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Unrest simmers over economy and Covid

Pic: evannovostro / stock.adobe.com
Pic: evannovostro / stock.adobe.com

Tempers are rising over Covid-19 and ahead of elections in 2021, while concern grows about King Mohammed VI's health

Morocco may have had a good lockdown after King Mohammed VI (M6) pushed Prime Minister Saad Eddine el Othmani's government into forcing some 36 million non-essential workers to stay at home. But public opinion has been much less supportive since, as tourism and other big employers have struggled. Criticism has risen sharply as the disease toll climbs again. Efforts to modernise the economy and society launched before the lockdown have stalled: a huge undertaking to produce a new development model led by the Commission Spéciale sur le Modèle de Développement chaired by Chakib Benmoussa, is not now expected to deliver its findings to M6 until December, six months later than originally planned.


Rage at the gates

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Targeted with live rounds in Lagos, campaigners against police brutality step up their protests and political ambition

Pressure is mounting on President Muhammadu Buhari's government after the shooting of protestors at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos on 20 October with the African Union and the United...

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States carry on regardless

Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy Lucky Ayedatiwa celebrate their victory, Ondo State, 10 October 2020. Pic: Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/PA Images
Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy Lucky Ayedatiwa celebrate their victory, Ondo State, 10 October 2020. Pic: Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/PA Images

Rival candidates in Ondo State's elections campaigned for their national ambitions more than local issues

After losing the Edo state elections last month, the ruling All Progressives' Congress (APC) held on to Rotimi Akeredolu's governorship of Ondo State on 10 October – a result...


The limits on the economy

Mthuli Ncube at Parliament, Harare, July 2020. Pic: Wanda/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Mthuli Ncube at Parliament, Harare, July 2020. Pic: Wanda/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

As dissent grows and government lacks finance for a new land scheme, the finance minister insists prospects are brightening

Rejecting the gathering gloom about the national economy, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube released a budget strategy paper on 16 October forecasting the economy would grow by 7.4% ne...


A DIY debt trap

Uhuru Kenyatta and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée palace. Pic: Pool/Maxppp/Maxppp/PA Images
Uhuru Kenyatta and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée palace. Pic: Pool/Maxppp/Maxppp/PA Images

The government has turned down debt deferral and plans to increase borrowing, prompting growing doubts about its judgement

President Uhuru Kenyatta's government insists it will not take advantage of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) offered by the Group of 20 wealthy nations to mitigate the...


New debt demand as bondholders defer decision

Kafue Gorge Lower Hydroelectric Power Plant. Pic: Zesco
Kafue Gorge Lower Hydroelectric Power Plant. Pic: Zesco

A local company goes to court to recover $300m from the state power utility as bondholders postpone a vote on the government's request for debt relief

The operator of the country's only coal-fired power station, Maamba Collieries Ltd., has opened arbitration proceedings with Zambia's state-owned electricity utility Zesco to recov...


A change of tone

President Ramaphosa presents the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to a Joint Hybrid Sitting of Parliament, 15 October 2020. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)
President Ramaphosa presents the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to a Joint Hybrid Sitting of Parliament, 15 October 2020. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)

President Ramaphosa has made a renewed commitment to review public ownership and plot out a major role for the private sector

After a decade of corruption, economic decline and a crippling pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa has unveiled his Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which does not go as ...


Leaders seek poll boost from pipeline deal

Uganda government and Total sign oil pipeline agreement. Pic: Uganda Media Centre
Uganda government and Total sign oil pipeline agreement. Pic: Uganda Media Centre

Election worries and weak oil prices persuaded Uganda’s President to make concessions on the oil export pipeline via Tanzania

East Africa's leading resource nationalists – President Yoweri Museveni and John Magufuli – have signed one of Africa's biggest oil pipeline deals as they campaign fiercely in nati...


Koroma probe risks backlash

Julius Maada Bio receives reports of commissions of inquiry and white papers, September 2020. Pic: State House Media and Communications Unit
Julius Maada Bio receives reports of commissions of inquiry and white papers, September 2020. Pic: State House Media and Communications Unit

The government hopes a strong stand on corruption will win votes, but the opposition is set on making the cost of prosecutions unacceptably high

In what government supporters see as a watershed moment and critics say is a precursor to civil unrest, formal corruption investigations have opened against former President Ernest...


No contest poll for Ouattara

Ouattara supporters. Picture by: Yvan Sonh/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Ouattara supporters. Picture by: Yvan Sonh/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

With no sign of President Alassane Ouattara or his major opponents considering meaningful compromise over the 31 October election, tensions have taken on a dangerously inter-commun...


Diallo jumps the gun

Cellou Dalein Diallo. Pic: Sadak Souici / Le Pictorium/Maxppp/PA Images
Cellou Dalein Diallo. Pic: Sadak Souici / Le Pictorium/Maxppp/PA Images

Three-time presidential challenger Cellou Dalein Diallo decided on 19 October that the best way to respond to the almost certain victory at the polls of the incumbent, Alpha Condé,...


