Editor’s Note: October 19, 2018

The Russians are coming

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi this week signed a new strategic partnership to strengthen military and trade ties.

The deal is the latest example of efforts by Moscow to rekindle relations with Africa, left dormant since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

At least 19 military cooperation agreements have been signed with African governments since 2014. Apart from weapons the focus has been on energy and to a lesser extent mineral resources.

The renewed interest has predictably spooked the west, with media reports resorting to alarmist Cold War clichés about the subversive return of Russian influence.

Unsurprising given Moscow’s emphasis on weapons, energy and mining – but reality is likely more mundane.

For one, Russia is just part of a growing list of countries from the Americas to Asia looking to build ties with Africa. 

It’s also playing catch up.

The Russian Export Center estimated total trade with the continent at around $12bn last year  – less than Turkey, India or Brazil, and not even close to China. 

As the world’s second-biggest arms trader, and with close to half of Russia’s exports coming from hydrocarbons and minerals, it makes sense to focus on these sectors.

The Russians are coming, but this is no new Cold War.

From The Continent

The Stock Exchange of Mauritius will next month launch a new index, the ‘Africa Board’, dedicated to African companies in a bid to attract more issuers from the continent. The aim is to have 60 qualifying listings - companies must have half their assets in Africa - in the next five years. MoreReuters 

South Africa-based asset manager Investec has bought Richfield Holdings, a company specializing in providing tertiary education, for an undisclosed sum. This marks its first foray into the sector, which is attracting private investor interest due to a combination of rising incomes for some and generally failing public education systems across Africa. More: Moneyweb

The Daily Stat


The estimated share of Somalia’s population with access to the internet. More: Guardian

The Global Perspective

Turkish construction firm Summa has said it will start work on a $1.15bn new airport in Sudan, the country’s biggest, early next year. The project is part of growing investment from Turkey, particularly in the construction and infrastructure spaces. More: Anadolu Agency

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s biggest philanthropic entity, has said it will contribute $62.5m to EU healthcare programmes in Africa under the bloc’s External Investment Plan. The plan is aimed at catalyzing €44bn of private investment in Africa, in order to stop migration, by investing in services like health and education. More: European Commission

The Daily Follow

Moussa Faki Mahamat @AUC_MoussaFaki: Chairperson of the African Union Commission.