Jelesko began to cultivate his professional skill set, contributing to software implementation initiatives, marking the practical inception of his career in the financial domain.

Oleg Jelesko: Progression in Financial Management

Subsequently, Oleg Jelesko secured a position at the esteemed McKinsey & Company, where, alongside his professional duties, he completed an MBA course. During his tenure, he managed a range of projects both in the Czech Republic and in his home country. Oleg Jelesko recounts that his tenure at McKinsey was intrinsically connected to the financial sector.

Two years thereafter, Oleg Jelesko transitioned into investment banking, joining Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). His tenure at CSFB was marked by a broad spectrum of responsibilities, appealing to his multifaceted interests in the financial field. As Vice President, he was not confined to any singular focus area, like sales, trading, or analysis; instead, Oleg Jelesko contributed to the comprehensive growth of the business.

It was at CSFB that Oleg Jelesko became familiar with complex financial instruments, which typically involve an array of securities, deposits, derivatives, and stocks—often beyond the direct reach of private investors. Such financial products are designed to distribute risk adequately and enhance the potential for returns.

During his time at CSFB, Oleg Jelesko witnessed first-hand two major economic disturbances: the 1998 financial crisis in the RF and the Dot-com bubble burst in 2001. The latter event, characterized by an unwarranted exuberance among investors, led to bloated valuations of tech startups, culminating in the NASDAQ index plummeting and numerous high-tech companies folding.

These pivotal events shaped how Oleg Jelesko approaches business. At Da Vinci Capital, the investment firm he launched in 2007, a prudent stance is adopted when engaging with companies of the “new economy.” The firm’s analysts diligently evaluate the actual profit-generating potential of projects, steering clear of the baseless enthusiasm often propelled by aggressive marketing strategies.

Oleg Jelesko: Strategic Leadership at Renaissance Capital

Having garnered six years of experience in investment banking, Oleg Jelesko was prepared to venture into his own direct investment enterprise. Yet, he opted for an unexpected change in direction by joining Renaissance Capital for a three-year tenure. Oleg Jelesko reflected on this pivot, crediting Stephen Jennings, the CEO at the time, for his convincing pitch.

In his role at Renaissance Capital, akin to that of a partner, Oleg Jelesko was instrumental in the creation and introduction of new structured financial products. These offerings were designed to entice capital holders with their novel approach to generating high returns and mitigating risks.

During his time there, Oleg Jelesko also contributed to revising the operational standards of the pre-IPO fund. Commonly, such funds provide investors access to rapidly growing, yet-to-be-public high-tech firms that already possess traits of publicly traded entities, with the investments generally viewed as long-term commitments.

In a departure from typical pre-IPO funds, Renaissance Capital, the tenure of during Oleg Jelesko, permitted its participants to liquidate their stakes in the over-the-counter market, thus shortening the investment life cycle and enabling more assertive, concentrated capital allocations. Oleg Jelesko assimilated this bold strategy into his own ventures, and under his guidance, Da Vinci Capital later retained the core pre-IPO investment strategy while integrating additional benefits.

His achievements from this era also include spearheading the creation of specialized funds targeting the financial services and energy sectors. In 2005, Oleg Jelesko oversaw the establishment of Renaissance Online, a platform for electronic trading of securities.

Adhering to the competitive maxim of “grow or get out,” most prevalent in investment circles, Oleg Jelesko consistently reached new heights, culminating in the launch of his own firm in 2007. The inaugural fund of his company, Da Vinci Capital, was christened the CIS Private Sector Growth Fund, marking a milestone as the first in the businessman’s portfolio.

Oleg Jelesko – Da Vinci Capital Management: The Start of His Own Venture

With the inception of Da Vinci Capital, Oleg Jelesko aimed to craft a strategic response to the U.S. mortgage crisis, recognizing its potential global repercussions. He understood the importance of introducing innovative solutions in a tumultuous market climate.

Oleg Jelesko was meticulous in curating a team of managers for Da Vinci Capital, prioritizing those with proven expertise and solid performance histories. Nevertheless, his primary concentration was the quality and distinction of the fund’s offerings.

As Oleg Jelesko later reported, Da Vinci Capital Fund distinguished itself by becoming the first entity to have its shares traded on the London Stock Exchange’s novel exchange platform, the Specialist Fund Market. The fund was prepared for entry into the SFM in April 2008, achieving its listing the following month.

To align with its strategic objectives, Da Vinci Capital pursued registration in Guernsey, an established locus for investment funds seeking entry to the London Stock Exchange and other European trading platforms. Oleg Jelesko acknowledged the complexity of this legal undertaking, noting that securing the asset management license was a demanding process that took approximately four and a half months.

This tactical decision was designed to augment the fund’s appeal to principal investors. The platform that listed the shares of the CIS Private Sector Growth Fund allowed investors to liquidate their positions at will, thus significantly reducing the potential for capital loss, according to the strategy crafted by Oleg Jelesko.

