Editor’s Note: January 14, 2019

Time is running out for the ‘new’ Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has called for a nationwide strike after president Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Saturday that his government was more than doubling fuel prices overnight.

The move comes amid a critical foreign currency shortage that has brought Zimbabwe’s already struggling economy to its knees since Mnangagwa won last July’s first post-Mugabe elections.

The looming standoff with the country’s unions reflects growing impatience with his promise of a ‘new’ Zimbabwe and an economic revival after years of mismanagement under Mugabe. Instead he is presiding over Zimbabwe’s worst crisis in a decade, with reserves currently covering less than two weeks of imports.

In a bid to reassure citizens finance minister Mthuli Ncube has pledged currency reform and announced plans to re-introduce a local currency – the old one having been abandoned in 2009 due to hyperinflation.

“We are on our way already, give us months, not years,” he said.

His comment underlines both the difficulty of undoing years of chaos under Robert Mugabe – which has certainly not helped – but also shows an appreciation for the need to provide evidence of meaningful economic progress.

More than a year since Mugabe was ousted patience on the latter is wearing thin. Time is running out for Mnangagwa’s ‘new’ Zimbabwe.

From The Continent

The Southern African Development community has said Democratic Republic of Congo should recount the votes of its disputed presidential election and form a unity government.This comes amid growing speculation that last week’s result, which saw opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi declared the winner, was the product of a backroom deal with outgoing president Joseph Kabila. More: Al Jazeera

South Africa’s ruling party has spoken out in favour of broadening the role of the central bank to include development issues like employment and economic growth. The move is a bid to win votes from the radical left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters opposition party ahead of elections in May, but could undermine already precarious investor confidence in economic policy direction. More: Reuters

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Kenya’s expected budget deficit for the 2019/20 fiscal year, down from 6.3% in 2018/19. More: The Standard

The Global Perspective

Indian mobile operator Bharti Airtel has agreed to increase the Tanzanian government’s stake in Airtel Tanzania from 40% to 49%. This comes after claims by president John Magufuli that the state had been cheated out of shares in the company. More: Reuters

Qatar has announced plans for a $20m fund to evacuate African migrants in Libya back to their home countries. The fund will be under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and was announced during a visit to Doha by AU commission Chair Moussa Faki on Sunday. More:Xinhua

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