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Published 3rd January 1997

Vol 38 No 1

Worlds apart

Better economic news in some countries but new conflicts in others means a wider gap between Africa's winners and losers

The selection of Ghana's Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations is a tremendous morale boost for Africa this year. Not only is Annan highly regarded by the industrial country paymasters of the UN and the developing country bloc, he has also had more than a decade of handson experience in peace-keeping operations in Bosnia, Mozambique, Rwanda and Somalia. But his honeymoon will be brief. In exchange for getting the United States' Congress to pay its US$1,500 million arrears, Annan will have to press forward quickly with a comprehensive programme of UN reform: to its finances, to its Security Council, to its economic and social agencies and the way it chooses its Secretary General. The major question being asked about Annan is whether he is tough and agile enough (he has made precious few enemies after 30 years in the UN) to push through these reforms. Former associates say that despite his affability, he is no pushover.

In the front line again

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Asmara's investment drive provokes less interest than its adventurous foreign policy

Combining an assertive foreign policy, hard-nosed economic reforms and a tight rein on domestic politics, President Issayas Aferworki is cast from a similar mould to Uganda’s...

Kuala Lumpar can do

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Talking politics and doing business, Malaysians are winning new friends

Leave aside the posturing and wishful thinking on both sides, Asia is getting more interested in Africa. Part of it is political and diplomatic: aspiring United Nations Security Co...

Digging in

Kinshasa's talk of a counter-offensive means little as the rebels score strategic victories

The strategic town of Bunia, on the north-eastern border with Sudan and Uganda, fell to rebel forces on 26 December. This was a stinging blow to President Mobutu Sese Seko’s ...

Albright's team

The nomination of Madeleine Albright as President Bill Clinton's new Secretary of State for African Affairs opens the way for a reshuffle of the Africa department's officials. Most...

Tehran's ambitions

Iran is working to build a presence across Africa as it seeks to overcome efforts by the United States, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to isolate it. A mid-December invitation ...