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The Africa Report

The Africa Report No. 112

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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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R 106,70
R 312,06
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
the revolution will be multipolar

Should any of you harbour lingering doubts that we are living in an age of revolution, remember that the US’s leading business roundtable last year cheerfully announced the demise of shareholder capitalism and the Davos crowd now insists on a “global reset of capitalism” to avert climate catastrophe. And that was before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the world economy. With such improbable comrades on the barricades, what are the prospects for a new world to be built out the wreckage of the one that no longer works? As Ecobank’s Ade Ayeyemi points out on page 8, the pandemic is the great accelerator of pre-existing trends: a greater role for the state in the face of market failure, a retreat from hyper-globalisation, leaps forward with technology, and slower growth in industrial…

2 min.

THE BENEFITS OF ZIMBABWE’S INDEPENDENCE Heartfelt congratulations to Zimbabwe, which turned 40 this April after being weaned from the hooks, chains and yokes of colonialism. I earnestly appreciate the men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting for Zimbabwe’s freedom, particularly those who died before independence. Many ordinary citizens who did not have access to fertile arable land benefited from the land redistribution. The indigenisation programme has also enabled some citizens to own land and mineral wealth, and be involved in the manufacturing industries, banking, transport and communication, tourism and the retail industry, which were formerly reserved only for the white minority. Independence further enabled equality between black and white people in the country. Handsen Chikowore, poet, United Kingdom (originally from Zimbabwe) RADICAL SHIFTS Governor Seyi Makinde (TAR Web: ‘Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde…

5 min.
ade ayeyemi banking on change

Ade Ayeyemi is a good banker to know in a pandemic. For a start, with 31 years in the business, Ayeyemi has already navigated most of the economic and financial storms that markets and the wider world could throw at him. He also believes in preparation and research. He has spent the past four-and-a-half years as the captain of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated battening down the hatches. So the good ship Ecobank looks rather more seaworthy than many other transnational financial institutions in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Either Ayeyemi is an extraordinarily good diplomat or he genuinely enjoys the company of journalists. The last time we met was at a small club on London’s Park Lane where he was holding court to a dozen journalists fielding questions on geoeconomics, China’s lending,…

4 min.
ngozi okonjoiweala ‘the world system stopped trade wars’

Amid the pandemic and a revival of economic nationalism, the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s mission of economic integration faces a critical test. Member states say it has to reform to survive. Of the eight candidates vying for the director-general’s job, three are from Africa (see page 18) and The Africa Report is publishing interviews with all three. Here is the first, with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The others will appear on www.theafricareport.com TAR: Multilateralism is in retreat. Doesn’t that make the WTO an irrelevant organisation? NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA: Multilateralism has never been needed more than now. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown it is needed because there are simply some things in the world that bilateral or even sub-regional solutions cannot solve. The same applies to trade. A multilateral trading system is one that can produce…

4 min.
q3/ july

POETRY Saaleha Idrees Bamjee’s debut book of poetry, Zikr, won the Ingrid Jonker Prize for South African poetry in July. A member of the committee praised the author and journalist, who “writes poignantly of longing and loss. She figures the female body – her own and that of others – and explores the difficulties of being Muslim while also celebrating her reverence for her religion and the Arabic language.” GOLD MINING With the Covid-19 crisis sending many investors into safe havens, the price of gold is rising. Mining companies are keen to get back to business, and South Africa’s Harmony Gold says it expects to resume full production levels as of the middle of July. Earlier in the year it had predicted 1.4m ounces of annual production before withdrawing that guidance. In February,…

4 min.
q3 / august

7,195 South Africa’s health minister, Zweli Mkhize, sounded alarm bells on 8 July, saying that the country could run out of intensive-care beds by early August as the number of Covid-19 cases continued to rise. Data is hard to come by, but according to figures from 2013 quoted by Professor Alex van den Heever at Wits School of Governance in March, the country had about 7,195 critical-care beds, of which only 2,238 were in the public sector. By early July, the country had recorded 215,855 cases of the novel coronavirus. Back in late May, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for health argued that the country’s battle against Covid-19 could intensify before the end of the year. ‘We project now that our peak will be in August and September, but remember modelling keeps on changing’MUTAHI…