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Geopolitical divides take centre stage at the UN

United Nations General Assembly, September 2022. Pic: IMF Photo/Kim Haughton
United Nations General Assembly, September 2022. Pic: IMF Photo/Kim Haughton

New policy statements on Africa from Washington and Brussels are being measured against sluggish actions on debt and climate policy

Russia's war on Ukraine dominated the best attended UN General Assembly for years – much to the detriment of progress on preparations for the COP27 climate summit and a more coherent plan to support economies still reeling from the pandemic and the financial damage from Europe's war.


Kenyatta era debts haunt Ruto's growth plan

Pic: @WilliamsRuto
Pic: @WilliamsRuto

Pressure grows on state finances after details emerge of a $45 million spending spree by the last administration ahead of the elections

Facing growing financial pressures, President William Ruto appears to be rethinking his earlier rejection of any restructuring of Kenya's foreign debt. Public debt stands at 8.56 t...


New coalition aims to supplant the ANC

Pic: @SongezoZibi
Pic: @SongezoZibi

An alliance of unions, civic activists, and business is launch a new party next year to fight the 2024 elections

Activists are building a broad-based movement to take on the country's three main parties ahead of the widely forecast realignment should the ruling African National Congress lose ...


Addis and Tigray return to the battlefields

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2022
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2022

Tigrayan and federal forces are blaming each other for scuppering the truce and they are right – both sides were planning for more fighting

Ahead of the resumption of fighting in early September, both Tigrayan and federal forces had repositioned their troops as tensions rose amid the faltering peace process. This follo...

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Advancing towards stalemate

Pic:  henk bogaard / stock.adobe.com
Pic: henk bogaard / stock.adobe.com

Federal government forces are yet to make a military breakthrough despite sustained attacks on Tigray on multiple fronts

It is now clear that both the federal and Tigrayan forces used the nearly nine-month truce to quietly prepare for war. Despite maintaining a façade of commitment to peace, t...


Junta's double-talk on transition

Pic: Marcin / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Marcin / stock.adobe.com

Few believed Burhan's promise to hand over to civilians ahead of elections. And many fear that his deputy Hemeti is building a formidable power base

Two-and-a-half months on from General Abdel Fattah el Burhan's announcement that he and his fellow military officers were withdrawing from the political dialogue and would leave ci...


Ruto plays the economy blame-game

Pic: @CJMarthaKoome
Pic: @CJMarthaKoome

As he chooses his ministers, the new president has been making sweeping economic changes and blaming his predecessor

Four days after his victory lap and inauguration on 12 September, President William Samoei Ruto flew to London for Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral, and on to New York for the UN...


Weakened president in troubled waters

Parliament building, Dakar. Pic: David Pirmann
Parliament building, Dakar. Pic: David Pirmann

Electoral setbacks have left Macky Sall with a razor-thin majority, while he faces outcry over a suspected third-term bid

'A sorry spectacle'. That is how president Macky Sall qualified the scenes of fighting lawmakers at the opening of the Assemblée nationale, Senegal's 165-strong parliament, ...


Why Dlamini-Zuma is running again

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Ousted President Zuma and his allies want his ex-wife to win back control of the ANC in party elections in December

In mid-September, at a five-star hotel overlooking the majestic Indian Ocean on KwaZulu-Natal's north coast, a group of African National Congress members wearing party caps and tee...


Dismay as court strikes down reform laws

Moeketsi Majoro. Pic: Dan Kitwood//Reuters/Alamy
Moeketsi Majoro. Pic: Dan Kitwood//Reuters/Alamy

Crucial political reforms have just failed, meaning the 7 October election goes ahead under the system that produced so much instability

Polling in the general election will open on 7 October without the expected constitutional reforms designed to rid the country of its notorious political instability, disappointing...


Steinmetz plays his get out of jail card

Beny Steinmetz leaves the courthouse with lawyers Camille Haab and Marc Bonnant. Pic: Denis Balibouse/Reuters/Alamy
Beny Steinmetz leaves the courthouse with lawyers Camille Haab and Marc Bonnant. Pic: Denis Balibouse/Reuters/Alamy

Dropping earlier arguments that the evidence of corruption was fake, the mining magnate is appealing against his conviction by redefining bribery

Punishing foreign bribery is still a novel idea in Switzerland. There have been just 18 convictions since it became a crime in 2000, before which it was tax-deductible. And the pro...


Ruto starts political fights as he shifts subsidies

President William Ruto speaks during his swearing in ceremony at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi, 13 September 2022. Pic: John Ochieng/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/Alamy
President William Ruto speaks during his swearing in ceremony at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi, 13 September 2022. Pic: John Ochieng/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/Alamy

After ending fuel and maize subsidies, the new President got in a diplomatic tangle while cutting a deal with Rabat on cheaper fertiliser

In a mark of political self-confidence President William Ruto announced swingeing cuts to fuel and maize subsidies at his inauguration on 12 September at Nairobi's Kasarani stadium...


UNITA plans protests but drops boycott

Adalberto Costa Junior, August 2022. Pic: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/Alamy
Adalberto Costa Junior, August 2022. Pic: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/Alamy

The opposition has reconciled itself to a stolen election, but the ruling party is nervous and may fall back on violent repression

Surrounded by hundreds of soldiers, João Lourenço was sworn in for a second presidential term at Praça da República in Luanda on 15 September. The first...


