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Published 3rd May 2019

Vol 60 No 9


Slowing down but borrowing more

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019

International financial institutions are downgrading their growth prospects for the continent

As the International Monetary Fund and World Bank held their spring meetings in Washington DC last month, economists with both institutions presented an Africa growth picture which has worsened since the meetings in Bali, Indonesia, just six months ago. The IMF also downgraded its estimates of global growth, which are now expected to fall (compared with last year), particularly during the first half of 2019.

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Campaign plumbs the depths

The war of words between politicians is becoming more and more frenzied as polling day nears with no obvious favourite

The result of the 21 May general election is now anybody's guess, as President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic People's Party (DPP) and his main rival Lazarus Chakwera, of the Ma...


A battle against the clock

Talks between the generals and the opposition about the shape of the transition are floundering

At the heart of the contest is the fight for control of the interim regime: whether ultimate power should rest with the military or the proposed civilian council. The Forces for Fr...



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THE INSIDE VIEW

Protestors on the streets of Khartoum have taken up a new slogan: 'Victory or Egypt'. For them it's personal. Sudanese activists resented the collaboration between the two countries' elites. Both the current head of the junta, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan and ousted leader Omer el Beshir went to military academy in Cairo. The new junta's first leader, Lt Gen Awad Ibn Auf, who lasted just a day in power, was at military academy with Egypt's President Abdul Fattah el Sisi.

Par...

Protestors on the streets of Khartoum have taken up a new slogan: 'Victory or Egypt'. For them it's personal. Sudanese activists resented the collaboration between the two countries' elites. Both the current head of the junta, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan and ousted leader Omer el Beshir went to military academy in Cairo. The new junta's first leader, Lt Gen Awad Ibn Auf, who lasted just a day in power, was at military academy with Egypt's President Abdul Fattah el Sisi.

Particularly irksome was President Sisi's buying more time for Sudan's junta after the African Union's Peace & Security Commission had set a 15-day deadline to hand over to civilian rule. Days earlier, Sisi won a referendum to change Egypt's constitution to allow him to stay in power until 2030. The spectre of Sisi's authoritarian regime – and the dimming of Egyptians' hopes after the 2011 revolt – haunts Sudan's activists.

Sisi typifies a new authoritarian wave, backing Khalifa Haftar's attack on Tripoli and nodding at the electoral carve-up in Congo-Kinshasa. In Tanzania and Burundi where elections are due next year, the opposition is being coopted and crushed. In Uganda, due to vote in 2021, the emphasis is on crushing; in Kenya, which votes the following year, co-option. For opposition parties, business-as-usual tactics are not working even against regimes mismanaging economies and stealing billions. That makes the protestors in Algeria and Sudan ever more relevant. 

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ANC split threatens campaign

Jacob Zuma’s allies rally the troops to vote for the ruling party at provincial level – but endorse other parties at the national level

President Cyril Ramaphosa is running almost a solitary national campaign for the African National Congress in the 8 May elections while his opponents in the party, led by former Pr...


Treasury in the red

The liquidity problems are getting worse and state asset sales are looking more likely as a last resort to avoid debt default

The lavish spending and borrowing of President Edgar Lungu's government is starting to catch up with it. Africa Confidential has learned that in March, it had to raid the state pen...


Talon turns back the clock

Banning opposition parties from contesting parliamentary elections is the latest episode in a presidential crackdown

After almost three decades as an admired pioneer of democratic freedom in francophone Africa, Benin has just conducted a parliamentary election from which all parties were excluded...


Patchwork diplomacy

The EU wants to boost its influence in Africa but its diplomatic appointments are proving haphazard

Critics of the European Union's foreign service arm, the European External Action Service, are saying that its desire to move beyond the status of a mere giver of funds to that of ...


Belt, road and pork barrel

The President heads into uncharted territory in dealings with China but also with opponents and allies at home

While the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Mozambique brought their official staff to China's recent Belt and Road Forum last week, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta also br...


Currency scams block reforms and deepen crisis

Senior ruling party figures are sabotaging the programme to stabilise the country's finances by exploiting their access to US dollars

Two months after the launch of vital currency reforms, the official exchange rate is still way out of line with the parallel market, despite solemn commitments by the government to...

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Pointers

'Roll more heads'

Deputy Defence Minister and Chief of Staff Lt Gen Ahmed Gaïd Salah is continuing a purge of Algeria's elite to try to persuade demonstrators, who have been filling the streets...


Hirak tracks west

Some saw President Abdel Fattah el Sisi's 89% 'yes' vote in the referendum on extending his presidential term to six years from four and allowing him to stand for a further term in...


Chill on the border

Last year's rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea was supposed to be about breaking down barriers, but a stuttering process has seen them rise again after an initial thaw. Eri...


Move over darling

The UK's Conservative government is taking a leaf out of France's book by promoting the English language in sub-Saharan Africa, including those countries normally considered exclus...