Editor’s Note: February 16, 2018

Ethiopia – not South Africa – is in the midst of radical change

With the eyes of the world fixed on the drama of Jacob Zuma’s exit in South Africa this week the news of Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s resignationwas easy to overlook. Yet the latter’s departure likely marks a more significant moment in history.

“I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy,” he said of his surprise decision, hinting at Ethiopia’s fraught path to political opening.

The government, dominated by a small minority from the Tigray region, has released thousands of political prisoners and leading opposition figures since the start of the year in a bid to build bridges with its two largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara. They are politically marginalizeddespite accounting for 61% of the population.

Repressive politics has long cast a shadow over Ethiopia, Africa’s fastest growing economy for more than a decade. It is the biggest obstacle to the country’s development.

Speculation is rife about what the resignation means – ranging from talk of Desalegn being forced out, to rumors he could be replaced by an Oromo leader.

Whatever the case, radical change in Africa’s second most populous nation and one of its most compelling growth stories looks increasingly inevitable.

From The Continent

Sudan and South Sudan have resumed cross-border commercial activity seven years after Juba declared independence from its northern counterpart in 2011. Despite a 2013 cooperation protocol governing transport, commerce, security and oil sectors, trade relations have remained frosty. More: Anadolu Agency

South African stocks rose as much as 5% on Thursday, with its currency hitting a three-year high, following the swearing in of Cyril Ramaphosa as the country’s president. Hopes are high that he can steer the economy towards recovery after the resignation of Jacob Zuma. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat


The amount Kenya hopes to raise from Eurobonds despite a downgrade to its sovereign debt by ratings agency Moody’s. More: Reuters

The Global Perspective

India’s largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel is planning a global listing of its African operations as a means to weather tough domestic competition. Airtel, active in 14 African countries, entered the continent in 2010 with its $10.7bn acquisition of Zain Africa. More: Nikkei

Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has stepped down as an ambassador for UK-based charity Oxfam, citing disappointment over sexual misconduct allegations against the organisation in the wake of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. The charity is at risk of losing UK government funding due to the revelations. More: Reuters

The Daily Follow

Kandeh Yumkella @KYumkella: Former director general of UNIDO, and outlier candidate in Sierra Leone’s March 7 presidential election.