Editor’s Note: March 19, 2019
A new ‘scramble for Africa’?
Last week French president Emmanuel Macron pledged $2.8bn of investment into African startups and SMEs by 2022. The announcement came during his first tour of East Africa, part of an effort by Paris to boost its engagement, and trade, with the continent.
The pledge is part of what The Economist has dubbed ‘the new scramble for Africa’, a reference to Europe’s 19 century colonial carve-up of the continent.
From Beijing and Washington, to the capitals of Europe, and new suitors in the Middle East and Asia, Africa once again finds itself the subject of geopolitical and economic interests. The lure is the continent’s status as the world’s last frontier for business and development.
If this is a new ‘scramble for Africa’ it should be welcome.
While media headlines periodically warn about nefarious motives – especially from China and Russia – there is much oversimplification.
Africa’s external relations have never been more diverse, or competitive. Dealmaking – not aid or colonial domination – is the rule of the day.
This spans the spectrum, from traditional donors like Japan and the EU, to new entrants like the Gulf States.
African countries need to be vigilant to protect their interests. But this should go without saying, and the trend is entirely consistent with the globalized world of the 21st century.
From The Continent
Tanzania has ordered its mineral-producing regions to set up government-controlled trading centred by the end of June, part f efforts to curb illegal exports of gold and other minerals. The move is part of a broader regulatory crackdown on the industry under the country’s president John Magufuli. More: Reuters
Uganda’s ruling party has adopted a resolution backing president Yoweri Museveni, 74, to run for another term in 2021 elections. The move could extend his time in office to 40 years, and follows the adoption of a constitutional amendment removing an age limit of 75 for presidential office. More: Africanews
The Daily Stat
The number of people globally living in places affected by water scarcity according to the UN.More: UN Water
The Global Perspective
Russian state-controlled diamond miner Alrosa has said it wants a controlling stake in projects before it starts mining in Zimbabwe, having announced plans to start operations in the country in January. This comes after the government announced that it is scrapping local content rules barring majority foreign ownership in platinum mines - a move that could be extended to diamonds. More: Reuters
The Vatican has restarted plans for Pope Francis to visit South Sudan, having cancelled a 207 trip due to civil war in the country. It is hoped the potential trip can help consolidate a fragile peace deal ending the five-year conflict, signed last October. More: Reuters