Editors’ Note: December 19, 2018

Déjà vu for Madagascar

Voters in Madagascar go to the polls today to pick the country’s next leader in a run-off between two ex-presidents, Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina.

The contest is expected to be close, but the significance of the outcome is questionable.

Both have been a fixture of Madagascar’s politics for more than a decade, and were instrumental in plunging the country into crisis in 2009, when Ravalomanana was ousted in a de-facto coup and replaced by Rajoelina.

This earned Madagascar a suspension from the African Union, a 4% economic contraction, and an 82% dip in foreign direct investment. Years of tension between the two followed, only ending when both were barred from running in 2013 elections.

The resumption of their rivalry doesn’t bode well for the country’s battered economy.

Despite being home to various natural resources, producing 75% of the world’s vanilla, and Madagascar’s obvious tourism potential, the poverty rate is estimated to be around 70% of its 25m population.

Ravalomanana and Rajoelina can’t take all the credit for this. 

They are continuing a tradition that has seen the country mired in a cycle of political crises and autocratic rule pretty much since independence from France in 1960.

For voters it’s a regrettable case of déjà vu.

From The Continent

An inquiry in Zimbabwe has found that the country’s military used ‘unjustifiable’ force to quell protests following its first post-Mugabe election in July, but blamed the country’s main opposition for inciting the violence. Six people were killed during the crackdown, prompting widespread international criticism. More:  BBC


Shares in South Africa’s Nedbank fell by more than 4% on Tuesday following an unconfirmed news report that Nigerian accounting regulators have launched an investigation into Togo-based Ecobank, in which it owns a 21% stake. This comes amid growing anxiety about the business environment in Nigeria on the back of a high profile tax dispute with South African mobile operator MTN. More: Moneyweb

The Daily Stat

$2.97bn

The size of a Precautionary and Liquidity Line the IMF has approved for Morocco to protect against external economic shocks. More: Reuters

The Global Perspective

Siemens has announced plans to invest an additional $569m in Africa in projects including infrastructure and education, CEO Joe Kaeser said on Tuesday during an EU-Africa forum taking place in Vienna. No details of when or where the money will be spent were provided. More: Reuters

The U.S. is reportedly providing Somalia with $420m in humanitarian assistance, part of an investment package valued at up to $900m, weeks after re-establishing a permanent diplomatic presence in the country after a 28-year hiatus. This comes amid efforts by Washington to counter Chinese influence on the continent. More: Africanews

The Daily Follow

@AUTradeIndustry: The African Union’s Department of Trade and Industry