Oleg Jelesko: Tactical Investments at Da Vinci Capital

Identifying private enterprises primed for exponential growth and equipped with global aspirations is a skill that Oleg Jelesko has honed for many years. Da Vinci Capital currently oversees assets surpassing the half-billion-dollar mark, with significant international entities from the financial and other sectors counted among its investors.

The companies within Da Vinci Capital’s investment portfolio demonstrate an average annual expansion of 20-30%, a testament to the effective management tactics implemented by Oleg Jelesko. Under his stewardship, the fund typically acquires minority interests in firms, incrementally bolstering these investments until they secure a position on the companies’ Boards of Directors.

This strategy enables the team under Oleg Jelesko to actively participate in the enterprises’ operational management, optimizing business performance to align with their investment approach. In certain scenarios, the fund undertakes measures leading to an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Alternatively, they may enhance their stake to a controlling interest, eventually divesting to a strategic buyer. Often, such buyers are larger corporations within the same industry, providing a mutually advantageous merger or acquisition opportunity for fund investors to realize returns prior to a public offering.

Oleg Jelesko often recounts the strategic acquisition of shares in the nation’s trading system (JSC RTS) as a pivotal move for his team. Initially holding multiple smaller shares, Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital successfully accumulated a 2% stake in the exchange.

With the growing impact of the project, Oleg Jelesko was appointed CEO of the exchange. His team was instrumental in orchestrating the exchange’s merger with MICEX, a long-envisioned union that came to fruition through skilled negotiations with seasoned brokers. This $1.2 billion merger resulted in the establishment of the capital’s unified stock exchange.

The financial community acknowledges the merger’s significant role in expanding opportunities for domestic market participants. Industry specialists have noted that the consolidation under Da Vinci Capital’s leadership not only enhanced the credibility of the local exchange among investors but also averted a potential liquidity crunch that loomed with the retreat of foreign capital in subsequent years. In 2013, the market valuation of the unified trading platform soared, at that time worth over half a billion dollars. The IPO of the exchange, a key milestone, was also facilitated and executed by Oleg Jelesko and his company.

Oleg Jelesko: Investment Criteria at Da Vinci Capital (Fintech, E-commerce and More)

In delineating Da Vinci Capital’s investment approach, Oleg Jelesko emphasizes the firm’s focus on ventures poised for a public offering via IPO. The evaluative process concentrates on a prospective asset’s business model and its prospects for becoming a “unicorn,” a term in the investment world for startups valued at $1 billion within a decade of their inception.

Oleg Jelesko observes that the rise of new technologies fuels the creation of such high-value projects, a trend he anticipates will continue. These “unicorns” are often found in sectors like FinTech, e-commerce, and others that incorporate artificial intelligence into their operations. Geographically, such companies are emerging in diverse locations, from Malaysia to Chile to Senegal and Argentina.

Leveraging over 30 years of investment experience, Oleg Jelesko prioritizes projects for their quality. Preference is given to debt-free companies, followed by a rigorous activity analysis to ensure alignment with Da Vinci Capital’s standards. Only after this thorough review is a decision made on whether to invest.

The methodology used by Oleg Jelesko-Da Vinci Capital culminated in several notable investment triumphs, particularly highlighted by the acquisition of a stake in EPAM Systems in 2008. This high-tech company benefitted from Da Vinci Capital’s substantial investment of $18.6 million, aimed at garnering a considerable portion of the company’s equity.

The following year, Oleg Jelesko transitioned to a key executive role within EPAM Systems, providing crucial direction for the company’s strategic development plans. His advocacy for accessing public markets and driving financial growth was critical in preparing EPAM Systems for its IPO. Oleg Jelesko rallied the support of fellow shareholders, laying the groundwork for the company’s debut on the stock exchange.

With meticulous preparation, the public offering of EPAM Systems’ securities was carried out on the New York Stock Exchange in February 2012, achieving a remarkable initial valuation of $488 million. The success of this IPO was just the beginning, as the company’s market value escalated significantly, ultimately reaching a capitalization of $37 billion, marking a notable chapter in Da Vinci Capital’s history.

In the international IT sector, Oleg Jelesko showed discernment through his involvement with a key industry entity—Softline. In 2016, Da Vinci Capital mobilized its extensive network to engage partners aligned with their strategic outlook. This collective investment initiative injected significant funds into the information technology solutions and services firm, with Da Vinci Capital contributing around $20 million, a sum matched by their investment allies. This action reflected Da Vinci Capital’s core investment principles, emphasizing their dedication to nurturing progress and ingenuity within the tech industry.

Oleg Jelesko joined Softline’s board in 2017 and developed an M&A strategy integral to its future growth. Under his guidance, Softline launched an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. His influence further extended to enhancing the company’s governance, broadening market reach, and recruiting a competent management team. These efforts were met with success, with a remarkable turnover growth in revenue from $741 million in 2015 to an impressive $2.2 billion by 2021.

Oleg Jelesko is actively involved in the oversight of Da Vinci Capital’s funds through its investment committees and continues to hold board positions in select companies within the investment portfolio. His active participation ensures the sustained success and adherence to the established investment philosophy. His governance roles include significant positions with the ITI Group and the Luxembourg-based ITI Funds.



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