Press Review CW 22/2024: Expansion of influence
Press Review 24 May 2024 to 31 May 2024

Military government in Burkina Faso expected to remain in office until 2029

The military junta in Burkina Faso adopted a new charter on Saturday that extends the transition process by a further five years. The decision was made as part of the National Dialogue, which was originally scheduled to run from Saturday to Sunday and was attended by representatives of civil society, the defence and security forces and members of the National Transitional Assembly, among others. The majority of the traditional political parties, however, boycotted the consultations. The new charter sets the duration of the transition at 60 months from 2 July 2024 and changes the status of Ibrahim Traoré from transitional president to president, explained Colonel Moussa Diallo, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the National Dialogue on Saturday. The new charter also allows Traoré to subsequently run in the presidential, parliamentary and local elections. The adoption of the new charter, which junta leader Traoré signed on Saturday, and the associated extension of the transition process was justified by considerable security concerns in the country. Originally, elections and the transition to a civilian government were planned for July 2024. However, the new charter leaves open the possibility of organising elections before the 60-month deadline if the security situation allows.

Other changes to the new charter include the abolition of the quota system for the Transitional National Legislative Assembly. Previously, this regulated how many deputies from each party were represented in the National Assembly. In future, however, only twelve of the total of 71 seats will be allocated to political parties, without any specific allocation to a particular parliamentary group. From now on, the decisive selection criterion for a seat in the assembly or government will be patriotism. The charter also creates a new body, the Korag, which is to monitor and control the implementation of the country’s strategic vision in all areas and by all means. The composition and working methods of the body are at the discretion of the president.

The new charter and the extension of the transition process have been criticised by the civilian population, among others. Yoporeka Somet, national secretary of the Servir et non se servir movement, explained that the adoption of the charter under the guise of security concerns shows that the military government is determined to prolong the transfer of power without, however, taking stock of the transition process to date. The journalist and former chairman of the electoral commission, Newton Ahmed Barry, also shares this assessment. According to Barry, the fact that the new charter was adopted after just one day of the original two-day national dialogue underlines the fact that the focus of the consultations was on enforcing the new charter and not on openly discussing the future of the country.

The military junta led by Ibrahim Traoré seized power in September 2022 and replaced the military regime of Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba just eight months after it had supported the elected President Marc Christian Roch Kaboré (press review CW 4/2022) (press review CW 43/2022). The coups were justified by the eroding security situation in the country and the constantly growing jihadist threat. Even after Traoré took power, violence in the country has continued to rise. In recent years, two million people are said to have been displaced and more than 20,000 people killed, 8,000 of them last year alone. According to estimates, the junta only controls around half of the country’s territory, although the military government regularly reports military successes against jihadist groups.


Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB)

The 59th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) ends today. The five-day meeting, which was attended by Kenya’s President William Ruto and Rwandan President Paul Kagame as well as the heads of state and government of the Republic of Congo, Libya, Somalia and Zimbabwe, took place in Kenya’s capital Nairobi under this year’s motto ‘Africa’s Transformation, African Development Bank Group, and Reform of the Global Financial Architecture’. In total, over 5,000 delegates attended the hybrid meeting, which was also the 50th meeting of the African Development Fund (ADF). True to the motto, the focus was on issues relating to the transformation of the continent and the reform of global financial structures.

On Thursday, the President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, unveiled a five-point programme to attract more private sector investment to accelerate the economic transformation of the African continent. The five-point plan includes (1) better preparation of bankable projects, (2) risk mitigation for investors in the form of an independent Guarantee Platform for Africa (GPA), (3) an independent African rating agency to assess the creditworthiness of African countries, (4) strengthening the African Investment Forum and (5) expanding investment in the private sector. For the latter, the AfDB’s non-governmental financing is to be tripled to USD 7.5 billion annually over the next ten years. In their speeches, Ruto and Kagame also emphasised the importance of an independent African rating agency – this would be an important step towards reforming the international financial architecture shaped by the Global North. In particular, the perceived high risk in African countries is one of the main problems for hesitant investments on the African continent; the current credit ratings would increase the inequality and indebtedness of many African countries.

In addition to the African Economic Outlook 2024, AfDB CEO Dr Adesina also presented the new 10-year strategy for 2024-2033 during the annual conference. The five major goals of the strategy include promoting universal access to affordable energy, ensuring food security, promoting industrialisation, expanding regional value chains and generally improving the quality of life and, in particular, implementing higher living standards for women and young people. Overall, the AfDB’s financing capacity will increase by USD 70 billion.

In addition, the UK Minister of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Andrew Mitchell, pledged a £15 million programme under the Horn of Africa Initiative launched by the AfDB five years ago to ensure stability on the borders of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Germany, which has been involved in the initiative since last year, also stated that it would continue to support the initiative with a multi-donor trust fund totalling 10 million euros. In addition, the AfDB and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their joint commitment to developing skills to improve the employability of young people in Africa. This is the first joint declaration of intent between the AfDB and GIZ in the education sector. The cooperation under the Build4Skills initiative provides for young people to be trained for six to twelve months as part of AfDB-funded infrastructure projects in the areas of agriculture, water and transport. From the African side, investments from Kenya in particular have been promised. Kenya’s president announced his intention to spend 100 million US dollars over the next three years to increase his participation in the AfDB and the two other African financial organisations, the Afrimexbank and the Trade Development Bank. In addition, he pledged a further 20 million US dollars for the Africa Development Fund, the AfDB’s concession window, which is primarily dedicated to lending to fragile countries. The AfDB thus appears to be on track to build on its excellent results from the previous year, which included a 123% increase in its income from loans and treasury investments compared to 2022 to USD 1.73 billion (press review CW 21/2023).


Update on the elections in South Africa

Polling stations opened in South Africa on Wednesday morning. Around 28 million voters had registered to participate in the national and provincial elections. According to the South African Electoral Commission, the actual voter turnout was 58.62%. After counting around 66% of the votes, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), is clearly in the lead with 41.84%. Yet, it would lose its majority in parliament, which it has held since 1994. The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), is currently (31 May 2024, 14:50hrs) in second place with 22.64%, followed by the newly founded uMkhonto WeSizwe (MK) party around former President Jacob Zuma with 12% and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party with 9.51%. The official election results are expected to be announced on Sunday. We will discuss the results and their implications together with the GIGA Institute and our South African experts at the hybrid event “South African Perspectives: The Domestic and International Implications of South Africa’s 2024 Elections” next Thursday, 6 June 2024, at 16:30. Further information on the event and registration can be found here.



in other News

Egyptian football club Al Ahly Cairo won the African Champions League again last Saturday. Al Ahly beat Esperance Tunis 1-0 in the second leg of the final, after the first leg in Tunisia had ended in a goalless draw. The decisive goal of the match came after just four minutes from an own goal by Togolese midfielder Roger Aholou of Esperance. For the record winners Al Ahly, this is their twelfth success at the tournament, which has been held on an annual basis since 1964. By reaching the final, both teams automatically qualify for the new FIFA Club World Cup, which will be held in the USA for the first time in 2025. Here, the 32 best teams from the six continental football associations AFC, OFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and UEFA will compete against each other.

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