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O’Connor is MD of the pan-African consulting firm Africa Risk Consulting. She is a University of Cape Town graduate and has spent 25 years assessing Africa’s political and business environment – Tara@africariskconsulting.com

By Tara O’Connor

Kenya’s economy rebounds but ‘hustlers’ don’t feel it

23rd February 2024

Arriving in Kenya from South Africa, the business visitor immediately feels the benefit of Kenya’s long-term incremental and consistent improvements in the business operating environment.  This is... 


Truth behind Burkina coups

26th January 2024

Would Thomas Sankara be turning in his grave at the events occurring in the country he renamed Burkina Faso – the land of uncorruptible people? Sankara, the intellectual powerhouse of... 


High drama awaits Africa in 2024

15th December 2023

If all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players with their exits and their entrances, Africa is headed for high drama – a heart-stopping and pulse-racing 2024. The backdrop is... 


Sudan and the ring of fire

24th November 2023

With war between Israel and Palestine, centred on Gaza, the ring of fire that has engulfed the Sahel now appears to reach up to encircle the Mediterranean, stretching as far as Jordan, with Egypt... 


Tanzania’s Hassan takes art of the reshuffle to new highs

27th October 2023

Attacks in Israel, its counterattacks in Gaza and the war in Ukraine have sent global tensions to highs not seen for a generation or more. This, combined with a rush of military coups in West... 


Latest coups bring to an end three decades of slow but consistent democratisation

22nd September 2023

The cries of “contagion”, “epidemic” have died down after Gabon became the latest in a string of countries to suffer a military takeover. As the Sahelian dust begins to settle, we see that this... 


Niger coup completes Africa’s band of instability

25th August 2023

The military coup that has taken place in Niger completes a band of malleable instability that now stretches from the port at Conakry in Guinea, in West Africa, to Sudan’s Port Sudan, in East... 


Zambia shows what a strong leadership can do

21st July 2023

Scanning global international news can be relentlessly depressing as the world faces multilayered transitions. Firstly, from a largely bipolar world that a colleague cruelly named “the West and the... 


Promise of democracy eludes many in Nigeria . . . but things are moving again

23rd June 2023

As I sat down to write a column on Nigeria on 12 June, I had a flashback to ‘The June 12’ – the name Nigerians gave to the country’s failed first post-Cold War attempt to restore democratic rule.... 


France urges EU to designate Wagner as a terrorist entity

26th May 2023

France’s Parliament has unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution encouraging the European Union (EU) to designate Russian paramilitary company the Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation.  The... 


Covid-19, spending, debt: now for the hangover

28th April 2023

The publication in April of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) global growth report makes for sobering reading.  Much of Africa has a massive hangover after the institution encouraged a... 


Kenya: a green powerhouse

24th March 2023

A Nairobi-based friend and business colleague reminisced with me last week about how representatives of then Eskom International beat a path to his door in the late 1990s with promises of how Eskom... 


Corruption in Zim’s use of almost $1bn from IMF

24th February 2023

Elections are fast approaching in Zimbabwe, giving rise to popular expectations and international hopes for change but equally to a blatant increase in government corruption from the last remaining... 


A lot at stake in Nigerian poll

27th January 2023

It is hard to overstate the importance of Nigeria’s February elections. The country’s security, social, economic and business environments are in a parlous state.  The army has lost control of... 


Overarching threats and opportunities in 2023

16th December 2022

As most of sub-Saharan businesses race towards the end-of-year close and the prospect of a summer or festival break, it is time to reflect on yet another year hurtling by at breakneck speed. Why... 


Glencore – Africa’s textbook case of corruption supply side

18th November 2022

Diversified commodity trading and mining multinational Glencore has taken up tenth place in global corruption’s hall of shame.  In the first week of November, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO)... 


Zambia’s new dawn might just be a lasting new dawn

21st October 2022

Surveying Africa for the latest trends can be dispiriting. West Africa has been sucked into the mire of a fresh round of military coups d’état as Russia extends its neocolonial project to the... 


Impact of Russia-Ukraine conflict on Africa

23rd September 2022

  The success of the recent Ukrainian counteroffensive, the routing of Russian forces occupying Ukraine and the recapture of key eastern cities and surrounds of Kharkov and Izyum may prove to be a... 


Kenya’s election heralds a change in leadership

26th August 2022

When a UK politician known equally for her religion as for her politics said of her own party leader that “there’s something of the night about him”, it stuck. The same could be said of William... 


The Sudan-Russia nexus

22nd July 2022

Sudan’s Islamist-led military is seeking to consolidate its control of the country, assumed in an October 25, 2021, coup d’état, through deception, extreme violence, abduction, suppression and... 


