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Published 18th May 2018

Vol 59 No 10


Ghana

Tax and spend dilemmas

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

The success of government’s education and industry policies depends on widening the tax net and clawing back stolen funds

It all looks so good on the surface. After rebounding last year, Ghana's economy is reckoned to be one of Africa's fastest growing, the cedi has stabilised and inflation is dipping. Marking the news, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, known to his detractors as James Bond, floated another US$2 billion of Eurobonds on 10 May. Despite turbulence in other emerging markets such as Argentina and Turkey, Ghana's offer was four times oversubscribed and Ofori-Atta's team pushed down the interest rates.

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Splits and special pleas

An increasingly isolated Salva is under threat and making desperate moves as his former army chief defects

In April, the unity of President Salva Kiir Mayardit's Dinka-dominated alliance fractured further when his former army chief Paul Malong Awan announced the formation of yet another...


Clashes over 'clean coltan'

Map Copyright © Africa Confidential 2018

Conflict minerals are being laundered for export, it is claimed, exacerbating Hutu-Tutsi tension in the unstable east

The closure of a coltan mine at the beginning of the month sparked protests and has focused attention on the continuing struggle to keep conflict financing out of supply chains. Ho...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Retired Ambassador Tibor P. Nagy has finally emerged as the choice for Assistant Secretary of African Affairs 475 days after Donald Trump was inaugurated as United States President. Nagy, a Trump loyalist, now has to win approval in Congress, where his name was mooted in March.

The appointment may bring relief to an Africa Bureau sapped of morale, leadership, a...

Retired Ambassador Tibor P. Nagy has finally emerged as the choice for Assistant Secretary of African Affairs 475 days after Donald Trump was inaugurated as United States President. Nagy, a Trump loyalist, now has to win approval in Congress, where his name was mooted in March.

The appointment may bring relief to an Africa Bureau sapped of morale, leadership, and expertise. Nagy will replace Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, who took the role on an interim basis. Under Trump, Africa has been relegated further down the totem pole of US government concerns. The Bureau faces cuts in funding, a personnel crisis in Washington and at embassies abroad, and scant interest from the White House in the human rights and good governance agenda.

However, Nagy has a long experience as a career dipomat, including postings as Ambassador to Guinea (1996-99) and Ethiopia (1999-2002). To an administration which has extolled a harder line against political refugees and migrants, Nagy brings personal experience of displacement and statelessness. He was born in Hungary in 1949, where his father, Tibor Nagy Snr., was an army engineer who later became  active in the revolution of 1956. Following the  Soviet invasion, father and son fled on foot to Austria, where they were processed for political asylum in the US. After nine months they were admitted and Nagy senior served as a senior official in the US Agency for International Development.

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Sounding the alarms on debt

Governments see hopeful growth prospects at risk as lenders impose new strictures and borrowing costs rise

Threats of a rapid and unsustainable build-up of debt could disrupt the prospects for growth in many African economies,* according to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank...


Proxies, powers, and presidents

Qatar and the UAE, along with a host of bit players, fought their latest battle in Somalia over whose man got to be the new Speaker of Parliament

Months of vicious intrigue centring on the rivalry between the United Arab Emirates and its declared enemy, Qatar, ended on 30 April when Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman became the new S...


A swirling fog of debt

The government is suspected of dishonestly reporting its debts, as it chases every last ounce of credit

Creditors, investors and the opposition believe President Edgar Lungu's management of national finances is plunging the country into a debt crisis. The Ministry of Finance issues d...


Friends with benefits

As the government’s problems mount, plans for a new opposition alliance with several odd bedfellows are taking shape

Suddenly, President Muhammadu Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) has got a fight on its hands with elections due next March. In fact, it has several fights on its hands &ndas...



Pointers

Gold fever

The ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front's favourite billionaire, the Ethiopian-Saudi Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi, seems to have disappeared from favour in Addis...


Short walk to freedom

Lawyers and legal experts are still seeking answers as to why, for the first time in Malawi – and possibly for every legal system based on English common law worldwide &ndash...


Vaz gives in

After two-and-a-half years of conflict between President José Mário Vaz and the majority of his Partido Africano para a Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC), led by Domingos...