Tanzania, Nigeria and the EU: Free trade discord Rick Rowden

From the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to the European Union and African countries’ trade and development ministers, nearly everyone agrees that African economies must industrialise. Yet despite this broad consensus, when it comes down to the specific policies needed there remains widespread disagreement. The recent refusals of Nigeria and Tanzania to sign on to the EU’s proposed free trade deals, or Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), are the starkest manifestation of diverging agendas. Nigeria has consistently opposed the EPA for west Africa. However Tanzania’s last minute decision in July to back away from the EPA for…

West Africa’s Financial Immune Deficiency Rick Rowden

In recent months, as the spreading Ebola emergency took center stage in Washington, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have pledged $530 million to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. And in October, at a special session with African leaders on Ebola during the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington DC, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that in addition to the aid, the IMF would depart from its notorious budget austerity, and actually allow the hard-hit west African nations to increase their budget deficits: “We don’t normally say this!” she emphasized. To which the Guinean president, Alpha Conde, responded, “I'm extremely pleased…