Upcoming elections a test for Kenya’s new Constitution

24th June 2022

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – the more things change, the more they stay the same – comes to mind when casting a casual eye over Kenya’s August Presidential and Parliamentary... 


Elon Musk promises a return to social media Wild West

20th May 2022

Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema is famous for his expert use of social media platforms. His opponents taunted him as the President only on social media – until the quiet crowds of his young... 


Nigeria’s oligarchs face pressure as Presidential candidates emerge

22nd April 2022

As international businesses scurry to close off any links to Russia’s sanctioned political and oligarch class, some of Nigeria’s politicians and would-be politicians may start to feel a little... 


Russia in Africa

25th March 2022

“You can focus on the details of contracts and modelling in risk management but it’s the big events – like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – that can literally wipe out your balance sheet.” These... 


Ethiopian leader pushing ahead with economic reforms, despite the armed conflict in Tigray

18th February 2022

I recently received a horrifying message from a friend in Guinea-Bissau. She had narrowly escaped death while working in the Presidency during the failed coup on February 1. “When the shooting... 


New Omicron variant takes volatility and uncertainty to new levels

10th December 2021

The end of the year is traditionally when we muse about the year gone by as we look to the one ahead. This is difficult at the best of times, but the Covid-19 pandemic has taken volatility and... 


Angola – taking on the oligarch-kleptocrats

19th November 2021

As Angola takes on the oligarch-kleptocrats and makes meaningful reforms, investors start to notice, but is it too late to woo voters? Rio Tinto’s signing in early October of a diamond mining... 


From Francafrique to France-Africa

22nd October 2021

That France’s special relationship with Frenching-speaking nations, known as Françafrique, is undergoing a fundamental transformation would not have been obvious at the 28th Afrique-France Summit,... 


Of prisons and Presidencies

24th September 2021

What links a military coup in the ‘wildest west’ of West Africa and the less media-glamorous landslide election victory in Zambia? West Africa has turned back the regional political clock to the... 


The corrupt’s horizons are narrowing

20th August 2021

Do three significant events in the subregion signify a trend? First, although the trial of South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, may have been postponed to September 9, the so-called Arms... 


Be careful what you wish for . . .

23rd July 2021

In this opinion piece, African Risk Consulting's Tara O’Connor and Raphael Korber-Hoffman review recent security developments across the African continent Two events pointing to a significant shift... 


Mining the DRC: after losing some battles, Tshisekedi is winning the war

25th June 2021

Political transitions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) do not happen too often. When they do, they are invariably violent, and the consequences of external intervention or internal... 


Kazungula: crossing into a new trade age

21st May 2021

In aimless surfing on Twitter a couple of days ago, up popped a picture of the new Kazungula crossing. The name resonates: Kazungula. One of my earliest memories of the Kazungula was of my family... 


It’s time to dare to plan anew

16th April 2021

A year ago, in the face of the first Covid-19 death in Egypt, I wrote that the time for governments to act was immediately and that the time for corporates to plan for a pandemic was yesterday. The... 


After the dust settles: Uganda post elections

19th March 2021

In this opinion piece, Africa Risk Consulting’s Tara O’Connor and Fiona Grant assess the post-election picture in Uganda, where long-serving President Yoweri Museveni won a sixth term at the helm... 


Brexit: Clowns to the left of me! Jokers to the right! Stuck . . .

19th February 2021

The most significant casualties of Brexit are the 112 000 British people who have lost their lives to Covid-19.  It was the greatest misfortune of all that they should have fallen prey to a deadly... 


Of death, debt and democracy

11th December 2020

As the first year of the plague closes out, a second year threatens a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Africa has seen fewer infections and deaths, but the virus has had other lasting... 


Nigeria: things fall apart

30th October 2020

When I think of Nigeria at 60, I cannot shed the image of a waking giant tied down by a myriad of criss-crossed ropes, and at the end of each rope a member of Nigeria’s elite, too many of whom are... 


Zambia’s Zuma moment

18th September 2020

Something in the stars must have misaligned in 2016 to set the political world off kilter and bring in its wake the wanton destruction that is populism. In the UK it brought Brexit, in the US it... 


A stubborn political quartet again risk it all

21st August 2020

Tara O’Connor and Leonard Mbulle-Nziege investigate Côte d’Ivoire’s critical October Presidential elections, in which the incumbent, Alassane Outtara, will be seeking a third term in office Its... 


UK’s DFID is brought to heel as nationalism gains ground

17th July 2020

Poor Zambia. What did it do to deserve such unwanted attention to be misspoken of in such a manner – and in the so-called mother of all Parliaments?  UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in... 


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