Hedged Optimism: Why I Invested in Botswana

Okavango Delta, Botswana. Credit: andbeyond.com

 

When I think about the next five, 25, 50 years I often ask myself, “What things will be better in the future? What things will be worse? And how do I best prepare?” I tend to oscillate between excitement-hopefulness and mild paranoia. I have now decided to split the difference between optimism and pessimism and say that I will be Optimistic but Hedged.

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VeroBlue Farms: Betting the Ranch

Veroblue Farms, Iowa.
Veroblue Farms, Iowa. Photos by Ackerman + Gruber

The world population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by mid-2050. Countries with lower standards of living typically have higher population growth rates. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates food production will need to double in some parts of the world by 2050. The confluence of these three factors raises the question of how are we going to feed these many people.

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Thoughts on Money

"You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." - Wiliam Jennings Bryan Cross of Gold Speech, 1896 [wikimedia.org]
“You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” – Wiliam Jennings Bryan Cross of Gold Speech, 1896 [wikimedia.org]

In order to prevent myself from becoming rapacious, I try to reduce the amount of time I spend thinking about money. However, recent developments have forced me to spend a lot of time understanding exactly why money has been behaving so strangely in recent times. 

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Swimming Upstream: Nigeria’s Economy Defies All Logic

A Nigerian oil dealer pours gasoline into bottles at a roadside market in the commercial capital of Lagos in this October 31, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye/Files
A Nigerian oil dealer pours gasoline into bottles at a roadside market in the commercial capital of Lagos in this October 31, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye/Files

Nigeria’s petroleum industry is very peculiar. Despite producing 1.75 million barrels of crude oil per day(b/d), they only refine about 24,000 barrels into gasoline, leaving them 384,000 barrels short of meeting daily domestic demand.  

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The Indian Model: What China and Nigeria can Learn from India

Infosys Early Employees Circa 1980's [infosys.com]
Infosys Founders Circa 1980’s [infosys.com]

I have been closely watching the developments in India recently and the more I know about the country the more excited and optimistic I get about the country’s future. China and Nigeria are two other countries which have evoked similar optimistic sentiments in me. I look at India as a weighted average of the strengths and weaknesses of both countries.

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