Top stories around Africa during the week

“Solar energy is the future. We just need to make it cheaper,” said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni when he launched Africa’s first solar-powered bus days to the presidential election where he was seeking to extend his 30-year rule. Like most analysts expected, he won. But not without clamping down on the opposition and ensuring Ugandans did not use social media, the fastest means of making information about election malpractices go viral.

Museveni’s fellow ‘typical’ African leader Robert Mugabe will wish him well and hope Uganda does not end up like Zimbabwe, a country that has spent more years in economic troubles than prosperity since Mugabe decided to cling on to power. In the name of conservation, Zimbabwe now sells its elephants to China, and to ensure access to loans, Mugabe is making up with the lenders he once detested. 1,826.5km away, Jacob Zuma’s image remains on the line with the Zuma-Gupta deal. Although, the great iron ore flood has claimed its biggest victim and South Africa would rather blacks fill the void left by miners that are leaving, but the country would prefer blacks that are not called Zuma, the name of the man plunging their country into recession.

Kenya is not like Zimbabwe; no animals will be sold to the Chinese. The lions know this, hence they stroll out of parks and back in, assured of their safety. The East African nation does not need a billion dollars from animal sales to ensure conservation or develop infrastructure. Its national railway is investing as much as $49 million in infrastructure upgrade. The country is also trying to revive its national carrier. Kenya knows these expenses won’t be easy; so it is expanding exports and seeking cheap capital through Islamic bond issuance.

Nigeria is also planning to issue the Sukuk as it raises $5 billion from multiple lenders to fund its 2016 budget deficit. Though riddled with errors, President Muhammadu Buhari would not go through the trouble of withdrawing it from the parliament. He wouldn’t even care what that may say about his administration as he is sure of a 4-year mandate and impeachment is unlikely. He would do only the things he thinks are necessary, no matter who is hurt by things left undone. Nigeria is a consuming nation and this will not change overnight but Nigeria’s President believes the value of the dollar against the naira may discourage importation of non-essential goods. He forgets, however, that even his shaving cream is imported. He has maintained his stand on devaluation and the central bank governor wouldn’t dare say otherwise. Some foreign companies have started leaving. More may leave. But Nigerians can weather any storm. That’s why smart companies will focus on retail, going forward.

Rwanda’s economy is losing steam. Kenyans are losing jobs. But Africa’s equity markets have rebounded and a bank is for sale in Nigeria.

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