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Published 21st December 2018

Vol 59 No 25


Congo-Kinshasa

The Twelve Fixes of Christmas

Supporters gather for the cancelled Fayulu campaign rally in Kinshasa on 19 December. Pic: Stefan Kleinowitz/Zuma Press/PA Images
Supporters gather for the cancelled Fayulu campaign rally in Kinshasa on 19 December. Pic: Stefan Kleinowitz/Zuma Press/PA Images

A state-funded campaign war chest, fraud and intimidation make the President’s dauphin the heavy favourite on 23 December

Expectations of electoral chaos, fraud and intimidation lead many to conclude that Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, one of President Joseph Kabila's ultra-loyalists, will be declared the winner after the voters of Congo-Kinshasa go to the polls two days before Christmas. On 19 December, the governor of Kinshasa, André Kimbuta, suspended campaigning in the capital, ostensibly for security reasons. A rally for opposition candidate Martin Fayulu scheduled for that afternoon was cancelled as armed police blocked his return to Kinshasa and fired tear gas at hundreds of his supporters. These events are fuelling rumours that the electoral commission may postpone polling day at the very last moment.

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Election bored game

Two familiar veteran candidates are failing to strike a chord with the voters ahead of a critical presidential race next February

As political leaders loudly debate the ethics of signing up to a code of conduct and President Muhammadu Buhari throws back, for the fourth time, an electoral reform bill to the Na...


'America first' for Africa

The White House's Africa strategy is more Pentagon than State, but there is much continuity, albeit in stridently Trumpian language

When US National Security Advisor John Bolton set out what he called 'The Trump Administration's New Africa Strategy' on 13 December at The Heritage Foundation, the conservative th...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Stripped of the spin from politicians seeking re-election and international financial institutions seeking to make more loans, it has been a dire year for Africa's economies and worse for its markets.

Buoyed by demographics and better policies, the likes of Ethiopia are strengthening. Pockets of extraordinary innovation in digital technology in Kenya and Nigeria are rightfully attracting attention and sometimes imaginative investors. But the bigger structural economic picture is alarm...

Stripped of the spin from politicians seeking re-election and international financial institutions seeking to make more loans, it has been a dire year for Africa's economies and worse for its markets.

Buoyed by demographics and better policies, the likes of Ethiopia are strengthening. Pockets of extraordinary innovation in digital technology in Kenya and Nigeria are rightfully attracting attention and sometimes imaginative investors. But the bigger structural economic picture is alarming. In the decade from 2004 to 2014, punctuated by a brief pause in 2007-09, Africa's economies grew by 40%, but jobs didn't keep pace with the birth rate. By 2035 there will be more people of working age – 15 to 65 – in Nigeria than in either China or India.

Even the most rose-tinted economic forecasts doubt that the economy is even halfway to laying the foundations for the necessary new jobs. In the short term, the markets are waving yet more warning flags. Stocks and bonds in Africa performed worse than any other emerging market region in 2018. But in 2017, Africa's soaring markets outperformed all the others. That means equities in the biggest markets – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – are selling at bargain prices. But investors are holding back, rattled by the soaring yields on Eurobonds and forecasts of a new debt mountain. More capital is flowing out than coming in. Africa's capital crunch will be a key story in 2019.

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The forgotten army

The G5 force is mired in problems. It is all supposed to go right in the new year but there are still doubts

After six months of near paralysis, the Force Conjointe du G5 Sahel (G5 Sahel Joint Force) is at last about to resume operations next year, according to the French army Chief of St...


Taking the heaviest of tolls

The leak by a concerned government insider has exposed another costly procurement deal which never went to tender

A highly profitable public-private partnership (PPP) for collecting road tolls has been cancelled suddenly after sparking fury at the poor value for money and seeming exploitation ...


Mnangagwa wants his pipeline

A new oil supply route from Beira could relieve the country from dependence on Trafigura and ease shortages, the President believes

Angry at Dutch-based commodities trader Trafigura's control of the country's only oil products pipeline from the Mozambican port of Beira, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has told loc...



Pointers

Not waltzing in Vienna

A European Union-African Union meeting in Vienna on digital policy co-operation in the week before Christmas was always likely to be low on excitement, but it did confirm the gulf ...


Mnangagwa's resolution

A seemingly downbeat Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front annual conference this month lacked the overt factional fireworks many had expected. Yet it laid down a major p...


Lungu's to lose

President Edgar Lungu has got his wish and been given leave by the Constitutional Court to stand for a third term of office. Critics will say he effectively granted his wish to him...