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Year of the Flood

Hurricane Harvey bombarded the Gulf Coast of the United States, leaving more than 250,000 people without power and causing substantial financial, physical, and emotional damage in its wake.  Though record-breaking, Harvey was not a singular event.  In 2017, severe rain events like Harvey have impacted many communities and businesses around the world.  Africa is no … Continue Reading

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Demonstrating a Firmer Stance?

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has issued a decision to hold the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo responsible for the massacre of over 70 people in Kilwa, recommending: i) that the government provide compensation of US $2.56 million to eight victims and their families (the largest sum that the … Continue Reading

Secret Ballot for President Zuma’s Upcoming No Confidence Vote

The speaker of the National Assembly chamber of the South African parliament, Baleka Mbete, ruled that tomorrow’s vote on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma would be conducted by secret ballot. Most of the country’s opposition parties have welcomed her ruling, viewing it as a catalyst for a different outcome. Since March … Continue Reading

The Trump Administration’s First African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum

Next week, some 40 African finance and trade ministers, along with a large contingent of senior U.S. government officials will descend upon the coastal city of Lomé, Togo for the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. There will be more eyes on this year’s Forum. Aside from Secretary Ross’ brief address at the … Continue Reading

Ross Outlines Trump’s Commercial Policy Toward Africa

Last week in a speech to the U.S.-Africa Business Summit sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross signaled that there would be continuity in U.S. commercial policy to Africa. Ross struck a positive tone and noted that President Trump described Africa as a “place of opportunity” at the May G-7 … Continue Reading

A note from the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban

Earlier this month, more than 1,000 leaders from business, government, and civil society participated in the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban in early May with the theme, “Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership.” This note highlights several conversations relevant to the forum’s theme. The Leadership Challenge The challenge of responsible leadership … Continue Reading

Covington Opens a New Office in Johannesburg, Expanding the Project Finance Team

Covington will significantly expand its Project Development and Finance practice with the addition of Ben Donovan, Agnieszka Klich, Richard Keenan and David Miles, and the firm’s Middle East regional capabilities in corporate and dispute resolution matters with the addition of Jack Greenwald. With these additions, the firm will also open offices in Dubai and Johannesburg. … Continue Reading

Africa Events in Washington: A Recap of March

This past March was a busy month in Washington for Africa related events. Covington participated in a number of business focused summits and congressional hearings touched on U.S. – Africa public policy and its impact on the commercial relationship. In early March, Covington’s Washington office hosted the Corporate Council on Africa’s (CCA) Annual Board Meeting. … Continue Reading

Continued Growth in Covington’s Africa Initiative

Covington’s Africa initiative has unparalleled experience working with companies across a variety of sectors, helping them navigate the risks of Africa and achieve their business objectives on the continent. Over the past several months, we have continued to bolster our capabilities by adding to our team of lawyers and advisors: Jonathan Berman: Mr. Berman, a … Continue Reading

ECOWAS Forces Gambian President’s Hand

The end of the 22-year reign of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, ushered in by the December election of opposition candidate Adama Barrow, is widely seen as a win for democracy in Africa. More so than anything else, this is a win for the Economic Community of West African States (“ECOWAS”) and regional self-policing in … Continue Reading

United States Suspends Sudan Sanctions

In response to “positive actions” taken by the Government of Sudan over the past six months, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced today an amendment to the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (“SSR,” 31 C.F.R. Part 538) that effectively suspends virtually all of the U.S. sanctions against Sudan by authorizing … Continue Reading

Ghana’s New President: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Nana Akufo-Addo, the 72-year-old leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), was elected Ghana’s president on December 9 by a margin of 1 million votes, affirming the country’s status as a leading democracy on the continent. The peaceful election supports the remarks of former assistant secretary of state for African affairs and election observer, Ambassador … Continue Reading

Donald Trump and Africa

For Africa, at stake in this election of Donald Trump is the strong bipartisan consensus in Congress that has been the cornerstone of U.S. policy toward the continent for the last three administrations. This consensus, supported by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, was predicated on the notion that Africa has opportunities worth U.S. attention and … Continue Reading

SpaceX Rocket Explosion Deals a Blow to Expanding Internet Connectivity in SSA

The explosion of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket yesterday was bad news for SpaceX, certainly, but the loss of the rocket’s payload is particularly troubling in light of the need to further expand internet access within Sub-Saharan Africa. That payload was the Amos-6 communications satellite, which Facebook, as part of its Internet.org initiative, intended to use … Continue Reading

DRC: Slowly Lurching Toward a Constitutional Crisis?

On September 20, barring any breakthroughs in the political dialogue between President Kabila and opposition groups, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will enter a state of constitutional crisis. This could threaten some of the democratic gains that have been made in the country in recent years. The political trouble in the DRC has been … Continue Reading

You Cannot Use Your Hand to Force the Sun to Set

Social media is one of the most powerful tools available to Africans — especially the sizeable youth population — who previously have felt disenfranchised, neglected, and powerless.  Across the continent, this tool has been wielded to demand accountability, strengthen democracy, and increase transparency.  Unfortunately, there are increasing efforts to attack this power. The African Charter … Continue Reading

Results from Super Sunday

Yesterday’s Super Sunday — on which six countries from across the region went to the polls — was generally peaceful but demonstrated that democracy is still a work in progress in some parts of the continent. Benin. Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou has conceded defeat to “King of Cotton” Patrice Talon. Cape Verde.  Led by Correia e Silva, the … Continue Reading

Forget Super Tuesdays: Six SSA Countries Go to the Polls this Sunday

In what is being billed as Africa’s Super Sunday, this weekend will see key votes in six countries across the region. Benin. After a first round of voting that saw 33 candidates competing to succeed outgoing President Thomas Boni Yayi, Beninese voters are returning to the polls for the runoff between Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou … Continue Reading

Intra-African Travel is About to Become Easier, Safer and More Open

Intra-African travel — which is critical to unlocking the region’s tourism potential — is set to become easier, safer and more open. Easier — Open Skies Agreement between Ethiopia and Rwanda. Ethiopia and Rwanda signed an aviation agreement that will allow their respective national carriers — Ethiopia Airlines and RwandAir — to operate in the … Continue Reading

No Holidays for African Currencies

As the currency crisis plaguing Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 continued through the recent holidays, Nigerians have learned that they can have their naira, but they can’t spend it too. Nigerians saw several restrictions on foreign exchange (“forex”) put in place, limiting what they could do with their naira. Triggered by the dive in oil prices … Continue Reading

AfDB President Launches “New Deal on Energy in Africa”

New African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina chose last week’s World Economic Forum at Davos for the official launch of the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, along with a Transformative Partnership for Energy in Africa (TPEA).  While a candidate for the AfDB president position a year ago, Adesina placed energy at the top … Continue Reading

An End to the Never-Ending South African Poultry Dispute?

President Obama, on January 11, suspended the application of duty-free treatment to South Africa’s agricultural exports that come into the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The suspension will take effect on March 15 if South Africa does not lower tariffs on American poultry products before then. The development represents another twist … Continue Reading
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