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Published 3rd November 2006

Vol 47 No 22


Nigeria

The next election deadline

Presidential hopefuls are quietly launching campaigns but doubts surround the party congresses due in December

Within two months, Nigeria's political parties are due to chose their presidential candidates and launch their campaigns for next May's elections. So far, there is an eerie surreality about the political contest. Serious candidates are reluctant to step into the ring wholeheartedly, almost all the political parties appear on the brink of schism and old political alliances are splintering without producing effective new alliances. All this is set against a gargantuan year for Nigeria's oil earnings.


Starstruck Starcrest

On 20 October, Swiss-based and Canadian-listed Addax Petroleum announced that it was buying a controlling interest in a lucrative Nigerian oil block - the award of which until that...


Boots on the ground

The Pentagon wants to raise the cash for a unified Africa command to boost its counter-terror operations and energy security

The USA'S Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defence Department are working on proposals for a unified military command in Africa. US forces in Africa are at present under three different c...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The gathering of presidents and premiers in Beijing this week to discuss Africa's relations with Asia over the next decade should devote some time to Congo-Kinshasa, whose current plight results from some of the worst colonial exploitation and post-Independence governance in Africa. Congo has suffered unduly from interfering foreigners. Its voters turned out in their millions on 29 October and are eager for a new start. Congo might offer an opportunity to apply Asia's experience in post-conflict...
The gathering of presidents and premiers in Beijing this week to discuss Africa's relations with Asia over the next decade should devote some time to Congo-Kinshasa, whose current plight results from some of the worst colonial exploitation and post-Independence governance in Africa. Congo has suffered unduly from interfering foreigners. Its voters turned out in their millions on 29 October and are eager for a new start. Congo might offer an opportunity to apply Asia's experience in post-conflict reconstruction (Vietnam and Cambodia) and growth in large countries (China and Indonesia). With early results for the second round of the election showing President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba running neck and neck, many people are worried about disputes sparking violence. There are also concerns about the stability of the new political order in the medium term. There are no serious plans for power-sharing that might assuage election losers, nor are there policies to ensure that profits from Congo's fabulous mineral wealth, much sought after by China and India, will be galvanised for economic and social development rather than private gain.
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Wars across borders

Khartoum is exporting its Darfur holocaust to Chad and sparking regional fires

The war now involves not only Chadian and Sudanese rebels and the two states' armies but is also drawing in Chadian civilians, communities who are arming and organising themselves ...


Beyond the Horn

Mogadishu's Islamists threaten Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, as well as their own country

The Somali conflict poses a growing threat to neighbouring states. As the SICC and the TFG started their third round of talks in Sudan on 1 November, Ethiopia insisted it would pro...


Legal minefields

Sheaves of litigation await mineral giant Gold Fields as it seeks to wrest control of the lucrative South Deep gold mine.

The issue centres on the legitmacy of share trading involving hundreds of milions of dollars undertaken by the late mining magnate Brett Kebble before he was murdered in 2005. Give...


The Dutch diversion

A diplomatic row follows the expulsion of the UN envoy and further delays the deployment of a protection force to Darfur

Khartoum's expulsion of UN Special Representative Johannes Pieter 'Jan' Pronk on 22 October has created a diplomatic diversion while it presses ahead with its latest military offen...


Commerce, cooperation and controversy

China's Africa policy will have a grand public outing in Beijing on 3-5 November

China's Africa policy will star at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing on 3-5 November. An advance copy of the draft 13-page communiqué, obtained by Africa Conf...


Economic star, social crisis

As Angola's oil output soars towards 2 million barrels a day (b/d) by the end of 2007, it could become the world's fastest growing economy.

The doubling of Angola's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to 31.4% in 2007 from this year's estimated 14.3%, as forecast by the IMF, reflects the 'surge in oil output in 2007. N...



Pointers

Fear of flying

Africa, with less than four per cent of the world's air traffic, suffers about a third of its air disasters. The latest, on 29 October, killed the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad...


Missing in action

New army Chief Lieutenant General Martin Shalli, recalled from Zambia last month after Gen. Solomon Hawala's sudden retirement, faces a storm over sales of armoured personnel carri...


Ill-judged death

Embarrassing differences are emerging between the French judiciary and President Jacques Chirac's Cellule Africaine over the death in Djibouti in 1995 of French Judge Bernard Borre...


Madonna madness

Following pop queen Madonna Louisa Ciccone's tearful defence of her adoption of Malawi-born orphan David Banda on America's Oprah Winfrey TV chatshow in October, some Malawi offici...


Banny's bonus

The French-sponsored resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 1 Novmber, increasing the powers of Premier Charles Konan Banny at the expense of President Laurent...