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Published 9th January 2015

Vol 56 No 1


Special preview edition: Africa in 2015

A student's map of Africa at a school near Bamako, Mali. Sven Torfinn / Panos
A student's map of Africa at a school near Bamako, Mali. Sven Torfinn / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

Tougher politics and tighter money are in prospect as governments will depend more on national resources – we look at the year ahead

After a decade of progress, Africa's path to economic self-reliance and political pluralism is now strewn with obstacles. In many countries, reformers have stabilised economies and whittled down government debts but the political price of those measures will be much higher in 2015. Governments will have fewer fat surpluses with which to placate restive towns and cities.

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Economy up, security down

With strains appearing in the Jubilee Coalition, the opposition will exploit the government’s political and security problems

The grisly image of the decomposing and mutilated body of Meshack Yebei, a witness in Deputy President William Ruto's case at the International Criminal Court will keep this issue ...


El Sisi consolidates

The President will try to firm up his power through the election of a compliant Parliament and a probable economic upturn

The much delayed parliamentary elections are likely to go ahead during February and March, over three rounds, although the timetable could slip further. The single-chamber Parliame...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

As shock-waves spread after the murderous attack on staff at the Paris weekly Charlie Hebdo on 7 January, African security officials are weighing the implications for their own countries. Given the global coverage earned by the attacks in Paris and on the Westgate Mall in Kenya in September 2013, some Islamists see such armed assault as a means to bludgeon opponents, divide communities and step up recruitm...

As shock-waves spread after the murderous attack on staff at the Paris weekly Charlie Hebdo on 7 January, African security officials are weighing the implications for their own countries. Given the global coverage earned by the attacks in Paris and on the Westgate Mall in Kenya in September 2013, some Islamists see such armed assault as a means to bludgeon opponents, divide communities and step up recruitment. Even in remote areas of north-east Nigeria, the repeated attacks by Boko Haram on schools – with a far higher death toll than the 141 children killed in December’s jihadist attack on the military school in Peshawar, Pakistan – has won the group the notoriety it sought.

Some, like the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, are bold enough to speak out against the Islamists, while others have been cowed. Some of Africa’s foremost intellectuals have fallen in these battles. Libyan human rights lawyer Salwa Bughaigis, who campaigned against Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi’s brutal secularist regime and then against Islamist repression, was murdered in Benghazi in June. At the start of this cycle of confrontation, the left-wing Algerian intellectual Salah Chouaki was shot dead in September 1994 after a succession of threats from the Groupe islamique armé. That was in the early stages of the war between Algeria’s security state and its Islamist opponents. An unrelenting opponent of Islamism but a doughty defender of religious freedom for all, Chouaki wrote: ‘The best way to defend Islam is to put it out of the reach of all political manipulation’.

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IBK on the back foot

Peace talks with Tuareg rebels and the President’s dented reputation both need their credibility restored

Deadlock in the peace talks with Tuareg rebels promises continued instability and paralysed development for northern Mali this year – unless Algerian mediators step up the pressure...


New faces, old issues

Good will and hopefulness greet Nyusi. But a still-disgruntled Renamo clouds the picture, as do corruption fears

After he takes office on 15 January and Parliament reconvenes, President Filipe Nyusi is expected to bring many new and younger faces to cabinet as his predecessor Armando Guebuza'...


The long goodbye

There is unease in Algiers where the focus on the President’s health is obscuring long-term political and economic reform

Algerians worry about their future in a world where oil, which with natural gas still accounts for over 95% of exports, is trading at below US$55 per barrel. It is a world which al...


Hell no, he won’t go

Kabila’s determination to stay in power regardless of the legalities poses major risks – but the economy is looking up

Speculation is rising that the probable postponement of local elections due in June and October is part of a plan by President Joseph Kabila to put off next year's presidential ele...


Not a popularity contest

The EPRDF won’t allow the recovering opposition to test its electoral support and will tightly manage the coming elections

The most certain outcome in 2015 will be a sweeping electoral victory for the governing Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and another five years in of...


Watching the dust settle

Filling the vacuum left by Compaoré’s long presidency will dominate the year ahead: the mass movement that ousted him will be on high alert

Dismantling the political and economic system built around ex-President Blaise Compaoré is political, military and economic. Politically, the transition is about preparing t...


Turbulence trending

Zuma faces a serious challenge from Ramaphosa and ANC internal battles could weaken efforts to tackle urgent economic problems

The coming year will be dominated by the struggle within the African National Congress between President Jacob Zuma and his supporters and those seeking to replace him with the Dep...


CCM faces apathy

Elections dominate the calendar, as will the groundwork for the LNG project, whose economics are now less certain

The party in power since the advent of multi-party democracy in 1995, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), is virtually certain to win the presidential election in October or November. That ...