By Patrick Pierson.
Has President Obama left a disappointing legacy in Africa? Zimbabwe is preparing to introduce new bond notes into its cash-starved economy. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa warns of the introduction of fake bond notes into the market. One surprising result of the cash crunch is the rise of mobile banking and debit cards – the number of monthly debit card transactions in the country has tripled from January to August of this year. In case you missed it, South Africa released a “state capture” report this week and things aren’t looking good. Opponents of President Jacob Zuma are calling for his resignation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation has vocally criticized the president. Zuma faces a no-confidence vote next week; he declared on Saturday that he is “not afraid of jail.” Meanwhile, the country’s universities are “burning.”
China unveiled a new stealth jet fighter this week. China is also donating $3 million in military aid to Ghana. South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye, is caught up in a corruption scandal – her approval rating now sits at 5%. Protesters filled the streets this week calling for the president to step down. The US halted sales of assault rifles to the Philippines in the wake of the country’s controversial, and deadly, drug war.
The British government has removed Colombia’s FARC from its list of terrorist organizations. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is expected to cruise to his third consecutive term in office with a landslide election win on Sunday. A former President of El Salvador, Elías Antonio Saca, has been arrested on charges of corruption. The crisis in Venezuela continues – the US has received 10,000 asylum applications from Venezuelans so far this year. The Vatican has played a prominent role in a number of Latin American peace deals this year, and US diplomats are hoping the Pope has some magic left up his sleeve to deal with an increasingly intractable impasse in Venezuela.