Editor’s Note: April 19, 2019

Angola’s reform story is stumbling

Angola has annulled the awarding of the country’s fourth telecommunications licence, ordering a new tender to be run in the next 30 days, following criticism of the process.

An obscure company called Telstar Telecomunicacoes, reportedly owned by an Angolan general, had secured the licence last week, over interest from 26 other international and local firms.

This raised eyebrows, and questions about the sincerity of pledges by president João Lourenço to promote transparency in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.

This is part of a an unexpected reform-drive since he took office in September 2017, aimed at cleaning up Angola’s image and boosting foreign investment.

The Telstar incident is not alone to raise questions.

government plan to revamp the national airline – which includes a company linked to the president –  has also come under fire.

In March authorities released José Eduardo dos Santos’s son Filomeno and his business partner Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais – who had been accused of trying to steal $1.5bn from the central bank – without charge.

It all reeks of the kind of nepotism that has long plagued business and politics in Angola, and will fuel suspicions that Lourenço’s reforms have more to do with consolidating power than meaningful change.

It’s too soon to dismiss Angola’s reform story, but this is a good reminder to be vigilant.

From The Continent

Uganda’s supreme court has backed constitutional changes removing presidential age limits, giving the final green light for 74-year old incumbent Yoweri Museveni to contest polls in 2021.  Already in power for 33 years the move is seen as a bid to extend his rule indefinitely. More: Anadolu Agency


The government of Mali has resigned following criticism over its handling of security in the country, four weeks after around 160 herders were killed in a high profile attack by an ethnic vigilante group. Security in Mali has been precarious since a failed coup in 2012 and a rebellion in the country’s north linked to the fallout of Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in Libya.More: Al Jazeera

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Ethiopia’s ranking on the 2019 press freedom index, up 40 places from last year. More: Reporters Without Borders

The Global Perspective

Tunisia has reached an agreement with the IMF for the disbursement of the fifth ($247m) instalment of its $2.8bn loan agreement with the lender. The government has struggled to balance IMF-backed austerity with public investment and wage demands.  More: The National

Nigeria has issued arrest warrants for two former ministers and a manager with Italian oil major Eni over the $1.3bn sale of an oilfield in 2011. The deal is at the centre of a major corruption trial underway in Italy, which involves senior current and former executives at Eni and Shell. More: Reuters

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