This week African and European leaders head to Malta to discuss new plans to limit migration while Senegal hosts a summit on the growing security problems in the region. Tomorrow, Nigeria's President Buhari is due to announce his cabinet at last and some massive spending plans as UN officials sound alarms on the worsening crisis in Burundi. And Tanzania's new President, John Magufuli, gets down to work while Nigeria's old President, Goodluck Jonathan, tries to mediate in the row over the annulment of Zanzibar's elections.
EUROPEAN UNION/AFRICA: Valletta summit tries for new
A report by the European Commission that some 3 million
migrants are to arrive in Europe over the next two years – and boost
the region's economic growth in the process – sets the stage for the
Africa/EU summit in Valletta, Malta, on 11-12 November. Migrants are
projected to add 0.2-0.3% to Europe's gross domestic product by 2020,
according to the report.
The figures highlight the contradictions about migration as
delegates try to find ways to reduce it. Highly-skilled migrants from
Africa and the Middle East boost European economies but could weaken
their places of origin. Anti-migration groups are pressuring Europe's
political establishment. Plans for reception centres for migrants
outside the EU, some in North and West Africa, will be set out at the
summit as will new aid deals for African governments which try to
control migration. There is also a plan to cap the transaction costs on
remittances from Europe to Africa at 3%. Most companies charge around
8% in this highly lucrative business.
SENEGAL/WEST AFRICA: President Sall hits out at
Chairing a security summit in Dakar, President Macky
Sall has lambasted militants pushing an 'excessive form
of Islam' and urged mainstream Imams to do
more to promote religious tolerance. The Islamists should not be
allowed to 'impose
another form of religion' which does not correspond to 'our traditions
or our conceptions' of Islam, Sall said. Some Islamist proselytising
was encouraging jihadist groups in the region, he added.
President Sall's statement is particularly significant because
Senegal's powerful Islamic brotherhoods which are adherents to Sufi and
more liberal Islamic traditions. In neighbouring Mali,
Wahhabi groups financed by Saudi Arabia have
taken control of the National Islamic Council and are lobbying for much
stricter religious laws. Over the weekend a group of men accused of
affiliation to the Nigeria-based Boko
Haram jihadist fighters were
arrested in Senegal, following a fresh series of attacks by the group
in southern Chad and northern Cameroon.
NIGERIA: New cabinet to be named after plans to
the budget emerge
President Muhammadu Buhari is set to name the new
11 November following a ministerial retreat in which it emerged that
state spending in 2016 could go up to US$40 billion, almost twice the
size of the 2015 budget. The boost is said to be part of
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo's
plan for massive
investment in agriculture and infrastructure to counter the country's
economic downturn. No details were given about how such spending could
be financed although Nigeria's external debt is still regarded as low
given the size of its economy.
The other main points emerging from the retreat included a
effort to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice and wheat within three
years, that is before the next elections, in 2019. Other spending goals
are said to include the building of a million new houses and a new
north-south highway to unite the country.
BURUNDI: UN to mull intervention as killings risePrince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has called for the most serious
international response to the growing violence in Burundi over
President Pierre Nkurunziza's
a third term after winning controversial elections in July.
The UN Security Council should consider all options to stop
killings, Al Hussein said in New York on 9 November, including asset
freezes and even external intervention. France strongly
backed his calls and over the weekend, Rwanda's
Kagame publicly criticised what he characterised as
Nkurunziza's abdication of responsible leadership.
TANZANIA: President Magufuli gets tough on tax and
officialsFollowing his inauguration, President John Magufuli has
quickly got down to work with new rules banning foreign travel for
officials unless specifically approved and plans for a massive boost to
the government's tax-collecting apparatus. He is also due to set up a
special court to try all corruption-linked offences.
Meanwhile, Nigeria's former President Goodluck Jonathan is
mediate in the bitter political dispute after the annulling of
elections in Zanzibar where the opposition Civic United Front had been
clearly in the lead.