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Published 13th May 2011

Vol 52 No 10


Ghana

All for the sake of the party

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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A battle royal for the presidential nomination of the National Democratic Congress will shape the country’s politics for the coming year and beyond

Overseas, Ghana’s stock could hardly be higher. Its many admirers point to its record of organising free elections, resolving conflict and sound economic management. So onlookers are baffled by the outbreak of unarmed hostilities at the heart of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC). Ghanaians seem more sanguine, some suggesting it adds some much-needed excitement to local politics.


Not so golden jubilee

Freetown’s independence celebrations said much about the parlous state of the country and looming difficulties for the government

When Sierra Leone gained Independence from Britain in 1961, the event was so peaceful that one foreign observer described it as ‘independence without pain’. On 27 April this year, ...


A revolution in the revolution

Activists want the transitional regime to purge the state apparatus and organise free elections this year, and tempers are fraying

After days of running clashes between police and protestors, Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi’s government announced a night-time curfew on 7 May. Along with the country’s politics...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Revolutionaries, like soldiers, march on their stomachs. And economics is now at the centre of the turbulence in North Africa. In Egypt and Tunisia, the ability of the post-revolutionary regimes to meet demands for jobs and subsidise food and fuel will shape political developments. More economic discontent and street protests could prompt a new security crackdown that would benefit the former regimes’ allies.

Although the World Bank and African Development Bank are lend...

Revolutionaries, like soldiers, march on their stomachs. And economics is now at the centre of the turbulence in North Africa. In Egypt and Tunisia, the ability of the post-revolutionary regimes to meet demands for jobs and subsidise food and fuel will shape political developments. More economic discontent and street protests could prompt a new security crackdown that would benefit the former regimes’ allies.

Although the World Bank and African Development Bank are lending US$500 million each to Tunisia, the European Union response of 258 mn. euros over three years has underwhelmed. The AfDB’s latest Tunisia figures show graduate unemployment over 20% and over 40% for economics and law graduates. There are gross regional disparities: poverty rates in Tunis are about 7% but over 30% in the mid-west. The upheavals have cost Tunisia $5-8 billion in lost investment and tourist revenue. But AfDB researchers conclude the revolution should prove positive if the transitional regime consolidates accountable government and cuts corruption, which was costing Tunisia several billion dollars a year under Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

In Libya, oppositionists believe fuel shortages in Moammar el Gadaffi’s western strongholds could prove as important as force in unseating the regime. Indeed, much of the coastal fighting has been over oil installations. But the opposition may underestimate the regime’s determination to keep lines open despite sanctions and pay premium prices for contraband supplies.

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Chaos keeps Gadaffi in the game

A humanitarian disaster threatens as the regime struggles to survive

The prevailing chaos in Libya shows what can happen if a popular uprising goes wrong – and where Egypt and Tunisia could have ended up. The number of refugees surging across the Tu...


Why the Arab Spring worries Luanda

After 32 years in power, President Dos Santos presides over a fast growing economy which leaves most of his compatriots in dire poverty

The buzz word is ‘opacity’. Elections are due by the end of 2012 but no one is certain who is standing. Angola has one of the strongest economies in Africa but the beneficiaries of...


Indicted war criminal fights election

Khartoum’s ruling party tries to hold on to its base in Kordofan, a springboard for operations in Abyei and the South

It was clear that Ahmed Mohamed Haroun had lost his bid to be elected Governor of Southern Kordofan when the National Congress Party sent Presidential Assistant Nafi’e Ali Nafi’e t...


Stabilisation now, reconciliation later

Ouattara is a strong Western ally but his national skills are more of an unknown quantity as he tries to reconcile his own fractious forces as well as Gbagbo’s loyalists. With Gbagbo confined in the north under UN guard and his forces demoralised or captured, the new president has signalled his seriousness by not allowing his staff any time off, despite having spent four months trapped in the Golf Hotel.

ADO's woes The difficulties facing President Alassane Dramane Ouattara (‘ADO’) in reconciling former enemies emerged again in the 6 May inauguration ceremony. In his acceptance s...


Coulibaly: Death of a rebel

The death of Ibrahim Coulibaly (‘IB’), a former commander with the Forces Nouvelles, points to the difficulties of establishing a new security order in Côte d’Ivoire. IB died in a ...


Shouting insults

As Eritrea looks forward to serious earnings from gold, the old quarrel with Ethiopia is heating up again

After more than a decade complaining that they are the wronged party, top Ethiopian officials busily explain their new campaign to overthrow the neighbouring regime of President Is...


Old man out

The ruling party looks for a new leader, while the opposition wants fair elections

At 87 years old, President Robert Mugabe is indisputably slowing down. His party wanted elections this year without waiting for a new constitution. In the run-up, Mugabe was to fen...



Pointers

Glencore connection

The serenity of Glencore’s Initial Public Offering on the Hong Kong and London Stock Exchanges remains undisturbed by revelations of inflated costs and transfer-pricing by Zambia’s...


Ethical smelting

The Katangese Mines Minister, Juvénal Kitungwa Lugoma, was in Paris on 5 May assuring nervous electronics and automotive company representatives that cassiterite and colombo-tantal...


The Lowassa fight back

Barons of the governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi accused of corruption are proving more resilient than expected (AC Vol 52 No 9). In March, the CCM announced it was dismissing members t...