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The Africa Report

The Africa Report No.108

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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.
transitions without maps

The horrific attacks on the protesters in Khartoum in early June send a powerful warning to opposition movements about the threats to the latest wave of political change across the continent. Incumbents, especially heavily armed ones with regional support, don’t need elaborate plans in the short-term. With an admixture of bludgeoning, co-option and disinformation, some of the most determined protesters can be derailed and distracted. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) is among the most resolute coalitions for political and social change. They have been honing their skills and strategies for more than a decade, learning from mistakes and taking soundings from all of Sudan’s 18 states. If any mass movement has the capacity to resist and outwit a military-political complex such as Khartoum’s junta, it would be them. The fate of…

2 min.

BRING CONTROL CLOSER TO HOME Advocates against the immediate restructuring of Nigeria are either remarkably naive or among the elite who benefit from the country being in its current state and are too selfish to want change [‘Henry Seriake Dickson: Bayelsa needs more control of its resources’, TAR107 Apr-June 2019]. Bayelsa – one of the biggest money-spinners for the country – has so many people living in poverty. Rivers State has the highest number of unemployed people in Nigeria but has one of the highest reserves levels. It is time for these states to begin to control their resources to improve competition. As Governor Dickson said, no state has to apologise for being endowed with its wealth and thus share revenues with non-viable states. As it stands, the oil-producing states take…

5 min.
the afcfta is a giant step forward

As the world’s economic giant – the United States –continues to wage economic war against China, Mexico, Turkey and, more recently, India in establishing tariff barriers against their products, African countries have opted to spurn protectionism and embrace intraregional trade. A significant and historic step was taken on 30 May, as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) came into effect. What does this all mean, and is it cause for celebration? A market potential for goods and services of 1.2 billion people, an aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5trn, the reduction of tariffs and the free movement of labour is not to be sniffed at. I know this, as Icome from a country of 2 million people and a GDP of circa $17.5bn. Investors want access to a large consumer…

5 min.
binyavanga wainaina

The cremation had happened the day before at the Kariokor Crematorium, a place that, even on the farthest outposts of Binyavanga’s Nairobi, would still have been an unlikely destination. In the unpublished The Fallen World of Appearances, Njue, one of those early protagonists who never made it to the printed page, survives death by fire. Scarred and disoriented, he negotiates the pockmarked aftermath of the 1998 US embassy bombing while attempting to reconstruct his past. Through this odyssey, he discovers a city shrugging off the restrictions of colonial apartheid, a mutinous urban territory that will no longer shut up and know its place. We have not imagined this place into being, he said circa 2003. This last voyage through his adopted city, the Nakuru boy still roaming and discovering new byways,…

2 min.
are african billionaires a sign of progress?

YES They say “a rising tide lifts all boats.” An improving economy will benefit all participants, even if a few appear to have risen to a new stratosphere. The emergence of African billionaires is one of the talking points resulting from Africa’s recent growth spurt between 2002 and 2012 – much the same as China’s rise a decade before. These new billionaires, or entrepreneurs, are a critical force behind the rising tide that draws much-needed reinvestment and economic growth to Africa. By placing the continent and its industries at the centre of global value chains, African billionaires are helping to diversify economies well beyond resource extraction. African billionaires carry enormous political and commercial influence. They are able to drive development through shared value or what some have coined ‘Africapitalism’. Aliko…

1 min.
your views

It’s very good progress and a blessing to our continent Africa, in as much as it is genuinely acquired and used to better the lives of the people. Timothy Mbanuh, Facebook For most African countries the scale of inequality has reached extreme levels, [so] to equate the wealth of a few that constitute only a smaller percentage to mean a sign of progress will be ignoring the larger scale of the poor [...] Wealth in the hands of a few cannot equate to progress for all. Muhammad Sani Abdullahi, Email The GDP of some African countries is nothing close to a billion. True progress will be realised when a majority of our countries have a GDP above 100 billion dollars and GDP growth rates above 5%. Qhawe S. Hugo Bhengu, Facebook #AfricanBillionaires are about as good…