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South Sudan

Economy running on fumes

Salva Kiir. Pic: Valery Sharifulin/Tass/PA Images
Salva Kiir. Pic: Valery Sharifulin/Tass/PA Images

Tumbling oil revenues have severely dented government finances, as debts mount and donors baulk at picking up the bill

South Sudan's economy is dead on its feet. Falling oil prices have squeezed government revenues, sending hard currency reserves tumbling and inflation soaring. Political stability may now rest on the ability of leaders to maintain discipline in their ranks and confidence in each other, as the financial bargain at the heart of the 2018 peace agreement comes under pressure.


Creditors fume as the beat goes on

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

After the default, the bondholders and Chinese creditors are jostling for priority but secrecy and local politics are blocking a credible solution

National politics and geopolitics are set to scupper any attempts to resolve the crisis over Zambia's more than US$12 billion foreign debt. There is little sign that President Edga...


Hard choices ahead in Addis

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

The Prime Minister's attack on Tigray and his push for a unitary state raises concerns about political autonomy in other regions

It is the beginning of the end, insisted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 17 November as federal forces started marching on Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray. The previous day, A...

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Risks on all fronts

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

The Prime Minister’s stonewalling of peace overtures is winning him few friends as disputes beyond Tigray are confronting Addis

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been steadfast in rejecting widespread calls for negotiations since fighting broke out with Tigray on 4 November, ignoring appeals from the United Nat...


Ace arrest boosts Cyril

Ace Magashule. Pic: Instagram
Ace Magashule. Pic: Instagram

The pro-Zuma ANC leader is standing his ground in the face of corruption charges, but his position weakens as pressure mounts

The 10 November arrest of the second most powerful politician in the ruling African National Congress on charges of corruption, following more than 100 graft-related arrests in rec...


Gunfight ends 30-year calm

Smara refugee amp, Algeria. Pic: Ammi Louiza/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images
Smara refugee amp, Algeria. Pic: Ammi Louiza/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

Polisario's efforts to stymie Morocco's growing trans-African trade may have yielded more results than decades of talk

While Morocco was congratulating itself on persuading an emerging regional power, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to open a consulate in El Ayoun (known to Moroccans as Laâyoune), ...


A divisive plan for unity

September 2017. Odinga supporters celebrate after the Supreme Court declared the 8 August presidential election null and void. Pic: Li Baishun/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
September 2017. Odinga supporters celebrate after the Supreme Court declared the 8 August presidential election null and void. Pic: Li Baishun/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

A new report is supposed to be the blueprint for sweeping reforms but it has deepened the split between the president and his deputy

Three years after President Uhuru Kenyatta won re-election in polls boycotted by opposition leader Raila Odinga, the two erstwhile rivals sat on a red-carpeted podium at the Bomas ...


Competing on competence

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

The opposition struggles to persuade voters that it could handle the economy, but the administration is floundering too

With just weeks to go until presidential elections on 7 December National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, former president John Dramani Mahama, is still struggling to alter pu...


Too low, says Mo

African governance is in decline and Covid-19 is likely to make it worse, according to The Mo Ibrahim Foundation's 2020 Index of African Governance published on 17 November.* The '...

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Shooting and fishing

Elephants in Chobe National Park. Pic: Letizia Barbi (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Elephants in Chobe National Park. Pic: Letizia Barbi (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Relations between neighbours Botswana and Namibia have hit a new low following the shooting dead of four Namibians by the Botswana army along the Chobe river frontier on 5 November...


By-election bust-up

Pic: Rawf8 / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Rawf8 / stock.adobe.com

President Lazarus Chakwera's Malawi Congress Party won a narrow victory over its coalition partner, the United Transformation Movement, in the bitterly contested Karonga Central by...


Anti-corruption boss 'no poodle'

Pic: demerzel21 / stock.adobe.com
Pic: demerzel21 / stock.adobe.com

Ghana's independent Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, resigned his post on 16 November after experiencing government interference in his job, he said in a letter to President Nana ...


Mounting protests face police violence

João Lourenço. Pic: Valery Sharifulin/Tass/PA Images
João Lourenço. Pic: Valery Sharifulin/Tass/PA Images

Young activists are demonstrating against rocketing prices, worsening unemployment  and double-standards on corruption

President João Lourenço faces deepening public anger over the country's economic implosion and accusations that his anti-corruption campaign is replacing one set of dishonest offic...


Fears mount of all-out civil war

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Talks are spurned and both sides dig in as federal forces take on Tigray's regional government

With air strikes and more troops, on 8 November Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stepped up the federal government's campaign to drive the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) from pow...


Stress test for the Tonse Alliance

Houses of Parliament, Lilongwe. Pic: robnaw / stock.adobe.com
Houses of Parliament, Lilongwe. Pic: robnaw / stock.adobe.com

The ruling coalition parties are fighting each other in by-elections amid the challenges of turning a new page in a time of austerity

Campaigning for the by-election in the northern seat of Karonga Central on Tuesday 10 November has been exposing the widening cracks in the ruling coalition, especially between the...


