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Africa: What to expect in December

By The Africa Report
Posted on Friday, 10 December 2021 17:02

A supporter of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) holds a placard during the protest. Supporters of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) protest against the Gambia's presidential election results, which have been rejected by their candidate Ousainou Darboe. Incumbent Adama Barrow was returned for a second term with a resounding win. - Sally Hayden / SOPA

In December on the continent, Libya is preparing to hold elections, Kenya's geothermal plant is making boosting the country's green growth, and the G20's Covid-19 Debt Service Suspension Initiative ends.

Libya: Election uncertainty

Libya is to hold national elections on 24 December and turn a page on the conflict that has raged since the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Eastern rebel leader Khalifa Haftar could still play the role of spoiler, an estimated 20,000 mercenaries are still in the country and the Libya conflict is a theatre for the geopolitical competition between global powers including Russia, Turkey and their allies.

The Libyan government in Tripoli and its Western government supporters have expressed doubts about the election timetable. United Nations special envoy Ján Kubiš issued a stark warning in September, saying that “aborting the drive for elections will for many be a signal that violence is the only path to power in the country.” He added: “Libya is at a crossroads where positive or negative outcomes are equally possible.”

To date, six individuals – out of more than 30 candidates – stand out in the presidential race:

  1. Haftar Gaddafi’s son Said al-Islam Gaddafi;
  2. Aref Ali Nayed, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates;
  3. Fathi Bashagha, a former interior minister in the Government of National Accord;
  4. Khalifa Haftar;
  5. Abdulhamid Dabaiba;
  6. Béchir Saleh, Gaddafi’s former chief of staff.

Some preparations for the vote were moved ahead, with 2.9 million voters registered as of early September.

Green energy

By December, an additional six units at Kenya’s Olkaria geothermal plant are due to come online and boost the country’s green growth. The Olkaria I development will add 83MW to raise total capacity of the plant to 273.7MW.

AMISOM

The African Union Mission to Somali (AMISOM), with its nearly 20,000 troops from African countries, is due to expire in December.

The AU’s acting director of conflict management, Fiona Lortan, said in August: “We know there is still a need for some sort of security presence from the AU to assist the Somalia government in the next few years while it builds up its forces.”

Integration: Making progress

  • Ghana and South Africa have agreed on a visa-free arrangement from December 2021, which aims to boost trade and bilateral relations;
  • Kenya and Tanzania have set a deadline of December to remove trade barriers between their two countries.

Debt: Distressing deadline

The G20’s Covid-19 Debt Service Suspension Initiative ends in December. Critics say it did not go far enough and does not involve all creditors.

How DSSI benefits low-income African countries

“The Pan-African Payment and Settlement System has already been built. We are piloting the system in the West African Monetary Zone,” said Denys Denya, Afreximbank’s executive vice-president for finance, administration and banking services, who is excited about rolling out a continental programme to facilitate payments as soon as results from the West African pilot prove positive.

Gambia: Barrow’s bedfellow

On 5 December, Gambia’s President Adama Barrow was officially re-elected to a second term. This news was greeted in the streets of Banjul by tens of thousands of supporters, but disputed by his opponents.

This article first appeared in The Africa Report’s print magazine.

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