Author: Anne Frühauf
Power utility Eskom’s “level 4” load-shedding on 2-3 September confirms pervious warnings about the record level of load-shedding that is threatening South Africa’s post-Covid-19 recovery. At the same time, ballooning debt problems will intensify pressure on the government to find a financial solution for bailout-guzzling Eskom, but it is still doubtful whether the government can achieve any significant progress by the time of the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in October.… Read the rest
- President Cyril Ramaphosa won a preliminary battle at the ruling ANC’s 28-30 August special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, which had to fall in line around his anti-corruption message.
- But this is a long way from winning the war, not least as the promised corruption crackdown is reigniting factional fighting between the Ramaphosa faction and its opponents.
- The regional authorities’ insistence on carrying out elections for Tigray’s State Council on 9 September risks a volatile standoff between the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and the federal government.
- It will be almost impossible for the federal government to accept Tigray’s move, triggering another domestic crisis that will test Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration shortly after mass protests shook his Oromia home base.
- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s 18 August cabinet reshuffle may further fuel tensions in his Oromia home region, with potential implications for stability and the elections (postponed until 2021).
- Domestic tensions may also complicate Abiy’s ability to compromise with Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), over which a fresh round of negotiations is under way.
- Protests have escalated rapidly in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region following the killing of a popular Oromo singer late on 29 June.
- The latest violence threatens Ethiopia’s fragile political transition and clouds the outlook for the national elections (now postponed until 2021).
- To date, 22 sub-Saharan African countries have signed up for the G20 debt suspension initiative.
- A notable exception among eligible countries is Kenya, highlighting the sovereign’s alarm over potential credit rating downgrades and damage to market reputation.
An improvement in daily new Covid-19 cases and falling deaths for two consecutive weeks are expected to allow the government to ease lockdown restrictions to “Level 2.” President Cyril Ramaphosa could make an announcement to this effect as early as Thursday, 13 August, as the government scrambles to boost the economy.… Read the rest