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Published 28th May 2010

Vol 51 No 11


Nigeria

Into the unknown

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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An exciting election looms next year: no one knows who is going to run and, more importantly, who is going to win

President Goodluck Jonathan has a year to make good on his promises to tackle the electricity crisis, lead a credible anti-corruption campaign and implement the electoral and political reforms proposed by Justice Mohammed Uwais’s Commission (AC Vol 51 No 8). National elections are due by June 2011. By December 2010, it will be clear whether Jonathan’s government lives up to its promises. The combination of a sustained improvement in electricity supply and organising free and peaceful elections would give him something approaching heroic status. His associates say that he is serious about reform but complain that the government is undermined by vested interests and political deals.


Squashing the judges

The courts, despite everything, persist in doing justice sometimes and the President is not amused

The acquittal of Roy Bennett, Deputy Minister-designate of Agriculture and Treasurer of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on 10 May gave President Robert Mugabe the chance ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Top French officials may have hoped to find some respite at the 25th Sommet Afrique-France in Nice on 31 May-1 June, as they take a break from the Eurozone crisis. It may not work that way. Most of the African governments attending the summit have adopted the CFA currency, linked initially to the French franc and now to the euro, and will have some tough questions for their hosts about its future stability. African bankers, in Abidjan for the African Development Bank Annual Meeting...
Top French officials may have hoped to find some respite at the 25th Sommet Afrique-France in Nice on 31 May-1 June, as they take a break from the Eurozone crisis. It may not work that way. Most of the African governments attending the summit have adopted the CFA currency, linked initially to the French franc and now to the euro, and will have some tough questions for their hosts about its future stability. African bankers, in Abidjan for the African Development Bank Annual Meeting, have been discussing the growing concern of their Japanese and Chinese counterparts about the spiralling Eurozone debt. After Asian investors reported falling interest in Eurobond issues, Reuters news agency proposed, only half-humorously, the launching of an Afribond instead.

Asian investors will loom large at the Africa-France summit. A big team of French officials will be in Nice to talk about ‘triangulation’ – how French expertise can work with Chinese companies to launch new projects in Africa. Over 100 French business leaders, such as Vincent Bolloré, Martin Bouygues and Jean-Louis Vilgrain, will meet the African delegations and seal new deals. So will the new Director General of the Agence Française de Développement, Dov Zerah, whom President Nicolas Sarkozy chose personally. But the suits are set to dominate proceedings in Nice, with Zerah and the aid brigade playing a supporting role. State coffers in Europe may be running low but the Eurozone companies will not willingly cede ground.
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Legal limits

The Harare legal profession is enjoying itself at the expense of fellow practitioner Jonathan Samkange, a favourite in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front who shuns...


Dealers on a high

Stricter policing makes little impact on the flourishing cocaine trade, so it may be better to target the money launderers who handle the proceeds

The quantity of illegal drugs seized in Africa has been falling. However, that indicates not the success of anti-trafficking policies but the increasing skill of the traffickers in...


More muddles in the mines

It seems impossible to keep politicians, and suspect characters, away from Congo’s rich mineral resources

The review of Congo-Kinshasa’s contested mining contracts was completed months ago but the business is still clogged in the mire of decision-making. One victim is Kingamyambo Muson...


Votes and the mining houses

A heavy crop of parties will contest next month’s election but the real contest is about controlling mineral rights

Of the 20-odd candidates running in the 27 June presidential election, two veterans stand out. They are Alpha Condé, the pugnacious leader of the Rassemblement du Peuple de Guinée ...


Out of Africa and into Asia

Some canny commodity traders are moving into Africa’s mining business to target the Asian market

Two of the world’s biggest and most controversial commodity traders, Trafigura and Glencore, are building up their metals businesses in Africa, to compete with Chinese rivals and m...


The fight for cellphones

Amid local trade wars, Vodacom-Congo is feeling the pinch and contemplating pulling out of the DRC

Vodacom-Congo may be Congo-Kinshasa’s largest mobile telephone concern, with more than 4 million subscribers, although its rival Zain claims to have more. Vodacom’s internal battle...


Promising contracts

Guinea’s interim government has seen through several big developments in the mineral sector, in spite of an agreement that no new deals be ratified until after June’s elections. In...


An unconvincing egotist

Putsch leader Andry Rajoelina says he won’t stand in the forthcoming elections – but for some reason no one believes him

Andry Rajoelina, President of the incumbent Haute Autorité de la Transition (HAT), has said that he will not stand in presidential elections later this year but he is determined to...



Pointers

Dangote is a Gooner

The eagerness of the United States-based private equity firm Blackstone to talk up the value of Nina Bracewell Smith’s 16% stake in Arsenal Football Club may have prompted Nigerian...


Opposition wipe-out

In 2005, all of Addis Ababa’s federal parliamentary seats went to the opposition; this time, preliminary results suggest that all but one have gone to the Ethiopian People’s Revolu...


More boots on the ground

The United States Department of Defence is considering assigning a permanent army to its Africa military command, Africom. At present, Africom has to source all the troops it uses ...


Mixed messages

In a spirit of reconciliation not always seen from Asmara, Eritrea’s Ambassador in London, Tesfamicael Gerahtu, told AC that the people of his country and Ethiopia were ‘bound to l...