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The plot against Tedros

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Pic: UN Photo/Elma Okic
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Pic: UN Photo/Elma Okic

After failing to oust the WHO chief, Washington is focusing on protecting its commercial rights to a Covid-19 vaccine

African diplomats are pushing back against an attempt by United States officials to undermine Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus's leadership of the World Health Organisation (WHO) ahead of its general assembly in Geneva, which is due to open on 18 May. They have singled out the role of US ambassador in Geneva, President Donald Trump appointee Andrew Bremberg, who accuses Tedros of bias towards China.

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Keeping the food flowing

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Alongside the health and economic threats of the pandemic, tens of millions face hunger as the disease strikes at the food supply chains

This month farmers across Africa are due to start planting for the main growing season. But the lockdown measures imposed to curb the Covid-19 pandemic risk derailing the harvest, ...


The Magufuli experiment

PPE-making on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam. Pic: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
PPE-making on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam. Pic: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The government’s inconsistent response is making the country a testbed for what happens when the coronavirus spreads rapidly

Tanzania's response to the coronavirus is marked by chaotic frontline healthcare, confused public health messaging, and a commitment to limiting the public's access to information,...


Into the land of empty

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

The oil price crash and the pandemic have the potential to force the diversification of the economy and end the patronage system

In the boom times, oil and gas generated 95% of the country's export revenues and the recycling of that cash powered over 60% of the economy. In the teeth of the coronavirus, its m...


Tsvangirai’s house divided

Nelson Chamisa at the burial of Morgan Tsvangirai. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Nelson Chamisa at the burial of Morgan Tsvangirai. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The struggle for control of the opposition MDC is ramping up as ZANU-PF uses divide and rule to weaken its strongest foe

In-fighting for control of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is playing into the hands of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front, which hopes ...


The lockdown finds pushback

Pic: GCIS
Pic: GCIS

The public is starting to tire of one of the world’s strictest restrictions in response to Covid-19 as cracks appear in the political consensus

The armed forces are patrolling the streets to enforce a nationwide curfew from 8pm to 5am as citizens can only exercise between 6am and 9am, and no more than five kilometres from ...


A clumsy coup

Sonko Rescue Team. Pic: Instagram mike.sonko
Sonko Rescue Team. Pic: Instagram mike.sonko

The government expected that curbing the Nairobi governor’s powers would end his career, but the flamboyant Mike Sonko won’t go quietly

The image of suspended Nairobi governor Mike Sonko at State House wordlessly signing powers over to the national government in February appeared to symbolise the presidency's trium...


Gertler tries to dodge sanctions

Félix Tshisekedi. Pic: Dmitry Feoktistov/Tass/PA Images
Félix Tshisekedi. Pic: Dmitry Feoktistov/Tass/PA Images

By setting up new secret companies and hiring legal advisors close to Donald Trump, the Israeli billionaire plans to counter US penalties

Israeli mining tycoon Dan Gertler's latest plan to sidestep sanctions on his companies in Congo-Kinshasa will test the seriousness of Washington's efforts to crack down on corrupti...


Who wants an election?

Farmajo. Pic: UN Photo/Laura Jarriel
Farmajo. Pic: UN Photo/Laura Jarriel

Polls are due at the end of the year but after three years of preparation there is still little prospect of one person, one vote

A fractious and increasingly angry political scene – dominated by growing resentment of the federal government –; is one of several reasons the vision of representative democracy i...


Refugees in crossfire

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

Ethiopia no longer automatically gives refugee status to fleeing Eritreans. Neither they nor their Tigrayan hosts are happy about it

The Ethiopian federal government's treatment of refugees from Eritrea is causing concern both in the Tigray regional government, with which it is already at odds, and among refugee...


Whose cure is it anyway?

António Guterres (R) with Ángel Gurría. Pic: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
António Guterres (R) with Ángel Gurría. Pic: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Industrialised countries are defending funding research to find a vaccine for Covid-19 out of Official Development Assistance funds against a possible challenge from the Organisati...


Ministers and militias

Faustin-Archange Touadéra. Pic: Alexander Ryumin/Tass/PA Images
Faustin-Archange Touadéra. Pic: Alexander Ryumin/Tass/PA Images

Far from restoring sanity, the February 2019 Khartoum peace agreement between 14 armed groups has created a new space for bloody competition; they now have access to state resource...


