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confidentially speaking

The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 19th January 2017

Pan-Africanist solutions

Blue Lines

In the new edition of Africa Confidential, our correspondents complete their tour d'horizon of the developments and people who will shape 2017 on the continent. Throughout the edition, we trace the effects of the changing international backdrop, particularly the political changes in Europe and the United States, which are likely to reduce their involvement in Africa. That means a proportionately greater role for the bigger Asian countries, as the opening article makes clear.

It is also likely to lead to a more robust pan-African strategy by the continent's biggest economies for cross-border integration and consolidation of the regional economic groupings. There is no agreed blueprint across the continent but senior officials in Southern, East and West Africa are stepping up plans to open their markets for wholly pragmatic commercial reasons: a response to investors' demands for scale.

That could have its corollary in political developments in West Africa. The decision by the region's leaders to face down Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's attempts to hang on to power after losing the election in December is a litmus test for the continent. Regional leaders say they will cease to recognise Jammeh as President on 19 January.

The next steps will depend on Jammeh's response but the omens are not good. Although most of his senior ministers have resigned, Jammeh has declared a state of emergency and shows every sign of using force to stop Adama Barrow from assuming his mandate.

Read all about it in AC Vol 58 No 2.