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Global shocks, local differences

Chart Copyright © Africa Confidential 2017
Chart Copyright © Africa Confidential 2017

Smaller countries outpace giants such as Nigeria and South Africa but progress on regional integration and industrialisation is lacking

Economic conditions in Africa this year might best be symbolised by the new railway boom, over a century after the failure of a colonial plan for a route between Cairo and Cape Town. Today's routes are less ambitious. Instead of colonial expansion, they are a belated attempt at integrating the continent's 54 national economies and fostering intra-continental trade. The railways are usually built by Chinese engineering firms, whose costings and financing deals undercut all rivals for now. Yet China's economic slowdown and diminished appetite for African commodities is held up as a leading cause of lacklustre growth across Africa over the past two years.

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Museveni's marathon

The President is hoping for a calmer year than last but his latest plans to stay on and hand over to his son could yet stir unrest

President Yoweri Museveni will use 2017 to launch a constitutional review that many suspect is designed to ensure the indefinite continuation of his presidency. A new Constitutiona...


The South fails the North

The government is disappointing many in its failure to meet the challenges of separatism and jihadism

Its contours recently redrawn by the local elections and the nomination of interim authorities in northern regions, Mali's political landscape will become even more complex in comi...


Out with the Ould

The promise of the President's retirement will dominate politics as the opposition seeks to create a broad alliance

Politics in Mauritania could be radically reshaped in the months ahead if talks between the opposition Forum national pour la démocratie et l'unité (FNDU) and the grassroots anti-s...


Electoral test for Condé

February's local elections will gauge Condé's popularity. The economy will stay in the doldrums

Guinea will finally hold its local elections in February, almost seven years late. It is the first major test of the governing coalition of President Alpha Condé since his relative...


Hery's hard line

The three-cornered fight between the president and his predecessors looks set to continue, and with it yet more instability and conflict

Just when Malagasy politics appeared to be edging towards a more consensual mood, with the last-minute passage of the 2017 budget and a distinctly upbeat December donors' meeting i...


Vote row threatens economy

Fallout from the disputed presidential election is affecting an already deteriorating economic outlook

Two crises will dominate Gabon's political landscape in 2017: President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba's legitimacy as President and the economy. Bongo is badly tarnished both at home and a...


Benkirane's 'bras de fer'

The clash between the Palace and the Islamist PJD will shape politics as much as the kingdom's efforts to rejoin the AU

The struggle over who will join Morocco's next coalition government has continued into the new year and could continue for some time yet. The coalition is again to be led by the 'm...


Development state digs in

The political crisis shows no sign of abating but the opposition remains in disarray. The economic cost of the turmoil is rising

The government says that it is listening to the people and is considering reform in the wake of the violence and unrest in Amhara and Oromia for much of 2016. Yet the state of emer...


Paris sends Sahel signal

With US policy on Africa still a cipher and the UK in retreat from Europe, France reaffirms its security commitments in the region

More than 30 African leaders meet today (13 January) in Bamako, marking President François Hollande's farewell to the continent and a restatement of France's commitment to fight j...


A scorched earth peace

The President has outmanoeuvred his rival, but the legacy of their bloody conflict is mass malnutrition and warnings of genocide


Mugabe's waiting room

Vice-President Mnangagwa looks increasingly set to take over the reins despite the First Lady's strong opposition


A coalition of hope

Donors line up more support to help confront deeply uncertain prospects for security and an economy damaged by terrorism


Pressure-cooker polls

Map Copyright © Africa Confidential 2017

Tensions could boil over when two ethnically based coalitions do battle in elections for the national and county governments


Jammeh feels the heat

As Yahya Jammeh shows no sign of stepping down regional leaders are determined to see him go. There is talk of military intervention


New order tackles old debts

A month after his election victory, Akufo Addo's new team starts work on a fast-track economic and political reform agenda


Lungu for longer

The president's aim to have a third term will dominate politics much as the anticipated IMF programme will dominate the economy


Elusive legitimacy

Currency devaluation will shape economic prospects this year but the President faces conflicts within and outside his country's borders 


The power and the glory

The President wants industrialisation and will pull out all the stops to achieve it, even at the expense of his anti-corruption crusade


Money and the military

As its foreign reserves dwindle, the Khartoum regime will face mounting protest on the street and a more determined opposition


Frelimo's quagmire

The people who trapped the country in secret debts are still in charge and likely to remain, but investment is falling


Cold and hot wars

Algeria and Morocco will glare at each other over their border, Libya will remain locked in violence, and Tunisia will lick its wounds


Surviving elections and jihad

Calming the controversies of the electoral process will occupy the government. Security will remain precarious across the country


The bad loans bite back

With oil revenue no longer able to conceal the cracks, a reckoning is coming for the banks which lent freely to the elite and now face a mountain of bad debt