Editor’s Note: March 29, 2018

Ethiopia’s new leader could be good news

After weeks of speculation Ethiopia’s ruling coalition on Tuesday named Abiye Ahmed as its new Chairman. He is expected to be appointed prime minister, succeeding Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in February.

Ahmed’s selection could have profound significance. Most obviously he is from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, which has been the driving force behind at times deadly anti-government protests in recent years. The Oromo and Amhara, together accounting for 66% of Ethiopia’s 100m people, are marginalized in government by the minority Tigray.

The move is clearly aimed at fostering national reconciliation, and media coverage is understandably focusing on how Ahmed might tackle the country’s significant political and social challenges.

Less obvious is what his selection could do for Ethiopia’s economic prospects. The East African country has experienced double digit GDP growth for much of the last decade. With ambitions to become a regional and international manufacturing hub Ethiopia is widely tipped to be a leading contender in Africa for a China-style economic transformation.

The biggest obstacle to realising such potential has for years been the divided nature of the country’s politics. 

There is much work to be done, but any meaningful progress on this by Ahmed should be really good news for business, the economy, and Ethiopia.

From The Continent

Former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar has declared he will contest presidential elections scheduled for next February, representing the opposition People’s Democratic Party. He will likely face incumbent Muhammadu Buhari, who is yet to announce he will run. More: CGTN


The Democratic Republic of Congo’s attorney general has opened an investigation into reports that opposition leader Moise Katumbi held Italian nationality until as late as 2017, which could disqualify him from contesting presidential elections slated for December.Katumbi was exiled in 2016 and is seen as a threat to president Joseph Kabila’s government.More: Africanews

The Daily Stat

$28

The amount Egyptian citizens may be fined for not voting in the country’s presidential election this week. More: BBC

The Global Perspective

Oil major Shell has referred former vice president for sub-Saharan Africa Peter Robinson to Dutch authorities over allegations of criminal misconduct in a Nigerian asset sale. This comes on the back of multiple executives facing trial in Milan over alleged bribery in the purchase of a Nigerian oil field in 2011. More: Bloomberg 

South Africa’s Sanlam has sold shares worth $490m to help finance a joint $1bn acquisition of Moroccan insurer SAHAM Finances. The deal is part of the company's aims to become a pan-African insurance group. More: Reuters

The Daily Follow

Makhtar Diop @Diop_WB: The World Bank’s Vice President for Africa. Tweets on development across the continent.