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Published 7th October 2016

Vol 57 No 20


Zimbabwe

Fears of a great unravelling

Chart Copyright © Africa Confidential 2016
Chart Copyright © Africa Confidential 2016

Calls for an emergency financing conference are growing amid deepening risks of economic and political chaos

After a flash of mid-year optimism about the prospects of a deal to settle Zimbabwe's foreign debt arrears and an injection of new money, there is a political impasse about how to fix the economy. The rival factions in power differ over economic strategy while the increasingly vocal opposition opposes any foreign money deal, which it sees as bailing out President Robert Mugabe's ailing government.

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Zuma largesse under fire

The patronage networks which have sustained Jacob Zuma in the presidency are crumbling

As police fired rubber bullets at students in Johannesburg on 4 October protesting against rises in university fees, officials in the governing African National Congress were talki...


More guns, more secret debts

Revelations about more hidden loans will reinforce demands for a comprehensive investigation of state finances

With the world's fastest falling currency and one of its most damaging debt burdens, as Mozambique faces a still harsher regime of economic austerity, claims of another US$900 mill...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Over the past month, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and McKinsey Consulting have finally junked their message of an economically rising Africa. The IMF cuts its 2017 forecast for Nigeria and South Africa to 0.6% and 0.8% respectively, their lowest level for two decades. The messy struggle for the succession in South Africa and two insurgent groups in Nigeria are exacerbating the economic woes.

The World Bank mirrors the IMF's statistical gloom about economic prospects...

Over the past month, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and McKinsey Consulting have finally junked their message of an economically rising Africa. The IMF cuts its 2017 forecast for Nigeria and South Africa to 0.6% and 0.8% respectively, their lowest level for two decades. The messy struggle for the succession in South Africa and two insurgent groups in Nigeria are exacerbating the economic woes.

The World Bank mirrors the IMF's statistical gloom about economic prospects but its newly re-elected President, Jim Yong Kim, wants a more public focus on critical health indicators such as malnutrition and stunting of children. India (47% of children are stunted), Pakistan (45%) and Congo-Kinshasa (43%) have some of the worst records in the world. McKinsey urges a new concentration on African companies, 400 of which generate more than US$1 billion a year in revenue. Investing in these companies will boost wages and taxes but also promote innovation and new technology.

However, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation sounded a sombre warning with a review of the first decade of its governance index. It records an improvement in governance in 37 countries, home to some 70% of the people on the continent. For 78% of people, participation and human rights have improved. But many measures are heading the wrong way: corruption and bureaucracy worsened by an average of 8.7% and in two-thirds of countries, there has been a marked decline in the freedom of expression.

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Jammeh tilts the playing field

An increasingly isolated and paranoid President has become even more dictatorial in the lead-up to national elections

The last time Gambia went to the polls, in November 2011, the incumbent President Yahya Jammeh won 72% of the vote, crushing two below-par opposition coalitions. The Commonwealth a...


Jubilee unites ahead of poll

A divided opposition lacking ideas is in danger of handing victory to the ever more confident ruling party

The political battle lines for next August's general elections have been drawn. President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party, which grew out of the governing Jubilee coalition and comb...


Did Khartoum cross the line?

France joins human rights groups to demand an international probe into claims that Khartoum used chemical weapons in its Darfur war

Claims in an Amnesty International report released on 29 September that the Sudanese regime may have used chemical weapons in Darfur will again test United Nations and African Unio...


Safe choice, vexed process

After three political attempts to undermine the selection process, the Judicial Service Commission has named a new Chief Justice

An uncontroversial Appeals Court Judge of 64 from Kisii, David Kenani Maraga, has been named as the new Chief Justice. After two weeks of open interviews and three failed political...


Electoral roads to federalism

As the country goes to the polls, the base is broader but will the government that emerges be more legitimate than its predecessors?

Four years ago, general elections took place in Mogadishu in a hectic atmosphere created mostly by an international community determined to show that the political transition was o...



Pointers

Coordinated exit

In June, General Edward Katumba Wamala, Chief of the Defence Forces, announced plans to withdraw Ugandan troops from Somalia by the end of 2017. That echoed recent signs from Kenya...


One-man dialogues

After Gabon's shambolic presidential vote in August and the swearing in of Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba on 27 September for a new seven-year term, both government and opposition are offer...


Iron Man

Facing lacklustre demand in the global market, the country's iron-ore production is only slowly recovering from the disaster of the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2015. The leading company...