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Published 17th May 2019

Vol 60 No 10


Sudan

Cutting a deal on a knife-edge

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019

From armed clashes to roundtable talks to threats of a walk-out, the transition jolts from crisis to crisis

Veering from armed clashes to roundtable talks, the negotiations between the ruling generals and civilian activists remain fraught, with hundreds of thousands of protesters camped outside key military installations in Khartoum. One day after several fatal shootings in the capital on 14 May, the generals and the activists agreed on a three-year political transition.

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A military-Islamist complex

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019

To rescue the economy, the new government will have to free it from the grip of the generals, the spies and corrupt politicians

Just as the spiralling price of bread was the trigger for the four months of nationwide protests that led to the toppling of President Omer Hassan el Beshir on 10 April, the politi...


The Ramaphosa relaunch

The President has the mandate to purge corruption from the ANC but his foes in the party will complicate reform efforts

President Cyril Ramaphosa's mandate at the polls, amid waning support for the ruling African National Congress and rapidly growing support for the populist Economic Freedom Fighter...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

On what criteria is Godwin Emefiele, the mild-mannered governor of Nigeria's central bank, about to be given a second term in the job? Although Emefiele is in President Muhammadu Buhari's government, which is meant to be fighting corruption, he has little to say about the fiscal and financial frauds – past and present – that have hobbled the national economy.

Indeed, economists argue that the multi-tier exchange rate which Emefiele administers is opaque and facilitates arb...

On what criteria is Godwin Emefiele, the mild-mannered governor of Nigeria's central bank, about to be given a second term in the job? Although Emefiele is in President Muhammadu Buhari's government, which is meant to be fighting corruption, he has little to say about the fiscal and financial frauds – past and present – that have hobbled the national economy.

Indeed, economists argue that the multi-tier exchange rate which Emefiele administers is opaque and facilitates arbitrage, allocating scarce foreign exchange to the government's political favourites. Yet Emefiele and Buhari are as one on the 'strong naira' policy, defending an 'investors' rate' of N360 to the dollar, under which dollars are about 20% cheaper than on the parallel market. Using strong foreign reserves (running about $45 billion) and high interest rates, cut to 13.5% in March, to defend the currency, there is little prospect of growth exceeding 2.5% this year. The stock market, which has fallen by 8.5% this year, is one of the weakest in any emerging economy.

It seems that Buhari doesn't expect Emefiele to boost growth or bring in investment. Instead his job is chief financial juggler: to run the strong naira policy, with all the ambiguities of multiple exchange rates, preside over one of the biggest national debt markets in Africa, and direct credit to the government's favoured industries and clients. It may be that Emefiele is one of the few bankers who can keep all the balls in the air.

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Pushing out the privateers

Oil majors are returning to the Senegal basin, and long-time local dealmakers like Frank Timis are gradually being eased out

BP has cemented its interest in the Senegal basin by sweeping up two disputed oil blocks off the coast of Gambia previously held by Norway-listed Africa Petroleum as a raft of incr...


Farmajo's big push

The President is planning to launch a new anti-Al Shabaab military offensive. But the auguries are not favourable

New talks are taking place between the government of President Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed 'Farmajo', the United States, Ethiopia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) t...


Sonangol's head rolls

The state oil company’s chair took the blame for chronic fuel shortages but there are deeper currents at work

The sacking of Sonangol chair Carlos Saturnino Guerra Sousa e Oliveira on 8 May is a deeply political affair, according to sources in Luanda. Saturnino replaced the billionaire Isa...


Weah on borrowed time

Donors' fury over misused funds add to the woes facing the President as a mass public protest looms

A much-anticipated 'Save the State' protest, which is scheduled for 7 June, seems to be gaining momentum as citizens challenge President George Weah and his government on critical ...


Graft, or statescraft?

The detention of an ex-finance minister on corruption charges looks more like a ruse to keep his former boss in exile

While dethroned Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada was able to leave São Tomé for his luxury home in Lisbon after losing power, one of his most prominent ministers has n...



Pointers

A Talon for authoritarianism

President Patrice Talon continues to rebuff calls for a rerun of the 28 April parliamentary polls, which were marked by a meagre 23% turnout after opposition parties were excluded.


OPL245: Fight or flight

A new claim for damages by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, linked to a historic scandal over the controversial award of the OPL 245 oil licence, is set to further embarrass two hi...


EU-ACP ties in question

A joint ministerial council on 23-24 May had been earmarked as the moment for formally concluding the successor to the Cotonou Agreement, governing the next 20 years of relations b...


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