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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 now. Huge effort must go into stopping transmission of the coronavirus, or Covid-19, before it picks up speed.

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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

Many oppositionists believe the general election scheduled for 29 August has already veered from the fair, democratic process promised by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed when he took off...


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

Months of tensions between Mogadishu and its southern state of Jubaland came to the boil in early March and spilled across the Kenyan border in a violent face-off between the Somal...


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

The crucial first stage of the race to succeed President Alassane Ouattara ended quickly when Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly was hastily named as the candidate of the ruling R...


All is forgiven

Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani. Pic: European Union
Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani. Pic: European Union

Nouakchott is abuzz with reports that ex-President Maaouiya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, deposed in a 2005 coup but now in poor health in exile in Qatar, may be on his way home. It could i...


In search of an envoy

Ghassan Salamé. Pic:Riccardo Pareggiani/NurPhoto/PA Images
Ghassan Salamé. Pic:Riccardo Pareggiani/NurPhoto/PA Images

The signs point to an African being appointed UN special envoy to Libya after the surprise resignation of Lebanese Ghassan Salamé on 2 March. On 10 March, the head of the Tr...


Scotland under siege

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Commonwealth Secretariat Logo

In a last-ditch bid to remain secretary-general of the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat, Dominica-born British national Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal claims she is bein...


Turf war over Sahel

Pic: Premium Collection / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Premium Collection / stock.adobe.com

The announcement by African Union Peace and Security Commissioner Smaïl Chergui on 27 February that the AU would send 3,000 troops to join the regional and national forces fightin...


Why Africa is key to Green Economics

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Strategic minerals on the continent will power the electric vehicle revolution and a restructured energy industry

More than any other continent, Africa has copious reserves of the vital minerals central to the transition to sustainable energy in the leading industrial economies.

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Clash of the kings

Felix Tshisekedi, Washington, DC, March 2020. Pic: Michael Brochstein/SIPA USA/PA Images
Felix Tshisekedi, Washington, DC, March 2020. Pic: Michael Brochstein/SIPA USA/PA Images

Fighting for control over revenues and security, President Tshisekedi is in a standoff with supporters of his predecessor Joseph Kabila

Senior officials in the two coalitions which run the country – the Front commun pour le Congo (FCC) and the Cap pour le changement (CACH) – are at a stalemate. For several days in ...


George Weah at bay

Pic: Alexej Bukin / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Alexej Bukin / stock.adobe.com

Popular discontent as fuel prices rocket and a deepening rift with his deputy are weakening the President

The crippling petrol shortages this year have pushed up the prices of fuel and much else as commercial transporters raised their fares. Liberians, angered by the steep fall of the ...


Tito takes on the workers

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

As the budget aims to cut public sector pay by US$10 billion and sell state assets, trade unions push back on jobs and wages

Threatening huge cuts in public spending but no serious tax hikes, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's budget of 13 February will unleash further political drama and perhaps trigger a ...


Aides leak, north-east burns

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

Escalating violence in Borno and surrounding states as leaked memos show tensions between senior aides – and a now familiar inertia

It was the worst-kept secret in Abuja. Officials in President Muhammadu Buhari's government blame one another for the administration's failings, especially in areas such as securit...


Oil, guns and politics

Pic: TexBr / stock.adobe.com
Pic: TexBr / stock.adobe.com

An oligarch with ties to an international commodity trader, top politicians and generals is dividing the government

Kudakwashe Tagwirei, managing director of Sakunda Holdings and business associate of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is at the centre of a new political row. As the global trading co...


Democratic, for a dynast

Voters in Togo, 22 February 2020. Pic: Xiao Jiuyang/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Voters in Togo, 22 February 2020. Pic: Xiao Jiuyang/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Winning the election was the easy bit for Faure Gnassingbé. Securing international acceptance is quite a different matter

Outright victory in the first round of the presidential election came for the incumbent President Faure Gnassingbé with 72% of the vote on an impressive 76% turnout. The Pre...


Relief today, trouble ahead

Pic: Lotharingia / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Lotharingia / stock.adobe.com

On his second attempt, President Saïed secured his chosen prime minister. But the new man’s tenuous coalition will be sorely tested

Nearly five months after the 6 October general elections delivered a highly fractured parliament, Tunisia has a new coalition government. On 26 February, parliament approved Elyes ...


Newish but not radical

Pic: jpgon / stock.adobe.com
Pic: jpgon / stock.adobe.com

The EU wants a groundbreaking economic and security accord with Africa – but its efforts to renegotiate a trade deal have stalled

An internal draft of the European Commission's 'Comprehensive Strategy with Africa', seen by Africa Confidential, is strong on rhetoric about a new era of partnership but lacks bot...


Forced delay

Pic: vepar5 / stock.adobe.com
Pic: vepar5 / stock.adobe.com

Late on 28 February, President Alpha Condé made an unexpected appearance on national television, admitting he had been pressured into delaying the double poll he had called for 1 M...


HYPREP's millions

Pic: mehaniq41 / stock.adobe.com
Pic: mehaniq41 / stock.adobe.com

Confusion is growing about the mounting cost and sluggish progress of the UN-mandated clean-up of Ogoni, in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta.


They're back

Pic: robnaw / stock.adobe.com
Pic: robnaw / stock.adobe.com

The surprise victory of Úmaro Sissoco Embaló in the second round of the presidential election has failed to end the country's political turbulence. The losing candidate, Domingos S...


That dam problem

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Pic: Gioia Forster/DPA/PA Images
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Pic: Gioia Forster/DPA/PA Images

The tortuous negotiations between Addis Ababa and Cairo over the building and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have lurched into an acrimonious finale. Ethiopia's For...