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Nigeria

Ready to rumble

Muhammadu Buhari. Pic: Mikhail Metzel/Tass/PA Images
Muhammadu Buhari. Pic: Mikhail Metzel/Tass/PA Images

As President Buhari looks to his legacy, the jostling for succession will begin in earnest

In May, President Muhammadu Buhari will reach the halfway point of his second and final four-year term. It is that point in Nigeria's political calendar, when the main players' focus shifts from public administration and towards the succession.

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Mapping the long road to recovery

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

The team at Africa Confidential wish you all the best for the coming year and that we will see substantive progress towards ending the pandemic and its accompanying economic and social damage.

There are prospects of success following the fast-track development of different vaccines against Covid-19, produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford University/AstraZeneca, Joh...

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Challenging the statist quo

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

Ramaphosa must both placate unions and convince lenders he can reform the state, while fending off plots from inside his party

The fortunes of the ruling African National Congress, and Cyril Ramaphosa's own survival as party and South African president, are dependent on the outcome of municipal elections s...


Building the house of Sisi

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

Cairo is pressing ahead with an extravagant new capital city as it adjusts to the region’s changing geopolitics

Egypt's government will talk up its economy in 2021, trumpeting the opening of a vast museum in Giza housing Tutankhamun's skeleton and death mask, and the transfer of government t...


Polls, parlays and proxies

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

Practically every conceivable factor in Libya’s chaos could prevent planned year-end elections, but they may yet succeed

Only one thing is in Libya's diary for 2021: presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 December, the 70th anniversary of the country's independence in 1951. ?All 75 local poli...


Voting may not bring peace

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

When elections are over, oil and gas are likely to move centre-stage, and the changing geopolitical context will have deep effects

No Somali election passes without conflict. The hardening stances of the government and its opponents caused first delays in selecting new members of parliament, and then argument ...


Handshake to face poll test

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

The President’s coalition with his former adversary will be put to the electorate in 2021 against a backdrop of economic pain

After a catastrophic decline in economic performance due to Covid-19 in 2020, aggravated by corruption and wrong-headed fiscal and public debt policies, 2021 promises to be particu...


Jockeying for position

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

The struggle between the President and his predecessor overshadows everything, including a possible IMF programme

Politics during 2021 will be dominated by the power struggle between the two official winners – losers, in reality – of the 2018 presidential and parliamentary election...


Mnangagwa digs in

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

The President is entrenching himself while the opposition battles state repression and its own divisions

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's regime looks secure, in spite of what is widely viewed as Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front's complete political bankruptcy and the per...


Election-mania takes hold

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

All the government’s energies are focused on winning the 12 August poll as it tries to ignore an economy in freefall

Aware that it looked odd that it did not have a plan to restore the nation’s economic fortunes, the government quickly rushed out its Economic Recovery Programme on 17 Decemb...


Skirt and blouse politics

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

Government will get more complex with the New Patriotic Party running the executive but facing a split parliament

At a time of deep polarisation, the new government emerging after the official results of the 7 December elections will demand some political cohabitation between the two main part...


Old demons resurface

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

Last year’s electoral violence could be a foretaste of things to come as the three big political figures start to fade from view

The hit from the Covid-19 pandemic means that President Alassane Ouattara will find it much harder to mask political and ethnic tensions and stark inequality with stellar economic ...


Bumps in the road ahead

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

The caretaker government explores talks with jihadist leaders while it keeps its military alliance with France

The death from Covid-19 of opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé on 25 December, has robbed Mali of the clear favourite for the presidential election due to take place by March 2022. Ex...


How to lose a war

Pic: Eliot Blondet/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images
Pic: Eliot Blondet/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

The Islamist insurgencies in the Sahel are set to continue regardless of foreign interventions and local efforts

The recent elections in Niger, Burkina Faso, Côte d'voire, Togo and Guinea have made no real difference to the prospects for counter-insurgency campaigns against the rampant Islami...


J-Lo suffers party backlash

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

The credibility of President's break with the country's kleptocratic and undemocratic recent past is fading fast

President João Lourenço promised an end to the corruption that characterised the rule of his predecessor, José Eduardo dos Santos, to the impunity of the ruling Movimento Popular ...


Nyusi running out of road

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

The region is furious with Nyusi for failing to counter the northern insurgency as his position in both state and party weakens

The chief concern of President Filipe Nyusi in the year ahead is the same that will take up most of the rest of his final term of office – influencing the choice of the ruling Fren...


In intensive care

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

President Tebboune's long stay in Germany raises questions about his grip on power while the military is keen to flex its muscles abroad

There were glimmers of hope when a civilian president with a reformist reputation, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, was elected after mass protests ended his strongman predecessor's 20-year r...


Recovery and resistance

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

The election is just one of the challenges facing a palace beset by protest over relations with Israel and the pandemic’s effects

The Palace seems to be managing social tensions arising from the economic fallout of Covid-19 and coping with the widespread distaste for the kingdom's restoration of diplomatic re...


Abiy’s search for legitimacy

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2021

The Prime Minister needs to hold successful elections and resolve a long-running dam dispute as he seeks to rebuild his reputation

Holding successful elections, finalising the continuing disagreements over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and providing a new political settlement acceptable to both et...


