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Published 19th December 1997

Vol 38 No 25


Best friends, friends and foes

With little foreign aid to rebuild the country's shattered economy, the Kabila government will have to rely on private capital

The project to reconstruct Central Africa is moving painfully slowly and with very little money, over six months after the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko’s regime spurred hopes of a revitalised Congo. While Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s government has almost unequivocal backing from its neighbours (apart from Sudan) Western states are less convinced. They won’t finance a major reconstruction programme or even offer substantial forgiveness on the US$14.5 billion foreign debt (most of which was squandered by the Mobutu regime when it was a key Cold War ally). Instead, the West, along with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, wants a gradualist approach premised on the Kabila government’s progress in economic and political reform.

Doing the business

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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With the country deep in debt, what matters now is business and its political links

Helped by a mini-economic boom and political strong-arm tactics, President Henri Konan Bédié is looking more comfortable in power four years after the death of Félix Houphouët-Boig...

After Yar'Adua

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The death of a detained politician has focused attention on northern discontents

Whatever caused the death of gaoled Northern military politician Shehu Musa Yar'Adua'on 9 December, it has sent a powerful message that Northerners can expect no special favours fr...

Rule by authority

The latest elections haven't changed the Maghreb governments' absolutist methods

For all their differences, the rulers of the two big Maghreb neighbours share some important traits. They fear Islamist revolutionaries and are offering a small share of power to s...

Back to the party

As in Kenya, the ruling party has strengthened its grip despite multi-partyism

The ruling parties in East Africa's former one-party states are thriving. As President Daniel arap Moi's Kenya African National Union looks forward to a thumping victory in preside...


Cairo competes

Secret efforts by Egypt to get the National Democratic Alliance talking to the National Islamic Front government may be overtaken by the opposition's dry-season offensive.The Sudan...

Africa's role

Africa has played a leading role in the campaign to ban anti-personnel landmines (APMs, AC Vol 38 No 5). Of a total of 122 countries, 39 African states signed the treaty banning AP...

Dokie's death

Who killed the former Deputy Speaker of Liberia's Transitional Assembly, Samuel Dokie, and his three travelling companions? The investigation into their murder and apparent torture...

Rights and wrongs

The government launched its long-promised human rights initiative to coincide with the 9 December visit by the United States Secretary of State. Madeleine Albright flattered the Et...