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Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu reelected as ECOWAS chairman

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has reelected Bola Tinubu, the president of Nigeria, to the position of chairman at its 65th regular session, which was held in Abuja.

During the 65th ordinary session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, which took place at the presidential palace in Abuja on Tuesday, Tinubu was reelected as the head of the economic bloc.

At the 63rd ordinary session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Bissau, the capital city of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Tinubu was first elected in July 2023. The Nigerian president is the ninth person to hold the position of ECOWAS chairman. Former President Muhammadu Buhari served as both the military’s and the country’s democratic president, leading the bloc in both capacities.

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo are among the member states of ECOWAS, which was established in 1975.

In the meantime, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger left the ECOWAS in February and established the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), a new alliance. Following multiple coups, the three states under military junta control fell out with the West African regional bloc.

This led to sanctions against the junta-led countries, including border closures and the suspension of electricity exports to Niger, as part of efforts to overthrow the coups in those countries. However, the sanctions were removed in February, and the nations left ECOWAS a few days later.

Speaking to the bloc before his reelection as chairman, Tinubu stated that the political resolve of the heads of state in the ECOWAS is necessary to eradicate terrorism from their nations.

“As we move to operationalize the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) in combating terrorism, I must emphasize that the success of this plan requires not only strong political will but also substantial financial resources,” Tinubu told the gathering.

“We must, therefore, ensure that we meet the expectations and recommendations set forth by our ministers of defence and finance to counter the insecurity and stabilize our region.

“Member states must make extra commitments to providing resources for stabilizing the region.”

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Kenya’s Ruto sacks cabinet amidst protests in major win for protesters

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In response to pressure from widespread protests that have produced the greatest crisis of his two-year government, Kenyan President William Ruto dismissed his entire cabinet on Thursday, with the exception of the foreign minister.

After beginning peacefully, the youth-led demonstrations against the proposed tax increases descended into violence, resulting in at least 39 deaths during altercations with the police last month. A few protestors briefly invaded the parliament before Ruto decided against the new levies.

“I will immediately engage in extensive consultations across different sectors and political formations and other Kenyans, both in public and private, with the aim of setting up a broad-based government,” Ruto said in a televised address to the nation, adding that he would announce additional measures later.

In addition, he fired the attorney general but claimed that this had no bearing on the deputy president’s position.

Kenyans had been requesting significant cabinet changes, seasoned anti-corruption activist John Githongo told Reuters.

“Let us see what happens now if the new ministers deal with big issues around corruption and just the arrogance and excess of his administration and the fact that a lot of Kenyans died during the demonstrations,” he said.

“Hopefully this should temporarily calm things.”

Ruto finds himself torn between a beleaguered populace reeling from the rising expense of living and lenders like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pressuring him to reduce deficits. He suggested borrowing more money and cutting spending in approximately equal proportions last week to close the nearly $2.7 billion budget deficit left by the removal of the tax rises.

Although the government has no outstanding debt, many claim that Kenya is likely to miss its IMF targets as a result of the tax rollback. For the fiscal year that began on July 1, the estimated budget deficit is currently 4.6% of GDP.

Dismissing so many cabinet members, according to Ojango Omondi, a community organizer from the Social Justice Centers Working Group in Nairobi, was a “move towards justice,” but activists would want to see who Ruto chooses to replace them.

“It’s one thing to dismiss, the second is to ensure that the people that will be chosen in the cabinet are accountable to the constitution and the rule of law,” Omondi said.

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South Sudan’s president dismisses 6th finance minister since 2020

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Four months into the position, South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, has fired the finance minister, the sixth person to hold the position since 2020, according to state-run television.

The report stated late on Wednesday that Kiir did not explain the dismissal of Awow Daniel Chuong, who was appointed in mid-March of this year. Economist Marial Deng has been selected to take over as finance minister in Kiir’s place.

Due to intercommunal violence, South Sudan’s economy has been under strain recently. Since the civil war that lasted from 2013 to 2018, revenue from crude oil exports has decreased, and more recently, export disruptions have occurred because of the conflict in neighbouring Sudan.

The governor of the central bank, James Alic Garang, declared in May that the foreign exchange reserves of South Sudan had reached all-time lows.

This year, the International Monetary Fund predicts that consumer price inflation will soar to 54.8%.

After South Sudan separated from Sudan in 2011, Kiir was elected as the country’s first president.

In December, the nation is scheduled to elect a president, members of the legislature, and regional delegates.

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