Elections crisis escalates as Russian and Rwandan troops fly in

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Facing a coalition of rebel militias opposed to his government and the elections, President Touadéra has called for help from Moscow and Kigali, sidelining the UN

Presidential and parliamentary elections due on 27 December are in the balance as a coalition of militias tries to oust President Faustin Archange Touadéra, replacing him with ex-P...


A twist in the election tale

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

After making big gains in parliament, the opposition rejects the presidential results – the lawyers on all sides will be busy

It was all running like clockwork. The verdict in the national elections on 7 December was set to be free and clear of dispute – more or less a repeat of the seamless process...

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Abiy's mission in Mekelle

9 December 2020: António Guterres (1st right, rear) and Moussa Faki Mahamat (on screen) attend joint press conference at UN HQ, New York. Pic: Xie E/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
9 December 2020: António Guterres (1st right, rear) and Moussa Faki Mahamat (on screen) attend joint press conference at UN HQ, New York. Pic: Xie E/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The government says it's mopping up the last pockets of resistance in Tigray as evidence of Eritrean involvement emerges

Two weeks after he declared the completion of his 'law and order operation' on 28 November with the capture of Mekelle, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited the Tigray regional capita...


Washington seals the deal

23 October 2020: Donald Trump speaks on a conference call with leaders of Israel and Sudan and to members of the media about a Sudan-Israel peace agreement. L-R: Brian Hook, Avraham Berkowitz, Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Jared Kushner, Robert C. O'Brien, unidentified, unidentified. Pic: Leigh Vogel – Pool via CNP/DPA/PA Images
23 October 2020: Donald Trump speaks on a conference call with leaders of Israel and Sudan and to members of the media about a Sudan-Israel peace agreement. L-R: Brian Hook, Avraham Berkowitz, Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Jared Kushner, Robert C. O'Brien, unidentified, unidentified. Pic: Leigh Vogel – Pool via CNP/DPA/PA Images

Splits over US pressure to normalise ties with Israel point to a fall-out between civilian politicians and the generals

The removal of Sudan from the United States's list of state sponsors of terrorism, confirmed on 14 December, could prove a lifeline to a country in the grip of severe economic cris...


Ace shuffles the deck again

Magashule supporters outside Luthuli House, October 2020. Pic: RealTime Images/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images
Magashule supporters outside Luthuli House, October 2020. Pic: RealTime Images/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

The balance in the ANC’s factional war has turned decisively in the President’s favour, leaving the Secretary-General few options

President Cyril Ramaphosa has scored in the ongoing battle against the faction bent on unseating him with this week's decision by the African National Congress's Integrity Commissi...


Unbalancing the books

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Promises of grand economic growth have been torpedoed by the Covid-19 pandemic and crashing oil prices

This time last year President Muhammadu Buhari and his numerous economic policymakers were optimistic that 2020 could see growth acceleration, job creation, significant infrastruct...


Condé’s iron resolve

Simandou. Pic: Rio Tinto
Simandou. Pic: Rio Tinto

Having won a controversial third term, President Alpha Condé is eyeing growing mineral riches

The long-delayed development of Guinea's headline-grabbing Simandou iron ore project has once again climbed to the top of President Alpha Condé's agenda, as he settles into ...


President nearer to power

Felix Tshisekedi. Pic: Kay Nietfeld/DPA/PA Images
Felix Tshisekedi. Pic: Kay Nietfeld/DPA/PA Images

Parliamentary victory for Tshisekedi encourages him to press ahead in his bid to wrest the state from former president Kabila

Former president Joseph Kabila's political coalition, the Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC), which ordinarily has a comfortable majority in the National Assembly, scored a spectacul...


King reaps Saharan dividend

Pic: Picture by: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images
Pic: Picture by: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

Rabat has secured a big diplomatic win by restoring relations with Israel, but also faces new risks

This summer, King Mohammed VI (M6) told United States presidential son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner that Morocco would need a very big reward for restoring diplomatic...


The state’s parallel economy

Mthuli Ncube. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Mthuli Ncube. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The finance minister forecasts a turnaround but the central bank’s illicit borrowing could trigger another monetary meltdown

Despite the pandemic and global recession, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube is predicting a strong economic bounce-back next year – but he is silent about a phenomenal borrowing spree...


Two days that changed nothing

Edgar Lungu. Pic: Martin Mbangweta/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Edgar Lungu. Pic: Martin Mbangweta/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Zambia's chances of a bailout from the International Monetary Fund following its default on its Eurobond coupon payments are looking bleak, in spite of conciliatory words from a hi...


Testing time for elections

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (R) and Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed 'Farmajo' (L), February 2017. Pic: Faisal Isse/Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (R) and Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed 'Farmajo' (L), February 2017. Pic: Faisal Isse/Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images

The opposition is furious with the dual role of the secret police chief as Farmajo's campaign manager and monitor of election candidates


Out of the shadows 

John le Carré in Stockholm to receive the Olof Palme Award, January 2020. Pic: Claudio Bresciani/TT/TT News Agency/PA Images
John le Carré in Stockholm to receive the Olof Palme Award, January 2020. Pic: Claudio Bresciani/TT/TT News Agency/PA Images


Dauphin goes to the polls

Mohamed Bazoum. Pic: Dimitris Avramopoulos (CC BY-SA 2.0 – cropped)
Mohamed Bazoum. Pic: Dimitris Avramopoulos (CC BY-SA 2.0 – cropped)

With the main challenger excluded, the opposition will have a tough job preventing the election of Issoufou's designated successor