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Published 10th July 2015

Vol 56 No 14


Congo-Kinshasa

Ivanhoe rides into the elections

Exploration drilling at Kamoa. Image © 2015 Ivanhoe Mines
Exploration drilling at Kamoa. Image © 2015 Ivanhoe Mines

A dispute between a Canadian conglomerate and the Mines Ministry points to battles over the coming elections and Chinese cash

Buccaneer mine owner Robert Friedland claims to have discovered the world's biggest undeveloped copper mine at Kamoa, in Congo's Katanga Province. He has also brought in one of China's biggest mining companies, Zijin Mining Group, to finance the project, which is due to start producing copper in 2018.

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The fishing deal got fishier

Politicians, generals and bankers are in the frame as more details emerge of the country’s worst-ever corruption scandal and new debt mountain

At vast public expense, the government is set to rescue the controversial state tuna-fishing company, Empresa Moçambicana de Atum (Ematum), from imminent collapse. On 18 June, Fina...


The ones that got away

Astonishment still governs most responses to the details of how the Empresa Moçambicana de Atum was supposed to make money. Originally, the then Finance Minister, Manuel Chang, sai...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

This month, two Western powers, the United States and France, are trying to remind Africa that it hasn’t been totally left out of their calculations. On 20 July, US President Barack Obama is to welcome Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to Washington DC (see Pointer, The clock ticks faster) and just days later, he jets off to Addis Ababa and Nairobi, where he will meet Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Uhuru Kenyatta. Growing insecurity is on the agenda but Obama also ...

This month, two Western powers, the United States and France, are trying to remind Africa that it hasn’t been totally left out of their calculations. On 20 July, US President Barack Obama is to welcome Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to Washington DC (see Pointer, The clock ticks faster) and just days later, he jets off to Addis Ababa and Nairobi, where he will meet Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Uhuru Kenyatta. Growing insecurity is on the agenda but Obama also wants to address longer-term growth.

US oil and gas imports from Africa have almost stopped due to its use of fracking technology to produce more energy locally. China, the world’s biggest market for oil and gas, pushed up its trade with Africa to US$222 billion last year. That’s over three times the level of US-Africa trade. The more adventurous US officials and companies are looking for ways into Africa’s retail and agricultural markets but few have found ways to build on the unexpectedly popular Africa summit that Obama hosted in Washington a year ago.

France, whose President François Hollande swung through Benin, Angola and Cameroon last week, looks equally stuck in the past. The Parisian daily l’Opinion described the mini-tour as ‘La nouvelle Françafrique de Hollande’. France’s economy still benefits critically from its skewed trading relations with its former colonies in Africa and its backing for the two CFA currency zones there which compel the member governments to keep a substantial part of their foreign reserves in Paris.

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Why the peacekeepers stay in Darfur

As the government and its allies step up attacks on civilians in Darfur, the UN and AU insist their protection force will extend its mandate

Khartoum has fought a long battle to cripple and expel the international peacekeeping force in Darfur, so it reacted angrily last month when the mission's mandate was extended for ...


Attacks bring 'state of war'

A new phase of Islamist violence and brutal retaliation by the regime shakes Egypt to the core

The modest security gains which President Abdel Fatah el Sisi's military regime could claim have all but dissolved in a deluge of violence initiated by Islamists and unmatched sinc...


A federal farrago

The new regional governments are generating conflicts among rivals and with Al Shabaab. That looks bad for next year's elections

The ferocity of Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen's Ramadan offensive has obscured growing divisions among clans – and between them and the government – over the increasing number...


No end to Banda’s odyssey

She says she can’t return because it’s not safe but many believe the ex-President fears arrest over the Cashgate scandal

Former President Joyce Banda has claimed that the government is arranging a 'mysterious accident' that will cost her her life and that's why she won't come back to her country. It'...


Shabaab's surge

Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen's devastating attack on the African Union Mission in Somalia base at Leego on 26 June may mark the high point of the Islamist militia's 2015 Rama...


Too many cooks spoil the books

Malawi's reputation for the plunder of public funds has grown with the publication of another damning audit of government expenditure. After leaks to the media, the government was ...



Pointers

The soldiers return

Fear and tension have returned after the former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, was shot dead on the outskirts of Maseru on 25 June. I...


War mars independence day

Independence anniversary celebrations on 9 July were a far cry from the mass joy when the country separated from Sudan in 2011. The civil war, in which over 50,000 people have been...


UN: 'unfair, unfree'

The United Nations' election observer mission has condemned the 29 June local and legislative elections in Burundi, saying 'the environment was not conducive for free, credible and...


The clock ticks faster

This month, packed with critical meetings, appointments and policy changes, marks the real launch of President Muhammadu Buhari's government. He is due to name the main ministers w...