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The state of Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa. Pic: Kay Nietfeld/DPA/PA Images
Cyril Ramaphosa. Pic: Kay Nietfeld/DPA/PA Images

The President's speech to parliament on 13 February will say more about his fragile coalition of reformers than about the country he governs

For the past three decades each State of the Nation speech has been billed as the most important ever. Most – with the honourable exception of Nelson Mandela's epic performance after the 1994 elections – have been damp squibs and settled little.


Revenues and resources are the key

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Governments will have to raise far more revenue and staunch capital flight if they are to boost growth and investment this year

Africa will be thrown back on its own resources and internal revenue-raising capacity, at least for the short term, as the economies of major trading partners in Asia and Europe sl...

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Shock ruling resets poll

Peter Mutharika is sworn at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, 28 May 2019. Pic: Peng Lijun/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Peter Mutharika is sworn at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, 28 May 2019. Pic: Peng Lijun/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The Constitutional Court has nullified the presidential election and re-set the political landscape

The Constitutional Court has ordered a fresh presidential election, saying the Malawi Electoral Commission's (MEC) failure to follow its duties under constitutional and electoral l...


Over the rainbow

11 February 1990: Nelson Mandela celebrates with Winnie Mandela as he is released from Victor Verster prison. Pic: Graeme Williams/DPA/PA Images
11 February 1990: Nelson Mandela celebrates with Winnie Mandela as he is released from Victor Verster prison. Pic: Graeme Williams/DPA/PA Images

Ramaphosa grapples with economic crisis, corruption prosecutions and power shortages on a historic anniversary

The 30th anniversary of then-President FW de Klerk's announcement on 2 February 1990 of the release of Nelson Mandela nine days afterwards passed quietly as investors gathered to s...


A game of many nations

Kyriakos Mitsotakis meets with Khalifa Haftar in Athens 17 January 2020. Pic: Marios Lolos/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Kyriakos Mitsotakis meets with Khalifa Haftar in Athens 17 January 2020. Pic: Marios Lolos/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Turkey's agreement to support the UN-recognised government has upsets the geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean

The political backing of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for the UN-recognised regime in Tripoli is well-known, but less so are the subsidiary clauses in the pact which ma...


Lourenço faces the crunch

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

The campaign to recover loot is popular, and the IMF is supportive, but the numbers are terrible

The pursuit by investigative journalists and Luanda's prosecutors of Isabel dos Santos offers a temporary distraction from the country's economic meltdown. Enthusiasm to see Isabel...


King for a year

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

President Buhari will push through more economic nationalist policies. Beyond that, the picture gets cloudy

As he wrestles with mutually reinforcing economic and security problems, President Muhammadu Buhari can no longer blame an uncooperative national assembly or opposition state gover...


Beyond a hundred days

Hopes dim and donors lose patience as factions come no closer to a lasting agreement

Despite the prodigious efforts of various diplomats, regional organisations and assorted church groups to push for the formation of a government of national unity, there is increas...


Soro sounds off

Prevented from re-entering his country, Guillaume Soro remains determined to stand in the presidential election. He announced at a 28 January press conference in Paris law suits in...


Putschist walks free

The leader of the 2012 failed military coup, and suspect in the torture and murder of multiple Red Beret paratroopers opposed to his putsch, Amadou Haya Sanogo, has been released ...


Mining for clarity

Mining companies, already under pressure from the resource nationalist offensive of President John Magufuli's first presidential term, are complaining that the government's vaguene...


The fight over the missing billions goes global

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

The Lourenço government expands its search for stolen assets, launching an international campaign against the Dos Santos clan

In what is set to be a gargantuan legal battle stretching over many years, the government of President João Lourenço is stepping up action to recover several billion dollars in ass...


Multilateralism falters as crises multiply

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Sprawling conflicts in 13 conflict-wracked countries are dragging down indices for social progress, economic growth and stability. The second of our special forecast editions focuses on security

Out of 1.2 billion people and 54 countries, the security crises afflicting over 25 million people in 13 countries are having a disproportionate effect on the continent's fortunes a...

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Desperately seeking legitimacy

Anti-government demonstration, Algiers, January 2020. Pic: Louiza Ammi/ABACA/PA Images
Anti-government demonstration, Algiers, January 2020. Pic: Louiza Ammi/ABACA/PA Images

The new President will struggle to assert himself and break free from the military and the Deep State

The sudden death on 23 December of military strongman Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah may prove more significant for Algeria's future than the election on 12 December of a...


Life as a client state looms

L to R: Ghassan Salame, Antonio Guterres, Angela Merkel and Heiko Maas, Berlin Conference on Libya, 19 January 2020. Pic: Wang Qing/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
L to R: Ghassan Salame, Antonio Guterres, Angela Merkel and Heiko Maas, Berlin Conference on Libya, 19 January 2020. Pic: Wang Qing/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

As the US leaves the scene, Russia and Turkey may be about to carve up the country between them

Whether General Khalifa Haftar will this year enter Tripoli in triumph – which he continually predicted for most of last year – is in doubt now that Libya's future is i...


Regime reality check

Abiy Ahmed. Pic: Anton Novoderezhkin/Tass/PA Images
Abiy Ahmed. Pic: Anton Novoderezhkin/Tass/PA Images

The poster child for the new Africa, Abiy Ahmed, faces tricky elections and more strident calls for local power-sharing

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his fresh-faced Prosperity Party (PP) are set for a tough struggle in elections despite domestic acclaim and enthusiastic international support, inclu...


Nyusi’s win poses questions

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Far from consolidating presidential authority, the electoral fraud that brought Frelimo victory may well hurt the President

The working year began with a day of golfing and post-inauguration partying for President Filipe Nyusi, who was sworn into office on 15 January for his second five-year term amid e...


More trickle-down please

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

There has to be more in it for Tshisekedi’s camp followers if his uneasy partnership with the former president is to survive

The coalition of the Cap pour le changement (CACH) alliance, led by President Félix Tshisekedi, and ex-President Joseph Kabila's Front commun pour le Congo (FCC) is unhappy ...


Power struggles and inflation

Constantino Chiwenga meets with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Harare, January 2020. Pic: Zhang Yuliang/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Constantino Chiwenga meets with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Harare, January 2020. Pic: Zhang Yuliang/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

A wrecked economy will cause more worry this year but it won’t stop the two leading factions battling for supremacy

As Zimbabwe limps into 2020, its heaviest shackle is the economy. One analyst suggests it will shrink by 12.9% while inflation averages 165.5%. Last February, Minister of Finance M...


Terminal turbulence

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Alpha Condé is keeping the nation in a state of suspense by refusing to confirm whether he is standing for a third term

In his New Year address to the nation, President Alpha Condé confirmed his plans to submit a new constitution to a popular referendum. But he again failed to answer the question up...


In the rough

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Africa's paragon of democracy and prudence is finding stability and prosperity increasingly difficult as commodity prices fall

Envied by its peers for its track record of good governance and fiscal prudence, and prized by investors for its low tax regime, Botswana has posted budget deficits for the past th...


Sahel summit's fighting talk

Press conference at the G5 Sahel summit on the situation in the Sahel region in Pau, France, 13 January 2020. Pic: Top Quentin/Pool/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images
Press conference at the G5 Sahel summit on the situation in the Sahel region in Pau, France, 13 January 2020. Pic: Top Quentin/Pool/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

The meeting of West Africa's most jihadist-affected states and France has laid out a new military strategy against the local IS affiliate

The message was unambiguous. 'We are going to prioritise the need to fight against Islamic State in the Greater Sahara in the three frontiers,' Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc C...