East and Horn of Africa

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Horn & East

Retail: Foreign and local chains grab a piece of the Kenyan market

Photos©Simon Maina/AFP

Local firms are innovating and offering new products, but they are not all prepared for the competition from large retailers from the continent and beyond

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Rwanda: Karenzi in court

Photos©Denyse Uwera/Ap/Sipa

The arrest of the spy chief in London has stirred up a diplomatic storm

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Country Profile 2014: UGANDA

Flag Uganda Museveni’s Chinese lifeline

A mid a new round of economic uncertainties, China’s willingness to take on more of the risks associated with Uganda’s resource management ambitions looks set to boost President Yoweri Museveni’s domestic and regional standing for a while longer. With the next general elections two years away, the government can be expected to design some of its political messages around China’s new commitment to fast-track the kind of major projects that promise business opportunities for Ugandans.

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Country Profile 2014: TANZANIA

alt The CCM’s crisis of confidence

As the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) approaches what will be Tanzania’s most competitive general elections to date in 2015, several divisive issues are looming. At the top of the list is the future relationship between the mainland and Zanzibar, followed closely by concerns over the government’s ability to manage the imminent boom in natural gas projects at a time of widespread economic hard ship and rising unemployment. The authorities’ apparent disdain for press freedoms and other rights has contributed to a growing crisis of trust.

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Country Profile 2014: SOUTH SUDAN

alt The after-pains of a violent birth

After two years of nationhood, the world’s youngest country is still experiencing domestic political instability, ethnic conflict and acute economic uncertainty. President Salva Kiir’s decision in July to dissolve his cabinet and dismiss his vice-president of eight years, Riek Machar, plunged the country into a fresh political crisis, which could undermine the latest attempts to attract much-needed private investment.

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Country Profile 2014: SOMALIA

alt Only inching towards stability

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s government survived its dangerous first year in office as Somalia’s first internationally-recognised administration in 22 years. But fully fledged legitimacy is still some way off. The new Somalia certainly offers possibilities–across the board of society, economics and governance – but Mohamud will need to show a strong hand if those possibilities are not to vanish once again.


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Country Profile 2014: SEYCHELLES

Flag SeychellesPlenty of sunshine in the forecast

Coming out of the global financial crisis in much better shape than it went in makes the Seychelles an interesting case study, not least for the millionaires and billionaires who have been buying up the available land to build new homes on these legendary paradise islands. For the few days a year they choose to spend here they can feel very safely isolated.


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Country Profile 2014: RWANDA

Flag Rwanda The moral high ground starts to shrink

In April 2014, Rwanda commemorates the passage of 20 years since the start of the 1994 genocide that killed more than 700,000 people in just 100 days. In the face of routine displays of loyalty to the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) and President Paul Kagame, only very few brave activists will be using the anniversary to press the case for opening up of the political space. The real opponents remain in exile.

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Country Profile 2014: KENYA

The trials of being in government

The year 2013 was Kenya’s jubilee year. The country marked its 50th anniversary of independence in part by inaugurating an eponymously named party, at the head of which sits the son of the republic’s founding father. But as ageing members of the traditional Kilume dance troupes watched President Uhuru Kenyatta preside over an event that in many ways memorialised the days when they performed before President Jomo Kenyatta, few who witnessed the fall of the Union Jack and the rise of the Kenya flag at Uhuru Gardens could remember a time when the country was more in turmoil.

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Country Profile 2014: ETHIOPIA

A few small signs of change

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has survived his first year in office following his appointment in September 2012 up on the death of long-time ruler Meles Zenawi. This is no small feat for a southerner and a Protestant in a country in which politics has traditionally been dominated by northern Orthodox Christians. It has been hard to perceive areas of difference between Hailemariam and the blueprint laid down by Meles, especially as his government has chosen to stay strongly committed to his predecessors’ comprehensive five- year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).

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Country Profile 2014: ERITREA

Powerful incentives to flee

Aworsening economic situation and the prospect of indefinite military conscription continue to fuel Eritrea’s massive human exodus. The flight of citizens into the Middle East, Israel and Europe is not deterred by Asmara’s harsh ‘shoot to kill’ border policy, by the perils of kidnapping in Sudan or by the equally high risk of meeting a watery end in the Mediterranean.

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Country Profile 2014: DJIBOUTI

Irresistible strategic pull

Djibouti is capitalising on its geography, at the strategic pinch point in the Red Sea, controlling vital shipping lanes and facing politically turbulent Yemen. Foreign sponsors perhaps turn a blind eye to the more egregious behaviour of the regime because of the strong support President Ismail Omar Guelleh provides for Western security operations.

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Country Profile 2014: COMOROS

Familiar quarrels in the archipelago

A reduction in debt servicing, combined with increased donor support and sustained investment from Gulf states in strategic sectors like agribusiness, fisheries, transport and tourism, are perking up the islands’ growth forecasts. GDP is set to grow at 3.5% in 2013, up from 2.7% in 2012, and could reach 3.8% in 2014.

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Country Profile 2014: BURUNDI

Nkurunziza wants another chance

All of Burundi’s political actors are looking ahead to national elections in 2015. Talks organised by the United Nations in March 2013 brought together the ruling Conseil National Pour la Défense de la Démocratie-Forces de Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD) and the opposition, and led to the creation of a roadmap for credible elections. More meetings will follow to set the timetable and decide which bodies will be authorised to handle election disputes. The opposition with drew from the 2010 polls citing mismanagement.

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