News from Africa

Zambia 1-25-2023 IMF will stand by the country

U.S.-based IMF will continue to support Zambia and its efforts to meet its challenges. Kristalina Georgieva, the head of the IMF, visited Zambia. She met with the country’s high-ranking officials. It is believed that the purpose of the visit was to show support for the country while it struggles with economic problems. Ms. Georgieva spoke at a town hall meeting at the University of Zambia. After speaking, she fielded questions from the audience. Most of the questions asked dealt with the everyday mundane operations of the IMF. However, some attendees questioned the terms of the 2021 bailout loan that was extended to Zambia. Their questions attacked the terms bailout agreement. They argued that the terms were too restrictive and stunted the country’s economic growth. IMF Director Georgieva pushed back. She assured the audience that the IMF was just as concerned with the country’s economic growth as it was with its ability to meet its financing challenges. As with most loans to third-world nations, the debtor nations often seek to negotiate the terms of the loans. It is easy to spend money but politically difficult to cut costs.     

Kenya 1-23-2023 Odinga refuses to accept election results

The country has witnessed civil arrest during post-election times. The conflict began after one party won a close election. The results would be certified by the country’s electoral commission. Then the opposition would attack the election results. Claims of fraud and vote buying would be raised. Passions would run high, and violence would erupt. William Ruto won the most recent presidential election. Raila Odinga, Ruto’s opponent, refused to accept the election results then and still refuses to accept them now. The election authority members were split on certifying the results. The dissenters accused the members who voted to certify the elections of giving Ruto a gift. Consequently, Odinga’s claim might not be “far-fetched.” Where Kenya goes from her is not clear. It is doubtful that Ruto will be removed from office or that new elections will be called.

Burkina Faso, 1-23-2023, military government demands French troop withdrawal

In a national broadcast, the military junta announced its decision to request that French troops withdraw from the country. The news release did not indicate why the request had been made. The actual decision to expel the troops was made a few days ago. Five months ago the French ceased their operations in Mali and withdrew its troops. This withdrawal came on the heels of a military coup. French troops had fought against Islamic jihadists for 9 years in Mali.  Last year the second military coup took place in Burkina Faso. At that time demonstrators took to the streets to demand that the French troops be expelled. It appears that the government will follow Mali’s action and invite the Russian mercenary group, Wagner, to help quell the insurgency. France has one month to remove its troops from the country.