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SUDAN Khartoum: The El Shifa factory, which was bombed in 1998 by the USA.
SUDAN Khartoum: The El Shifa factory, which was bombed in 1998 by the USA.

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

Israel’s attack on a Khartoum arms factory highlights its tougher line in Africa and Sudan’s growing ties with Iran

Taken by surprise, Khartoum officials at first offered contradictory explanations for the devastating attack on the El Yarmouk arms factory in Khartou...

SUDAN

Khartoum’s military-industrial complex

NIGERIA

The $100 billion bash

BLUE LINES

THE INSIDE VIEW

Africa will watch the United States’ election on 6 November with a sense of history as its candidate Barack Obama vies for a second term, says a West African academic. However, Africa will watch China’s leadership transition, which begins that same week, with a sense of economic destiny. No question about that on the numbers. This year, China’s trade with Africa – forecast at US$220 billion – is set to overtake that of both the USA and the European Union.

The history factor could produce a sharp change in US-Africa strategy, should Obama win a second term. He is under fire for the lack of impact of his two new policies in Africa, the climate change initiative and Feed the Future agriculture programme. Washington insiders predict Obama will assemble a more coordinated, aggressive team to push these plans ahead. Policymakers are also working on a stronger version of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, offering African exporters greater access to the US market.

The stakes and the ideologies at play in China’s leadership change are far less clear. The new General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, has a reputation for being both pragmatic and enigmatic. However, there is a growing economic anxiety in China, caused by flaws in the state capitalist model, the slowdown in Western markets and increasing popular protests, all suggesting the need for sweeping economic reforms. These reforms – and their political side effects – will again change China’s relations with Africa.

NIGERIA

Shell and the Delta litigations

The next hearing of the case of the 11,000 people of Bodo versus the Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell in the High Court is scheduled for 5 November, when a judge will hear arguments about the proper location for the suit concerning the environmental despoliation of the Niger Delta.

RWANDA | UGANDA | CONGO-KINSHASA

Uganda accused

The United Nations Group of Experts on eastern Congo-Kinshasa has indicted the Ugandan government as co-sponsor of the Mouvement du 23 mars (M23) rebellion in Kivu alongside Rwanda. Kampala has threatened to pull out of regional operations against Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army and to withdraw from the African Union Mission in Somalia if the charges are not retracted.

ZIMBABWE

Three men in a boat

President Robert Mugabe opened the final Stakeholders’ Conference on the draft constitution on 22 October. When the audience dispersed three days later, nobody seemed clear on what substantive changes had been agreed, let alone what would happen next.

ANGOLA

Sovereign wonga fund

Amid much fanfare, Luanda formally launched its US$5 billion Fundo Soberano de Angola on 17 October. The Fsdea was formed from the Fundo Petrolifero set up by the government early last year to accumulate oil revenue for strategic investment. Yet, for all its stylish website and flashy offices, financial analysts remain puzzled about its management, investment policies and legal status.

SÃO TOMÉ & PRÍNCIPE

Opposition shakes Trovoada

The biggest challenge yet to the government of Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada saw the three opposition parties band together in a major demonstration on 19 October with ‘Save Democracy’ as the official slogan.

SOMALIA

Not yet spring in Mogadishu

Political rivals, warlords and some regional officials are already testing the mettle of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, just over a month after his election. Relatively untarnished by the cut-throat world of Somali politics, the former civil activist and World Bank consultant was regarded hopefully by some diplomats as the herald of a ‘Somali Spring’.

BLUE LINES

THE INSIDE VIEW

Africa will watch the United States’ election on 6 November with a sense of history as its candidate Barack Obama vies for a second term, says a West African academic. However, Africa will watch China’s leadership transition, which begins that same week, with a sense of economic destiny. No question about that on the numbers. This year, China’s trade with Africa – fo...

MALI

Soldiers get ready

This week, teams of West African, African Union and United Nations military planners descended on Bamako to get an agreement from President Dioncounda Traoré’s government on a strategy to wrest control of northern Mali from the jihadists.

Pointers  

SOUTH SUDAN

Juba jitters

Security is still being tightened after coup rumours, along with discontent triggered by the 27 September agreements with Sudan. The arrest of a senior Sudan People’s Liberation Army officer, Major General Simon Gatwech Duel, a Lou Nuer from Uror County, ...

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