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Published 2nd December 2011

Vol 52 No 24


Storm warning

Five African economic snapshots
Five African economic snapshots

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Economic gloom in Europe and North America will slow African growth next year and may spark more challenges to incumbent regimes

For many African countries, the West’s economic travails will translate into spiralling food and fuel prices, higher unemployment and less state spending on education and health. The rumbling Eurozone crisis and the United States’ debt-burdened economy will not necessarily divert Africa from its more positive growth path but may slow its rate of progress, given its direct and indirect (via China) dependence on trade with the industrialised West (see Chart).


It rained on their invasion

The war in Somalia gives President Mwai Kibaki’s government a leading role for which it looks ill-prepared

Six weeks into the fighting, unintended consequences haunt Kenya’s invasion of Somalia: rising xenophobia, terrorist attacks in Nairobi and other local insecurity, and changes in E...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The International Criminal Court has been having a good week. News that Gambia’s Fatou Bensouda, a former justice minister and deputy to Luis Moreno Ocampo, will succeed him as ICC Chief Prosecutor next year may win back support from states who refer to it as the ‘African Criminal Court’.

The surprise rendition of Côte d’Ivoire’s former President Laurent Gbagbo to the Hague, charged with crimes against humanity, created little fuss in Abidjan; a successful prosecution could ret...

The International Criminal Court has been having a good week. News that Gambia’s Fatou Bensouda, a former justice minister and deputy to Luis Moreno Ocampo, will succeed him as ICC Chief Prosecutor next year may win back support from states who refer to it as the ‘African Criminal Court’.

The surprise rendition of Côte d’Ivoire’s former President Laurent Gbagbo to the Hague, charged with crimes against humanity, created little fuss in Abidjan; a successful prosecution could retrieve some of the court’s lost authority. A few of Ouattara’s more troublesome supporters are likely to follow Gbagbo. The ICC may also help the new regime in Tripoli to organise a trial of Seif el-Islam Gadaffi, son of Libya’s deposed leader.

Another boost to the ICC came from Nairobi, where the International Commission of Jurists had asked Judge Nicholas Ombija to rule on whether Kenya, a signatory of the Rome statutes, should arrest Sudan’s President Omer Hassan el Beshir if he visits again. Without hesitation, Judge Ombija said Kenya should arrest Omer on principle.

Not even abject apologies from Kenya’s Foreign Minister Moses Wetang’ula, an avowed opponent of the ICC, could placate the furious Omer. The 1 December decision of the East African Community to reject Sudan’s membership application may have reinforced the Islamist regime’s fear of a regional plot. With an African at the ICC’s helm, official efforts to protect Omer from trial for war crimes could rapidly diminish.

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Presidential poll wide open

Voters ask why President Touré wants to reform the constitution and boost women’s rights before next year’s elections

Mali is looking forward to perhaps the most competitive presidential election since the advent of multiparty democracy two decades ago. The first round of the poll on 29 April mark...


The IMF and the Chinese loan puzzle

The view of Ghana as an economic success, one held by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, comes with a price tag. Last year, the first recalculation of national inc...


Condé talks to rivals

Regional diplomacy has dampened down another political confrontation as the President tries to relaunch the mineral-rich economy

The parliamentary elections due on 29 December have been postponed until early next year following a meeting between President Alpha Condé and opposition leaders on 15 November und...


Banks strike oil

On 29 November, Angola enacted a law forcing foreign oil companies to use the local banking system for their financial transactions, rather than hold their accounts offshore.


Enemies in the north

The serenity of the elections contrasts starkly with deteriorating security in the north, with hundreds of well-armed Tuareg fighters and weapons streaming in from Libya, increased...


Palace plotters

Since the assassination attempt in July, President Alpha Condé has shut himself up in the Sékoutouréyah palace behind a massive guard, some trained by his ally, President Blaise Co...


Selling the state

Politicians, trades unionists and business people join battle for control of the state-owned companies

As budgetary pressures and unemployment mount, the government faces a dilemma over how to reform its state-owned enterprises. Business interests and some cash-strapped ministries e...


A pipeline of votes

Delays and disputes over a gas-fired industrial project could damage President John Atta Mills ahead of next year’s elections

The promise that an offshore gas pipeline and processing plant – a cornerstone of Ghana’s new industrial plan – will be completed around the time of the presidential and parliament...


MPLA curbs the media

The ruling party appears anxious to restrict free speech and ensure positive coverage in the lead up to the elections

The Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola may take its time over deciding who it wants as the next president and when elections will take place but it is taking no chances on e...


The Gordhan knot

A mix of principled ideological differences, intra-party rivalries and commercial interests are stalling efforts by government and the African National Congress to reform state-own...



Pointers

Fraud and violence

Calls for the election results, due on 6 December, to be annulled have revived fears of violence. More than a score of people died on 26-28 November, five of them when the Republic...


The unprosecutables

Rumours of Farida Waziri’s imminent demise as head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had been circulating for weeks before President Goodluck Jonathan administered th...


Tax deduction

As the political fallout over corruption spreads in Kampala, the legal battles are getting messier over US$434 million in tax which Kampala says oil companies owe it (AC Vol 52 No ...


ZANU's honey trap

The Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front’s tacticians once more showed their talent for wrong-footing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai when he decided to cancel his wedd...