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False starts for the clean-up

Gas flares in the Delta. Pic: Mark Allen Johnson/Zuma Press/PA Images
Gas flares in the Delta. Pic: Mark Allen Johnson/Zuma Press/PA Images

Incompetence and corruption threaten the latest government body to be set up to tackle oil pollution

The Ogoni area of the Niger Delta is one of the world's most severely contaminated stretches of land and water, and yet no relief is in sight. Eight years ago, after publishing a comprehensive survey of the environmental damage, the United Nations Environment Programme recommended setting up a US$1 billion fund for the first five years of a project to clean-up decades of pollution caused by oil spills that could take 30 years in all. The government in Abuja has raised nearly $200 million from its own funds and from the oil companies, but relief for the people in this 404-square-mile area where so many oil pipelines and wells converge remains elusive. The levels of benzene in Ogoni people's drinking water were found by UNEP to be 900 times above World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended safe levels.


HYPREP’s checkered rep

The environmental agency Abuja created has a bad record. It is even believed to be relaxing the clean-up benchmarks

The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) is only the latest iteration of Nigerian government agencies charged with using oil revenues to compensate for the effects of...


Military roadblocks

The ruling generals in the sprawling security system will try to control the transition, whatever the cost

The security structures – the rival armed and intelligence groups – that grew up under the National Islamic Front (NIF) and its successor National Congress Party regime...

Running on close to empty

Shortages of fuel, electricity and bread are creating panic as the government faces a cash-flow crisis

Two weeks after the Zimbabwe government banned the use of foreign currency, the economy is reeling. Statutory Instrument 142, published without warning on 24 June, decreed that the...

Lobbying pays off for Bourita

Rabat’s charm offensive on Brussels has been bearing fruit, as the EU offers deals during the Foreign Minister’s red-carpet visit

Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita had plenty of reasons to be cheerful after getting the red-carpet treatment from the European Union during his late-June visit. Morocco's foreign mi...

Roads, rails, pots and kettles

Westerners are fuelling fears about the government’s appetite for Chinese loans. But their funding models are not that different

According to some of the opinion columns in its newspapers, Kenya is currently on a reckless borrowing spree in which the country has mortgaged some of its key assets – notably Mom...

SWAPO succession dilemma

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019

The President is set for re-election in November, but a chronic failure to deliver land reform and jobs clouds the outlook

There is virtually no prospect of President Hage Geingob, Namibia's first non-northern head of state, failing to secure a second five-year term in the presidential and legislative ...

Air strikes risk escalation

A GNA fighter at Salah Al-Din front line on 22 May 2019. Pic: Xinhua/Amru Salahuddien
A GNA fighter at Salah Al-Din front line on 22 May 2019. Pic: Xinhua/Amru Salahuddien

Bombings in support of Haftar's army not only killed detained African would-be migrants but increased the prospects of ever-greater foreign involvement

When Libya's eastern military strongman, General Khalifa Haftar, launched his offensive to capture Tripoli on 4 April, he hoped for a blitzkrieg. What he got was a battle of attrit...


After a three-year trial in which more than 2,000 victims were represented, three International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have found Jean Bosco Ntaganda, 45, also known as 'The T...

Lungu to change basic law

President Edgar Lungu's government has proposed sweeping changes to the Zambian constitution that critics say are aimed at reducing scrutiny and improving his chances of retaining ...

Singing from the same spreadsheet

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019

Despite growing fears about rising debt levels, the region's finance ministers have unveiled a series of expansionary budgets

The four major players in the East African Community completed the annual ritual of unveiling their national spending plans on 13 June. 'Transforming lives through industrialisatio...


Mbororo conundrum

Fulani herders – already involved in clashes in the Sahel – are being targeted by unscrupulous politicians and the dangers levels are rising

'Rot' in the Commission

A parliamentary probe into the management of the 2017 elections found serial irregularities and recommends possible criminal charges

Ace helps his allies

As President Ramaphosa purges corrupt politicians from the cabinet, Zuma supporters are grabbing key appointments in parliament

Ghazouani’s modest mandate

Ex-President Abdel Aziz has smoothly slipped his placeman into his old job while a reinvigorated opposition failed and the world turned away

The rise of Godwin Emefiele

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019

As the country awaits a new government, four months after elections, the Central Bank Governor has stamped his authority on economic policy

Nobbling Nabil

The establishment has taken fright at popular new politicians, and is trying to kill off genuine challenges to the president and ruling party