Editor’s Note: January 21, 2019

Austerity is starting to bite in Africa

the Tunisian General Labour Union has called for more strikes in February following a nationwide walkout by up to 670,000 public servants last week over unpopular economic reform and rising inequality.

This is part of widespread anger about an austerity drive, which has seen the government struggle to balance IMF-backed cuts with social and development funding needs.

A growing number of African countries are walking this tightrope

The likes of Gabon, Zambia, Kenya, and Egypt have introduced austerity measures over the last 12 – 18 months in a bid to stabilize public finances, resulting in strikes and popular opposition.

In some places the balancing act is proving to be impossible. 

Up to 12 people have reportedly been killed in a crackdown on last week’s anti-austerity protests in Zimbabwe, after the government more than doubled fuel prices amid an acute economic crisis. In Sudan longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir is facing unprecedented public pressure to step down amid deadly protests triggered by economic austerity.

With countries flocking back to the IMF and monetary policy normalization bringing an end to cheap money, odds are there is more to come.

The dynamics fuelling discontent in places like Tunisia – rising or unsustainable debt, insufficient domestic revenue mobilization, and existing economic hardship – apply to much of the continent.

From The Continent

Democratic Republic of Congo’s constitutional court on Sunday upheld the results of the country’s contentious presidential election, confirming Felix Tshisekedi as the winner. This comes despite ongoing doubts about the credibility of the vote, including an appeal from the African Union to suspend the release of final results. More: Al Jazeera

Egyptian telecommunications group Orascom Investment Holding has signed a $170m loan agreement with the African Export-Import Bank to fund an expansion drive on the continent. This comes amid effort by Cairo to promote more investment into sub-Saharan Africa. More: Vanguard

The Daily Stat


The amount Nigeria’s national oil company is hoping to raise to help boost output. More:Bloomberg

The Global Perspective

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has announced plans to expand into Africa, joining the likes of Huawei and Transsion. Chinese companies dominate the continent’s handset market. More: Global Times

Israel and Chad have formally renewed diplomatic ties during a visit by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, part of a wider effort to build commercial and diplomatic ties with the continent. In 2016 Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister to visit an African country in three decades. More: BBC

The Daily Follow