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Published 14th December 2012

Vol 53 No 25


Ghana

The Mahama factor

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures. Adolphus Opara
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures. Adolphus Opara

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

The NDC candidate turned around the campaign after his predecessor’s death; now he has to deliver on his promise of sweeping improvements to governance

It was Ghana’s longest, costliest and most acrimonious election campaign. It ended with a grand party for the National Democratic Congress on 9 December and attempts by the opposition New Patriotic Party to persuade the Electoral Commission to delay the announcement of the results. The presidential result will be difficult to challenge. The NDC’s John Dramani Mahama was reelected President with 50.70% to 47.74% for the NPP’S Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, a margin of 325,863 votes. The best estimates put the cost of the election at over US$100 million.


The democracy question

With a population nudging 25 million and a fast-growing lower-middle-income economy with gold, oil and gas production, Ghana can lay claim to running Africa’s most important multi...


Soro clouds economic revival

Ouattara’s new cabinet of bankers and economists underlines his determination to raise living standards but what about human rights?

President Alassane Dramane Ouattara’s cabinet reshuffle on 22 November emphasised old loyalties and economic competence, firmly pushing neo-liberal economic buttons. Out from the p...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Africa has had more political drama and economic change, much of it pointing in a positive direction, than any other continent in 2012. Successful, peaceful elections have strengthened democracy in Ghana and Sierra Leone and consolidated political pluralism in Liberia and Zambia. Having overthrown dictatorships, the people of...

Africa has had more political drama and economic change, much of it pointing in a positive direction, than any other continent in 2012. Successful, peaceful elections have strengthened democracy in Ghana and Sierra Leone and consolidated political pluralism in Liberia and Zambia. Having overthrown dictatorships, the people of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are now trying to negotiate new constitutions, which pits secular liberals against Islamists. The pushback against authoritarianism – secular or theocratic – suggests North Africa’s revolutions have deeper roots than many thought.

Just as transformative is the wave of natural resource, agricultural and retail investment, even if some cheerleaders ignore unpalatable side effects. Africa’s civic activists stress the need for governments to get higher tax and royalties and negotiate more local processing. Watch Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania – all learning lessons from other resource-rich economies.

Young Africans are more literate than their parents but more unemployed. Governments must encourage, not fight, the informal sector, the biggest employer in most countries. Investment in education has to rise steeply: almost half the world’s children without formal education are in Africa. Those figures, along with the national crises in Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe, show the formidable agenda ahead but African governments and people are better placed than ever to tackle it.

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Shotgun wedding season

The deadline for electoral alliances has forced some unlikely political bedfellows to tie the knot, however reluctantly

With barely three months to go before the general elections, the 4 December deadline on pre-poll deals forced Kenya’s promiscuous political class into a flurry of shotgun weddings....


Ructions over reconquest plan

Growing divisions among Mali’s politicians and military, as well as among foreign powers, will delay plans for an internationally backed intervention to oust jihadists from the nor...


Wilting jasmine

Two years after Ben Ali’s fall, the lack of social and economic progress is fuelling disenchantment with the government

Many of the post-revolution politicians are gaining a reputation for fiddling while parts of Tunisia burn. Riots in late November and early December in Siliana saw over 250 protest...


Rift risk over gas laws

Negotiations over the planned gas plant could put Anadarko and ENI on a collision course with government

Preparations are now well under way for a liquefied natural gas plant to handle Mozambique’s massive offshore gas deposits. The Instituto Nacional de Petróleo has proposed a bill t...


A country polarised

The President’s enforcement of his power over the judiciary paves the way for a new constitution and a dangerously divided country

If the referendum on Egypt’s new constitution goes ahead as planned on 15 December and wins a majority, it will mark a political victory for President Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim ...


Unity under strain

As the forces pulling Libya apart strengthen, the government makes strategic blunders and cannot make progress on the constitution

Having departed from the overly ambitious roadmap set out in 2011’s Constitutional Declaration, Libya’s elected representatives cannot decide on a replacement and are mired in inde...


Captain Sanogo strikes back

The putschists are spending more time shoring up their local power base than promoting the transition and the reunification of the country

The appearance of a shaken Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra on state television just before dawn on 11 December proffering apologies to the Malian people along with his resignat...


Tax threat to IMF deal

The uproar caused by President Mohamed Mursi’s declaration of full powers on 22 November threatens Egypt’s efforts to mobilise funds from the International Monetary Fund and other ...


Sadig calls for regime change

As pressure builds in Khartoum, the grand old man of the Umma Party tries to win back power

The Prime Minister that the National Islamic Front (NIF) overthrew in 1989, El Sadig el Sideeg el Mahdi, sees a chance to win back power as conflict deepens at the core of the Khar...



Pointers

Trovoada sacked

Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada’s government failed to reach the end of its term, as Africa Confidential predicted (AC Vol 53 No 22, Opposition shakes Trovoada), and lawyer Gabriel...


Geingob reassures

The governing SWAPO party surprised friend and foe alike by electing Hage Geingob, 72, as its presidential successor to President Hifikepunye Pohamba.


Mengi beaned in court

Reginald Mengi, a Tanzanian media tycoon who is a friend and backer of President Jakaya Kikwete, has been ordered to pay £1.2 million (US$1.94 mn.) towards the legal costs of Briti...