Bad cop, worse cop

Yoweri Museveni. Pic: Anton Novoderezhkin/Tass/PA Images
Yoweri Museveni. Pic: Anton Novoderezhkin/Tass/PA Images

The President’s spies and soldiers are fighting each other, not just the opposition, ahead of elections in February

President Yoweri Museveni has been reshuffling his security chiefs after rivalries broke into the open, threatening the cohesion of the state's repressive apparatus. On 8 October C...

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Bulldozing to victory

John Magufuli casts his ballot. Pic: Tanzanian State House/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
John Magufuli casts his ballot. Pic: Tanzanian State House/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The President has carried out a crude electoral coup and reduced the opposition to a token presence in parliament

After an election campaign dubbed the least free since multiparty democracy began in 1995, President John Magufuli won his second term of office with the biggest majority since the...


Generals tighten their grip

Lagos Panel of Inquiry visits Lekki Toll Gate, 30 October 2020. Pic: Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/PA Images
Lagos Panel of Inquiry visits Lekki Toll Gate, 30 October 2020. Pic: Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/PA Images

Determined to use the #EndSARS protests for their own ends, the securocrats have reasserted their role at the heart of government

The Nigerian army's version of the shootings during the October protests was spelled out at a bizarre press conference in Abuja on 2 November by Attorney General Abubakar Malami, w...


Election stirs up apathy

Election day in Ghana, December 2016. Pic: Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images
Election day in Ghana, December 2016. Pic: Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images

Against a grim backdrop of pandemic economics, voters are uninspired by the choices in next month's elections

Dampened by the pandemic, economic worries and voter fatigue, campaigning for the national elections on 7 December is heading into the final stretch. Jobs and living standards domi...


The 'Ramaphosa Compromise'

Tito Mboweni. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Tito Mboweni. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The medium-term budget is seen by some as a fudge in the struggle between liberalising reform and preserving the state sector

The government has firmly held the line against the left and the labour movement's efforts to defend ailing state-owned enterprises. President Cyril Ramaphosa is also boosting the ...


Pandemics stunt your growth

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Africa may have dodged a bullet on the Covid-19 health front but most of the economies are in intensive care

One year after the International Monetary Fund predicted that sub-Saharan Africa's economies could expand on average by over 3% this year, the economic outlook is far worse. At las...


Stepping back from the brink

Felix Tshisekedi. Pic: Michael Brochstein/SIPA USA/PA Images
Felix Tshisekedi. Pic: Michael Brochstein/SIPA USA/PA Images

The President nearly broke up his coalition with his predecessor but backed off at the last minute. He still wants a way out

The announcement on 21 October that President Félix Tshisekedi would address the nation in two days generated fevered anticipation that he would dismiss his government, dissolve th...


Elections and bust

Faustin-Archange Touadéra. Pic: Mikhail Metzel/Tass/PA Images
Faustin-Archange Touadéra. Pic: Mikhail Metzel/Tass/PA Images

The country goes to the polls in December but the organisation of the vote doesn’t promise improved accountability

At the end of the year citizens are supposed to cast their votes for a new parliament and a new president. An atmosphere of indifference pervades most circles, but there is excitem...


Ouattara sweeps half the board

Ouattara supporters in Abobo, 29 October 2020. Pic: Yvan Sonh/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Ouattara supporters in Abobo, 29 October 2020. Pic: Yvan Sonh/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The voting figures show a deeply divided nation. Although President Alassane Ouattara won a third successive presidential term with 94% of the popular vote, it was on a mere 53.9% ...


Insurgents cross border

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

Many noted the bitter irony of President John Magufuli's government arresting all the leaders of Tanzania's opposition parties on clearly absurd terrorism charges (see Feature) at ...


Sick of everything

Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Pic: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto/PA Images
Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Pic: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto/PA Images

The 74-year-old President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, is seriously ill with Covid-19 while the body politic shows no signs of recovery either. The turnout for the 1 November referendum ...


One last hurdle

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Pic: ©WTO/Jay Louvion (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Pic: ©WTO/Jay Louvion (CC BY-ND 2.0)

When World Trade Organization General Council Chair David Walker recommended on 28 October that Nigeria's ex-finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala be appointed Director-General, thr...


Hope without optimism for the new deal

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

War-weary citizens welcome the UN-brokered ceasefire but the foreign sponsors of the conflict have the casting vote

Politicians and fighters in Libya's civil war are due to meet for face-to-face talks in Tunis on 9 November in what will be a key test of the latest UN-brokered ceasefire. Hopes ar...


Condé shrugs off poll doubts

Alpha Condé. Pic: Eddy Peters/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Alpha Condé. Pic: Eddy Peters/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The incumbent's victory, contested by the opposition and questioned by the European Union, gives him more control of the state than ever

Whether his win with 59.49% of the votes in the 18 October elections was credible or not matters little to President Alpha Condé and his governing team. On 24 October, the C...


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 sta...