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Published 1st May 2009

Vol 50 No 9


South Africa

Learning to love Jacob Zuma

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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A pragmatic coalition of pro-market politicians and presidential loyalists will dominate the new cabinet

There is some truth in Jacob Zuma's insistence that he owes no favours after the African National Congress's sweeping election victory on 22 April. It was the culmination of Zuma's five-year comeback campaign and shows both the party's continuing resilience and the opposition's weakness (AC Vol 50 Nos 7 & 8). The markets liked it and the rand strengthened as the results came in. The result also confirmed the strength of personal support for Zuma, especially in his base of KwaZulu-Natal. These developments run counter to the ANC's traditions of collective leadership and opposition to ethnic politics.


On the line to Zuma

First off of the blocks to congratulate Jacob Zuma on the African National Congress's win in the 22 April elections was British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. This was not just becau...


The fight over the basic law

None of the parties are as yet prepared to derail the coalition but all are relentlessly probing each other’s weaknesses

Tendai Biti did not mince his words. 'The power-sharing accord is a poor document - it's a strange amalgam of extreme nationalism and things we like such as democracy and human rig...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The financial crisis has weakened African economies – and its rich list. Ethiopia’s Mohammed Al Amoudi, estimated by Forbes magazine to be the richest African, with an estimated fortune of US$9 billion, has seen hundreds of millions wiped from his Scandinavian and Middle Eastern oil interests. The cement and oil businesses of Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote (worth about $3.3 bn.) are shrinking while Sudan’s Mohammed Ibrahim (worth $2.5 bn., according to Forbes) has nobly seen his fortune shrink due to ...
The financial crisis has weakened African economies – and its rich list. Ethiopia’s Mohammed Al Amoudi, estimated by Forbes magazine to be the richest African, with an estimated fortune of US$9 billion, has seen hundreds of millions wiped from his Scandinavian and Middle Eastern oil interests. The cement and oil businesses of Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote (worth about $3.3 bn.) are shrinking while Sudan’s Mohammed Ibrahim (worth $2.5 bn., according to Forbes) has nobly seen his fortune shrink due to his philanthropic work. South African billionaires Patrice Motsepe and Mzi Khumalo have to negotiate a bearish Johannesburg stock market and Jacob Zuma’s new government. Other straitened South Africans include the diamond baron Nicky Oppenheimer, whose estimated net worth fell from $4.25 bn. to $2.22 bn. in the past year. His younger compatriot, Mark Shuttleworth, whose fortune fell from $250 mn. to $220 mn., blazed a trail for capitalist philanthropy when he sold his Thawte Consulting for $590 mn. and gave half to charity. Some mining magnates investing in Africa are losing out. Lakshmi Mittal (operating in Liberia) saw his estimated wealth drop from $41 bn. to $23 bn., and the fortune of Anil Agarwal, whose Vedanta Resources is in Zambian copper, fell from $3.62 bn. to $2.74 bn. But some have prospered in the uncertainty: military entrepreneur Tony Buckingham, for example, has seen his wealth rise from $370 mn. to $490 mn. – thanks to his Ugandan oil interests.
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