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Third wave threatens the continent

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Lack of international consensus on the response to the virus multiplies risks to Africa's economies and healthcare

Top African and UN officials are desperately lobbying a divided international system for a US$100 billion emergency fund to combat what they fear will be a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic ripping through Africa in mid-April, as it ravages Europe and North America.


Into uncharted waters

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Shutdowns, border closures and crashing commodity prices may cause an unprecedented financial breakdown

As cases of Covid-19 grow exponentially across the world, so do the public health and economic threats to African states as governments take action. With over 20 countries on the c...

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Cyril's double crisis

Cyril Ramaphosa addresses quarantined citizens. Pic: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa addresses quarantined citizens. Pic: GCIS

Drastic measures to contain the pandemic, coupled with the Moody’s downgrade, have strengthened the President’s hand – for now

The South African government has vowed to respond to the double shock of the coronavirus pandemic and a credit ratings downgrade by making overdue structural reforms to prevent the...


Condé goes it alone

Protests in Conakry, March 2020. Pic: Sadak Souici/Zuma Press/PA Images
Protests in Conakry, March 2020. Pic: Sadak Souici/Zuma Press/PA Images

The President gets the constitutional change he wants to enable a third and fourth term, and the crackdown on the opposition continues

President Alpha Condé got what he wanted: a 92% 'yes' vote in the constitutional referendum, which was held on 22 March alongside a long overdue legislative election which the oppo...


Poll in a plague year

Peter Mutharika. Pic: Anton Novoderezhkin/Tass/PA Images
Peter Mutharika. Pic: Anton Novoderezhkin/Tass/PA Images

The re-run of the presidential election looked certain to see Mutharika fall, but all bets are off now that political rallies are banned

The new presidential election mandated by the Constitutional Court in February was always going to be bad news for President Peter Mutharika, especially with the new requirement th...


The Kabila Strain

Félix Tshisekedi. Pic: Thierry Roge/Belga/PA Images
Félix Tshisekedi. Pic: Thierry Roge/Belga/PA Images

The health damage is not yet clear, but the economic consequences of the virus are grave, as the previous and current presidents squabble

The Covid-19 pandemic took until the middle of March, when the first domestic cases were reported, to rouse the government. Then, on 18 March, President Félix Tshisekedi ann...


Healthcare for dollars

Staff members sanitise at a bus station in Harare, 1 April 2020. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Staff members sanitise at a bus station in Harare, 1 April 2020. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The first reaction of Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front high-ups to the pandemic was to blame the West, or at least to gloat at its misfortune. Defence Minister and Z...

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Army steps up role

A staff member disinfects near the Pyramids in Giza, 25 March 2020. Pic: Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
A staff member disinfects near the Pyramids in Giza, 25 March 2020. Pic: Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Egypt has been one of countries most severely affected in Africa, with cases approaching 1,000 and deaths nearing 50 as March came to an end. The first cases were linked with a Nil...


A diversion for the premier

One person who may have welcomed the coronavirus was Prime Minster Thomas Thabane, who was in a terminal political crisis when it struck. He had promised to resign by July but now ...


Locking down politics

Kenya's Parliament buildings. Pic: Adobe Stock
Kenya's Parliament buildings. Pic: Adobe Stock

The coronavirus pandemic will not only leave Kenyans much poorer, but also change the political landscape profoundly, according to the latest thinking. One likely casualty will be ...

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Bye bye boom

At the end of March, the government restricted movement between Greater Abidjan and the rest of the country. The streets of the commercial capital are almost deserted. Borders and ...


Magufuli the outlier

Pic: Moiz / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Moiz / stock.adobe.com

Tanzania stands apart from its neighbours in its response to Covid-19. President John Magufuli has resisted imposing blanket restrictions on movement, curfews and other forms of lo...


The fourth horseman

Officially, South Sudan remained one of the few African countries at the beginning of April to be free of the coronavirus, although draconian measures are in place to try to preven...


Protests on pause

An Algerian health worker disinfects a bus stop in Algiers, 20 March 2020. Pic: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto/PA Images
An Algerian health worker disinfects a bus stop in Algiers, 20 March 2020. Pic: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto/PA Images

Algerians became accustomed to staying at home during the 1990s conflict between the state and radical Islam. The extent to which they are prepared to observe the lockdown was evid...


The spring unsprung

The fifth most infected country in Africa, Tunisia is also the only relative success story of the 2011 Arab Spring, but there are fears that the coronavirus could destroy all that ...


