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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

Meet Four of the Key Ministers in President Buhari’s Cabinet

Five months after his inauguration, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has sworn thirty-six ministers into his cabinet.  Set out below is an overview of the four appointments that will be of particular interest to foreign investors: Babatunde Fashola (Minister of Power, Works and Housing), Kemi Adeosun (Minister of Finance), Okechukwu Enelamah, (Minister of Industry, Trade and … Continue Reading

Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania: Same Results, Different Reactions

Two of the world’s fastest-growing economies — Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania — held presidential elections this week.  Both countries have re-elected the governing party but the difference between their two experiences was as far apart as the countries themselves. In Cote d’Ivoire, incumbent president Alassane Ouattara has won a second five-year term by a landslide.  … Continue Reading

The SDGs, Business, and the Development Challenge

The most intriguing characterization of the new Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), endorsed by world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, came from Amina Mohammed, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations and special advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning. During a panel discussion at the African Leadership Forum on September 24, Ms. Mohammed … Continue Reading

From the AGOA Forum in Gabon to the WTO Ministerial in Nairobi

For years, many observers treated Africa’s plans for regional integration with a healthy dose of skepticism. Though the skepticism remains, what has changed is the wide-spread acknowledgement and elevated importance of regional economic integration to grow Africa’s economies, create jobs for its rapidly growing youth population, and improve lives. Last month’s AGOA Forum, hosted by … Continue Reading

China, India and Japan Set to Host Major Summits To Further Strengthen Ties with Africa

In the midst of questions about how China’s economic health will impact Africa, the foreign ministers of China and South Africa have announced that the sixth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be upgraded to a summit. Nearly a decade after the first China-Africa Leaders summit which was held in Beijing, this … Continue Reading

China Sneezes: Could Africans Benefit from a Devalued Yuan?

When China sneezes, does all of Africa catch a cold? Slower Chinese growth and a recently devalued currency will certainly impact Africa, whose largest trading partner is China. However, the impact of China’s recent currency devaluation will largely depend on country-specific factors. The Chinese government likely devalued its currency in August in part to combat … Continue Reading

Nigeria (Again) Contemplates Mandatory Stock Exchange Listing Legislation

Nigerian government officials are once again contemplating legislation that would require certain private companies to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”).  According to Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, the listing requirement would apply to companies in the oil, gas and telecommunication sectors and is necessary “in order to deepen the … Continue Reading

Obama in Kenya: A Report from the Field and a Recap of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

The nation of Kenya was gripped by a palpable sense of excitement and outsized expectations prior to President Obama’s arrival on Friday, July 24. On the day the president arrived, offices in Nairobi were closed, banks shut down early, and the city’s emptied streets were adorned with American flags and ubiquitous posters conveying the message, … Continue Reading

Ghana Set to Ban Non-Degradable Plastics

According to news reports, the Ghanaian Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations will “sanction a directive in two weeks” banning the production and importation of non-degradable plastic products. Like many countries, Ghana’s rapid development has put significant pressure on sanitation management systems in the country’s urban centers.  However, the issue became a national priority … Continue Reading
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