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African press review 8 November 2017

Does Kenya need an interim government to save the country from anarchy? Why are oil exploration companies investing less in Africa? What do the governments of Angola, Gabon and Nigeria have in common? And is Grace Mugabe going to be Zimbabwe's vice president?


Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga is now calling for the formation of an interim government to rule the country for six months as he holds talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta to save it from anarchy, the Nairobi-based Standard reports.

Raila says it will be nearly impossible for Uhuru to govern a country in which almost half the people feel left out and short-changed following the presidential election whose result he disputes. The opposition leader says only an interim government can give Kenyans the space and time needed for an open dialogue about the electoral stand off.

Raila warned that if Uhuru Kenyatta is sworn in, it will be a beginning of another political impasse, even if the Supreme Court declares him elected. The official swearing-in has been postponed for two weeks as the court considers its position.

All is not well in African oil and gas sector

There are major problems for Africa's oil and gas industries, reports regional paper the East African.

According to the report, regulatory uncertainties, corruption, high taxation, foreign currency volatility and low crude prices on the international market are making it difficult for companies and investors to operate in the continent’s oil and gas sector.

Few international companies are willing to commit resources to exploration activities while those already involved are cutting down on their capital expenditure. In east Africa, for example, capital spending by exploration companies has declined from five billion euros in 2013 to less than three billion in 2015.

This explains why there were only three major African oil and gas discoveries in 2016 and the first half of 2017, down from 11 in 2015. In the same period, there were a total of 174 new wells discovered globally.

Public debt eats up development money

And that's not the end of the financial bad news for Africa.

A separate story in the East African says runaway public debt is expected to continue casting a shadow on sub-Saharan economic growth as most countries redirect dwindling revenue to debt servicing instead of development.

Despite economic growth in the region being on the rebound, driven by rising commodity prices and improved food security, a significant increase in public debt in recent years remains a threat to sustainable growth.

In its latest Regional Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund observes that the average level of public sector debt in sub-Saharan Africa rose from about 34 percent of gross domestic product in 2013 to 48 percent in 2016 and is expected to exceed 50 percent this year.

Angola, Gabon and Nigeria are already spending more than 60 percent of government revenues to pay the interest on existing debts.

Grace Mugabe in line for vice-presidency

Zimbabwe's First Lady, Grace Mugabe, has emerged as the front runner to replace the sacked Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice-president.

Mnangagwa was accused by Grace Mugabe of plotting against her husband before he was shown the door by Robert Mugabe earlier this week.

The expulsion has seen structures of the ruling Zanu-PF rushing to endorse the president’s 52-year-old wife to be one of the two vice-presidents.

Zanu-PF youth members said they were backing a review of the party’s constitution during a congress set for next month to ensure that one of the vice-presidential posts is reserved for a woman.

Rwandan opposition figure to remain in detention

Rwandan government critic Diane Shima Rwigara and her mother are to remain in detention. This follows the collapse of yesterday's scheduled appeal hearing at the High Court in Kigali.

The disqualified presidential aspirant and her mother Adeline Rwigara, were hoping to have a court ruling denying them bail overturned. They had been remanded for at least 30 days before the trial in which they are charged with public insurrection begins.

Diane is also accused of forging signatures.

The three-judge bench adjourned the appeal hearing to Thursday 16 November after Diane’s lawyer, Celestine Buhuru, and her mother failed to show up.

Buhuru was reported to have excused himself to attend to another trial.

Adeline Rwigara was said to have written to the court saying she had fallen ill and could not attend the hearing.

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