Africa at a glance

Thursday December 12 2019

A photo montage of Algerian presidential candidates (L to R) Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Abdelkader Bengrina (top); Abdelaziz Belaid, Azzedine Mihoubi and Ali Benflis (bottom) in the December 12, 2019 presidential election. Low turnout is expected as No Vote protesters demand reforms that would uproot the remnants of deposed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's regime from power. PHOTO | RYAD KRAMDI | AFP


  • Sudan parties clash at peace talks

The Sudan peace talks suffered a hiccup on Wednesday with rebel forces refusing to engage with the Forces of Freedom and Change which is pushing for radical departure from the status quo.

The talks resumed in Juba, South Sudan on Wednesday but bad blood between the two groups could threaten the process if any of the parties opts out of the negotiations.

The Forces for Freedom and Change, which represents the protest movement that led to Omar al-Bashir's ouster in April has been pushing for Parliament to be inaugurated before conclusion of the peace talks.

This would lock out rebel groups, for whom 30 seats are reserved in the 300 member house, out of the legislative agenda as the country navigates a transition before elections in 2020.

  • Cameroon passes contested bilingual law

Cameroon has passed a controversial law allowing French speaking judges not to interpret English common law in the queens language during proceedings in the restive Anglophone regions.

The passage after the bill was quietly reintroduced in Parliament despite protests from lawyers and Anglophone legislators means more French speaking judges can be deployed in the regions, accentuating local grievances of marginalisation.

An extra-ordinary session of Parliament has been called for Friday amid speculation that a Bill granting the South West and North West regions Special Status as recommended by the Major National Dialogue in October is on the agenda.

  • Angola starts trial of former President dos Santos son

Prosecutors started on Wednesday the trial of former President Eduardo dos Santos son, Jose Filomeno Zenu, over the alleged theft of an estimated $500 million from the Angola sovereign fund.

Zenu served as the head of the fund until soon after his father left office in 2017. He was later sacked, detained and released over the loss of funds.

The dos Santos family accuses President Joao Lourenco of waging a selective war on corruption targeting the former president and his close associates.

  • Legitimacy test as Algeria elects president

After almost 10 months of political turmoil, Algeria on Thursday holds a presidential vote bitterly opposed by a protest movement that sees it as a regime ploy to cling on to power.

Five candidates are in the running, all of them key allies of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned amid a wave of protests in April.

Low turnout is expected and whoever wins will not "be considered legitimate" according to Anthony Skinner, Middle East and North Africa director at risk analysis company Verisk Maplecroft.

  • Britain votes in 'Brexit election'

Britain goes to the polls on Thursday to determine the immediate future of Brexit with all 650 seats of the British parliament across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland up for grabs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who took over from Theresa May in July after she was unable to get parliament to approve her EU divorce deal, is hoping to secure both a mandate and a majority.

Johnson's Conservatives need just nine more seats for a majority, which would allow him to push through his own Brexit deal with Brussels and take Britain out of the bloc by the end of January.

The parliament has been deadlocked since the 2016 referendum on EU membership that saw a majority vote to leave.

  • Strike plunges Nigeria into darkness

Nigeria has been thrown into complete darkness following the nationwide strike by workers in electricity companies.

The strike started on Tuesday and stepped up on Wednesday with the National Union of Electricity Employees marshalling its members out of key energy installations.

The workers grievances include underpayment of severence pay to 50,000 employees of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) since 2013.

The union also say some Generating Companies (GENCOs) have refused to sign recognition agreements in order to continue paying dismal wages to workers.

  • Trade turbulence pushes airline profits lower

Airline profits are expected to rebound next year after global trade tensions caused a dip of 14 per cent from the $30 billion in net profits it recorded last year.

The industry's trade association, IATA, said Wednesday 2019 net earnings were expected at $25.9 billion, lower than the $28 billion forecast in June.

It blamed slowing economic growth, trade wars, geopolitical tensions and social unrest, and continuing uncertainty over Brexit for the outturn.

It now expects airlines' net profits to reach $29.3 billion in 2020, with a lift from global trade growth and a dip in fuel prices despite airline capacity growing slightly faster than demand.