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A $2 billion corruption scandal continues to upend the political and economic landscape in Mozambique. Manuel Chang, the former finance minister, has been arrested by U.S. authorities along with several co-conspirators. His legal fate, which now hangs in the balance in South Africa, will have major repercussions in his home country. Extradition to the U.S. could implicate other Mozambican officials and help turn back on the flow of international aid and investment.
Eastern & Southern Africa
Anonymous GIS Expert
Angola has recently become one of the most stable countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It now hopes to rebuild its agriculture, education and navy, as well as jump-start investment in the oil sector and broaden its foreign relations base to include Western powers – all before deteriorating living conditions turn the population against the government of Gen. Joao Lourenco.
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has upset the Middle East’s geopolitical balance in two dimensions: the three-sided rivalry between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and the conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and stable monarchies in the region. For the Saudis, the crisis poses an unexpected opportunity to improve governance. For the West, it presents a choice between triggering chaos and a possible radical takeover, or helping the kingdom make a difficult transition.
Maghreb & the Middle East
Despite the untimely death of the leader of its opposition movement, Mozambique has managed to implement changes that will end years of political violence. The country is rich in natural gas and has plenty of agricultural potential, but a financial scandal and terrorism in its northern provinces are holding it back. Until these lingering problems are resolved, its much-anticipated economic boom will never materialize.
The United Arab Emirates is part of a Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis in Yemen. But recently, it has become clear that Abu Dhabi’s and Riyadh’s goals are diverging. While both the Emiratis and Saudis want to roll back Iran’s growing influence in the region, the UAE wants to divide Yemen, so it can gain more control around critical access points to the Red Sea. The tensions that will arise will further complicate the Yemen conflict.
President Idriss Deby leads an authoritarian government that is increasingly
under pressure, both politically and economically. However, his regime has been
a strong ally of the West. A new constitution that strengthened his grip on
power was approved this year, but it could, ironically, further undermine his
last year, Turkey secured the lease of an island on Sudan’s Red Sea coast. The
location of this ancient port – situated on one of the world’s most important
trade arteries – will put Ankara in a position to exercise much greater
influence from the Nile to the Persian Gulf. The Turks scored this success
because they took a broad strategic view, which must now be reconciled with their
obsessively narrow focus on a single issue – the Kurds – in their immediate
The Gulf states have not sufficiently adjusted their spending patterns to lower income from oil exports. Burdened by persistent and growing budget deficits, they are increasingly hard pressed to fend off geopolitical rivals such as Iran. The trend has serious and lasting consequences for the Middle East and North Africa.
Robert Mugabe lost Zimbabwe’s presidency to his former
right-hand man Emmerson Mnangagwa in a coup prepared jointly by the military
and one of the ruling party’s factions. The new ruling team is more focused on
defending its power and privileges in the impoverished country than on
addressing its profound problems.
Lourenco, Angola’s new president and a long-time insider of its power structure,
has taken decisive steps during his first 50 days in office to put the naturally
endowed African country on a course to economic recovery, and possibly a political