Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
You can’t discuss investment in Africa without looking at the risks and there is no doubt that corruption is among those.
Patrick Lumumba, director of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission, has plenty of experience of trying to fight graft and has the death threats to show for it. He spoke to the Reuters Africa Investment Summit and had some harsh words for the continent’s leaders – including those in Kenya.
“We have perfected the art of telling on camera that which is nice to hear, but immediately we recede into the inner sanctums of power we connive and go to bed with the corrupt and that is the tragedy of African double speak,” he said.
Analysts say graft has choked growth in Kenya, deterring potential investors. There is growing frustration that senior officials get away with flagrant theft, which has tarnished Kenya’s image.
While Africa becomes ever more attractive for local and foreign investors, the biggest danger for its biggest economy is that it fails to seize on the opportunities it has in the changing world, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told the first Reuters Africa Investment Summit.
Plenty of short term money has flowed into South African assets – something of a headache for its policymakers as a strong rand currency makes its exports less competitive even if it helps keep inflation under control.
From March 7 to 10, political and business leaders from around Africa will be joining us for the inaugural Reuters Africa Investment Summit to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing investors in Africa.
One of the key areas of interest will be financial services and ahead of the summit, consultancy Bain & Company released a study indicating that the $107 billion industry could grow by an impressive 15 percent a year until 2020.
Ethiopia’s opposition UDJ party, completely wiped out at last year’s disputed election, says it is regrouping.
At a recent news conference, it announced it plans to rebuild its depleted ranks with young people, analyse the mistakes of the past and ensure that it’s never again hampered by a lack of leadership.
So far there hasn’t been much political fallout in the rest of Africa from the revolts in the northernmost states.
Of course there are lots of differences between sub-Saharan African countries themselves let alone when you compare them to those north of the desert.
Yesterday Ivorian reggae star Alpha Blondy, a staunch supporter and populariser of incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, said in an interview with French paper Liberation that Gbagbo has to play fair and accept he lost the Nov. 28 election.
His comments reminded me of when I used to repeatly underperform in cricket at school. The coach consoled me with the old cliche that sport isn’t about winning but about taking part and playing fair.
“This is an African solution to an African problem,” was African Union chief Jean Ping’s reasoning for another round of negotiations to resolve Ivory Coast’s bitter leadership dispute.
Regional leaders and the outside world had been uncharacteristically swift to condemn Laurent Gbagbo’s bid to cling onto power. The AU itself wasted little time suspending the West African nation from the bloc.
Ugandans love to talk. And, unlike in some other African countries, few people are afraid to be heard talking politics. Cafes and bars in Kampala and elsewhere hum to the sound of politicians being loudly verbally skewered.
The politicos themselves are not much different. Rhetoric is being ratcheted up ahead of elections on February 18. And the opposition are not holding back.
“Look at him!” the emcee at celebrations to mark 25 years in power for Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni shouts into a mic. “Look at him! He is very fit!”
The former rebel decked out in his usual – and fairly unique – floppy hat and suit combo ambles down a grass slope and waves cheerily to his supporters.