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Published 5th March 2020

Vol 61 No 5


South Africa

Why Africa is key to Green Economics

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Strategic minerals on the continent will power the electric vehicle revolution and a restructured energy industry

More than any other continent, Africa has copious reserves of the vital minerals central to the transition to sustainable energy in the leading industrial economies.

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Clash of the kings

Felix Tshisekedi, Washington, DC, March 2020. Pic: Michael Brochstein/SIPA USA/PA Images
Felix Tshisekedi, Washington, DC, March 2020. Pic: Michael Brochstein/SIPA USA/PA Images

Fighting for control over revenues and security, President Tshisekedi is in a standoff with supporters of his predecessor Joseph Kabila

Senior officials in the two coalitions which run the country – the Front commun pour le Congo (FCC) and the Cap pour le changement (CACH) – are at a stalemate. For several days in ...


George Weah at bay

Pic: Alexej Bukin / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Alexej Bukin / stock.adobe.com

Popular discontent as fuel prices rocket and a deepening rift with his deputy are weakening the President

The crippling petrol shortages this year have pushed up the prices of fuel and much else as commercial transporters raised their fares. Liberians, angered by the steep fall of the ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

It is a tragic paradox that African states, with experience of managing epidemics, are better placed than many other countries to contain the spread of Covid-19 nova coronavirus. Yet Africa is likely to be the region hardest hit by the indirect economic effects as the coronavirus epidemic spreads from Asia to Europe and North America.

For oil producers, the most obvious symbol of the epidemic is the build-up of unsold barrels of oil. Almost three-quarters of Angola's and Nigeria's exp...

It is a tragic paradox that African states, with experience of managing epidemics, are better placed than many other countries to contain the spread of Covid-19 nova coronavirus. Yet Africa is likely to be the region hardest hit by the indirect economic effects as the coronavirus epidemic spreads from Asia to Europe and North America.

For oil producers, the most obvious symbol of the epidemic is the build-up of unsold barrels of oil. Almost three-quarters of Angola's and Nigeria's export production scheduled for April is yet to find buyers. Other producers in Congo-Brazzaville, Chad and Gabon report similar problems. Most of this is due to the sharp cut in demand from Asia. Industrial production has halved in China over the past month. Few companies can confidently predict the pace of recovery.

With falling demand pushing the oil price to US$53 a barrel, Nigeria's finance minister Zainab Ahmed is to launch a mid-term review of the national budget which was premised on oil prices running at some $4 higher. But the effects of the Asia slowdown will go far beyond the oil sector as international conferences are postponed, tourism slows and flights are cancelled. The International Air Transport Association forecasts losses of $29 billion this year due to the epidemic. African airlines, already predicting losses of $200m this year, could see earnings fall by a further $40m. Although the WHO asks countries not to ban flights from the most affected areas, Kenya Airways and RwandAir have already halted all flights to China.

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Tito takes on the workers

As the budget aims to cut public sector pay by US$10 billion and sell state assets, trade unions push back on jobs and wages

Threatening huge cuts in public spending but no serious tax hikes, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's budget of 13 February will unleash further political drama and perhaps trigger a ...


Democratic, for a dynast

Winning the election was the easy bit for Faure Gnassingbé. Securing international acceptance is quite a different matter

Outright victory in the first round of the presidential election came for the incumbent President Faure Gnassingbé with 72% of the vote on an impressive 76% turnout. The Pre...


Aides leak, north-east burns

Escalating violence in Borno and surrounding states as leaked memos show tensions between senior aides – and a now familiar inertia

It was the worst-kept secret in Abuja. Officials in President Muhammadu Buhari's government blame one another for the administration's failings, especially in areas such as securit...


Relief today, trouble ahead

On his second attempt, President Saïed secured his chosen prime minister. But the new man’s tenuous coalition will be sorely tested

Nearly five months after the 6 October general elections delivered a highly fractured parliament, Tunisia has a new coalition government. On 26 February, parliament approved Elyes ...


Oil, guns and politics

An oligarch with ties to an international commodity trader, top politicians and generals is dividing the government

Kudakwashe Tagwirei, managing director of Sakunda Holdings and business associate of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is at the centre of a new political row. As the global trading co...


Newish but not radical

The EU wants a groundbreaking economic and security accord with Africa – but its efforts to renegotiate a trade deal have stalled

An internal draft of the European Commission's 'Comprehensive Strategy with Africa', seen by Africa Confidential, is strong on rhetoric about a new era of partnership but lacks bot...



Pointers

Forced delay

Late on 28 February, President Alpha Condé made an unexpected appearance on national television, admitting he had been pressured into delaying the double poll he had called for 1 M...


HYPREP's millions

Confusion is growing about the mounting cost and sluggish progress of the UN-mandated clean-up of Ogoni, in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta.


They're back

The surprise victory of Úmaro Sissoco Embaló in the second round of the presidential election has failed to end the country's political turbulence. The losing candidate, Domingos S...


That dam problem

The tortuous negotiations between Addis Ababa and Cairo over the building and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have lurched into an acrimonious finale. Ethiopia's For...