Stories by Paulo Gomes

Expert Voices

Short-term African investment may slow despite bright growth prospects

A supporter of Martin Fayulu, the runner up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's elections, protests in Kinshasa, against the election of Felix Tshisekedi as president of the DRC.
A supporter of Martin Fayulu, runner-up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's contested elections, protests in Kinshasa against Felix Tshisekedi's win, on Jan. 21. Photo: John Wessels/AFP via Getty Images

The new year is off to a rocky start for African countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo held a disputed presidential election tainted by allegations of fraud; protests in Zimbabwe over a 150% hike in fuel prices have sparked a violent government crackdown; and a horrific terrorist attack that hit an upscale hotel and commercial real estate complex two weeks ago in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 21 people.

Why it matters: Recent and potential civil unrest will result in lower investment in a region of the world that needs it most. Foreign direct investment flows into African markets fell by 21% to $42 billion in 2017 and are predicted to decrease further over the next three years.

Expert Voices

Kim's resignation could tee up non-U.S. leadership at World Bank

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim arrives for a news conference at International Monetary Fund Headquarters April 19, 2018 in Washington, DC.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Jim Yong Kim suddenly stepped down Monday as president of the World Bank, 3 years ahead of the end of his second 5-year term. Kim’s resignation is expected to spark a heated debate over leadership of the World Bank.

The big picture: At issue is whether the presidency should reflect the needs of donors or recipients. While the U.S. candidate has always been picked as president — an informal tradition since the bank's founding in 1944 — the board of directors, made up of donor countries, is likely to challenge a U.S. candidate because of growing opposition to historical U.S. dominance of the institution. Given that Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the largest recipients of bank funds, the timing could be ripe for an African leader.

Expert Voices

Trump's new Africa strategy misjudges risks of Chinese debts

US National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks about the administration's African policy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC
National security adviser John Bolton speaks about the administration's Africa policy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 13. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Last week, the Trump administration unveiled its new Africa strategy, prioritizing deeper economic ties, counterterrorism and the efficient use of U.S. aid. The strategy aims to counter Chinese and Russian interests on the continent, especially the former’s strategic use of debt to control African countries.

Why it matters: The strategy oversimplifies Africa’s debt situation. It fails to distinguish between good and bad debt and doesn’t address Africa’s debt levels on a country-by-country basis. This polarizing approach could alienate key potential African allies, leading them to further align with China.

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