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Published 11th May 2007

Vol 48 No 10


Nigeria

A troubled transition

The incoming government faces political road blocks as it tries to tackle the crises in electric power supply and the Niger Delta

The gulf between the aspirations of the new political team under President-elect Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and the consequences of last month's disastrous elections is widening dangerously. Many around Yar'Adua disown the elections, blaming the outrageous fraud and violence on avaricious state governors and ruling party hacks loyal to outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo. Some even suggest that the intention behind the more ludicrous voter frauds was to provoke a crisis, which would earn the old-guard an extended period in power. Whatever the motives behind the fraud, it is time to move on, argues Yar'Adua's team.


Giant steps

Mallam Nasir el-Rufai's student friends called him 'Giant'; he stands some five foot seven inches tall. These days he is more commonly known as 'Bulldozer', because of his reputati...


A new white hope

The Democratic Alliance's new leader looks competent, but may not widen the party's appeal much

Cape Town's Mayor, Helen Zille, took more than 70% of delegates' votes in the election for leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) on 6 May and will prove to be a combative force in...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The African Development Bank Annual Meeting in Shanghai on 16-17 May could hardly be better timed or located. Six months after Beijing's political summit for African leaders, the AfDB meeting will be a focus for Asia's growing economic interest in Africa and has attracted a higher than usual range of business and official delegates. India and Malaysia are sending senior delegations to Shanghai to push for progress on a list of oil, mining and infrastructure projects. Asian capital is making up f...
The African Development Bank Annual Meeting in Shanghai on 16-17 May could hardly be better timed or located. Six months after Beijing's political summit for African leaders, the AfDB meeting will be a focus for Asia's growing economic interest in Africa and has attracted a higher than usual range of business and official delegates. India and Malaysia are sending senior delegations to Shanghai to push for progress on a list of oil, mining and infrastructure projects. Asian capital is making up for Western states' faltering aid and investment. Optimism about the AfDB's growth prospects - its lending in 2006 reached US$3.4 billion, a 32% increase over 2005 - stand in stark contrast to the current disarray at the World Bank, caused by the prolonged wrangling over the position of its President, Paul Wolfowitz. Like the Bank, the AfDB is trying to raise funds this year: it is looking for a sharp increase on the $5.4 bn. it raised in 2004 for its soft-loan affiliate, the African Development Fund. For once the fund-raising prospects for the Africa-based institution look far stronger than for its Washington-based counterpart. As the World Bank's political problems deepen, the outlook for regional banks is improving.
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Africa's mission undermined

A weak hybrid force of African Union and United Nations troops with little or no reconnaissance or intelligence capacity looks the most probable outcome of the negotiations on a Da...


Stop thief

British High Court Justice Peter Smith has found that ex-President Frederick Chiluba stole US$46 million of state funds from Zambia between 1991 and 2002 (AC Vol 46 No 20). In a 22...


Up for the cup

Mayor Helen Zille's most visible achievement involves the construction of a 68,000-seat football stadium for the 2010 World Cup. She fought hard to cap the city's financial contrib...


A break with the past

After the freest post-Independence elections, the government faces worsening social divisions and a troubled oil sector

Hopes are high that the 19 April inauguration of Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi as Mauritania's first democratically elected President since Independence in 1960 will prove a b...


Vultures over Lusaka

On 24 April, the London High Court ordered the Zambian government to pay US$15.5 million to a 'vulture fund'. Debt relief campaigners say the payment will undermine efforts to redu...


Oppositionists and activists struggle to shake out the system

Africa's elections this year have been marred by fraud and violence but multiparty politics have become a fixture and parliamentarians are beginning to pressure the hitherto untouchable presidents. Also, a new spate of anti-corruption cases shows an increasingly assertive judiciary.

Last month, South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told an African Union-sponsored democracy conference in Johannesburg that elections were old news, that the key is...


Caught in the act

An Amnesty report claims that Russia and China are supplying arms to Sudan for use against Darfur civilians

Pressure for a no-fly zone in Darfur and tougher United Nations' sanctions on Khartoum will increase after Amnesty International's report on 7 May detailing the regime's flouting o...


L'Avenir c'est Sarko

African governments are preparing for a tougher relationship with Paris on trade and immigration policy following the victory of Nicolas Sarkozy in presidential elections on 6 May....



Pointers

Jacob and the dog collar

Presidential hopeful Jacob Zuma keeps up his political ambitions. At a well-attended May Day rally in North West Province, he called on workers to challenge African National Congre...


Noble's demise

Mourners thronged Saint John's cathedral in Fort Portal, western Uganda, on 4 May for the funeral of former military intelligence chief and presidential aide, Brigadier Noble Mayo...


Judges swoop

The struggle to shed light on the 1995 death of French Judge Bernard Borrel in Djibouti continues.