Blog entries from: Baobab

RSS feed for the Baobab Economist blog.

1 to 10 of 108

April 22 2014

From Baobab Tue Apr 22 2014, 06:34:40

IN a civil war that has featured the regular slaughter of civilians, the April 15th recapture of the oil town of Bentiu by South Sudanese rebels marked a new low. Some 200 people were reportedly massacred at a single mosque as the white army militia loyal to Riek Machar, the former vice president, sought out suspected supporters of the government.

The total death toll is unknown. Witnesses described desperate scenes as civilians unsuccessfully fled the attackers seeking shelter in hospitals and churches, as well as a compound operated by the World Food Programme, an aid agency.

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From Baobab Tue Apr 22 2014, 04:37:13

LAST September a conspicuous group of visitors mingled with tourists in Zanzibar. A small horde of Omani diplomats, ministers and academics came for a three-day symposium, ostensibly on the history of Islam in east Africa. Most of the visitors, many from Sultan Qaboos University, focused on the strength of Omani influences in Zanzibari culture and civic institutions.

In years past, this might have been an uncomfortable subject for Omanis and Zanzibaris. Although Oman played a major role in the development of east African Islam, its citizens also acted as colonists and slavers. This led to ethnic violence in 1964 and decades of mutual silence, even after other Gulf countries began exploring African trade deals and investments,

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April 19 2014

From Baobab Sat Apr 19 2014, 12:00:23

THERE is little medical care in the Muslim quarter of Boda, a mining town 200km (125 miles) south-west of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). Fadi Madou was helpless when her six-day-old baby got sick and died. But had she ventured across a wooden bridge into Boda's Christian district to look for a doctor, she, being a Muslim, would probably have ended up dead, too.

In the past year, the CAR has descended into horrendous ethnic and sectarian violence. First, a hotchpotch of mainly Muslim rebel groups from the north, known as the Seleka (Alliance), swept down to Bangui and ousted President François Bozizé. After holding power after a fashion for ten months, it too was forced out amid allegations of rampant human-rights abuses. Since then, mayhem has ...

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April 17 2014

From Baobab Thu Apr 17 2014, 09:17:40

SEVERE droughts can cost Kenyan farmers their livelihoods. A new insurance scheme aims to protect them

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From Baobab Thu Apr 17 2014, 07:43:53

SOME of the surprise in the news that Emmanuel de Merode, chief warden of Virunga Park, had been shot and wounded in eastern Congo was that it had not happened sooner. The Belgian-born head of the spectacular reserve, home--some reckon--to 80% of the world's surviving mountain gorillas, has been doing arguably the most dangerous job in conservation since 2008.

He was ambushed and shot four times on April 15th as he drove along the stretch of road between Goma, Congo's eastern trading hub, and Rumangabo, where the park has its headquarters. None of the bullets appeared to have hit vital organs; doctors who treated him in Goma said his life was not in danger.

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From Baobab Thu Apr 17 2014, 06:43:35

REMITTANCES--money sent home by relatives or friends working abroad--are the financial lifeblood of many poor countries. One of the biggest and fastest-growing markets is Africa, which received $32 billion in 2013. That is expected to grow to more than $40 billion by 2016.

It would be reasonable to assume that the fees charged by middlemen were falling, thanks to the spread of mobile banking, online transfers and other innovations. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, they have remained stubbornly high, and in some countries they have even been rising slightly, according to "Lost in Intermediation", a report by the Overseas Development Institute.

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April 15 2014

From Baobab Tue Apr 15 2014, 07:54:43

KENYA'S long walk to middle-income status looks set to end in a sudden statistical leap. GDP estimates for east Africa's biggest economy are expected to jump by up to one-fifth when a government-led statistical review reports in September.

The move follows a trend across sub-Saharan Africa that has governments attempting to measure their economies more accurately. Nigeria revised its GDP upwards by 89% on April 6th, based on a broader survey of economic activity including young sectors such as telecoms, a process known as "re-basing". A similar exercise in Ghana in 2010 found the economy to be 60% bigger than previously recorded.

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April 10 2014

From Baobab Thu Apr 10 2014, 08:45:45

WHEN Blaise Compaore, the president of Burkina Faso, selected a location for his palace, he chose Ouaga 2000, a district about 10km from downtown Ouagadougou, the capital. Opened in 2005, Kosyam Palace stands alone at the end of an empty avenue--a symbol of the president's isolation.

The 63-years-old is apparently used to loneliness. His political alliances tend not to last. In the years after coming to power in a 1983 coup, he prosecuted his fellow putschists. Many of them died. By 1987 he was in sole charge. Now it may be his turn to be abandoned ahead of elections in 2015. Or not.

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April 7 2014

From Baobab Mon Apr 7 2014, 04:40:03

ECONOMIC weight in Africa is shifting north. Nigeria has overtaken South Africa to become the continent's largest economy following the recalculation of GDP, although it remains less developed and more unequal than its rival. Moving up ten notches to become the world's 26th largest economy, Nigeria has joined the burgeoning club of middle-income countries.

The size of the economy is now estimated at 80.3 trillion naira ($509.9 billion), 89% larger than previously stated for last year, according to Yemi Kale, head of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) speaking in the capital, Abuja, on Sunday. The GDP increase far exceeded expectations of analysts who had forecast a jump of between 40 and 60% prior to the rebasing exercise.

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April 2 2014

From Baobab Wed Apr 2 2014, 07:10:57

NANA AKUFO-ADDO, long-serving leader of Ghana's opposition, is determined to run again for president in 2016--so he declared before a boisterous crowd in the front garden of his home in Accra, the country's capital. Even though the polls are two-and-a-half years away, it feels as if a starting-gun has been fired.

Ghana has had six fair elections since 1992, with power twice changing hands between the two main parties, Mr Akufo-Addo's New Patriotic Party (NPP) and President John Dramani Mahama's National Democratic Congress (NDC).

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