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Africa: Zuma, health concerns put politics centre stage

Events over the past month have raised questions about the positions of the presidents of Sub-Saharan Africa’s three largest economies. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari missed a key speech commemorating the two year anniversary of his own inauguration, prompting concerns that his health is worse than had been previously reported. The 74 year-old has spent much of 2017 in hospital in London. After several denials, the Angolan government eventually admitted that President José Eduardo dos Santos also spent May in Europe for medical reasons. South Africa’s President is in better health; but Jacob Zuma had to face down yet another attempt by disgruntled members of the ruling ANC to remove him from office. The embattled president won a clear victory, but this latest struggle has probably increased tensions within the ruling party. We expect that ailing presidents and a series of political contests – including national elections in Angola and Kenya and a key political conference in South Africa – will delay key policymaking decisions across much of Africa this year.

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