Despite the departure of Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s government is still made up of the same set of ZANU-PF heavyweights, serving as a reminder that the right to rule Zimbabwe revolves around the military, and liberation war credentials. Under Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s future remains threatened by the same patronage-based system of predatory and anti-democratic government.
The Trump administration’s Africa policy remains confused and uncertain, punctuated by clumsy attempts by various senior politicians to engage the continent. While an overall lack of interest by senior members of the new administration has allowed US civil servants in Africa to preserve some continuity, the lack of clarity over Washington’s involvement in Africa could put the US’s position as one of the continent’s biggest trading partners at risk.
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Wildlife poaching and trafficking have long been a serious problem in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Despite his recent resignation, the ruling ZANU-PF’s strong links to these criminal activities means that a decrease in Zimbabwe’s thriving illicit wildlife trade is unlikely in the short term. In fact, the probability that the elite networks that benefit from the trade will remain in place under Mnangagwa remains high.
While it is widely agreed that the illicit practice of trade misinvoicing is costing African countries billions of dollars a year, the scale of the issue remains to be debated. It can be argued that the potentially over exaggerated estimates of misinvoicing in Africa being quoted by highly-respected and influential international institutions may in some cases be counterproductive, adversely affecting their investment environments.
Just two years into his presidency, President John Magufuli’s is proving to be a polarising figure. Winning praise for his tough stance on corruption and his refusal to back down in high-profile disputes with international mining companies, Magufuli has equally attracted condemnations for his increasingly authoritarian ruling style.
President Magufuli’s increasingly authoritarian actions have attracted concerns over the state of democracy in Tanzania. There are indications that the recent closures of opposition-linked newspapers could be a mere ploy to weaken the opposition and stifle government critics.
China’s use of soft power in Africa has served to strengthen relations with individual countries and the region as a whole. Yet, despite the initial altruistic appearance of many of Beijing’s Africa initiatives, China’s involvement in the African market does not necessarily bode well for the future of transparency.
Considered a key industry in Nigeria’s economy, the mobile telecoms sector has recently enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth. Yet, competition is fierce, and the mobile segment remains largely controlled by just four operators – all of whom have attracted allegations of fraudulent behaviour in an attempt to maintain their influential positions in the market.
The DRC’s national insurance company Société Nationale d'Assurances (SONAS) is alleged to be a lucrative source of income for President Joseph Kabila. While the country’s insurance sector has been formally liberalised, SONAS’s informal monopoly over the sector will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Over the past decade China’s relationship with Africa has become much more complex, and can no longer be defined by the simple need to secure access to natural resources. Ultimately, Beijing’s engagement with Africa is believed to be a part of a long-term strategy to restore China to global prominence.
Ghana’s extensive renewable energy resources are attracting increased attention from investors around the world. However, despite a sizeable market offering that holds significant long-term growth prospects, Ghana’s renewable energy sector is still relatively underdeveloped, and continues to suffer from weak and unclear policies and regulations.
The liberalisation of the DRC’s insurance sector, spearheaded by legislation opening the market to international players, is attracting increased attention. However, despite a sizeable market offering that holds the promise of growth prospects, the country’s challenging operating environment may serve to deter potential investors. As with any regulatory overhaul, teething issues are expected.