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Published 30th May 2014

Vol 55 No 11


Politics intrudes on the economic successes

Donald Kaberuka
Donald Kaberuka, President of AfDB, challenged African countries to stop selling fishing rights to developed countries. 'If you look at the money they get from fishing in African waters, it is more than the money they send to Africa through development aid. This is a case of the rich versus the poor. They take advantage of some weaknesses in our continental institutions to exploit our water resources. Therefore, as leaders, we must take action.'

As the Bank celebrates its half century at a meeting in Kigali, leaders speak frankly about security and the jobs crisis

These are heady times for the African Development Bank. Against a background of resurgent economic growth, the AfDB started to celebrate its 50th birthday at its Annual Meeting in Rwanda on 19-23 May. The celebration attracted a galaxy of African political and business leaders for some unexpectedly forthright discussions about the state of the continent. Over the next few months, the Bank returns to its ancestral seat in Côte d'Ivoire, which it left a decade ago, at the height of the civil war. Over that time, many African economies have doubled or tripled in size, thanks to better national management, a huge boost in trade with Asia and investment by Western companies. That upturn in capital inflows raises questions about the future of the AfDB and other multilateral financial institutions.

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A loyalist cabinet

Zuma has picked dependable allies – whatever their records – for his cabinet. He wants to maximise his power for his final term

A legacy of 'radical socio-economic transformation' is President Jacob Zuma's aim yet his new government has more old friends than new brooms. Far from the promised 'leaner and mea...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

To see government leaders argue publicly about politics and security at the African Development Bank meeting in Kigali last week showed how much discourse, if not governance, has changed. When he was in office, South Africa's former President Thabo Mbeki was notoriously reticent about criticising governments or leaders. At the Kigali meeting, he described the South Sudanese leadership as 'fundamentally self-centred, serving its own interest instead of the masses it is supposed to lead'. Then ...

To see government leaders argue publicly about politics and security at the African Development Bank meeting in Kigali last week showed how much discourse, if not governance, has changed. When he was in office, South Africa's former President Thabo Mbeki was notoriously reticent about criticising governments or leaders. At the Kigali meeting, he described the South Sudanese leadership as 'fundamentally self-centred, serving its own interest instead of the masses it is supposed to lead'. Then he concluded: 'It's not as though the Dinka and the Nuer decided to take up arms against each other. They never did: the leaders decided.'

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame warmed to the theme, referring to the purveyors of ethnic hatred who had launched the genocide in his country 20 years ago: 'Leaders made people believe that they were the majority and the others should be killed. They made people who had nothing believe that they, too, were Hutu power when in fact they had none.' All this talk of stirring ethnic sentiment for political gain seemed to unsettle fellow panellist William Ruto, Kenya's Vice-President, who faces trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity after the murder of over 1,200 people following the 2007 elections. 'We need leaders that inspire society,' he offered, trying to change the subject.

Kagame returned to the offensive with a veiled critique of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for asking French President François Hollande to host a mini-summit on regional security. 'What image does it give about governments in Africa? It doesn't make sense.' Two seats away on the podium, another former President, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, who is no great admirer of Jonathan, broke into a broad smile.

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Trust still dormant

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Sassou slaps Kabila

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Kinshasa challenges Luanda

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The President looks to his legacy

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Poll ends in farce

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Turn out for the Field Marshal

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Pointers

Sata health fears grow

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Poison politics

Alongside its terrible human cost in north-eastern Nigeria and the Middle Belt, there are signs that the Boko Haram insurgency is seriously damaging the government's political stan...


Amnesty anomalies

As social media resonated with reports that the government was about to offer an amnesty to Islamist insurgents Boko Haram, on 28 May President Goodluck Jonathan vowed again on nat...