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Published 30th November 2007

Vol 48 No 24


Ghana

Who spends, wins

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Free-spending candidates and their business backers dominate the governing New Patriotic Party's choice of a new leader

The race to pick the New Patriotic Party's next presidential candidate is turning nasty, as millions of cedis are spent on the primary election campaigns and arguments over party rules. President John Agyekum Kufuor has served his two terms and must go. The two highest-spending candidates to succeed him are ex-Foreign Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and ex-Trade Minister Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen. Activists say that they are in the lead, but there could be surprises when delegates from across the country vote at the NPP Congress on 22 December. Since 18 candidates have paid their US$25,000 nomination fee, no candidate is likely to be elected in the first round of voting.


The cedi and pesewa vote

For many Ghanaians, the economics of the elections are more important than the politics. Most of the responsibility for these matters falls on the shoulders of the effervescent Fin...


Breaking up the party

The latest attempt to replace the governing party has some impressive leaders but needs voters

It could be a new dawn in Namibia. In November, four years of factional fighting within the governing South West African People's Organisation culminated in a breakaway by senior p...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Hyper-optimism about Africa’s economies buzzed around a bankers’ meeting at a 5-star hotel in London last week. Russian-based Renaissance Capital bankrolled the event, which showcased Africa’s new investment opportunities. ‘An amazing economic transformation is underway in sub-Saharan Africa unlike anything the investor community has seen in the region’s 40 year post-colonial history,’ enthused Renaissance Chief Executive Stephen Jennings before embarking on a detailed rubbishing of sceptical a...
Hyper-optimism about Africa’s economies buzzed around a bankers’ meeting at a 5-star hotel in London last week. Russian-based Renaissance Capital bankrolled the event, which showcased Africa’s new investment opportunities. ‘An amazing economic transformation is underway in sub-Saharan Africa unlike anything the investor community has seen in the region’s 40 year post-colonial history,’ enthused Renaissance Chief Executive Stephen Jennings before embarking on a detailed rubbishing of sceptical assessments of Africa’s economic prospects. As video screens beamed out a backdrop of impressive corporate results and successive speakers extolled the continent’s virtues, a seasoned financial sceptic remarked that it seemed ‘the Church of Scientology had merged with Bloomberg News’. Yet much of the core economic analysis is right. Demand from Asia’s mega-economies has transformed the market for Africa’s commodities and investment from Asia may solve many of Africa’s infrastructural bottlenecks. Yet there should be some cautionary notes: the boom in the emerging economies will inevitably be slowed by the downward drift in the US and European markets; and these days Africa’s political analysts are much less buoyant than their economic counterparts. As they don’t say in America, it’s the politics stupid!
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Zuming ahead

The party primaries went against President Mbeki and the hunt for a compromise candidate is speeding up

Jacob Zuma has built up such a lead in the race for the African National Congress presidency that his opponents are stepping up efforts to find a new candidate to challenge him. If...


Friendly in Kampala

The form and content of the Commonwealth are changing. The growing interest in the economic role of an organisation whose members include some of the most dynamic economies in Asia and Africa coincides with the election of a Secretary General from Asia's second biggest economy, India. Commonwealth ties will be important next year when India organises its 'Year of Africa'.

The Commonwealth, as always, tried to present a new face at its Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala on 23-25 November, hosted by Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. The...


Moving on

Wooing the Commonwealth is only one of Rwanda’s approaches to its region and the wider world

After its terrible years of turmoil, Rwanda was reasserting its place in the world well before last week's Commonwealth summit considered its possible membership. In June, it form...


The Africa Forum

Ex-presidents and other ex-leaders came together as the Africa Forum in Livingstone, Zambia, on 21-23 November. The theme of their gathering was 'Ending AIDS - Africa Takes Charge'...


Mr Secretary Sharma

The competitors for the post of Commonwealth Secretary General were the dignified Kamalesh Sharma, 67, India's High Commissioner in London, and Malta's Foreign Minister Michael Fre...


A new man in Mogadishu

If new Prime Minister Nur Adde can talk to the opposition and clan leaders, he might just help to stop the slaughter

Much depends on the new Prime Minister. Nur Hassan Hussein 'Adde' was sworn in on 24 November, after Parliament had endorsed him with only one abstention. With good contacts across...


Mbeki to the rescue

Restarting talks between Mugabe's government and part of the opposition may not be a triumph for quiet diplomacy

South African President Thabo Mbeki stopped over in Harare on 22 November and persuaded Zimbabwe's main opposition party to carry on talking to the ruling Zimbabwe African Nationa...


Secretarial duties

Twenty prime ministers and sixteen presidents were present at the Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala, Uganda, on 23-25 November. Many Commonwealth states have non-execu...


Three men in a boat

Political life languishes as three old adversaries line up their parties for the elections that lie ahead

Malawi's politics are dominated by three men. President Bingu wa Mutharika holds several ministerial portfolios and leads the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). John Tembo leads t...



Pointers

The wrong report

Kenya and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are suppressing debate about increasing tension between Khartoum and the Government of Southern Sudan, and the resi...


Regal rivalry

The Commonwealth summit last week provided an unrivalled opportunity for local monarchists to promote their own political agenda through unabashed adoration of Britain's octogenari...