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African press review 11 June 2016


Nigeria's financial and security woes deepen. Uganda plans to withdraw troops involved in tracking Lord's Resistance Army rebels in the Central African Republic by the end of this year. And opposition parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo form an alliance to ensure that DRC President Joseph Kabila quits when his term expires in December.


BusinessDay in South Africa reports that other international companies may follow the example of United Airlines and Iberia and halt operations in Nigeria or cut flights. This as they struggle to move revenue out of the country because the oil-price slump has depleted the African nation’s foreign exchange reserves.

Iberia suspended its route to Nigeria on May 12, followed by United, which said it would end flights from the US to Nigeria at the end of June because of a lack of demand and trouble collecting payments. British Airways and Emirates have said they are facing difficulties obtaining outstanding fares.

Nigeria is on the verge of a recession, oil production has fallen to a three-decade low, and the budget deficit has swollen to a record. The economy contracted for the first time since 2004 in the first quarter of this year, and foreign-currency reserves have slipped to less than 25 billion euros, the lowest in more than a decade.

President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to devalue the naira, despite a huge and widening gap between the official and black market value of the local currency.

In Nigeria itself, the Guardian reports that the Niger Delta Avengers militant group say they want to sell crude oil directly, urging current customers not to buy crude oil from Nigeria in the future. The Avengers say the Delta region producing the oil is being neglected by central government.

Delta militants have blown up three crude oil piplines in the past two days and have refused an offer of peace talks from the government.

Regional paper the East African reports that Uganda plans to withdraw troops involved in tracking Lord's Resistance Army rebels in the Central African Republic by the end of this year.

Uganda has 2,500 troops committed to hunting the rebels and their leader Joseph Kony. Most of the soldiers are in the CAR, though there is a small contingent in South Sudan.

An army spokesman said the withdrawal did not mean Uganda was ending operations against the LRA. He said Uganda had been discouraged by insufficient international support for the mission.

The African Union has asked Uganda to continue the mission in the CAR.

At least 30 people, including serving soldiers and an opposition MP, have been detained on suspicion of plotting to overthrow Uganda's government. This is also on the front page of the East African.

Members of the group are suspected of planning an armed uprising against President Yoweri Museveni.

The only detainee named by the army is Michael Kabaziguruka, an MP from the main opposition Forum for Democratic Change party whose leader Kizza Besigye is in custody facing treason charges.

Opposition parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday said they had forged an alliance to ensure that DRC President Joseph Kabila quits when his term expires in December.

After a two-day meeting in Belgium, the participants said their goal was to realise the struggle of the Congolese people for change and a state of law.

They also issued a warning to Kabila, in power since 2001 and who is widely believed to want a third term, not to contravene the constitution which allows only two consecutive mandates.

The main story in the Cairo-based Egypt Independent reminds us that Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was sworn in as the sixth president of Egypt on June 8, 2014   two years ago this week. As Sisi hits the half-way point in his first term, supporters and critics are debating his performance, measuring his various achievements   and failures   against the range of promises he made while campaigning.

The former army chief of staff emphasized large-scale infrastructure and industrial developments that would facilitate economic growth. He highlighted measures to boost the tourism industry, a cornerstone of the Egyptian economy.

He also promised an overhaul of the health system, and proposed numerous improvements of a social and political nature. He said he would maintain good relations with the Gulf and the West, and secure much-needed sources of funding.

Sisi's supporters say that there have been many successes in the past two years. They counsel patience, suggesting that many pledges that are not yet fulfilled will eventually come to fruition.

According to Sisi's detractors, however, few of his many pledges have been kept. In some cases, they argue, the projects did not have the desired effect and were abandoned. In other cases, they remain incomplete or have not even begun.

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