IMF backs rapid funds

A bulldozer and a disinfection unit were mobilised on, 22 March, to clean and partially destroy the Tilene market, in the Medina district of Dakar. Pic: Sadak Souici / Le Pictorium/Maxppp/PA Images
A bulldozer and a disinfection unit were mobilised on, 22 March, to clean and partially destroy the Tilene market, in the Medina district of Dakar. Pic: Sadak Souici / Le Pictorium/Maxppp/PA Images

Baton blows to over-sociable Dakarois and raids on wedding parties were not the gentlest way for police to secure the public's cooperation with quarantine and social distancing rul...


Pre-self-isolated

Madagascar is on few international airline routes, so Covid-19 came late to the island. The authorities were able to impose quarantine on arriving travellers early, even before the...


Voters self-isolate

Voters keep a distance in a queue as they wait to cast their ballots at a polling station in Bamako on March 29, 2020. Pic: Habib Kouyate/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Voters keep a distance in a queue as they wait to cast their ballots at a polling station in Bamako on March 29, 2020. Pic: Habib Kouyate/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Malians voted with their feet, choosing to protect themselves from the Covid-19 virus rather than cast ballots in parliamentary elections on 29 March. The turnout fell to 5% in the...


Tunisia pushes for peace

A third attempt to get the UN Security Council to declare the coronavirus pandemic a 'threat to humanity and international peace and security' and coordinate the necessary emergenc...


No coronavirus ceasefire

A GNA fighter wearing face mask in Tripoli, 25 March 2020. Pic: Pan Xiaojing/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
A GNA fighter wearing face mask in Tripoli, 25 March 2020. Pic: Pan Xiaojing/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Unlike its neighbours, Libya reported no coronavirus cases before 24 March, a beneficial effect of the civil war restricting the movement of people and businesses in and out of the...


King takes charge

In the first week of Morocco's lockdown, King Mohammed VI ordered a show of force his late father King Hassan II would have approved, calling troops and tanks onto the streets of m...


Avoiding the nightmare

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

After the coronavirus shuts down Western economies, Africa’s governments face stark health and financial choices

Despite the lower numbers of people infected by the coronavirus in the region, Chikwe Ihekweazu, head of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, warns of the need for rapid action ...

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Ramaphosa’s next test

Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the joint statement on coronavirus. Pic: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the joint statement on coronavirus. Pic: GCIS

The pandemic could not have come at a worse time for an ailing economy already stressed to the limit

The collapse of the global financial markets, the tanking oil price, and the threat of a major global economic recession have radically altered the backdrop to South Africa's econo...


The fight for Jubilee

Pic: Prachaya / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Prachaya / stock.adobe.com

Open warfare between factions loyal to the President and his Deputy have taken the governing party to the brink of collapse

The death and funeral of ex-President Daniel arap Moi last month may have united political leaders in an outbreak of praise, but the bitter struggle for control of the governing Ju...


The Emir exits

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi - UNGA (74) Assembly 2019 © Africa Confidential
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi - UNGA (74) Assembly 2019 © Africa Confidential

Sacked after clashing with Kano’s governor, Lamido Sanusi may be heading for an overt political role

For the second time in as many decades, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has been pushed out of a top institution, with opinion divided over his future. Again, he will stoke political turmoil ...


The hit on Hamdok

Abdalla Hamdok. Pic: Bernd von Jutrczenka/DPA/PA Images
Abdalla Hamdok. Pic: Bernd von Jutrczenka/DPA/PA Images

The attempt on the Prime Minister’s life underscores his vulnerability and puts the spotlight on his myriad foes

Whether the bomb attack on Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's convoy on 9 March was a serious bid to kill him or just a show of strength by backers of the former regime it has further...


Cairo and Addis split over dam

Workers walk across the construction site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Guba, North West Ethiopia, November 2017. Pic: Gioia Forster/DPA/PA Images
Workers walk across the construction site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Guba, North West Ethiopia, November 2017. Pic: Gioia Forster/DPA/PA Images

Ethiopia has pulled out of US-hosted talks on the Blue Nile project as bitterness and mistrust grow

Ethiopia is courting regional states and the African Union to bolster its diplomatic position after pulling out of United States-mediated talks on the filling and operations of the...


New party, old tactics

Pic: natanaelginting / stock.adobe.com
Pic: natanaelginting / stock.adobe.com

The opposition is up against a still powerful security state while campaigning for the August elections


Frontier fracas

Pic: luzitanija / stock.adobe.com
Pic: luzitanija / stock.adobe.com

Conflict flares between Mogadishu and Nairobi over Jubaland. Kenya wants a buffer zone but Farmajo has other ideas


Ouattara and son

Alassane Ouattara. Pic: gouv.ci
Alassane Ouattara. Pic: gouv.ci

The outgoing President has moved quickly to name his preferred heir, hoping to steal a march on his rivals and cement his legacy