With less than seven weeks to go until the US elections, questions are starting to be asked about whether a Trump or Biden administration would be better for Africa. We contextualise US policy towards the continent over the past three decades and compare the outlook for both contenders.
After the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Africa on Valentine’s Day, many feared the worst for the world’s least developed continent. While many challenges lie ahead given the possibility of a second surge with associated lockdowns, Africa has largely weathered the first stage of its pandemic response well. Indeed, early indications suggest that Africa is now past its peak. We look at some of the countries that have performed best so far.
A stream of allegations of COVID-19-related corruption has shocked the ruling party and undermined confidence in the government of President Cyril Ramaphosa. The president now faces a challenge from within his own party to remove him early next year and a cabinet reshuffle is imminent. In the meantime, political manoeuvring and graft probes will distract from the coronavirus response, reform of state-owned enterprises, and negotiations with the IMF to avoid a sovereign debt crisis.
The debate around terrorism in South Africa has again been thrust centre-stage after the Islamic State militant group threatened to target the country in July. EXX Africa’s briefing unpacks the latest events driving this intent and details how an attack could manifest in the country.
African coronavirus cases will soon reach the one million mark based on the current trajectory of fast rising community transmissions. Prevalent economic optimism and hopes for a recovery next year seem unfounded as budget deficits spiral and new debt obligations balloon. Without further budgetary support, some of Africa’s largest economies are set to default on loan obligations in the coming year.
As COVID-19 continues to take an economic toll across the continent, many African states are increasingly eyeing the re-opening of their borders as a means of bolstering tourism and business revenues. However, international travellers will now face a range of new requirements and restrictions at African ports of entry. We assess the measures in the ten largest economies.
The looming contest over South Africa’s political direction will kick off with a dispute over IMF financial support to plug a massive gap in government revenues. Opponents of IMF conditionalities favour tapping into state pension funds or stepping up central bank bond buying to make up the shortfall. With ‘battle’ lines drawn across the ruling alliance’s ideological divisions, the outcome of the contest will determine the country’s political leadership and economic policy outlook for years to come.
Africa was looking forward to a renaissance in continental trade through the widely anticipated implementation of the landmark African Continental Free Trade Agreement in 2020. However, the onset of the coronavirus coupled with entrenched political and security barriers to trade have offset this vision and dealt the heaviest blow to the continent’s economy in 25 years.
The G-20 and Paris Club moratorium on loan servicing faces rejection by many African governments that seek more extensive debt relief measures. Meanwhile, private creditors warn that the G-20 proposal risks unnecessary costs and will thwart future access to capital. EXX Africa explains which countries are eligible for debt relief and highlights the examples of Nigeria and Kenya to demonstrate that the one-size-fits-all approach may not be effective in avoiding defaults.
Despite rating agency resistance, Africa wants to convert some of its debt into longer-term instruments in order to head off any risk of default. The extreme instance of Zambia demonstrates the urgency for debt distressed African countries to join a continental effort to restructure loans. Without such an approach, some of Africa’s largest economies will almost certainly default this year.