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Published 5th December 1997

Vol 38 No 24

Madeleine's mission

Washington's new Africa team is concentrating its fire on Central Africa with the Secretary of State's six nation hop this month

Due to land in Addis Ababa on 9 December, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will start her six-nation hop with an address to the Organisation of African Unity. The address is likely to focus on regional security and Washington's willingness to help the OAU's security mechanism, and a strategy to integrate Africa more closely into the global economy. But it will not be business as usual, for either Washington or Africa. Albright's new Africa team headed by Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Susan Rice, has been shaping a new agenda for American policy on Africa. Not since Chester Crocker, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa under Ronald Reagan has an Assistant Secretary had as good access to the President and Secretary of State as Rice. Albright's decision to tour Africa in her first year in office (which her predecessor Warren Christopher left until his final year) is an indication of this. Their difficulty is that without the Cold War they cannot recreate the urgency that Africa policy warranted in the Crocker era: multinationals' profit margins are no match for the march of Communist hordes. One Washington Africanist commented last month: 'It would be good to have an Africa policy at all, let alone a new one.'

Franco-phoney war

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As Paris sides with Nigeria against a US oil conglomerate, its old allies feel uneasy

France's Elf Aquitaine and Nigeria have joined forces against America's Mobil Oil and Equatorial Guinea in a latter-day variation of the Fashoda incident. Urged on by General Sani ...

The voting business

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KANU is set to win this month's elections but at a high cost to the economy

Opposition hopes for the 29 December election rest on their ability to force President Daniel arap Moi to a second round of voting for the Presidency. To do this, as well as winnin...

Post-coup purge

Hardliners around President Chiluba are using the failed coup to settle scores

A wave of repression has followed the drunken coup attempt on 28 October, starting with a purge in the army. The army commander, Lieutenant General Nobby Simbeye, whose response to...

Buying the farm

Land reform is a political imperative but it could wreck the economy if badly done

The timing could hardly have been worse. As the currency came under attack (falling against the United States' dollar from Z$14 to Z$25 in mid-November) and with even the robust st...


Sofia spree

A team of South African defence experts is due in Bulgaria next year to look more closely at its military plants, 22 of which are being prepared for privatisation. The list include...

Kabila's banker

A brass plaque outside the smart new offices of the Banque de Commerce et de Développementin Kinshasa's main street, Boulevard du 30- Juin, proclaims that they were opened by Presi...

Rebranding Abacha

The personality cult around General Sani Abacha is growing rapidly, ahead of his expected candidacy in next August's presidential elections. A new biography entitled – Sani A...


Mali's democratic credentials are being questioned by Amnesty International in its report Mali: basic liberties at risk. It lists allegations of police torture of arrested oppositi...