Analysis in Brief: The benefits of boosting the low rate of trade amongst African countries are undeniable. The countries signing on to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) know this. However, inertia to break old trade barriers and against building value-added industries to replace foreign imports is the challenge to overcome.
As exemplified by AirRwanda’s increase in direct flights between Lusaka and Johannesburg, intra-African trade benefits all participating countries. For instance, Zambia benefits as an intermediary between South Africa and Zambia along one of Africa’s busiest air routes. Likewise, Ethiopian Airlines is currently expanding its African scope to derive similar benefits. However, more cross-border movement of trade is required to match aviation’s lead. Read more →
Analysis in Brief:The world is engulfed in trade wars begun by the US for motives that are political and not economic. Africa has been shaken by threats of tariffs and loss of trade benefits. However, the unsettled trade landscape gives African countries an opportunity to expand their trade ties to their benefit.
Trade wars are roiling economies and international relationships in 2018 like never before. In the long term, African nations can come out ahead if they prioritise inter-African trade and carefully select foreign trade partners. African nations with important commodities to sell, from Mozambique’s natural gas and Nigeria’s oil to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s minerals and South Africa’s abalone shellfish, have never been in a better position to play one foreign trade partner off another. This is particularly true when it comes to realigning East versus West relations based on trade issues. Read more →
Analysis in brief: In East Africa, countries that were once bitter enemies have quickly patched animosities and now seek ways out of old impasses, with regional security and economic trade benefitting. The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for clients of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.
Ethiopia’s economic miracle – becoming East Africa’s largest economy after a decade of 10% growth per annum – found its twin accomplishment in the political miracle of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reformist government. He took over in April 2018 from hardliners that made Ethiopia one of East Africa’s most repressive governments, in stark contrast with the country’s progressive economic achievements. Ahmed has freed political prisoners, expanded the political space, and put in the past the record of the past few years that saw continuous States of Emergency, concentration camps and human rights abuses perpetuated against the largest ethnic group, the Oromo. As the world absorbed and applauded the domestic change, Ahmed charged into diplomatic movement to inform change, beginning with Eritrea. Read more →
Analysis in brief: Africa’s healthcare system stands to hugely advance with newly available technologies; but existing energy and transportation infrastructures must be improved to allow these innovations. This article is based on information obtained by IOA while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for clients of IOA.
Healthcare has always been a difficult social welfare objective to achieve throughout Africa. In addition to underdeveloped healthcare facilities, a largely rural population lives in areas unconnected by effective electric and water infrastructures and not serviced by capable road networks. A healthcare delivery revolution beckons – new technologies that allow Africa to ‘leapfrog’ past standard development patterns by bringing care to individuals via the internet and home visits. Read more →
The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for clients of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.
The decision by Mozambique’s state-run National Roads Administration to solicit the private sector in highway management was a turning point in governmental transportation infrastructure growth that will have a positive impact on the African dream of a transcontinental highway girding the continent.By the end of 2018, private firms will erect tollgates and collect fees on four sections of the main EN1 north to south highway. Government has a huge foreign debt crisis, and necessary funds to expand much-needed road infrastructure are best sought from sources other than additional bilateral loans. Read more →
If the heating and drying effects of global warming are not reversed, areas of northern, eastern and southern Africa will be unfit for normal human life. As they are doing in Libya’s wastelands, terror groups will move in, undaunted by the physical hardships.
In the cosmology of the fanatical Islamic militant, even the grand caliphate envisioned by fundamentalist groups and under which they will subjugate all human society is not meant to be paradise on earth. True paradise comes in the afterlife, they believe, and earthly imperfection is to be endured. For that reason, al-Shabaab has no qualms operating out of parched and backward rural lands in Somalia, and the Islamic State (ISIS) is happy to have a foothold in North Africa in Libya’s desert wilderness
Of course, the real reason for those jihadist groups’ occupation of areas largely unoccupied because they are harsh and inhospitable, is that the governing authority of the countries that these groups invade will probably not be actively enforced in those wastelands. This can be witnessed at the start of 2016 in Libya, where rival governments which have taken the first steps toward a reunified country by signing a UN plan to end their disputes have been unable to police the vast country during the political schism. In Somalia, government is unable to secure the capital Mogadishu without the presence of African Union (AU) peacekeepers.
Africans have few means to protect themselves against human rights abuses, many of which are perpetrated by their own leaders. Autocratic governments reject international prosecutors seeking justice for human rights victims, and African governments continent-wide are cracking down on NGOs who hold governments accountable.
Just as the domestic policies and actions of highest priority for many African leaders is the preservation of their power, the foreign policy imperative of African leadership expressed in the African Union (AU) is to ensure the survival of their fellow leaders. There is a quid pro quo to this arrangement, an understanding that one African leader will support another when threatened by domestic and international pressure and in return such buttressing is expected to be reciprocated. The arrangement is cynically cloaked in pious pledges to not interfere in the domestic affairs of another country. Read more →
The media noticed Burundi when street riots and an attempted coup d’état made for interesting visuals for TV news. The superficial coverage ignored what Burundi’s fleeing refugees knew, that a possible genocidal bloodbath was the real story.
If ever the world media acted as if it were a mayfly living only for the day, it was with coverage of Burundi in May 2015. Like the insect that lives approximately the length of a media news cycle, the Western press focused on the crisis de jour – violent street protests, an attempted coup d’état, the politics of an election – as if neither deeper meaning nor long term consequences existed.