Country Files Central

Fri,24Oct2014

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Country Profile 2014: SÃO TOMÉ E PRÍNCIPE

The boom that never was

While developments in the oil industry breed pessimism about the country’s economic prospects, instability remains a constant in the country’s political sphere. Prime minister Patrice Trovoada’s minority government collapsed after a vote of no confidence in November 2012 and Gabriel Costa took over in December. The new government lacks time and money to make its mark before legislative and local elections planned for 2014.

 

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Country Profile 2014: REPUBLIC OF CONGO (Brazzaville)

Sassou Nguesso targets 2016

As Congo enters 2014, the outlook for the country has an air of déjà vu familiarity: brushing aside opposition complaints, President Denis Sassou Nguesso is laying the groundwork for a further term of office. Against encouraging developments in the oil sector, Sassou Nguesso and his Parti Congolais du Travail (PCT) mostly ignore viewpoints that they do not share. In September, senators rejected the public prosecutor’s call for PCT senator André Ikongo-Logan to be deprived of his parliamentary immunity so that he could be brought before a court on corruption charges.

 

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Country Profile 2014: GABON

The politics of changing mentalities

President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba celebrated four years in office in October 2013. Ahead of the next national elections in 2016 he said that voters should judge him on his results and that his government is still battling the corrupt and inefficient mentalities left by his father’s 42-year rule. While political debates remain sterile, the oil industry awaits new legislation and a new bidding round, and companies are developing several new mining and agricultural projects.

 

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Country Profile 2014: EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Oiling the merry-go-round

Oil accounts for about 75% of the country’s gross domestic product, and as such the economy experiences frequent ups and downs due to changes in production and market prices. In the early 2000s, Equatorial Guinea became sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil producer, enabling the government to develop infrastructure rapidly. Oil also facilitates the longevity of the regime of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who is not set to face another election until 2016.

 

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Country Profile 2014: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Will he stay or will he go?

One of the government’s principal challenges in the year ahead is the stabilisation of the political landscape. President Joseph Kabila failed in his late-2013 attempts to create a consensus about a proposed constitutional change that would allow him to run for another term. The defeat of the Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) rebels in the east in late 2013 was a major victory for the Congolese government and the United Nations (UN) forces.

 

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Country Profile 2014: CHAD

alt Déby’s game to play

The political class is preparing for the country’s first departmental and senatorial elections in 2014, ahead of legislative elections in 2015 and a presidential election in May 2016. Discussions about the electoral commission and other electoral matters will take up a good part of the year as President Idriss Déby Itno and his Mouvement Patriotique du Salut maintain control of the country’s political and military power centres.

 

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Country Profile 2014: CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

alt After the année terrible

The year 2013 brought political upheaval and economic destruction to the Central African Republic (CAR), so 2014 is set to be a year of reconstruction, if the international community brings its support and aid. The Seleka rebel coalition overthrew President François Bozizé in March, and the situation deteriorated into a state of low-level conflict throughout the country despite the presence of peacekeepers from France and several Central African countries. The state’s authority and the private sector’s economic production have both become weakened to the point of barely existing.

 

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Country Profile 2014: CAMEROON

alt Still a country for old men

Going into 2014, not much had changed to weaken President Paul Biya’s hold over Cameroon’s politics. The government created a senate based on the 1996 constitution and held legislative elections that the ruling Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais (RDPC) won easily. The government has pinned its hopes on new infrastructure, mining and oil projects to boost the economy and create jobs, but rights campaigners worry about its treatment of homosexuals and the press.

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Country Profile: CHAD

Flag ChadThe opacity of oil
A tenuous reconciliation with Khartoum means N’Djamena has less to fear from rebels in eastern Chad but President Déby has gained leverage from the threat posed by Al-Qaeda.

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