Comesa risks bulletin #25
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Comesa risks bulletin #25

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COMESA Risks

COMESA Risks

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    Comesa risks bulletin #25 Comesa risks bulletin #25 Document Transcript

    • A F R I K A S O U R C E S COMESA RISKS ASSESSMENT BULLETIN A monthly publication Issue no 25 - MAY 2010 Burundi sees a massive mobilization of various national and foreign actors to avoid a fall back into political strife and violence as the country prepares for elections. Burundi will hold district elections on May 21, a presidential election on June 28, a parliamentary poll on July 23 and a vote for senators on July 28. The electoral process will conclude with local elections in September. Amatora Mu Mahoro (Elections in Peace - www.burundi.ushahidi.com), Burundi's first-ever nationwide election violence prevention system will identify areas susceptible of electoral violence as well as successful peace initiatives in the country. It aims to support appropriate responses and promote the peaceful holding of Burundi's 2010 elections, the first since all rebel movements laid down their arms and officially ended Burundi's long civil war. Current President Pierre Nkurunziza will run for another five-year term and his party CNDD-FDD is expected to win the elections. But fierce competition between the ruling party and at least four or five strong opposition parties Pre-electoral mobilization has already resulted in high levels of tension between party militants. Many parties have focused their recruitment efforts on ex-combatant youth, who can often be persuaded to carry out acts of violence. A report from International Crisis Group (ICG) claims an "authoritarian trend" has seen president Kabila's office concentrate power, undermine the judiciary and fail to implement plans to decentralize, in an "abysmal" record since 2006. Indeed, instability remains high in a country seeking foreign investment to develop its incredible natural resources. Fighting continues in the east and across the north, and Congo ranks among the worst countries in the world to do business despite its vast minerals deposits. As continued violence and human rights abuses by both rebels and the army as regularly reported, United Nations is engaging its withdrawal from the country removing 2.000 of the 20,000 strong peacekeeping force by June 2010. At the same time, the country is seeing the fruits of the deal signed in 2008 where China pledged a 9 billion dollar loan and agreed to build massive new copper and cobalt mines, 4,000 km of roads and railways, upgrade Congo’s beleaguered mining sector, and build schools, hospital and clinics. In exchange, Beijing secured copper and cobalt Serious warnings concessions that over 25 years will supply Chinese factories. Djibouti's parliament has approved a constitutional amendment which will allow President Ismael Omar Guelleh to run for a third term. The reform also shortened presidential mandates from six to five years and set 75 as the age limit for candidates. President Ismail Omar Guelleh's second term expires in 2011 and he’s expected to run for a third term. The country is of major strategic importance in the Horn of Africa and hosts France's largest military base in Africa and the only US base on the continent. Its port is used by several landlocked African countries, as well as foreign navies carrying out operations against Somali pirates. Thus Japan is set to open its first foreign military base in Djibouti, in an effort to protect its maritime assets in the region. Indeed, the region remains tense. Beside regular pirates attacks, the Somali conflict jeopardises security in the region. The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the none-militant Somali Islamists Ahlu Sunna wal Jama'a, which has ties with Somali government, have warned of simultaneous terrorist attacks by Constitutional revision al-Shabaab militants in Mogadishu and in some neighbouring states including Kenya and Djibouti. For the first time in nearly three decades, there is real uncertainty over whether Mubarak, now 81 and ailing, will seek reelection. With a presidential contest scheduled for 2011, it is possible he will promote his son Gamal as a candidate, but many others are loudly clamoring for an end to the ruling party's monopolistic rule. The ruling party justifies the slow pace of change by saying that democracy is a learning process. Recently, aides publicized Mubarak's surgery abroad to remove his gallbladder and a tumor instead of shrouding it in secrecy as they did during an earlier absence. Party officials cite as evidence of progress the number of opposition newspapers and call-in shows that discuss the political situation more openly today than in earlier years. During a recent wave of protests, sit-ins and demonstrations demanding better living life conditions by a wide spectrum of people who work in Egypt, a court ruling was issued to force the Egyptian government to set a minimum living wage for both private and public sector workers. This decision, which is numbered 21606, requires the Prime Minister to implement the measure or be sent to prison for failing to conform with a court ruling. Growing social tensions The current minimum wage in Egypt has been set, since 1984, at an unrealistic LE35 per month (equivalent to $US 6 per month). Protesters are asking for LE 1,200 -the equivalent of a mere $US 218/month. Edited by AFRIKASOURCES – Author: Jean Philippe PAYET [Senior analyst] The content of this publication is based on a selection of information browsed by our services. Request for a more detailed analysis at payet@in.com – © Afrikasources Consult Ltd – Port-Louis [Mauritius] 1
