UK alternative to Galileo satnav system fails to clear the launch pad

The UK government has finally decided to abandon its plan to build and deploy its own satellite system as an alternative to Galileo. However, the UK will continue to study “…more innovative ideas of delivering global satnav and secure satellite services…” without specifying what these might be. However, it is difficult to see how the UK can meet dual requirements of “…a robust and secure satellite navigation system…” and value for money.
Guess on can assume this vanity project will take a few more turns in the form of studies and £mn wasted. Thereafter, the time will be right for the UK to ask the EU / Galileo about rejoining. Norway providing a reference model.
Anyway, I find this interesting as it is a real time case study of “reinventing the wheel”, showing how governments are keeping consultants busy, delivering nothing of real value.

Hendy review to look at feasibility of Scotland to Northern Ireland bridge

So Network Rail’s chair Sir Peter Hendy has been asked by UK Government to have a fresh look at the Scotland to Northern Ireland bridge. One might see this as another distraction – did we not see something similar with the Estuary Airport and the so-called Garden Bridge in London, both promoted by the Prime Minister.

Is there not better ways of creating regeneration and economic growth than sending £billions on a bridge? It carried a £20bn price tag last year, and guess applying standard optimism bias this might easily be £40-£50bn and counting.

To me the idea seems to show a lack of creative thinking. Improved land connectivity is important, but at what cost? And one should not forget that the government is currently engaged in reducing the UK’s connectivity to a whole continent. So is connectivity actually valued that highly!

I suspect the only winners here are transport consultants…but guess they also need to survive…and, of course, I would love to work on this study as it is rather fascinating (smile).

UK data for “Wave 2” shows that the relationship between cases and deaths is broken as the mortality rate remains very low. There is very limited conversion of covid cases to mortality.

…It is also difficult to see how there can be a lagged effect. It raised fundamental questions of a political overreaction, leading to a worsening of the UK’s economy. It is time to relax, free up and let people get back to enjoying their freedom.

Haircare Market in Africa by Product, Distribution Channel, and Geography – Forecast and Analysis 2020-2024

Technavio has been monitoring the haircare market in Africa and it is poised to grow by USD 936.32 million during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of over 7% during the forecast period. The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current market scenario, latest trends and drivers, and the overall market environment.

The figure below provides a good summary of the expected growth, and key market characteristics.

Assessing Saudi Vision 2030: A 2020 review – The Atlantic Council published an interesting review of the Saudi reform program, providing a comprehensive look at the state of the Vision 2030 effort.

The broad conclusions are…

Using Vision 2030’s own “Key Performance Indicators” (KPIs) where available, economic data on Saudi Arabia, and comparative national surveys, the authors attempt to objectively assess the progress and approach toward this reform program to date. What they find is that the Saudi government has invested a tremendous amount of energy, effort, and money in the Vision 2030 reforms, with some noteworthy achievements to date: namely in terms of fiscal stabilization and macroeconomic management, the development of capital markets and the banking system, the digitization of government services, and social reforms. In many other areas, however, reform efforts are falling short of their intended objectives, most notably in creating jobs and transforming the private sector into an engine of growth.

As for the Saudi government’s approach to reform, there is broad recognition that Saudi Arabia must change. However, when the authors spoke to officials in 2018 and 2019, there seemed less of a sense of urgency regarding the pace and a lack of understanding of the depth of the transformation required. The government has concentrated economic and political decision-making at the top and focused its efforts on using institutions like the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to attract foreign investment, so far without great success.

Saudi Arabia now faces another economic crisis, only six years after the 2014 oil price collapse, and it may feel the need to reevaluate some of its Vision 2030 programs.

Link to the study is found below. There is also an interesting video with a good discussion of the study’s key findings.