Austerity bites in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is nearing a tipping point as the political and economic crisis continues. Headline inflation surged to 288.8% in August and the public sector is in ferment with state-employed doctors on strike over working conditions. The economy is likely to deteriorate further as the Kariba Dam plant, which provides 57% of the country’s electricity, could stop producing power by November. The government owes roughly $2bn to international lenders like the World Bank and the African Development Bank. They will not consider new lending until the arrears are paid off.
African languages are the fastest growing in the US
African languages, including Swahili, Yoruba, Igbo, Twi and Amharic are leading the list of the ten fastest growing languages in the US, according to the US Census Bureau. Experts credit the development to recent immigration trends. Africans now make up 39% of the total foreign-born black population, up from 24% in 2000. This trend is already having an impact on the U.S. In the upcoming 2020 census, the country will, for the first time, have printed guides in three additional African languages—Igbo, Yoruba, and Twi.
Voting season in Southern Africa
In Mozambique, the October general elections will be a litmus test of the peace deal signed by President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade in August. The deal seeks to end the country’s conflict in exchange for amnesty for rebels involved in attacks. The elections’ stakes are also huge because the victor will oversee the transformation of Mozambique’s economy due to the development of huge natural gas reserves. Meanwhile, Botswana’s legislative elections will highlight the tensions between President Mokgweetsi Masisi of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and former president Ian Khama. The two have fallen out, with Khama leaving the BDP to launch the Botswana Patriotic Front.
Africa’s tourism sector continues to expand
Improving visa openness, better airports and other travel infrastructure and rising numbers of Chinese visitors are among some of the factors that have helped expand Africa’s tourism numbers. Ethiopia is one of the countries leading the way with a 50% jump in visitors in 2018. Unfortunately for the Gambia, Thomas Cook’s collapse is likely to hurt the country’s tourism industry. The company was responsible for bringing in 40% of its tourists in 2018.
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