Africa News Update

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Ivory Coast Succession | Ivory Coast Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly died this week, throwing the ruling party into disarray and casting the race to succeed President Alassane Ouattara wide open. Gon Coulibaly had been hand-picked by Ouattara to succeed him after elections later this year, and the uncertainty unnerved financial markets in the world’s biggest cocoa producer.

Doctor Protests | Across Africa, doctors are pushing back against the risks they’re being asked to shoulder in the coronavirus pandemic. In Sierra Leone, physicians are refusing to treat patients until the government provides them with hazard pay. Several health-care unions in Kenya have threatened to strike if the government doesn’t better protect them, and thousands of physicians have staged walkouts in northern Nigeria.

Nile Dispute | U.S. President Donald Trump’s bid to resolve a long-running dispute over a Nile dam has failed to make a breakthrough, with African nations moving to wrestle back control of the process. Trump accepted Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s request to mediate the conflict with Ethiopia over the dam — site of the continent’s largest hydropower plant — but his public praise for Sisi signalled the U.S. may not be a honest broker. Relations with Egypt represent the biggest foreign-policy test for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, last year’s Nobel Peace laureate, who is also struggling with violent domestic protests, writes Bobby Ghosh for Bloomberg Opinion.

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Islamist Threat | Africa’s biggest investment — a $23 billion project to export Mozambique’s natural gas — is being increasingly besieged by an Islamist insurgency. Companies led by Total plan to pump the gas from wells about 40 kilometers offshore, cool it to liquid form, then ship it to electricity plants from France to China. But to achieve the target of first production, developers need to move thousands of tons of equipment through territory thick with Islamic State-aligned fighters.

Steinhoff Claims | Steinhoff is close to reaching a deal on $11 billion of legal claims lodged following an accounting scandal that almost wiped out the South African company in late 2017. Claimants — including former Chairman Christo Wiese — have been offered a combination of cash and shares in clothing retailer Pepkor, majority owned by Steinhoff. The company also agreed to sell the French division of Conforama, a furniture chain, to a local rival.

– Bloomberg

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