WORLD BANK | INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND | AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
No one agrees about how much the global financial crisis is costing Africa, but all the international financial institutions agree that the continent needs its own fiscal stimulus package if it is to stave off disaster. The African Development Bank President, Donald Kaberuka, led the field with a detailed country-by-country breakdown of the effects of the crisis and the size of the resulting financing gaps. The AfDB estimates that Africa faces a financing gap of US$50 billion in 2009 and $56 bn. in 2010 just to maintain gross domestic product (GDP) growth levels averaging 5.4% of 2008 (AC Vol 50 No 8). The AfDB says that the financing gap would be $117 bn. if Africa is to reach the antipoverty, health and education targets of the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
CHAD | SUDAN
On the Chad-Sudan border, everyone is asking who will fire first. As the mandate of the European Union Force (EUFOR) in eastern Chad ran out last month, Sudan's rebel Justice and Equality Movement was resettling its fighters in its rear bases in Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno's home area of Am Jaress, north-east Chad. The plan appears to be a new offensive at a time when the National Congress (NC, aka National Islamic Front, NIF) regime is focussing on the International Criminal Court arrest warrant for President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir. JEM's target might be Kordofan's capital El Obeid or, more practically, El Fasher. This would signal that JEM is now as powerful as the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army was when it attacked the North Darfur capital in 2003. Since its withdrawal from Muhajeriya in February (AC Vol 50 No 7), JEM's attempts to position itself as the main Darfur rebel group have had some success, attracting people from SLM/A factions. These include SLM/A-Unity's Suleiman Jamous - like top JEM leaders, a Zaghawa and once part of the NIF regime.
The two most powerful sons of the late President Gnassingbé Eyadéma have fallen out. Kpatcha Gnassingbé was arrested on 12 April (AC Vol 50 No 8), charged with plotting a coup d'état against his elder half-brother, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of Togo since 2005. Several of Kpatcha's guards were killed in the four-hour assault on his house. Two other half-brothers and several influential officers along with other soldiers have been arrested. The old dictator had never made clear which son he wanted to succeed him and the Faure-Kpatcha rivalry was no secret. Both accompanied their dying father on the flight from Lomé to Tripoli, whence he was supposed to travel on to see doctors in Israel. He died on the flight; local rumour insists that he was dead before departure and that the flight was a way of buying time to fix the succession.
Kenya's coalition squabbles have spilled over into Parliament (AC Vol 50 No 9). The latest, and worst, row between the coalition partners, President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), involves a tussle over nominating the Leader of Government Business and the Chairmanship of the House Business Committee. Citing executive authority and 45 years of tradition, President Kibaki wrote to Speaker Kenneth Otiato Marende a week before Parliament was due to reopen on 21 April, nominating his Vice-President, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, as Leader of Government Business. That nomination would almost automatically give Musyoka the chair of the House Business Committee, which determines Parliament's agenda. However, Odinga too had written to the Speaker, nominating himself as chairman of the Business Committee by virtue of his role as Government Supervisor. It was the first open contest over executive authority since the signing of the National Accord in February 2008.