Thursday, May 19, 2022

Valuing the Malawi Kwacha




 
Challenged by the ever depreciating value of our currency based on several factors on the forex market and other economic factors, I thought I should consider using the value of the metal used in minting our basic coins as determinants of the cost of the Malawi Kwacha. In other goods and services, we get to have the cost of raw materials and cost of production as the determinants of the cost price of a product. I thought the cost of the metal used for the coins as a raw material can determine the cost price of the Malawi Kwacha. 

According to the Reserve Bank of Malawi and Numista Coin Catalogue, the Malawian One Kwacha coin is made of 2.83 grams of stainless steel. Stainless steel is said to cost at least $3 per pound as of 2018 according to this article:

Steel prices change daily. They are primarily driven by supply, demand and energy prices. Galvanized steel costs a few cents more per pound than regular structural steel. Stainless steel costs four to fives times much as galvanized steel in material costs. Structural steel is holding somewhere between 30 to 80 cents per pound, while stainless steel is at least $3 per pound. 

Source: https://sciencing.com/facts-7621048-do-compare-4140-4150-steel.html 

So the maths go as follows:

One Kwacha weight = 2.83 grams
Cost of stainless steel today = $3 per pound.
1 pound = 453.59237 grams.

2.83 grams = 1 pound x 2.83 grams / 453.59237 grams = 0.006239082019832 pounds

now if 1 pound stainless steel costs  at least $3,

0.006239082019832 pounds = $3 x 0.006239082019832 pounds/1 pound = $0.0187172460594961

One Malawi Kwacha costs at least $0.0187 to four decimal places.

On Google, MWK1 to USD gives K1 = $0.0012. This seems to be way too lower than the cost price of the coin.

One US dollar should cost at most

$1 = K1 x $1/$0.0187 = K53.4759

If we are to go by the cost price, K1 is at least $0.0187 instead of $0.0012 and $1 is at most K53.4759 instead of K815.

It is said that the value of the currency is determined by the supply and demand but that can't be the only determinant. The Cost Price plays a big role in deciding the minimum selling price of goods and services to avoid making losses. As such, where the Malawi Kwacha coin is made of 2.83 grams of stainless steel, and the price of stainless steel is at most $3 per pound, the Malawi Kwacha can't be valued at less than $0.0187 and can't be exchanged at more than K53.4759 per dollar.

The cost price of the coin does not just include the value of stainless steel which is the raw material, but there is a cost of minting the coin involved. which means that the value of one kwacha can be more than $0.0187 and the dollar lesser than K53.4795. These lower bound and upper bound values should determine whether an exchange is possible or not. Otherwise, why should we sell so cheap? We don't have to sell if we are selling at a loss.




Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Of Forex Shortage and Ethiopian Airlines Ticket Sales Discontinuing


 
I think the issue of forex shortage should not be a problem between Malawi and Ethiopian Airlines because according to tradingeconomics.com, Ethiopia seems to import more from Malawi than Malawi imports from Ethiopia. In 2020, Malawi imported goods and services worth $7.86 million from Ethiopia and Ethiopia imported goods and services worth $17.03 million from Malawi. Ethiopia can decide to clear out the value of the Malawi imports against their imports and remit the difference which is a surplus of the balance of payment to Malawi. Surely, if Ethiopian Airlines is one of the services Malawi imports from Ethiopia, Malawi technically has the ability to settle this payment. If trading in dollars, pounds or euros is the problem, I should believe that if Ethiopia is able to remit its trade surplus in Ethiopian Currency(ETB), we would be able to settle the current amount and future purchases of Ethiopian Airlines tickets using the Ethiopian currency.

I am a proponent of the idea that trade between Ethiopia and Malawi should not be settled using a third-party currency like the dollars, euros or pounds when Ethiopia and Malawi both have currencies of their own. Ministry of Trade & Industry - Malawi could consider facilitating a trading arrangement between Ethiopia and Malawi where we can trade in our own local currencies, the Malawi Kwacha(MWK) and Ethiopian Birr(ETB) after all there is a profitable bilateral trade between the two countries to the advantage of Malawians.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

International Democracy vs American Democracy

 Google defines democracy as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

When we look at national democracy, we are looking at the population of that nation making decisions through its elected representatives as such the American democracy is a democracy that has been shaped into being by the people of America for the years that it has been in existence. 

At the level of international democracy, we are looking at the world population as a whole, but also looking at individual national democracies in their various regions shaped by the people of different cultures values and ideologies.

There seem to be very few principles of democracy that can be encouraged at the international level of democracy without conflicting with the cultural values of different nations.

At the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, I had to find out more about both sides of the conflict and discovered among other things that Russia is a democracy and the Western countries, the USA, the UK and the EU do not acknowledge that but still consider it as a dictatorship. The Russian Constitution in  Article 1 says 

"The Russian Federation - Russia is a democratic federative law-governed state with a republican form of government." 

I realised the absence of the acknowledgement on the part of the western countries of democracy in Russia might be due to the differences in the way democracy in Russia has been implemented and the way it has been implemented in the Western Countries. Surely, what the people of Russia value is not the same as what the Western countries value. 

Another thing that came to light today is the restrictions the Taliban government is implementing in Afghanistan. Taliban is a world that means "student" according to Wikipedia, and it is said that the Taliban government does not allow women and girls to be in schools and yet there is a claim that the same Taliban government requires women to only visit female doctors. Does the Taliban government contradict itself? Surely, a student values education more than anyone else. Surely if there is an expectation of having female doctors, then there are means that women would attain such education. 

The USA has been to Afghanistan to try and establish democracy by force and yet the Taliban got back into government also by force meaning that they have not valued whatever the USA government was establishing. I could only think that perhaps the USA was advancing its own cultural values to a people that holds a completely different view of things according to their own culture. 

From these observations, I am thinking that we should consider separating principles of international democracy from the American view of democracy. Democracy is considered to be a type of government that recognizes the differences in views of its people and encourages co-existence and tolerance among the people of differing views. While this might exist within the USA, the USA fails to tolerate differing views of other democracies in the world. It fails to co-exist with other people in the world whose views are different from its own. 

The world has cultures and views different according to each region and when considering international democracy, we may need to consider also tolerance of these different cultures other than imposing views of the dominant democracies for that in itself is being undemocratic.