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Africa African press review Press review

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African press review 18 April 2017


There's a double Kenyan triumph in the Boston Marathon, more legal trouble for South Africa's Jacob Zuma, and a resurgence of international interest in Somalia.

"Kenyans reign in Boston Marathon." That's close to the top of the front page of this morning's Nairobi-based Daily Nation.

The former World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat is this year’s Boston Marathon women’s champion, while Geoffrey Kirui claimed his first major victory, winning the men’s race in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 37 seconds.

Well done to them both, and to the thousands of other, slower, finishers.

Did Zuma lie about sacking South Africa's Director of Public Prosecutions?

Jacob Zuma is back on the front page of South African financial paper BusinessDay.

Under the headline "Zuma lied under oath," the report says former national director of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana is the third public official in a month to declare that the court testimony of senior political figures is false.

Nxasana says President Jacob Zuma’s statement that Nxasana had asked to be removed from his post under the National Prosecuting Authority Act was untrue.

Nxasana says he entered a settlement agreement to leave his post only after Zuma decided to institute a commission of inquiry into his fitness to hold office and because his attempts to deal with problems within the prosecuting authority were consistently blocked.

Gigaba sets off on international road show to sell South Africa

Meanwhile, South Africa's recently appointed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba sets off on an international road show this week in a bid to restore confidence in South Africa after two ratings downgrades.

Gigaba will have his first opportunity to meet his global counterparts at the IMF/World Bank Spring meetings, which open in Washington on Friday. He will then meet investors in Boston and New York and will also visit the ratings agency Moody’s, which has South Africa on watch for a downgrade.

The world wakes up to the strategic significance of Somalia

Somalia is suddenly back in the limelight. Regional newspaper the East African reports that a number of high-level visits in the past few weeks signal a renewed interest by the international community in the country that had been written off as a failed state.

Among world figures who visited the country last month were British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutterres, and the new African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, who made Somalia his first stop, four days after taking office.

Experts attribute the fresh interest in Somalia to a combination of factors.

These include the recent presidential process that saw Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo elected; the country’s strategic location on the world’s most important shipping route, the war in Yemen and the resurgence of piracy in the Indian Ocean.

A political risk analyst tells the East African that a leading factor in the increasing importance of Somalia is the war in Yemen and its impacts on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa.

The strait is the gateway to almost all maritime trade between Europe and Asia and any security threats in the area disproportionally affect global maritime trade routes.

Goods passing through the strait are estimated to be worth 800 billion euros annually.

East African Community in legal wrangle with tech supplier

The regional paper also reports that trading bloc the East African Community (EAC) is engaged in a legal battle with a company that is implementing a controversial project to link stockmarkets in the region.

A report from the recent Council of Ministers meeting reveals that the firm, Infotech, is pursuing legal action against the regional bloc for failure to pay part of the money due under contract.

The two parties tried to resolve the dispute through adjudication but the tech firm is unsatisfied with the outcome that favoured the EAC and is now seeking arbitration.

The East African says the total value of the contract is nearly three million euros, with Infotech demanding one million for partially completed work.