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Analysis

 

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Found 36 articles.

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The new gold rush

Khartoum’s new gold mining operations may alleviate its worsening foreign exchange crisis but they will increase financial instability in the medium term. As the world gold price moves steadily upward, old workings are coming back to life. In Sudan, gold has been mined since the time of the Pharaohs, who shifted from silver and set the first international gold standard

Sudan’s economy is in a bad way since it lost 75% of its oil revenue in its quarrel with South Sudan. This week, it refused to implement September’s agreement to get oil flowing ag...


Hassan Sheikh keeps it in the family

After a long delay the new President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, finally appointed a prime minister and a cabinet, all of them drawn from a tight circle of family, friends and his most trusted political allies. He risked appearing elitist and non-inclusive because he wanted to be sure of his team. He is signalling that this government is here to stay and in no mood for compromise on sovereignty. Kenya and its allies in Kismayo are providing him with an early test of his resolve and credibility

In the two months that it took President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to appoint the Premier and other ministers, he has attracted growing criticism for his aloof style. The diplomats and...


The grand corruption trap

The nine agreements signed between the Khartoum and Juba governments on 27 September will throw the focus back on to the appalling living conditions in both states. The agreements include a deal on resuming oil production in South Sudan. Economic conditions in both countries worsened sharply after Juba halted oil production in January in protest at what it said was massive cheating by the Khartoum regime on arrangements to share oil revenue and the charges that Juba paid to export its oil via Port Sudan

Expectations are high that restarting oil production in South Sudan will provide an economic boost to both Sudans. How much of a boost depends on how far governance standards are i...


Rajoelina slows down the train

The confusion is far from over. The United Nations proposes that Madagascar hold presidential and parliamentary elections in May or June 2013 but Andry Rajoelina is holding out. The army installed him as national leader after its coup in March 2009 threw out his elected predecessor, Marc Ravalomanana. He now heads the Haute Autorité de la Transition (HAT) that was installed in November 2011, following a ‘road map’ signed the previous month by most political leaders (AC Vol 53 No 5, Who's the democrat now?).

There is logic behind the timetable suggested by the UN experts who, chaired by Akinyemi Adegbola, visited the island in April-May. Time is needed to establish a credible electoral...


Al Shabaab’s waiting game

Regardless of the recent defeats of Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen, senior African Union Mission in Somalia commanders privately admit that the next phase of military operations is fraught with potential difficulties. Since forcing Al Shabaab out of Mogadishu in August, five years after Amisom first came to Somalia, the Ugandan People’s Defence Force’s 5,500-strong contingent is slowly moving out to assume control of new territory beyond the capital. Any bolder moves to occupy territory further afield, however, depend on leaving currently-occupied zones to Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers and police, whose competence and reliability are in some doubt. Amisom commanders also worry because communications are scant and coordination absent with the Ethiopian forces to the south. Now that the Kenyan forces have been re-hatted as Amisom, links with them should improve.

Lack of trust in the TFG forces who have to take over the Ugandan and Burundian positions when Amisom moves out of Mogadishu is making Amisom tread cautiously. The TFG forces are ...


How to buy growth – for $100 billion

Both trades unions and business question the accountability of the government’s huge public spending programme, which would invest 850 billion rand (US$112 bn.) in power generation, transport and telecommunications over the next three years, plus more than R400 bn. for six new nuclear power stations by 2030

The announcement of these grandiose schemes in Parliament last month coincides with leadership contests within the governing African National Congress, which will choose its presi...


The gamble for Simandou

Brazilian mining conglomerate Vale is keeping its operations under close review, after threatening to sell its investments in Guinea last month. After tough talks with its minority partner and President Alpha Condé’s government, Vale has for now pulled back from the brink. Yet it still has grave misgivings about the terms and conditions of a project in which it may have to invest as much as US$10 billion for a stake in one of the world’s richest iron-ore mines.

The financial firm JP Morgan estimates that Simandou’s Vale-controlled blocks can produce 50 mn. tonnes of ore annually by 2020. That compares favourably with the output of South ...


Confused war aims cause alarm

Kenya’s military incursion into Somalia is less than a month old but is already the subject of contradictory statements by the government and its Western allies. Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen is under threat from the Kenya Armed Forces and their allies’ Special Forces and air power but the invasion also offers opportunities. Al Shabaab may be able to recoup some recent losses if Lower and Middle Juba end up controlled by Kenyan surrogate forces that alienate local people. The offensive shows, however, that the United States and its allies have faith in a military solution to the Somali problem. Kenyan forces are pushing towards Kismayo in a land assault that will combine with attacks by French and US forces from the sea to spell possible defeat for Al Shabaab in the key port. Yet with no political solution on offer, Al Shabaab could revive.

Kenya’s intervention in Somalia was first announced on 15 October by Minister of Internal Security George Kinuthia Saitoti and Minister of Defence Mohamed Yusuf Haji, and it was o...


Getting the right numbers

It is the biggest economic success story in Africa. The growth of mobile telephony is phenomenal – in numbers, in jobs created and in the economic development it is driving. African software engineers are pioneering the development of payment systems over mobile telephones, first in Kenya, then Rwanda and South Africa, and now Nigeria. Until the late 1990s, few mobile phone operators regarded Africa as a viable mass market. They lacked accurate information about the continent’s spending power and a vision of how services could be developed. Initially, most companies – except for South Africa’s MTN – steered clear of Nigeria (AC Vol 43 No 20, Scrambling for Africa). Now it is one of the world’s biggest telecommunications markets

Between 1998 and 2008, the number of mobile phone subscribers in Africa increased from 4 million to 260 million while network coverage increased from 10% to over 60% of the contine...


Stabilisation now, reconciliation later

Ouattara is a strong Western ally but his national skills are more of an unknown quantity as he tries to reconcile his own fractious forces as well as Gbagbo’s loyalists. With Gbagbo confined in the north under UN guard and his forces demoralised or captured, the new president has signalled his seriousness by not allowing his staff any time off, despite having spent four months trapped in the Golf Hotel.

ADO's woes The difficulties facing President Alassane Dramane Ouattara (‘ADO’) in reconciling former enemies emerged again in the 6 May inauguration ceremony. In his acceptance s...


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