Coups and consequences

Salva Kiir shakes hands with Riek Machar at the Presidential Palace in Juba. Pic: UN Photo/Isaac Billy
Salva Kiir shakes hands with Riek Machar at the Presidential Palace in Juba. Pic: UN Photo/Isaac Billy

President Salva Kiir Mayardit sacked the Chief of Defence Forces, General Gabriel Jok Riak, on 11 May over a failure to act quickly enough to thwart a coup attempt, sources in Juba...


The governor's governor

Hage Geingob with commemorative banknote, March 2020. Pic: Jacobina Mouton/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Hage Geingob with commemorative banknote, March 2020. Pic: Jacobina Mouton/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

President Hage Geingob has courted unaccustomed controversy by appointing his friend, the politically connected businessman Johannes !Gawaxab, to fill the vacancy left by Ipumbu Sh...


On the brink of sovereign default

Pic: Piotr Pawinski / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Piotr Pawinski / stock.adobe.com

The government is getting no help from the IMF because it won't stop borrowing unsustainably and covertly

After stopping payments on several commercial loans this year, Zambia is set to default on its US$3 billion Eurobonds, now trading at 'distressed debt' levels, with yields over 50%...


AU pushes Africa bonds

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Finance ministers and economists at the African Union are winning support to restructure the continent's official and commercial debt

Radical measures for a restructuring of Africa's commercial debt and the cancellation of some official debt are under way after the offer of a limited standstill on bilateral payme...


Scientists unite

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus seen on a screen with a WHO Covid-19 cases map displayed. Pic: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus seen on a screen with a WHO Covid-19 cases map displayed. Pic: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

The leading world health agencies are closer now, but in the absence of strong data African governments are following starkly different policies

No doubt without intending to, United States President Donald Trump succeeded in dissolving many differences between the World Health Organisation and the pre-eminent US public hea...


Kudos to the health-workers

Testing for Covid-19 in Lagos this month. Pic: Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/PA Images
Testing for Covid-19 in Lagos this month. Pic: Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/PA Images

Despite grandstanding by some senior politicians, it is the doctors and nurses who are winning public support in the fight against the coronavirus

Criticisms are mounting about the lack of a coherent national strategy to manage the coronavirus pandemic. The missing piece is effective leadership from the national task force, u...


How Frelimo lost a province

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

The government has mishandled a growing insurgency in the gas-rich north of the country. Many fear it is now too late to regain the initiative

The latest massacre by an Islamist militia in the remote north of the country and its occupation of two coastal towns have thrust a simmering rebellion centre-stage, but the govern...


Unpacking Cyril’s stimulus

Tito Mboweni briefs media on Covid-19 stimulus package. Pic: GCIS
Tito Mboweni briefs media on Covid-19 stimulus package. Pic: GCIS

Economists question whether the immense Covid-19 relief package will just help business or the wider population

President Cyril Ramaphosa's 500 billion rand (US$26bn) stimulus to sustain South Africa's already precarious economy during the Covid-19 lockdown has been welcomed by business and ...


There will be blood tests

Mutahi Kagwe at a press conference in Nairobi, 13 March 2020. Pic: Wang Teng/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Mutahi Kagwe at a press conference in Nairobi, 13 March 2020. Pic: Wang Teng/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

After a decade of financial scandals, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, whose duties include Covid-19 testing, is back in the spotlight over the dismissal of the doctor in char...


Bongo returns

Pic: Derek Brumby / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Derek Brumby / stock.adobe.com

President Ali Bongo Ondimba is trying to reassert his authority after months of recuperation following a stroke in November 2018. The chief of staff at the Presidency, Brice Laccru...


Thabane out of time

Maseru. Pic: homocosmicos / stock.adobe.com
Maseru. Pic: homocosmicos / stock.adobe.com

The cornered Prime Minister Thomas Thabane continues to cling to office but looks to have run out of options. After several days of talks mediated by Jeff Radebe, South African Pre...


Who wants the oil?

Riek and Salva shake hands, Juba, September 2018. UN Photo/Isaac Billy
Riek and Salva shake hands, Juba, September 2018. UN Photo/Isaac Billy

There is mounting international concern at the delays in implementing the latest peace agreement, and that President Salva Kiir Mayardit is flouting the spirit of the deal. The Int...


Abba Kyari, 1952-2020

Muhammadu Buhari with Abba Kyari. Pic: Bayo Omboriowo
Muhammadu Buhari with Abba Kyari. Pic: Bayo Omboriowo

Chief of Staff to Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

Abba Kyari was neither an administrator nor a politician. So, he was not an obvious choice for the post of chief of staff to the president, a job that requires formidable organisat...

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