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Top Secret
Top Secret

The smuggling out of what appear to be top secret state documents points to a major security breach in the government

The Khartoum government is yet to react to the circulation of what purport to be detailed minutes of a meeting on 31 August of top security and milita...

SUDAN

Khartoum in fact and fiction

MOZAMBIQUE | UNITED STATES

Narcotics links tarnish Frelimo

BLUE LINES

THE INSIDE VIEW

There is a strong sense of apocalypse as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund hold their annual meetings in Washington DC on 10-12 October. Part of that comes from the blunt warnings from Bank President Jim Yong Kim that the future of Africa may be at stake if there is no overwhelming, coordinated international response to the Ebola outbreak. He spoke of worst-case losses to Africa of US$32 billion as economies in West Africa are hit by restrictions on production, trade and transport.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that international assistance must be increased 20-fold to stop the outbreak. Tom Frieden, Director of the United States Centers for Disease Control, added more urgency: ‘We have to work now so this won’t become the next AIDS’. Western concern has accelerated as Ebola patients have arrived in the USA and Spain. Given that this outbreak began in November 2013, Kim is right to say the international system has failed miserably to tackle it.

As head of the world’s biggest development agency and a public health expert, it may be also a mea culpa from Kim as he calls on rich governments to back a $20 bn. global health fund to react immediately to such emergencies. He should listen to the doctors from West Africa at the Bank meeting who say the healthcare crisis goes far deeper there: a chronic lack of doctors and nurses (many working abroad for better pay and conditions); sporadic supplies of electricity and running water in most hospitals and none of the specialised protection and testing equipment required.

ZIMBABWE

From Russia with love

Nothing and no one seems able to stop the rival factions of the ruling party from undermining each other as they position themselves for the presidential succession. The claimed victims range from the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, whose bid for the Senate has been blocked by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, through to the prophets of a minor breakaway Apostolic sect, charged with sexual abuse and attacking the police. After several months of enforced silence, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has been unmuzzled and his special brand of vitriol reactivated in the columns of the state media. Uncovering 'US [United States] agents and other gay gangsters'who have infiltrated the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) is the current obsession. Insults fly, tempers fray and even close relatives of the First Family have been drawn into the fights.

SOUTH AFRICA

DBSA moves centre stage

South Africa's state-owned Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is being restructured to become the regional centre of the new development bank for the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, say sources close to the bank. The new institution is already being referred to as the New Development Bank (NDB) in official documents which Africa Confidential has seen.

AFRICA | URANIUM

Uranium profits decline

A geographical shift in uranium production should, in theory, have benefitted Malawi, Namibia, Niger and South Africa as, together with the world's biggest producer, Kazakhstan, they have become the source for over half of the global supply. But although at the end of last month the yellowcake spot market price ticked up from a trough of below US$30 per pound of uranium oxide (U3O8) to US$34/lb., it remained well below the $60 level needed for many mines to be economic to operate. The construction of planned new mines has been delayed until prices recover, including at Imouraren in Niger and Trekkopje in Namibia, in both of which France's Areva is already working.

TUNISIA

Critical votes and toxic loans

Dealing with bad debts from the Zine el Abidine Ben Ali era which threaten the banking system has proved so problematic that the government has been contradicting itself. On the morning of 27 September an official announcement declared that that the cabinet, chaired by technocratic Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, had passed a decree to release 100mn dinars (US$55mn) on 13 October to shore up Banque de l'habitat (BH) and the Société tunisienne de banque (STB). But the decree, according to interim Minister of Finance Hakim Ben Hammouda, was withdrawn at the last minute with no correcting public statement being issued. Parliament has also failed to set up a ‘bad bank’ entity to absorb a rising tide of toxic loans. Enabling legislation has been stuck in parliament for two years now, with many blaming the individuals and institutions owing the unpaid loans for obstructing the measures.

SOUTH AFRICA

Julius Malema in the dock

Within the space of a week, Julius Malema, the self-styled 'commander-in chief' of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has been charged with both corruption and parliamentary indiscipline, leaving many people wondering where the firebrand leader is headed. The former African National Congress Youth League President has dominated headlines since he was expelled from the governing ANC in 2012 and again since he was sworn in as a member of parliament five months ago. It's hard to judge whether he is destined for the presidency or for gaol.

NIGERIA

ENI in the cross-hairs

Italian public prosecutors have asked Britain to freeze an account holding US$85 million in their preliminary investigation into whether top officials in the ENI oil company conspired to bribe Nigerian officials, Africa Confidential has learned. We have seen a confidential letter from Milan public prosecutors Fabio de Pasquale and Sergio Spadaro asking the Home Office to seize the money, held in a National Savings and Investment account managed by the City of London branch of Natwest Bank, which is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, because, they claim, it is the proceeds of a bribe. They say that ENI used the Nigerian government as a conduit for bribes to facilitate the award of Oil Prospecting Licence 245 (OPL 245).

CONGO-KINSHASA

Conflict over conflict minerals

An open letter from a group of 70 academics and specialists in Congo and the Great Lakes region has claimed that legislation and other measures to control conflict minerals are not having the desired effect. Addressed to governments, companies, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties, the letter says that policies inspired by campaigners may have created more hardship than benefit for the communities they were seeking to help. The authors, some based in Congo-Kinshasa, refer to social responsibility policies announced by United States' industry giants Intel and Apple early this year, which followed a wave of initiatives to 'clean up' eastern Congo's mining sector. They mention in particular US legislation known as Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2011.

BLUE LINES

THE INSIDE VIEW

There is a strong sense of apocalypse as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund hold their annual meetings in Washington DC on 10-12 October. Part of that comes from the blunt warnings from Bank President Jim Yong Kim that the future of Africa may be at stake if there is no overwhelming, coordinated international response to the Ebola outbreak. He spoke of worst-case losses to Africa of US$32 billion as economies in West Africa are hit by restrictions on production, trade and transpor...

SOUTH AFRICA

Labour movement schism deepens

The efforts of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and other top officials in the African National Congress, such as ANC Deputy General Secretary Jessie Duarte, have made little headway in healing the political split in the Congress of South African Trade Unions. On one side is the Cosatu President, Sdumo Dlamini, and most of the public sector unions. On the other is the federation's General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, and blue-collar unions, including the largest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). The opposing factions are at daggers drawn.

Pointers  

KENYA

Drama in court

Some 140 members of parliament turned President Uhuru Kenyatta's first appearance at the International Criminal Court on 8 October into something of a circus. Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Kioko (known as Sonko, Kiswahili for Mr Moneybags), a key Kenyatta al...

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