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Published 4th May 2018

Vol 59 No 9


Obrigado e tchau, Dos Santos

President, João Lourenço. Pic: Alexander Shcherbak/Tass/PA Images
President, João Lourenço. Pic: Alexander Shcherbak/Tass/PA Images

The old ruling clan faces ignominy but new President Lourenço's team has little time to establish credibility and change policy course

As his family's business interests shrink and his political supporters decamp, José Eduardo dos Santos is set to lose the last redoubt of the empire he built over 38 years – the presidency of the ruling Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola. On 27 April, the party politburo formally approved the candidacy of the state President, João Lourenço, to replace his predecessor as MPLA president at a special congress in September.


An election on autopilot

Despite communal violence, a shaky economy and a faltering anti-corruption campaign, the APC looks set to win another term

The national coalition that propelled Buhari to power four years ago has lost energy and direction. In its place is a ruling party, the All Progressives' Congress (APC), riven by f...

Diplomats down, spies up

Chart Copyright © Africa Confidential 2018
Chart Copyright © Africa Confidential 2018

A veteran spy chief returns and the foreign minister is pushed out as President El Beshir tries to prolong his tenure

The sacking of Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour on 18 April after he complained in parliament that diplomats hadn't been paid for seven months points to the depth of the economic ...


Just as France's President Emmanuel Macron was enjoying the hospitality of United States' President Donald Trump – both self-styled mavericks – in Washington, investigators in Paris were preparing to charge business titan Vincent Bolloré with corruption over his contracts to operate ports...

Just as France's President Emmanuel Macron was enjoying the hospitality of United States' President Donald Trump – both self-styled mavericks – in Washington, investigators in Paris were preparing to charge business titan Vincent Bolloré with corruption over his contracts to operate ports in Conakry and Lomé.

African and French business operators are asking whether the Paris investigators had been emboldened by Macron's declaration that France had to reform its economic relationship with Africa. Investigators are also looking into claims that Société Générale had paid bribes to win contracts with Libya's Investment Authority. Bolloré, with a net worth of around US$6.5 billion, has a buccaneering style far closer to the US's corporate culture than France's.

Although Bolloré's stake in the Vivendi media empire has raised questions in Europe, it is his near monopoly on operating ports in West and Central Africa that triggered the French investigation. The central accusation is that the Guinea government cancelled a port contract awarded to another French company, Necotrans, and gave it to Bolloré, whose communications company Havas had helped President Alpha Condé win the 2015 election. Although Condé and Bolloré deny any wrongdoing, the regional court in Abidjan ruled the annulling of Necotrans's contract improper and ordered Guinea to pay the company €38.4 million in compensation. Conakry is still contesting the order.

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Abiy tests the military

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Building on an assertive start, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has revealed more about his leadership style with an aggressive set of federal government appointments. Although hardly un...

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Polls code sparks crisis

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Who wants to see a billionaire?

Viewed from the Casablanca commercial courtroom where the bankruptcy and mothballing of his Société Anonyme Marocaine de l'Industrie du Raffinage (Samir) refinery company has been...

Europe banks on Africa

The European Union is weighing up whether to create a new Africa-focused development bank, according to documents seen by Africa Confidential. The EU has been promising to increase...

Language barriers

More than 100 civilians, at least 43 members of the security forces and an unknown number of armed militants have reportedly died since Cameroon's Anglophone crisis turned violent ...

Banda flies home

Ex-President Joyce Banda flew into Blantyre airport on 28 April after a four-year absence from Malawi to an enthusiastic welcome from a crowd of supporters. She and President Peter...