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The Africa Report

The Africa Report No. 105

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The Africa Report is the international publication of reference dedicated to African affairs, anticipating economic and political changes in Africa and relied upon for the independent expertise in its surveys, sector reports and country focus in each issue.

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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
consequences of a crunch

Should any African president suffer from a bout of irrational exuberance, the latest reports from the IMF and the World Bank make for sobering reading. The message, less varnished than usual, isthat the economic and technological gulf between Africa and the industrial economies, and many developing ones, is widening. Without a strategy, the chasm will grow. One set of reasons are about strategy: low investment in education and slow adoption of new technology at the macro level leading to a rising productivity gap. So it’s more than the gloomy headline figures, although both the IMF and the Bank have downgraded their GDP growth projections for Africa this year to 3.1% and 2.7% respectively. On average, growth per capita will rise 1% this year; then it is projected to rise 1.5% a year…

2 min.

BOARDROOMS ARE NOT THE ONLY BATTLEGROUND I am proud to see women represented in boardrooms and senior management positions across the continent. On the other hand, I still think more can be done to encourage feminism [‘A woman’s place is in the boardroom’, TAR103 Sept. 2018]. There is still wage inequality, and women are less represented in the labour force than their male counterparts. Beyond the work environment, most countries still struggle with issues such as sexual and gender-based violence, female trafficking, etc. As proud as we are to see women on boards and in political positions, I am afraid that until we deal with these issues we will fail to move forward. It is hard to say that any gender would be better suited to tackle corruption and achieve economic…

1 min.
more introspection for the imf

Your interview with Christine Lagarde [TAR103 Sept. 2018] rightly highlighted the progress the IMF has made in re-examining its traditional orthodoxies and becoming more aware of the social impacts of its prescriptions. The fund, however, could use more introspection in its role creating moral hazard in the region; particularly the perceived “anchoring” effect that Fund programs can provide for governments who are then able to run up commercial debts that later turn out to be unsustainable. The rise of index investing in emerging market bonds means that it takes little policy credibility for a government to borrow in the external commercial markets. Countries that benefit from the implicit policy backstop of an IMF programme have found it particularly easy to borrow in the eurobond market, which is ironic given how…

2 min.
the question

Is Bobi Wine shaking up Ugandan politics? Yes During the 56 years Uganda has been independent, it has tested multipartyism, military rule, one-party rule and even no-party politics. Each time some kind of formal organisation has propelled the leadership that emerged. Since it returned to multiparty politics in 2005 there have been instances when politicians not aligned with any political party have emerged. These, however, have never had much of an impact in terms of rallying people or forcing political parties to counter them or forge alliances. Musician-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu, aka Bobi Wine, is the first politician with no formal links to any political organisation or party to truly shake up politics in Uganda. First, he has managed to rally large numbers of Ugandans, old and young across the country, to…

1 min.
your views :

He [Bobi Wine] symbolises disruptive politics which mobilises outside membership groups. I find him more of an early warning system for possible national defiance than a force that can cause large-scale defiance. Gerald K. Karyeija Bobi Wine combines many attributes that none of the regime opponents, not even President Museveni’s closest rival Kizza Besigye, possess. For instance, he appeals to the youth, who are the majority, his music career has enabled him to capture the hearts of many and […] his ghetto background makes the poor and disadvantaged feel like he’s one of them. He is from the Central region which is a plus because of the feeling that people from the Western region have been promoted at the expense of other regions over the past 32 years of Museveni’s rule. Agather Atuhaire He…

3 min.

ETHIOPIA The end of Abiy’s honeymoon The sight of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed doing push-ups with soldiers who had burst into the executive palace demanding money in early October may have provoked smiles. The reality – it later turned out – was less comfortable, with Abiy admitting that they wanted to kill him. It is a sign of this difficult moment in Ethiopia: full of optimism and sweeping reform; fraught with peril and the sense that things could so easily flip into chaos (see TAR 104, Oct. 2018). Abiy took power in April and rapidly launched plans to liberalise the economy and Ethiopia’s politics. But changing the status quo has created both winners and losers. While Abiy has repealed terror legislation and freed prisoners, there are new factors coming into play that…