Editor’s Note: June 10, 2019

Africa is fertile ground for discontent

Liberia’s government has been given a one month ‘grace period’ to meet opposition demands for reforms. This follows mass protests on Friday about president George Weah’s failure to deliver on promises to tackle graft and boost economic development.

His government is facing corruption allegations, while Inflation has soared since he took office in January 2018. The IMF has slashed the country’s growth forecast for 2019 from 4.7% – 0.4%.

While things have gotten worse under Weah, Liberia’s economic woes are symptomatic of deeper problems. A history of poor governance has resulted in a mix of corruption, mismanagement andinsufficient reform to drive economic development.

Whatever concessions the government makes during its ‘grace period’, meaningful reform will take time. Against the backdrop of rising debt and a gloomy global outlook, cash-strapped Liberia faces an uphill battle.

The country is not alone. Hamstrung by a lack of structural reform, governments across Africa arefailing to create meaningful economic opportunities for their citizens. This is fertile ground for the kind of discontent we’re seeing in Liberia, and elsewhere.

A lack of economic development has already been a key factor in protests in Algeria and Sudan this year, which have toppled their respective longtime rulers.

Liberia is the latest country, but likely not the last, to feel the heat.

From The Continent

South African Airways has said it needs $265m in government support to survive the current financial year, following the surprise resignation of CEO Vuyani Jarana last week.This comes amid mounting concerns about the impact of South Africa’s state-owned enterprises on the economy - especially power utility Eskom. More: Reuters


Ethiopia’s parliament is expected to approve a law covering the planned liberalization of its telecoms sector on Monday, part of a privatization drive under prime minister Abiy Ahmed to boost investment. With a population of more than 100m, Ethiopia is Africa’s last major untapped market for mobile operators. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat

4.8m

The number of ounces of gold Ghana produced in 2018, surpassing South Africa as the continent’s biggest producer. More: Bloomberg

The Global Perspective

The UK’s development finance institution, CDC Group, plans to invest more than $300m into a new company, to be called Gridworks, to fund power projects across Africa. This is part of efforts to boost trade with the continent as the UK prepares to leave the EU, including plans by CDC to invest $4.5bn in Africa in the next four years. More: Financial Times

G-20 finance ministers on Sunday warned that intensified geopolitical and trade tensions present a growing risk to global growth. This comes after the IMF said last week that the US-China trade war could wipe $455bn - or 0.5% - off global GDP in 2020. More: Nikkei Asian Review

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