Editor’s Note: April 22, 2019

Egypt goes all in on autocracy

Egyptians are voting in a referendum to approve a series of constitutional changes that could see president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stay in power until 2030.

Sisi – a former general – seized power in a popular coup in 2013, and has since presided over a comprehensive crackdown on opposition and dissent. The vote comes after lawmakers overwhelmingly backed the changes, and is a bid to lend legitimacy to his autocratic rule.

Much of this rests on the country’s apparent economic revival. Egypt has gone from basket case to showcase in investor circles since it embarked on a market-friendly reform drive in 2016 – part of a $12bn loan programme with the IMF.

If you believe the government things are going exceptionally well. Unemployment is down, while GDP growth and investment are soaring. The economy is expected to expand by 5.5% this year, the highest level since 2010.

It’s a good story – a bit too good to be true.

Regularly omitted from the official narrative is any mention of economic problems, such as spiralling debt. Also absent is information on how IMF-backed austerity is impacting citizens. The apparent lack of friction between the two should be cause for suspicion.

Regardless, with Sisi certain to ‘win’ the referendum Egypt is going all in on the autocrat-led growth story.

From The Continent

Sudan’s main opposition coalition has reportedly pulled out of talks with the country’s ruling military military council over a transition to civilian rule, vowing more protests.Longtime president Omar al-Bashir was removed from office by the military on April 11 after 30 years in power, following unprecedented protests against his rule. More: Bloomberg

A court in Algeria has summoned former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia and current finance minister Mohamed Loukal in a probe into alleged wasting of public money. This follows a pledge last week by the military to crack down on corruption in the wake of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation in early April due to mass protests. More: CGTN

The Daily Stat

6 months

The length of a delay South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar has called for to implement a recent peace deal ending the country’s five-year civil war. More: Bloomberg

The Global Perspective

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have granted Sudan $3bn in support according to Saudi state media. This includes a $500m grant to the central bank, with the rest to be in the form of medicine, food and petroleum products. More: Reuters

The International Monetary Fund plans to grant Mozambique a $118.2m credit facility to help rebuild infrastructure destroyed by cyclone Idai. The tropical storm has reportedly left more than 1,000 people dead in the country, causing widespread economic damage. More: Africanews

The Daily Follow