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Published 22nd July 2021

Vol 62 No 15


Funding boost needed to bridge two-track recovery

Kristalina Georgieva meets with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Félix Tshisekedi at the Four Seasons Hotel George V. Pic: IMF Photo/Cyril Marcilhacy
Kristalina Georgieva meets with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Félix Tshisekedi at the Four Seasons Hotel George V. Pic: IMF Photo/Cyril Marcilhacy

Multilaterals change rules to boost loans to Africa, to startclosing a $425 billion finance gap

Africa will be the main beneficiary of a new plan by the International Monetary Fund to boost cheap loans for countries hardest hit by the pandemic in what officials hope will be a key step to meet the continent's external funding needs of US$425 billion over the next five years. It will give the IMF a growing role in African economies as some other sources of finance are level or falling.


Fighting escalates as federal ties fray

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

As Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed calls for a national war, Tigrayan forces mobilise on three fronts

As fighting was spreading eastwards to Afar Region, on 18 July Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared a total war on the Tigray People's Liberation Front, bringing in soldiers from mos...


No good options on the table

Abiy Ahmed. Pic: Tiksa Negeri / Reuters / Alamy
Abiy Ahmed. Pic: Tiksa Negeri / Reuters / Alamy

With a lack of credible mediators and both sides ruling out political negotiations, the likeliest outcome is an intensifying conflict

All sides have to make some tough decisions on strategy as the eight-month fight for control of Tigray escalates, dragging in surrounding regions. Judging by the declarations of Pr...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Although journalism has been facing all manner of economic and political pressures during the pandemic, it is gratifying to see a team of skilled investigators produce revelatory stories about the state of diplomacy and espionage.

Foreign affairs specialists have long known about the operations of Israel's NSO and its proximity to that country's intelligence services. But the scale of its ambition and that of its clients – a roster of telephone numbers including France's Preside...

Although journalism has been facing all manner of economic and political pressures during the pandemic, it is gratifying to see a team of skilled investigators produce revelatory stories about the state of diplomacy and espionage.

Foreign affairs specialists have long known about the operations of Israel's NSO and its proximity to that country's intelligence services. But the scale of its ambition and that of its clients – a roster of telephone numbers including France's President Emmanuel Macron, Morocco's Mohammed VI, South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa and Pakistan's Imran Khan – is shocking if not surprising. It will exacerbate pre-existing distrust in the case of India and Pakistan or South Africa and Rwanda (one of NSO's biggest clients in Africa). Given that Rwanda has been running assassination campaigns against its political dissidents exiled in South Africa, it is logical for it to spy on Ramaphosa and others. More surprising is why South Africa hadn't discovered this earlier and the timidity of its official response.

France, which is investigating claims that Morocco's security services targeted mobile phones belonging to President Macron and 15 French ministers using NSO spyware, may also try to downplay the issue. It depends on Moroccan security for intelligence on Islamist militants in Europe, and doesn't want to jeopardise that mosque-level cooperation. The sting is slightly eased by the revelation that Rabat's service was also spying on Mohammed VI, who has been holed up in the royal palace at Fez for a curiously lengthy period.

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Who runs KwaZulu-Natal?

Our correspondents look at the leading politicians and their parties in the country’s most volatile and second most populous province

The African National Congress is dominant in KwaZulu-Natal, with 44 seats in the 80-seat provincial legislature, while its nearest rival, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has just 1...


Khartoum's fractious neighbours

The conflicts in Chad and Ethiopia are redrawing local and regional politics

Regional alignments have changed radically since the ousting of Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir and the National Congress Party regime in April 2019 and its replacement by a transition...


Anatomy of a failed insurrection

Recovery from the violence, looting and sabotage is likely to be slow amid spiralling joblessness and with the ringleaders apparently still at large

A confluence of widespread economic despair, hunger and protest sparked by the jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma, began with a deliberate act of sabotage. On 9 J...


Macron's man

After a baptism of fire, President Bazoum is positioning himself as France’s main security ally in the Sahel

Just three months after taking office, President Mohamed Bazoum has emerged as a central figure in the struggle to restore security to the Sahel.


Burkina without Barkhane

The army needs French support to handle the jihadist challenge but public confidence in their security forces is weak

Security sources in Burkina Faso are proud of their retaliation against the jihadist forces that carried out the massacre in the village of Solhan in the country's east on 5 June w...


Between money and the military

After negotiating a new round of credits, Khartoum’s respected prime minister warns that the old guard wants to derail the transition

The latest deal for debt relief and the signing of a US$2.5 billion credit with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are necessary but far from sufficient to keep the country's tr...

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Pointers

Warrant worries

The junta in Bamako may have been hoping for a boost with reports on 5 July that a court in the capital had issued an international warrant for the arrest of Karim Keïta, elde...


Victory by proxy

Former Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada may be in self-imposed exile in Portugal but his political influence is undimmed. Carlos Vila Nova, the Acção Democrátic...


Eyes on the count

Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema is investing hope and major resources, including a phone app and satellite systems, to mobilise over 20,000 election agents from his United Par...


Nyusi annoys the neighbours

While 1,000 Rwandan police and troops, widely admired for their military qualities, have arrived on the Afungi peninsula to defend the liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure ag...