Editor’s Note: March 13, 2018

Rex Tillerson’s rhetoric on Africa is behind the curve

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrapped up his first official Africa visit on Monday. The trip saw him visit Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Chad and Nigeria. 

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the whistle stop tour was the overt display of anxiety about China – Africa relations.

This ranged from scaremongering about the perils of China investing in the port of Djibouti to Tillerson warning African countries to “not forfeit their sovereignty” to Beijing through vast borrowing.

Tillerson’s comments are behind the curve, harking back to a largely negative view of China in Africa in developed economies that has moved on considerably in recent years. In places like the EU and Japan, for example, China is increasingly seen as a potential partner on the continent, not a threat.

This is not an endorsement of Beijing – which certainly has shortcomings in Africa – but acceptance that China’s presence is a reality, and here to stay.

His words will have also fallen on deaf ears among many Africans – particularly in the likes of Ethiopia and Djibouti, which have deep, strategic, and mutually beneficial ties with Beijing

It feels almost like Tillerson was given an out-of-date memo on what’s happening in Africa.

From The Continent

Moise Katumbi, the high profile former governor of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s mineral-rich Katanga province, has announced he will return from exile in June to contest elections scheduled for December. He will lead an opposition coalition against president Joseph Kabila, whose refusal to step down at the end of his tenure in December 2016 has stoked instability. More: Bloomberg

Somalia has declared U.A.E’s DP World a threat to national sovereignty and voted to ban it from the country following a deal with Ethiopia to operate the port of Berbera in the breakaway republic of Somaliland. Authorities object to not being consulted over the deal, insisting the federal government must be involved. More: Anadolu Agency

The Daily Stat


The monthly expense allowance for Nigerian senators, more than 17 times the country’s GDP per capita. More: BBC

The Global Perspective

China plans to establish a new joint agency for international development cooperation according to a draft state institutional reform plan. The move could signal a more explicit foreign aid and development focus from Beijing. More: China Daily 

Uber Eats, the food delivery service and offshoot of ride-sharing giant Uber, plans to expand to 100 new cities this year including launches in Egypt and Kenya. The move is seen as a possible precursor to a planned IPO. MoreTech Crunch

The Daily Follow

Tedros Adhanom @DrTedros: Head of the World Health Organization. The first African to hold the post.