Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Flashlights or a blackout-free soccer bonanza?

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South Africa’s power utility Eskom has assured the world it will keep the lights on during the FIFA World Cup next year.

But many wonder if they can trust the assurances after the country’s national grid came to a near standstill last year, forcing mines and smelters to shut and costing the biggest economy in Africa billions of dollars.

Eskom’s new power investments are not supposed to kick in until well after the cup next year, and occasional power cuts still make the headlines in the country’s media as the system continues to be tight, despite some temporary relief given the economic slowdown.

According to FIFA regulations, all stadiums will be powered using generators, but the utility still plans to secure a buffer of 2,000 MW – enough to power a city – for the duration of the event.

Are talks going Mugabe’s way?

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Mugabe at rally in HarareIs it just me, or is Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe starting to look more confident again? At the start of power sharing talks a few weeks back he appeared distinctly grim when he and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had their historic handshake.

Mugabe shakes hands with Tsvangirai

In the past few days he has been much more his old self, lambasting the West at a speech to commemorate the dead in the liberation war, giving a national honour to George Chiweshe, who organised elections that were condemned by much of the world, and generally upbeat during three days of talks that in the end delivered no result.

Has Tsvangirai made a fatal mistake?

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rtx789k.jpgMorgan Tsvangirai’s decision to pull out of the presidential election on Friday leaves the road open for President Mugabe to win another term in power.

The decision has been met by a storm of international condemnation of the violence, with increasingly powerful voices speaking out from Africa. On Tuesday President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and ANC leader Jacob Zuma joined the condemnation and called for the vote to be postponed.

What’s the verdict on Nigeria’s Yar’Adua?

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Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua took office a year ago promising to pursue free-market reforms launched by his predecessor, Olusegun Obasanjo, vowing zero tolerance for corruption and listing seven national priorities including improving power supply and reducing food insecurity.

A year on, his critics say economic reforms are grinding to a halt, his anti-corruption efforts are just window-dressing and his cabinet is largely a collection of ineffective bureaucrats who are but a shadow of an all-star cast in the former administration.

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