Jihadists trade up

Soumaïla Cissé. Pic: Facebook
Soumaïla Cissé. Pic: Facebook

The deal that saw Jama'a Nusrat ul Islam wa al Muslimin?(JNIM), the Malian branch of Al Qaida led by Iyad ag Ghaly, exchange four hostages for 204 presumed jihadists, has thrown up...


Frelimo flounders in north

Pic: bilalulker / stock.adobe.com
Pic: bilalulker / stock.adobe.com

The insurgents in Cabo Delgado retain the initiative, having attacked a village in Tanzania and reportedly destroyed a Tanzania People's Defence Force armoured personnel carrier on...


Ouattara leads in a perilous poll

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

The president stands alone against the opposition front, but he is still favourite to win the elections at the end of the month

United in condemnation of Alassane Ouattara's bid for a third term, but failing to present a coherent alternative, the Ivorian opposition has all but written off its chances of pre...

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Colonels concede – but not much

Bamako, 25 September 2020, Bah N'Daw is sworn in as Mali's transitional president. Pic: Habib Kouyate/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Bamako, 25 September 2020, Bah N'Daw is sworn in as Mali's transitional president. Pic: Habib Kouyate/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

While many in the discredited political class plot a return to centre stage, the military has retained the upper hand after ousting President Keïta

Delegates from West Africa and beyond have been flying in and out of Bamako for weeks to impress their priorities and concerns upon the junta (the Comité national pour le Salut du ...


How to make oil pay

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

After 20 years of lobbying, a bill to reform the country’s energy industry is being pushed through the National Assembly – with a good chance of success

There has been consensus in the country on two things since the return to civil rule in 1999: the management of oil and gas, which dominates the export economy, is deeply flawed; a...


Private capital, green shoots

Gwede Mantashe. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Gwede Mantashe. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A combination of worsening power cuts and investigations into grand corruption in the state utility and its suppliers has forced a policy shift

The government is finally backing a plan that will open the state power utility Eskom to private investors, putting the energy sector at the core of the country's economic recovery...


This time, it's personal

Ace Magashule, March 2013. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Ace Magashule, March 2013. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A spate of arrests of officials on corruption charges is leading to the door of Ace Magashule, Secretary-General of the ruling party

Within weeks Cyril Ramaphosa will face his toughest battle as President as he tests his authority against the second-most-powerful politician in the country, African National Congr...


Tigray takes on the centre

Abiy Ahmed. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0 – cropped)
Abiy Ahmed. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0 – cropped)

The northern province’s ruling council lays down the gauntlet with its refusal to recognise the Addis Ababa government

After running an election for Tigray's State Council in defiance of federal authority last month, which the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) won by a landslide, the party's ...


Paths out of the pandemic

Covid-19 testing kits donated by the IAEA to the Ministry of Health in Accra, May 2020. Pic: Prof B.J.B Nyarko/GAEC (CC BY 2.0)
Covid-19 testing kits donated by the IAEA to the Ministry of Health in Accra, May 2020. Pic: Prof B.J.B Nyarko/GAEC (CC BY 2.0)

Dire predictions of the toll in Africa from Covid-19 were overblown but disinformation is threatening public health initiatives

Back in March, it was the lull before the storm, with predictions of three million deaths from Covid-19 in Africa. Thankfully, the storm never came. Today, it is the lull before wh...


Which way is Tebboune facing?

Abdelmajid Tebboune, Algiers, August 2020. Pic: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto/PA Images
Abdelmajid Tebboune, Algiers, August 2020. Pic: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto/PA Images

A month ahead of a constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections, the country is deeply divided over the government’s claims of reform

Supporters of President Abdelmajid Tebboune, backed by army Chief of Staff Major General Saïd Chengriha, have presided over the crushing of the oligarch culture that thrived under...


The great bond bust

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

Deteriorating relations between the holders of Zambia's $3 billion Eurobonds and the government after its 22 September request for a six-month suspension of coupon payments point t...


Bottling Wine

Bobi Wine campaigns in Hoima, Uganda, September 2019. Pic: Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images
Bobi Wine campaigns in Hoima, Uganda, September 2019. Pic: Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

Uganda's Chief of Defence Forces, General David Muhoozi, is in the spotlight over suspicious dealings with the man who is seeking to deregister a political party he handed over to...


Raila's path to power

Raila Odinga, electoral rally, Uhuru Park, 2007. Pic: DEMOSH (CC BY 2.0)
Raila Odinga, electoral rally, Uhuru Park, 2007. Pic: DEMOSH (CC BY 2.0)

After four unsuccessful election attempts, Raila Odinga's path to the presidency now rests on his improbable alliance with President Uhuru Kenyatta. Many in his Luo community still...