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Published 3rd February 2017

Vol 58 No 3


Calling Trumpsville

Photo by Olivier Douliery/Abaca
Photo by Olivier Douliery/Abaca

Washington's radical changes in policy and alignments are starting to hit African governments and economies

Until the outgoing Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, told the organisation's summit in Addis Ababa on 30 January that the United States' travel ban on seven countries with Muslim majorities presaged 'turbulent times', the continent's reaction to Donald Trump's presidency had been muted. The best guess among many African officials was that the lack of any reference to Africa in Trump's election campaign – bar a sideswipe against his rival Hillary Clinton on Libya – suggested that there wouldn't be big changes in US policy.

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Naval deal under spotlight

Luanda's latest lavish defence contract has eerie echoes of Mozambique's controversial naval procurement

Angola is planning a major expansion of its navy with the help of Privinvest Group, the company which supplied fishing vessels and high-technology military patrol boats to Mozambiq...


Kith, kin and cosh

Army reshuffles ensure ruling family dominance and install tough officers to deal with regional unrest

The mid-January reshuffle of the upper levels of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF)was a characteristically careful balance of tribal allegiance and political planning desig...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

'C'est un grand jour pour le Maroc,' Rabat's Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar told journalists in Addis Ababa after his country was readmitted to the African Union on 31 January. He was speaking just minutes after Morocco's King Mohammed VI had made his inaugural address to the African Union summit as the head of a member state.

Mohammed VI's 20-minute s...
'C'est un grand jour pour le Maroc,' Rabat's Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar told journalists in Addis Ababa after his country was readmitted to the African Union on 31 January. He was speaking just minutes after Morocco's King Mohammed VI had made his inaugural address to the African Union summit as the head of a member state.

Mohammed VI's 20-minute speech was placatory, with only one reference to the dispute over the claims to Western Sahara which had prompted his country to quit the AU's predecessor, the Organisation for African Unity. 'We don't want to divide the continent,' he insisted. Although Morocco had won the support of 40 member states for its readmission, there was no discussion of the implications.

Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, Foreign Minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which has been locked in dispute with Morocco for four decades, called Rabat's return a 'positive step'. He believes Morocco's AU membership will compel it to recognise the SADR as an accredited nation state. So far there has been no regional thaw over the core issue: the territory's status. Algeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe still strongly back the SADR and say they will oppose any move by Morocco to downgrade its status. That could push the issue back to the United Nations, where a stalemate between Morocco and the SADR has reigned since 1991. UN Secretary General António Guterres could be the man to break the log jam.
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Warning shots from the army

The new political establishment is consolidating but the soldiers' mutiny points to risks from unfinished business

The new Prime Minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, will need to deal quickly and decisively with the raft of problems that have exploded in the first weeks of the year: two mutinies, th...


Eritrea's unsettling alliance

Asmara's new role as Saudi Arabia's ally is causing headaches in Addis just as Egypt makes overtures to Issayas

Ethiopia is troubled by the deepening role of Eritrea in the Saudi Arabian-led coalition's war against Houthi rebels in Yemen and its enemy's consequent relief from diplomatic isol...


Front lines in flux

The UN-backed unity government is disintegrating while rival armed blocs in the east and west gear up for a battle for Tripoli

Many now predict the disintegration of the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and with it, the fragile balance that has kept open war from breaking out. The ...


Kabila's co-opted cabinet

The latest agreement with the opposition leaves the new crop of ministers uncertain of their future

Just minutes before midnight on 19 December, as the seconds ticked down on the last day of his constitutionally permitted second term of office, President Joseph Kabila Kabange's I...


The endless election

Bombs, bribery, and dirty deals have delayed the selection of the president. The electoral process has lost credibility

Some six months after around 20,000 'electors' started choosing members of parliament, the electoral process is still going on. On 8 February, goes the latest forecast, the selecti...


The scramble for the chair

Low intrigues and high politics will decide the choice of the African Union’s next leader. All bets are off as new favourites emerge

The contest for the chair of the African Union Commission is entering its most fevered stage as delegates gather in Addis Ababa for the annual summit from 22-31 January. Nkosazana ...



Pointers

Artfully dodging debt

A growing faction in the governing Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (Frelimo) favours repudiating its US$2 billion in questionable secret loans. It wants those responsible for th...


Jammeh's long goodbye

Jubilation at the departure of ex-President Yahya Jammeh was stained with suspicion and anger as the story spread that he had been granted immunity from prosecution and had plunder...


Another Kenya army base hit

The Kenya Defence Force suffered a devastating blow at the hands of Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen on 27 January when the jihadists overran an army base at Kulbiyow (sometimes ...


Squeezing the banks

The government has decided to mobilise domestic savings and deposits to plug the gap in public finances under the routine-sounding name of the State's Annual Debt Plan. The measure...


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