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Published 28th April 2017

Vol 58 No 9


Zambia

Motorcade, treason and plot



President Lungu's actions in imprisoning the opposition leader are viewed with growing amazement and alarm

Hakainde Hichilema's arrest for treason was at first dismissed as an intimidatory gimmick by President Edgar Lungu after the 'clash of the motorcades' early this month. However, as days behind bars turn into weeks for the leader of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), the view that Lungu is creating a new dictatorship is increasing in currency. The influential Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke for many on 23 April when it said the country, 'is now all, except in designation, a dictatorship and if it is not yet, then we are not far from it.' The UPND still won't recognise the legitimacy of Lungu's re-election last August.

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To sue or to schmooze

Ministers are torn between demanding cash from a mining giant accused of fraud and maintaining a cosy relationship

The move by Zambia's largely government-owned mining investment company to sue First Quantum Minerals for fraud has put its chief executive officer Pius Kasolo at loggerheads with ...


Mr Gigabyte's baptism of fire

The new Finance Minister swings through New York and Washington trying to give an impression of business as usual

South Africa's fourth Finance Minister in two years, Malusi Gigaba, encountered bemusement and indifference when he visited the United States last week for the International Moneta...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Caught between a more slowly growing China and the nationalist and protectionist reflexes of President Donald Trump's United States government, Africa is in pressing need of an economic boost. Last year marked a harsh coda to the commodity boom, with the continent's biggest economies treading water or in recession. Initially, the international financial institutions f...

Caught between a more slowly growing China and the nationalist and protectionist reflexes of President Donald Trump's United States government, Africa is in pressing need of an economic boost. Last year marked a harsh coda to the commodity boom, with the continent's biggest economies treading water or in recession. Initially, the international financial institutions forecast a turnaround starting in 2017 after average growth rates of 1.3%, the lowest for two decades. Already they are qualifying their optimism.

Both the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have cut their average African growth forecasts to 2.6% this year, down from January’s 2.9%. They have also cut Africa growth forecasts by four percentage points for 2018. Four key factors inform the grimmer predictions: continuing weakness in the four biggest economies (Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Algeria) which make up almost two-thirds of African output; continuing low foreign and local investment; shrinking access to international finance for companies and governments; and heightened political risks, such as the lack of effective policies in South Africa or Nigeria, prospects of difficult elections and transitions in Kenya and Angola, and conflict in Congo-Kinshasa.

Again, impressive growth is forecast in the brightest economic spots, such as Ethiopia, Senegal and Tanzania, but their economies are still not big enough to power a more generalised regional recovery.

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A meandering audit trail

The much-anticipated report on the secret loans is due out amid doubts about how much it will – or can – reveal 

Expectations and tension were building as the 28 April deadline for the delivery of the risk advisory firm Kroll's report on secret security state loans approached. Attorney Genera...


Concealing disappointment

Progress towards peace has slowed sharply in the past year. Donors are being optimistic in the hope their fears won't be realised

Since September 2016, the number of internally displaced persons has increased by more than 100,000, while more than 2.2 million people need food aid for daily survival. Security h...


Bongo's fund embrace

Oil can no longer cover up the cracks in the economy. The IMF is being urged to demand an end to the elite's profligacy

Extravagant spending, collapsing oil revenue and a ruling elite that views state funds as its own property have pushed President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba's government into the arms of...


Vaz clings to power

The President is ignoring the constitutional requirement to call elections and Parliament is deadlocked

Three years after general elections that were widely hailed as free and fair and which ended two years of post-coup transitional government, and two years after a promising donor r...


Finding Africa on K Street

AC surveys some of the African governments spending big on political lobbyists to polish their images in Washington DC

The cost of political lobbying by American consultants on behalf of African governments and politicians is a tiny proportion of the billions of dollars spent by corporations, gover...


Corruption climate warming

A cabinet reshuffle is intended to restore the government's image but Hery has an uphill task before the coming election

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina is desperately trying to regain the political initiative after taking heavy blows to his government's reputation after it allowed a controversial...



Pointers

Primary colours

The Jubilee Party was left deeply embarrassed at having to rerun the primary elections to select parliamentary candidates in 21 of the country's 47 counties this month. Party membe...