Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

South Africa overshadowed by growth of the rest

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KENYA DRAUGHTSouth Africa’s place as the sole economic giant in Africa is set to decline in coming decades as its growth is outstripped by countries to the north that have emerged as some of the fastest growing in the world.

As part of a package of Reuters reports on Frontier Markets, my colleague Ed Cropley takes a look at the importance for South Africa’s future of positioning itself as a springboard to the rest of the continent.

Although South Africa has been one of the best long term investments in the world over the past century, the next century looks less promising.

South Africa accounted for nearly 40 percent of all economic output in the sub-Saharan region in 2000, according to International Monetary Fund figures.

Can Ghana avoid the oil curse

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ghanaWith a democratic touch rare in a region better known for dictators, Ghana is asking its citizens what it should do with the windfall from oil production due to start later this year.

In a questionnaire entitled “The Use and Management of Oil and Gas Revenues – A Survey of Public Choices” posted on the finance ministry website this week, Ghana says oil-producer nations face three major questions:

Togo’s tension: democracy vs. stability

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Maybe it was too early in the morning. Or perhaps their hearts just weren’t in it.

Whatever the case, a rally called by Togo ‘s opposition leaders for early Tuesday — meant to voice full-throated outrage over the March 4 election they say was rigged to favour the incumbent — was a near no-show.

‘New moment of promise’ for Africa?

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As expected, U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to Africa in Accra had plenty to say on the importance of good governance – but there was also a very strong message that his “new moment of promise” is one that Africans have to seize for themselves.

“You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, end conflicts, and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can. Because in this moment, history is on the move,” Obama said.

Is Obama Africa’s saviour?

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Africa is rich in natural resources like oil, gold, diamonds, platinum and yet millions of African people live in abject poverty. The global economic and climate crisis have made life even harder.

At the recent G8 meeting in Italy, African leaders and members of civil society voiced concerns over the promises made in previous G8 meetings of aid and assistance that have yet to materialise.

Is Obama Snubbing Kenya on Africa trip?

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President Barack Obama’s choice of Ghana for his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office has stirred debate in his father’s homeland Kenya.

Some Kenyans believe Obama ought to have come “home” first. Others, especially among critics of President Mwai Kibaki’s government, say he has deliberately shunned the country to show U.S. disapproval of rampant corruption and nepotism in political circles here.

Overdose of trouble in West Africa

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That political stability is vital for investment and development goes without saying, but it seems as though too much instability can be bad for criminal enterprises too.

The cocaine cartels that used West Africa, and Guinea-Bissau in particular, as a conduit to Europe were long accused of worsening the chaos in one of the region’s poorest and most troubled states by buying off some factions of the security forces and political leaders.

What chance for democracy in Nigeria?

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Can Nigeria, the so-called “giant of Africa”, live up to its claim of being the biggest democracy in the black world? Not if its latest state governorship election is anything to go by, argue some in Africa’s most populous nation.

The re-run of elections for the post of governor in southwest Ekiti state were seen as a test of whether Nigeria’s electoral system has improved since flawed federal and state polls in 2007.

Who is Africa’s best footballer?

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Never has there been as much bounty in terms of African talent as there is now. 

Although the continent has long been a conveyor belt of talent, genuine world stars from the African continent have been few and far between.

Getting children into school in Ghana

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More than a million children in Ghana don’t go to school because they have to work to help their parents pay the bills.

One woman in the capital, Accra, is trying to persuade working kids to give up their jobs and go to school instead.

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