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Published 8th January 2010

Vol 51 No 1


South Africa

Global plaudits, local travails

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Despite the doubters, President Zuma’s government is set to hold a successful World Cup but will face demands for action on jobs and services

In his New Year address, President Jacob Zuma likened 2010 to 1994, when South Africa became a democracy. To the outside world, the only big event happening in South Africa this year is the FIFA World Cup and if Zuma has his way, that is how matters will stay until the tournament is over.


Walking right, talking left

The African National Congress’s loud debate over economic policy will continue in 2010. The Left demands a more interventionist stance than that of the then Finance Minister, Trevo...


Three men in a boat

Somehow the unlikely triumvirate sticks together – for fear of something worse – amid signs of a slowly recovering economy

The uneasy coalition government will rumble on into 2010, making painful but discernible progress on economic reform. It is in none of the three main parties’ interest to ditch the...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

This year, marking 50 years of independence for 16 African states and 20 years since Nelson Mandela walked out of gaol, is destined to be one of commemorations and also celebrations, particularly in June when South Africa hosts the World Cup. Africa Confidential will also celebrate its 50th year of publication with special reports and an international conference. South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup will be a poignant moment for Africa. It will be a time to show off the continent to inter...
This year, marking 50 years of independence for 16 African states and 20 years since Nelson Mandela walked out of gaol, is destined to be one of commemorations and also celebrations, particularly in June when South Africa hosts the World Cup. Africa Confidential will also celebrate its 50th year of publication with special reports and an international conference. South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup will be a poignant moment for Africa. It will be a time to show off the continent to international sceptics and also to reflect on Africa’s World Cup greats: Cameroon in 1990, Nigeria in 1994, Algeria in 1982 and perhaps Côte d’Ivoire or Ghana in 2010. African players now populate the European and Asian leagues, and Africa is the second biggest footballing continent after Latin America. Yet while Africa’s footballers, writers, musicians, bankers and diplomats excel on the world stage, after five decades of independence the local environment remains hostile or indifferent. Sponsorship and training schemes are lacking in most of Africa’s local football clubs and the imperative is to leave. The 2010 World Cup might help. After the panics of mass migration and skills shortages of recent years, a generation of South African expatriates is eager to come home. Like China, with one billion people Africa can afford a diaspora, but it cannot afford the underinvestment in schools, health and housing that is driving people abroad. Investing locally would be the best encouragement in this jubilee year.
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Elusive shoots of economic recovery

The key issue for the power-sharing regime is reviving the economy. According to the 2010 budget, the government is aiming for 7% gross domestic product growth, underpinned by 10% ...


Who is heading for the Hague?

A heavily contested referendum and trials at the ICC are likely to divide the shaky coalition as it tries to agree on key reforms

Two events will critically affect the ambitious policy agenda for 2010. This comprises devolution and electoral reform, land reform, resettlement rights and reviewing administrativ...


A khaki option on the table

Nigeria’s military, though much diminished, still sees itself as the last truly national institution and the final custodian of the state. If the current crisis unravels, senior of...


Kabila and a sad jubilee

New clashes erupt, the UN mandate is extended but only for six months, the neighbours cause trouble over oil and national elections are coming

This year, President Joseph Kabila has his chance to boost his standing with voters before the 2011 presidential and parliamentary election campaign. It is also the 50th anniversar...


The much-postponed polls

The lacklustre opposition looks incapable of organising a serious protest if President Gbagbo decides to postpone elections yet again this year

This was meant to be the year that Côte d’Ivoire returned to constitutional order after the years of chaos since the civil war broke out in 2002. Elections due in 2005 were postpon...


Opening time at Osu Castle

Mills promises more affable politics and a welcome mat for oil companies but cannot ignore market realities or the harsh conditions in the countryside

Sporting a sharply-pressed black and white dashiki, President John Evans Atta Mills welcomed journalists into the well-guarded grounds of the Castle in Osu, Accra, on 7 January. On...


Drought and politics

The economy’s prospects will be deeply influenced by the constitutional referendum and probable political violence trials at the Hague. Political ructions could set back the fragil...


Generational change

After three decades, President Mubarak is determined to keep a grip on power for as long as it takes to prepare his son Gamal to succeed him

The suggestions that the internationally respected diplomat Mohamed Mostafa el Baradei is an enemy of the Egyptian state show the desperation of the power clique around the fading,...


Football, contracts and then votes

The President would win an election but won’t hold one, while worrying about the neighbours and the African football cup

At the congress of the governing Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) in December, President José Eduardo dos Santos once more postponed the general elections until 201...


Dry times for a quick election

The government faces elections against a divided opposition: its biggest enemies are the weather and Eritrean President Issayas Afewerki

The political calendar will be dominated by national elections on 23 May. The government wants to avoid a repeat of the violence that followed the 2005 elections, when 200 people w...


The great oil battle begins

There will be two cheers on 31 October when Ghana is due to produce its first crude oil for export: the missing cheer reflects concern that the country could be sucked into the vor...


The elite scrambles for cover

Desperate to stop the crisis over President Yar’Adua’s illness from spinning out of control, senior politicians plot compromise deals

Politicians in Abuja currently have two main imperatives: to forestall a military coup and to prevent war restarting in the Niger Delta (AC Vol 50 No 25). They fear either developm...


Succession is a family business

First Lady Suzanne Mubarak (née Thabet, born in El Minya to an Egyptian doctor and his Welsh wife) is increasingly important in politics, building national alliances and an interna...


Vote early, vote often

This year’s elections and constitutional negotiations will test the Islamist clique which has held power since the 1989 putsch

Bolstered by its formidable security organisation, the ruling National Congress Party (NCP, aka National Islamic Front, NIF) is widely expected to win the national elections due in...


Dangerous neighbours

Somalia and Eritrea will dominate Addis Ababa’s security concerns (AC Vol 50 No 18). New United Nations’ sanctions against Eritrea will have little immediate effect on President Is...