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African press review 20 October 2016

Why does Malik Obama want his half-brother, the US president, to take a DNA test? Why were the roads in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, so quiet yesterday? How many states does South Sudan really need? And has Nigeria overtaken South Africa as the continent's economic powerhouse?

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Malik Obama is on the front page of the Kenya Daily Nation, wondering if the US president really is his brother.

The older Obama took to the social media forum Twitter to criticise the American leader on personal and political issues in a series of tweets that resembled those of the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to the Nairobi-based paper.

Malik Obama has offered to take a DNA test and challenged half-brother Barack to do the same.

He went on to write that Donald Trump has helped him and the American people more than Obama, without explaining how.

Supporting Trump's assertions that the 8 November elections will be rigged, Malik Obama said that Kenya’s elections were always rigged, warning that America should guard against “votes being stolen”.

Malik Obama has already declared his support for Donald Trump and says he will vote for him.

Kinshasa quiet as strike against Kabila closes shops

The Congolese capital Kinshasa was hit by a strike yesterday in a protest against plans by President Joseph Kabila to stay in power beyond the end of his second term in December.

This is the main story in regional paper the East African.

According to the report, the opposition called for the strike action to protest a deal signed on Tuesday which would keep Kabila in power until April 2018 by postponing this year's elections.

Kabila first took office in 2001 and in 2006 a new constitutional provision limited the presidency to two terms, a limit which expires on 20 December.

The country's main opposition party, the UDPS, called the deal signed between authorities and fringe opposition groups a "flagrant violation" of the constitution and said the strike would show Kabila "the yellow card".

At 9:00am local time yesterday roads in northern parts of Kinshasa   a city of 10 million people   were totally deserted with most shops closed, according to the East African. The situation was, however, normal in the DRC's second city Lubumbashi.

The agreement to allow Kabila to serve into 2018 emerged after the European Union threatened sanctions if the country did not hold elections in the course of 2017.

Salva Kiir to increase number of South Sudanese states

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir will soon issue an order to increase the number of states from the current 28 to an undisclosed number, reports today's Sudan Tribune.

Vice-President James Wani Igga, flanked by the newly appointed First Vice-President, Taban Deng Gai, said the presidency has agreed to increase the number of states but will start with the issue of Malakal and Lol state as the first priority.

Malakal is a contested capital between West Nile and East Nile states, but which was given to the East Nile by the presidential decree in October last year. Lol is another controversial state in Bahr el Ghazal region.

The two regions have seen protests from communities who claim either separation from fellow communities or to have been annexed to groups with whom they feel they have nothing in common.

Nigerian economy outshines South African competition

BusinessDay in South Africa reports that Nigeria may be on the way to regaining its position as the biggest economy in Africa. The World Economic Outlook for October 2016, just published by the International Monetary Fund, estimates Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product at 440 billion euros, ahead of South Africa where GDP is likely to be about 300 billion euros for the current year.

Egypt well on way to securing major IMF loan

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail says the country has mustered 60 percent of the six billion dollars required to secure a 12-billion-dollar International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

The IMF in August agreed in principle to grant Egypt the three-year loan facility to back a government reform programme aimed at plugging a budget gap and rebalancing currency markets. Egypt needs to secure six billion dollars in bilateral support before the deal goes to the IMF board for approval.

The United States views the International Monetary Fund's proposed 12-billion-dollar bailout for Egypt as "essential" and is working with other G7 economic powers to ensure bilateral financing, according to the Cairo-based Egypt Independent.

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