With all eyes focused on Sunday’s elections in Senegal there was much build up this week on the continent and also in foreign news sources about the causes of the impasse currently facing Senegalese politicians. Also, this week in Africa there was still much coverage of the Africa Cup of Nations with analysis from the fall out from Zambia’s win at the Africa Cup of Nations. Additionally, how South Africa may no longer be the ‘Gateway to Africa’, the poor performance of South African teams on the continent, and the EASSy submarine cable takes a nick, but keeps on ticking. These stories and more are in this week’s African Week in Review below:
- The election this Sunday in Senegal will be the event of the coming week on the continent. John Campbell of the Council on Foreign Relations gives an excellent preview, much more nuanced than the piece the New York Times published. If you’re just coming upon this story, consider this piece by the BBC that gives an in-depth look at President Wade and his desire for a third term. The main point of the election is that Wade is seeking a new term despite the constitution that he constructed (or wrote single handedly if you listen to him) limiting presidents to two terms. The courts have ruled that because he was in power before the term limits were put in place, his first term did not count towards the limit of two. The fact that Wade is 85, and with speculation that he is just running in order to then pass off power to his son, is causing significant cause for concern that one of the bright lights for democracy on the continent could be undermined. There is widespread coverage of the election by Reuters, Voice of America, The Huffington Post, and Al Jazeera. The lead up to the elections has not been smooth nor peaceful, thus Senegal will be the place to watch this coming week for reactions to the election results.
- Talk of South Africa losing its gateway status to the continent showed up in two different places this week. The first, by Business Day (South Africa), talked about how Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt looked to compete with South Africa as an avenue for external business to flow through. Population and growth rates seem to doom SA to falling behind Nigeria and Egypt significantly in the next ten years. The second by How We Made it in Africa, stems from the same article referenced by Business Day by Jacueline Chimhanzi that asked if SA was being bypassed by businesses entering the African continent.
- Zambia’s Chipolopolo remained in the headlines across much of the continent. With Nigeria falling to its lowest FIFA Rankings, Nigerian newspapers tried to draw lessons from Zambia’s victory. Pride, youth, and freedom from a dictatorial Football Association, all dig at some of the ails of the Nigerian FA. It will be interesting to see what the continent takes away as the traits to emulate from Zambia (though the UN is already drawing inspiration). With the success of local footballers usual leading to a diaspora spread out across Europe and the Middle East tt would be hard for an FA to try to maintain the squad unity Zambia possessed. Other than Brazil, there are not too many countries that see their starting XI in a diversity of leagues. Watching the United States, Mexico, and perhaps Australia in terms of building group unity would be advantageous for African nations with top players playing in Europe.
- The CAF Champions League kicked off this week with preliminarily round first leg matches being played across the continent. The performance of the South African Premiership in the competition has been abysmal of late, and now one of the richest leagues in the world is reduced to only one participant in the entire competition, along side the likes of Chad, Gambia, and Comoros. To make matters worse, the defending Premier Soccer League champions, Orlando Pirates, went down 1-3 to Angola’s league champion, in South Africa! The Mail and Guardian asks the ‘why’ behind PSL clubs’ dismal performance in continental play.
- There’s a nice top 10 list of the African business leaders and thinkers on twitter according to How We Made it in Africa. I only follow @kenyanpundit out of that group, but it might be interesting for someone to do a article on how African businesses use social media to communicate their message and whether their target audience is locals or foreigners.
- The recently completed Eassy broadband cable, tracing coast line of Eastern Africa, was damaged this past week causing service disruption. It seems like service delivery was affected nearer the source (Port Sudan) than most other places. Going forward as African consumers use the full bandwidth on offer, I wonder if the rerouting of services through other lines will be as easy.
- The use of ICT and Social Media in Senegal’s election was given an overview by The Next Web – Africa, showing the penetration rates for typical telecom infrastructure: 16% for Internet, 3% for fixed phones, 80% for mobile phones, half of all internet connections are done over 3G networks, and 70% of the online population is on Facebook. These statistics are drawn from a local ICT watch group, the Observatory on Information Systems, Networks, and Information Highways in Senegal.
- I love the questions that are being asked by this article talking about what Africa should learn from Silicon Valley. Putting the focus back on value creation, rather than just money making endeavors would be an excellent take away from the success of Silicon Valley start ups.
- It appears that prices are starting to see the effects of the landing of two major undersea broadband cables on the continent. This story in Business & Financial Times breaks down the cheaper cost for more capacity.
Video of the Week:
Senegal divided over Wade’s economic legacy
More in-depth look at Senegal from Al Jazeera English