Jump to navigation

Published 14th April 2017

Vol 58 No 8


South Africa

Zuma's edifice starts to wobble

Hundreds of South Africans protest against the the dismissal of Pravin Gordhan. Photo: Janine Stephen/dpa
Hundreds of South Africans protest against the the dismissal of Pravin Gordhan. Photo: Janine Stephen/dpa

After denouncing the sacking of Gordhan, oppositionists and ANC dissidents hit the streets. Then it's over to parliament

Pro-democracy forces brought tens of thousands of protestors into South Africa's streets last week following President Jacob Zuma's ousting of Pravin Gordhan from the Finance Ministry and his replacement with Malusi Gigaba. 'I don't ask questions. I simply comply with the instructions given to me', said Gigaba on being appointed. This marks the fifth change in finance minister in two years. On 18 April, a vote of no-confidence in President Zuma is due to be held. He is expected to win comfortably, although much will be read into the size of the winning margin.

READ FOR FREE

Gigaba raises sights still higher

Amid ANC rivalries for the succession, the new Finance Minister believes he could get the top job

The controversial Malusi Gigaba, the former Home Affairs Minister now elevated to the Finance Ministry, has been proposed by influential sections of the African National Congress a...


New script in KwaZulu-Natal

Heavy-handed quashing of dissent and voter fraud is cutting support for President Zuma in his heartland province

The powerful KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) branch of the African National Congress, the governing party's largest, lifted Jacob Zuma into the ANC presidency at its 2007 and 2012 national con...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Among the most stubborn collateral damage wrought by the West's financial crisis of 2008 was the cutting of international credit lines to Africa. The initial rationale for severing the lines was knee-jerk and computational: if Western banks and ratings agencies had failed so badly, African banks would probably have made the same errors. In fact, some African financial institutions have demonstrated much higher prudential standards than their Western counterparts. Doubtless the cumulati...

Among the most stubborn collateral damage wrought by the West's financial crisis of 2008 was the cutting of international credit lines to Africa. The initial rationale for severing the lines was knee-jerk and computational: if Western banks and ratings agencies had failed so badly, African banks would probably have made the same errors. In fact, some African financial institutions have demonstrated much higher prudential standards than their Western counterparts. Doubtless the cumulative effects of the 2008 crisis were to push down commodity prices and with them, the revenue of many African governments.

A boost for African banks has been the fast-growing relationship between them and the private and state financial institutions in Asia's key economies, such as China, India, Japan and South Korea. Along with higher foreign reserves and more robust monetary policies, that provided Africa's state treasuries and banks with something of a cushion.

But the failure to resolve many shortcomings in the West, together with the slowdown in emerging markets, is redoubling their impact on Africa's banks. Most of all, this is felt in more sharp cuts to the number of international credit lines that African banks can access. This quickly hits the local economies, particularly in East Africa currently, slowing down trade and production. The credit line crunch should be a leading topic at the African Development Bank's annual meeting next month.

Read more

Ambition and ethics

Politicking ahead of the 2019 elections and the derailing of the anti-corruption campaign frustrate President Buhari's team

In the four weeks since his return from medical leave in London, President Muhammadu Buhari has struggled to regain the initiative. This comes against a background of intensifying ...


Heroes and villains

Corruption during the Ebola outbreak is enfeebling the health-care system, according to secret audits

When nursing assistant Salome Karwah, an Ebola fever survivor who had appeared on the cover of America's Time Magazine as a Person of the Year in 2014, died after giving birth this...


New populist hires old faces

Few in the new cabinet were hired on their ability – instead they can thank Farmajo's highly effective political network

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire's plate is more than usually full. Not only must he demonstrate that his past involvement with the once predatory-seeming Soma Oil and Gas has no b...


Sex, rebels and Paris trips

President Condé steams ahead in the opinion polls but dissent within his party is growing as local elections approach

The career of the governing party's youth leader came to an abrupt end in late February when the latest in a series of sex tapes which have been circulating in the capital went vir...


Lungu's way and the highway

After violent clashes en route to Kuomboka, the government wants to outlaw the main opposition party and gaol its leader

Extraordinary sights greeted viewers of the Prime TV News television channel on 8 April as President Edgar Lungu and United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hi...



Pointers

Runway overrun

Despite promising the International Monetary Fund and World Bank that he would not go through with it, President Ernest Bai Koroma has still not given up on the Mamamah airport pro...


Desperation and inspiration

With the United Kingdom's divorce from the European Union now under way, government and business have launched a charm offensive in a bid to strengthen trade partnerships with othe...


No pay, no ports, no deal

Puntland's President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali 'Gaas' hopes he has struck Emirates gold after signing a 30-year contract worth US$336 million on 6 April with Dubai company P&O Ports...


Guelleh quells opponents

Human rights campaigners and a main opposition party are targeted by a severe crackdown overseen by President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh amid apparent international indifference.