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Tara O’Connor

Tara O’Connor

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 –

Of death, debt and democracy

By: Tara O’Connor     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 consequences. The effect on political stability has been acute in several countries, and acute and... 

Nigeria: things fall apart

By: Tara O’Connor     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 corrupt, thieving and ineffectual politicians. As this important anniversary approached, the economy... 

Zambia’s Zuma moment

By: Tara O’Connor     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 paved the way for Donald Trump, and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. In Zambia, the 2016 elections saw Edgar... 

A stubborn political quartet again risk it all

By: Tara O’Connor     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 official: incumbent President Alassane Ouattara will stand for election for a third term in a move that... 

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

By: Tara O’Connor     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 mid-June that the rock star department of British foreign policy, the Department for International... 

The beat goes on . . .

By: Tara O’Connor     12th June 2020 As South Africans emerge blinking into the winter sunlight, they do so to a ‘new normal’, including an emerging new order. Great plagues throughout history have accelerated fundamental changes that have a long-lasting, often multigenerational, impact. One accelerator is the global tilt towards... 

What a difference a day makes . . .

By: Tara O’Connor     1st May 2020 As we move into a fourth week of formal lockdown and as every day merges into the next and weeks roll into each other, only punctuated by a food box delivery, I am nevertheless struck daily by the speed at which Covid-19 has wrought havoc from east to west, north and south. Just over two months... 

The time to plan for Covid-19 was yesterday

By: Tara O’Connor     20th March 2020 Just as the going was getting good again, Africa faces another triple whammy: the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), a fresh global economic crash and plummeting oil prices. The deadly Covid-19, which has been spreading throughout the world since its first outbreak in December in Wuhan, China,... 

Au revoir CFA franc, bonjour l’eco!

By: Tara O’Connor     21st February 2020 As competition grows to gain influence across Africa, the most significant change to the traditional relationship between France and its former West African colonies will take place in June this year. The common currency, the Communauté Financière Africaine (CFA) franc, which has been in place... 

Goodbye the two-teens, hello the two-twenties!

By: Tara O’Connor     17th January 2020 Saying goodbye to another decade is always emotional, but it is also a time to refresh, revisit strategies and plan new ones “to boldly go”. Across Africa, the trend of the past decade and what will define the ‘twenties’ is what former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described as “triple... 

2019: year of peaceful, patient popular power

By: Tara O’Connor     13th December 2019 As Southern African business closes off the year in a frenzy of foreshortened deadlines before racing to the door for the summer holiday, there is barely time to reflect on the year gone by. And what a political year it has been. Who can forget May’s most powerful image of a young Sudanese woman... 

Buhari: destructive force in the Nigerian economy

By: Tara O’Connor     29th November 2019 "I have come to realise that Nigeria is not going to shape the investment future of West Africa, let alone Africa”, laments my lunch guest. “Especially when you compare it WITH what is happening in other countries, like Senegal, Kenya . . . where so much is going on. Every time I land at Lagos... 

Ethiopian Prime Minister, marathon runner do country proud

By: Tara O’Connor     25th October 2019 Once in a generation comes a political leader who has the confidence, the power and the political will to transform the lives of millions.  And once in a lifetime comes an individual with the power and determination to inspire millions to individual excellence. That they both come from the Horn... 

It’s time to give Angola reforms the benefit of the doubt

By: Tara O’Connor     20th September 2019 As the death of the region’s leading liberation leader, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, focuses attention on his poor legacy, other liberation leader transitions are thrown into relief. One such transition is Angola’s. Like Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Angola’s new President, João Lourenço, who came to... 

Mozambique peace deal paves the way for unprecedented investment

By: Tara O’Connor     23rd August 2019 What is the risk of civil war in Mozambique?  That was the question a would-be international investor asked us to address recently. While this very question used to be my weekly diet as an analyst during the mid- to late 1990s – usually relating to West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea countries – it is... 

The last kick of a dying horse

By: Tara O’Connor     19th July 2019 If you want political analysis of Zimbabwe – ask an Uber driver.  In Cape Town earlier this year, I meet the same Uber driver twice. Typically overqualified, having been a buyer and manager for a retailer, Zimbabwe’s sharply deteriorating economy drove him to South Africa to drive for a living.... 

Morocco’s ‘democracy’ back in the spotlight as Jasmine Spring resurges

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     21st June 2019 A … As protesters desert Khartoum after Sudanese security forces attack a civilian protest camp, killing several, and as military attitudes in Algeria harden ahead of elections on July 4, a resurgent Arab Spring has put Morocco’s political reforms back in the spotlight. 

Kenya’s election open season

By: Tara O’Connor     24th May 2019 As dust settles on South Africa’s elections and business looks to President Cyril Ramaphosa to restore the economy, Kenyan business worries as the political elite starts kicking up dust well in advance of the 2022 Presidential polls. At stake is Kenya’s booming economy, the powerhouse of the East... 

Kenya’s election  open season

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