ZIMBABWE | COMMONWEALTH
Like a slow-motion train crash, from 5 to 8 December Commonwealth leaders allowed a bad-tempered discussion on Zimbabwe to dominate their summit, ending in the continuation of sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's government and its predicted withdrawal from the 54-member club. Other important business, such as ending agricultural subsidies, trade reform, more cooperation on anti-HIV/AIDS strategy and regional security, was sidelined as the Zimbabwe row divided the summiteers. Commonwealth staffers dismissed such worries: the theme of the summit was 'democracy and development' and the row focused attention on both. Two questions emerge from the debacle in Abuja: could more astute diplomacy have secured a better result? Will the fall-out cause lasting damage to the Commonwealth and its African members? The answer is a double'yes'.
CHAD | SUDAN
Armed opposition is on the rise again, as anti-government militias train in Sudan and politicians grow restless in N'djamena. The unrest puts at risk not only the ailing President Idriss Déby but also the flagship transparency project imposed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on the Doba basin oil development. Doba now produces 100,000 barrels per day, which should climb to 225,000 bpd early next year, says the IMF. On 28 November, US$6.5 million of oil revenue was deposited in Citibank, London, which holds most of the cash in an escrow account, for health, education and other projects. The Chadian Treasury's account gets only 15 per cent.