    • A F R I K A S O U R C E S An unpredictable succession, suspicion of foreign influence, diplomatic rows, policy uncertainty and lingering threat of social unrest all pose potential risks for investors in oil driven economy. Muammar Gaddafi has led Libya for over 40 years, longer than any living African leader and he has carefully avoided designating a successor. Opposition groups are weak and political activity outside the structure of the regime is virtually impossible. A lack of economic opportunities has led to occasional outbreaks of local unrest but the government keeps a tight grip on security. The population has grown fast and pressure for better living standards has risen after sanctions. With higher oil revenue, the state can distribute more wealth to buy popular support. Since Libya's diplomatic isolation ended more than six years ago, the country has tried hard to attract foreign investors and promote tourism in an effort to diversify its oil-dependent economy. Libya has the potential to become as big an investment hub as Dubai given its accumulated hoard of close to $140 billion in net foreign A tortuous road assets and plans to sink $150 billion into infrastructure over the next five years. Madagascar's army has given President Andry Rajoelina until the end of April to offer an acceptable way out of the 13-month political crisis. Army chief of staff General Andre Ndriarijaona announced that the military authorities had asked the leaders of the transition "to publish a clear and verifiable roadmap". They also called on opposition politicians to collaborate with authorities during this time frame. Analysts say there has been growing unease in some quarters of the government and military, and increased international pressure on Andry Rajoelina to solve the crisis, which has unnerved investors in the island's oil and mineral resources. An internationally backed power-sharing accord was signed in November 2009 to resolve the political crisis, but Rajoelina later reneged, prompting sanctions and a cut off of international aid that has led to the collapse of the country's economy. Madagascar's leader has since vowed to disband his internationally rejected government and Military pushes for a unity form an interim body with ousted opposition leader, the former President Marc Ravalomanana. In reaction. the AU Government Peace and Security Council has slapped harsh penalties on Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina and 108 other senior government officials. Malawi’s recent robust economic growth has enabled one of Africa’s poorest countries to make real strides in reducing chronic food insecurity and progress toward poverty reduction and development targets. However, this growth has led to rapidly rising imports and foreign exchange shortages, which threaten the sustainability of the country’s strong recent macroeconomic performance. Malawi is one of the world's poorest nations, with more than half of the population of 13 million living on less than one dollar a day. Malawi was among the first countries to receive a loan of $US 80.1 million under the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF), designed to support countries with medium-term balance of payments needs. Buoyed by several bumper harvests for tobacco, the principal cash crop, and maize, stemming from good rainfall and the distribution of subsidized fertilizer, Malawi’s agriculture-based economy weathered well the global economic storm. Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika just married Calista Chapola Chimomb, a former tourism minister in a colourful ceremony at a stadium packed with guests, including several African leaders. President arrived at the IMF support loan stadium in a brand new white limousine that was generously donated by Chinese government. Authorities from Rwanda denied any political crisis in the run-up to the August presidential election despite the arrest of top military officers and an alleged clampdown on opposition and independent media. 2 generals have been arrested on charges of corruption and misuse of office, a presidential aspirant was briefly detained, two local newspapers have been banned and a foreign human rights official has been denied a work permit. President Paul Kagame is widely expected to secure a second seven-year term in the election after winning 95 percent of the vote in 2003. Kagame is praised for establishing stability and completely rebuilding the central African nation in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, and for his bold ambition to transform landlocked Rwanda into a middle-income country by 2020. Critics, however, accuse his ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front of being intolerant of dissent and say he has increasingly centralized power. In the past month, bombs have been going off in Kigali with alarming frequency. Grenade attacks are not uncommon during the annual genocide memorial week. Attacks have occurred each anniversary for the last two No problem... years, and have killed security personnel. But the usual target has been genocide memorial sites, yet last attacks hit populated civilian sites, a growing trend. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir won the country's controversial but historic presidential election with roughly two- thirds of the vote. The elections were the first in 24 years in the oil-rich African nation, which has been riven by fighting in Darfur and a civil war between north and south. Major opposition parties, including the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and Umma Party, boycotted the vote in north Sudan, accusing President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of trying to rig the vote. The United States and other international observers criticized the elections, saying there were irregularities in many parts of the country. In a concurrent election in the semi-autonomous region of South Sudan, SPLM leader Salva Kiir won as that region’s president with 92.9 percent of the vote. Sudan's elections were set up under a 2005 peace accord that ended more than two decades of north-south civil war and saw the formation of a power-sharing agreement between Kiir's SPLM and Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP). Still, the most crucial moments lie ahead, with political reconciliation in the war-torn Darfur region and the possible Lanslide victory ! division of oil resources if the South votes to secede in a 2011 referendum. The demarcation of North-South border is one of the pending issues and observers fear a future war between the 2 signatories of 2005 agreement if they disagree on the boundary delimitation. Edited by AFRIKASOURCES – Author: Jean Philippe PAYET [Senior analyst] The content of this publication is based on a selection of information browsed by our services. Request for a more detailed analysis at payet@in.com – © Afrikasources Consult Ltd – Port-Louis [Mauritius] 2