Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
In a matter of weeks, Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara have undergone a role reversal which, even by the standards of recent Ivorian history, defies belief.
Before the lightning advance of pro-Ouattara forces on Abidjan last week, Gbagbo was laying siege to his rival in a plush lagoon-side hotel in downtown Abidjan.
Now those same forces are confident they have Gbagbo pinned down in a bunker at his heavily guarded residence just across town in leafy Cocody. (Although at time of writing, Gbagbo’s forces appeared to have retaken areas of central Abidjan)
Crucially, many of the FDS regular army forces once loyal to Gbagbo have rallied to Ouattara’s FRCI. But, as is clear from fighting in Abidjan this week, the newly integrated army is not able to fully assert itself.
At 26, Annick Vangah is on top of the world. She’s in the driver’s seat of a 7.2-ton public bus in Abidjan, one of the biggest and busiest cities in West Africa and Ivory Coast’s commercial capital.
Until 2002, only men were allowed to drive the buses owned by Abidjan’s public transport company SOTRA. Today, Vangah is one of 19 women behind the wheel of the city’s public buses. The company’s nearly 1,900 other drivers are all men.
International football body FIFA expects about half a million fans to come to South Africa for the World Cup, which starts a year from now.
The country is experiencing its first recession in 17 years but it is hoped that the
infrastructure being built for the World Cup and the expected influx of tourists will give the economya boost.