The Kremlin's grip tightens

Faustin Archange Touadéra shakes hands with Vladimir Putin, Sochi, Russia, October 2019. Pic: Sergei Chirikov/Reuters/Alamy
Faustin Archange Touadéra shakes hands with Vladimir Putin, Sochi, Russia, October 2019. Pic: Sergei Chirikov/Reuters/Alamy

Wagner Group mercenaries are expanding operations but security is deteriorating as President Touadéra bids to change the constitution

Moscow's influence in Central African Republic is growing, while conditions worsen under the impact of the international supply chain crisis, increased fuel prices, and political p...


Calls for a reset get louder with the death of the Queen

King Charles III during his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace, London, 9 September 2022. Pic: Yui Mok / PA Images / Alamy
King Charles III during his first audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss at Buckingham Palace, London, 9 September 2022. Pic: Yui Mok / PA Images / Alamy

Nearly simultaneous change at both Buckingham Palace and Downing Street offers a chance for a policy rethink on Africa

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an umbilical link with the generation of independence leaders has been broken. She knew them all, and almost every Commonwealth African lead...


Junta holds Ivorians 'hostage'

Pic: FHQ MINUSMA
Pic: FHQ MINUSMA

Bamako's 10 July detention of 49 Ivorian soldiers who had flown in to change the guard at the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (Minusma) air...


Fears of pain in prospect

IMF HQ Washington, DC. Pic: Bumble Dee / stock.adobe.com
IMF HQ Washington, DC. Pic: Bumble Dee / stock.adobe.com

Pundits and public alike are waking up to the economic sacrifices entailed in the US$1.3 billion IMF rescue package agreed at the beginning of the month amid concern that President...


Three bid to succeed Geingob

Pic:  bunyos / stock.adobe.com
Pic: bunyos / stock.adobe.com

As the end of President Hage Geingob's second and final five-year term of office nears, the SWAPO Party is set to pick his successor for the 2024 elections at its elective congress...


Mswati sidesteps reform

President Cyril Ramaphosa and King Mswati III. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)
President Cyril Ramaphosa and King Mswati III. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Namibian President Hage Geingob is the latest leader assigned by the Southern African Development Community to wade into Eswatini's political quagmire. Before Geingob, President Cy...


The judges endorse Ruto's rout

Ruto supporters celebrate Supreme Court ruling, 5 September 2022, Nakuru. Pic: James Wakibia/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Alamy
Ruto supporters celebrate Supreme Court ruling, 5 September 2022, Nakuru. Pic: James Wakibia/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Alamy

The Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the Deputy President's election win, probably ending his rival's political career

After an epic campaign against the political establishment, William Ruto will take over as President with the economy at its weakest for years and the political system at its most ...


Kenyatta's securocrats cast into the cold

Harambee House. Pic: DEMOSH (CC BY 2.0)
Harambee House. Pic: DEMOSH (CC BY 2.0)

Presidential winner William Ruto accused his erstwhile ally Kenyatta of weaponising the state against him – now he will start the purge

William Ruto's ascent to the presidency on 5 September leaves him with a raft of political debts to pay. Reminiscent of Uhuru Kenyatta's 2013 accession, it has also created a group...


What will Truss mean for Africa?

Liz Truss. Pic: Public domain
Liz Truss. Pic: Public domain

Although she heads the most diverse cabinet in Britain's history, new prime minister Liz Truss has shown little interest in engaging with African states

When it emerged on 5 September that Britain's new Prime Minister Liz Truss was likely to appoint politicians of African descent to four of the most senior positions in her cabinet ...

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Lourenço's bruising victory

João Lourenço. Pic: Carlos Costa/Global Images/Sipa USA/Alamy
João Lourenço. Pic: Carlos Costa/Global Images/Sipa USA/Alamy

The ruling party may have won, but it has not emerged stronger from the result, nor has the President, who did not act like a graceful victor

The 24 August general elections produced the victory that President João Lourenço expected, but not by a margin that the Movimento Popular de Libertação...


ANC hopefuls race for the top

Cyril Ramaphosa at annual SAPS Commemoration Day, 4 September 2022. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Cyril Ramaphosa at annual SAPS Commemoration Day, 4 September 2022. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)

There could be upsets galore as the fractious ruling party opens campaigning for its top jobs


Bashagha bloodied in Tripoli battle

Vehicle on fire after clashes in central Tripoli, 27 August 2022. Pic: Hamza Turkia/Xinhua/Alamy
Vehicle on fire after clashes in central Tripoli, 27 August 2022. Pic: Hamza Turkia/Xinhua/Alamy

Forces loyal to Tripoli-based premier Dubaiba have tightened their grip on the capital after another failed effort to capture the city


Opposition fall-out shakes up election plans

Nyesom Wike addresses PDP delegates during the special convention in Abuja, 28 May 2022. Pic: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters/Alamy

Both the ruling party and an outsider candidate may benefit from Atiku Abubakar's mis-steps


Pricing Ruto's promises

William Ruto. Pic: Joy Nabukewa/Xinhua/Alamy
William Ruto. Pic: Joy Nabukewa/Xinhua/Alamy

Having made big financial and personal pledges to win backing for his campaign, William Ruto now has to satisfy his creditors


Why security bungled response to hotel massacre

Hayat Hotel, Mogadishu, 21 August 2022. Pic: Feisal Omar/Reuters/Alamy
Hayat Hotel, Mogadishu, 21 August 2022. Pic: Feisal Omar/Reuters/Alamy

Despite talking tough against Al Shabaab, President Hassan Sheikh has not stopped terror attacks, much less reformed the security system as he promised


Win for Hain's Bain campaign

Athol Williams and Peter Hain. Pic: @PeterHain
Athol Williams and Peter Hain. Pic: @PeterHain

The Guptas and their allies enlisted big-name multinational firms in state capture and some are losing global business over their role