Following disputed and tainted elections, Zimbabwe’s massive debt burden and its severe foreign exchange and monetary crisis remain the major obstacles to unlocking substantive flows of private and foreign government finance, despite moderate flows of renewed UK support.
Despite localised outbreaks of fatal unrest and allegations of voting irregularities and intimidation, President Mnangagwa and his governing ZANU-PF party have secured an internationally-recognised mandate and the fall-out over the elections process is expected to calm over the next few weeks.
Following the defections of influential lawmakers and governors to the opposition, President Buhari is likely to ramp up corruption prosecutions to strengthen his anti-graft image, yet he faces political turf wars and may be running out of time ahead of party primaries and next year’s elections.
Broad resistance to a fuel price hike has triggered protests and strike action across sectors in the past few weeks; the politicisation of the dispute will raise the risk of localised and sporadic outbreaks of violence.
The government has announced a new anti-graft initiative in response to high-profile corruption scandals, yet it is unlikely to be effective as late payments increasingly impact state contractors and expand non-performing loans in the banking sector.
An ongoing consumer boycott of water, dairy, and fuel products is likely to force authorities to introduce subsidies and price controls to avoid broader unrest, as agitation flares internationally over the Western Sahara dispute.
Despite a booming economy, the Egyptian government remains concerned that a looming inflation surge and the socio-economic impact of its IMF-endorsed austerity programme will trigger fresh unrest.
Last weekend’s attack on a political mass rally underlines the resistance to the new government’s liberalizing economic reforms and its diplomatic outreach to old foe Eritrea that imperil Ethiopia’s entrenched security establishment and established patronage structures.
A cash injection by Ethiopia’s Gulf allies will ease immediate hard currency shortages, yet there remain longer term concerns over lack of currency reform and a reluctance to extend privatisations to the banking sector.
In a raft of new legislation and directives, the government further curtails internet freedoms and extends control over revenues from the mining and telecoms sectors, while threatening to encroach its nationalist policies into the banking sector.
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