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Africa Covid-19

Could Zambia’s Debt Default Signal a Domino Effect on the African Continent?

In November 2020, news outlets reported that Zambia had become the first African country to default on debt against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, after opting out of a $42.5 million eurobond repayment. Zambia’s external debt payments have increased significantly since 2014, from 4% of government revenue to an estimated 33% in early 2021. As neighbouring countries in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to suffer the economic squeeze of the pandemic, there are fears that others will follow Zambia in defaulting sooner than experts anticipated. 

Africa Economics

End of the CFA franc: A possible turning point in Francafrique?

The CFA franc has long been cited as the representation of France’s economic “grip” on Africa and forms a central pillar of Françafrique – France’s relationship with its former African colonies. However, in an effort to move away from the controversial aspects of the region’s common currency, France and the CFA countries have initiated a number of reforms – with the former also pushing for the adoption of the “Eco” by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). This move would help remove the most visible elements of French influence; however, it is unlikely to assuage the allegations of French neo-colonialism that hamper Paris’ foreign policy objectives. 

Africa Politics

Are COVID-19 Measures Being Used to Stifle Democracy in Africa?

The global pandemic presents a unique challenge to democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. Aside from making it more difficult and more expensive to carry out elections, there is an emerging worry that democratic activity will be suppressed in the name of ‘stopping the spread’. 

Africa Technology and infrastructure

Fake News, Soft Authoritarianism and Challenges to Digital Democracy in Africa

On 27 December 2020, voters headed to the polls across the Central African Republic, one of the continent’s most fragile democracies. The elections were overshadowed by violence as covert disinformation campaigns, waged from Paris and Moscow, sought to inflame communal tensions across the fractured country. Facebook subsequently released a statement, claiming that the platform had removed multiple networks of ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’ traced back to the French and Russian militaries whose influence extended far beyond the Central African Republic, encompassing over a dozen African countries, from Algeria to Cameroon. However, this latest incident represents merely the tip of the iceberg of the far more pervasive and increasingly widespread challenge posed by the proliferation of digital media across the continent’s fledgling democracies.  

Africa Under The Radar

Hybrid War Crimes Court Promises Justice But Political Rivalry May Impede Pursuit

The African Union’s call for a court in South Sudan to prosecute and punish individuals responsible for war crimes is a significant overture by the continental organisation. Trials in the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda and the International Criminal Court’s recent efforts demonstrate the benefits of such convictions, but the particular circumstances in South Sudan means prosecutors must remain cogniscent of the precarious political situation.

Africa Politics Security

The Political Economy of Sudanese Reform

Since the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, the civilian Council of Ministers headed by Abdullah Hamdok has been tasked with realising the aspirations of the Sudanese people who took to the streets to protest for a better future. All the while, they are hindered economically by the legacy of Sudan’s affiliation with transnational terrorism. Meanwhile, the presence and influence of Sudan’s military officers remains significant, especially in the face of myriad security concerns, whose political ambitions are undimmed.

Africa Covid-19

Internet and Social Media Shutdowns on the African Continent

Internet and social media shutdowns have become an increasingly popular method employed by African leaders to stop the flow of information and repress political opinions and information available online. Commonly used during periods of civil unrest and elections, more often than not, the shutdowns do not have the desired effects. Internet and social media shutdowns rather lead to higher levels of unrest, human rights violations, lack of election credibility and great economic loss.

Africa Politics

Mali’s “Fresh Start” is Becoming a Pipe Dream as Colonel Malick Diaw is Elected Head of Interim Legislature

The Malian coup d’état, that came to fruition on the 18th August last year, was motivated by a need to end the corruption and bad governance that had brought the country to standstill and to address the instability that continues in the north of the country. In the aftermath, the Comité Nationale pour le Salut de Peuple (CNSP) followed through, conducting consultations with key stakeholders to develop its charter for transition. It vowed to return the country to civilian leadership within a “reasonable timeframe”. Nevertheless, as the CNSP has become comfortable in its position of power, cracks are beginning to show. Army personnel dominate the interim government and even with ECOWAS bearing down, the hope of a more transparent and democratic government is beginning to dissipate. 

Africa She Said

Empowering African Female Scientists To Reach Their Full Potential

Founded in 2008, Kenya-based African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), started off as a career-development program dedicated to widening the pipeline of African female scientists leading agricultural research and development. Inspired by the important work AWARD is doing to empower African women in agriculture, SHE SAID spoke to AWARD director Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg.

Africa Politics

Democratic Republic Of The Congo: Seeking Support In The Shadow Of Kabila

The collapse of the coalition between President Tshisekedi and Joseph Kabila threatens to create a void in DRC politics. Whilst international actors have been swift to commend Tshisekedi, his own political fortunes now rely on finding allies amongst the very opposition who question his victory in 2018, all the while fending off Kabila’s still-potent influence.