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Infos: Yellen urges swift conclusion to Zambia debt talks

In 2020, Zambia became the first African country to default on its foreign debt – estimated at $17.3 billion – since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic   –   Copyright © africanews SALIM DAWOOD/AFP or licensors By Africanews with AFP Last updated: 56 minutes ago Zambia The United States pledged Monday (Jan. 23) to press Zambia's

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Infos: Yellen urges swift conclusion to Zambia debt talks
In 2020, Zambia became the first African country to default on its foreign debt – estimated at $17.3 billion – since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic   –  

Copyright © africanews

SALIM DAWOOD/AFP or licensors

Zambia

The United States pledged Monday (Jan. 23) to press Zambia's creditors for relief from the Southern African country's massive defaulted debt as it tries to restructure its loans.

“We will continue to press for significant participation by major creditors, both bilateral and private sector, in providing debt relief to Zambia, particularly China,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, visiting Lusaka as part of a 10-day trip to Africa.

The “treatment of Zambia's debt is a top priority for the Treasury,” she added after a meeting with Zambian Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane.

She also met with President Hakainde Hichilema. Hichilema said he hopes the country's debt restructuring will be completed in the next two months: “Until we resolve this issue, it will distort the progress we have made so far.

In 2020, Zambia became the first African country to default on its foreign debt – estimated at $17.3 billion – since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its debt had exploded under Edgar Lungu, who borrowed massively to finance a frenzy of infrastructure projects during his six years in office.

President Hichilema, elected in 2021 on promises to root out corruption and resuscitate the economy, has improved the country's relations with its creditors and international donors.

The US is trying to regain influence in Africa, the scene of fierce economic and political competition among major powers.

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            Foreign

            Infos: Former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos dies at 79

            FILE- Jose Eduardo dos Santos attends African Cup of Nations…   –   Copyright © africanews Darko Bandic/AP2010 By Rédaction Africanews and Euronews with AFP Last updated: 12 hours ago Spain Angola's former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Africa's second-biggest oil producer for nearly four decades, has died aged 79, the Angolan presidency said on

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            Infos: Former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos dies at 79
            FILE- Jose Eduardo dos Santos attends African Cup of Nations…   –  

            Copyright © africanews

            Darko Bandic/AP2010

            Spain

            Angola's former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Africa's second-biggest oil producer for nearly four decades, has died aged 79, the Angolan presidency said on Facebook on Friday.

            Jose Eduardo dos Santos ruled Angola for 38 years.

            He died in the Barcelona clinic where he was hospitalised in June, more than five years after he left power in May 2017.

            He ruled Angola with an iron fist but his imprint did not survive his departure.

            His daughter Isabel, dubbed the “princess” and tapped in 2016 to head the national oil company Sonangol, is now being hounded by judges and faces a slew of corruption investigations.

            According to reports, his son, Filomeno has also been in prison since 2019, also for corruption.

            When José Eduardo dos Santos came to power in 1979, Angola had been in the throes of civil war for four years, following its independence from Portugal.

            Some 500,000 deaths have been recorded in 27 years in the war that he led, with the support of the USSR and Cuba, against Jonas Savimbi's Unita, supported by the South African apartheid regime and the United States. 

            Black gold

            This was the time of the oil boom. Dos Santos made Angola the largest producer of black gold in Africa – neck and neck with Nigeria – but only for the benefit of a tiny part of the population.

            Rare in public, he maintains total control over his party, the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which means that he is constantly reappointed as head of the country, where he runs the government, army, police and judges.

            – The strategist and the princess –

            Under his reign, the media are locked down and the rare outbreaks of popular protest are suppressed.

            Outside his borders, his longevity has allowed him to establish himself as a political pillar in the region, where he was a powerful supporter of Congolese President Joseph Kabila, his neighbour.

            “Against all odds”, Mr dos Santos “has managed to hold on to power despite the challenge of war and elections”, sums up Alex Vines, of the Chatham House study centre in London.

            He has always been a great strategist,” says Didier Péclard, a professor at the University of Geneva. “He knew how to redistribute the favours made possible by the oil rent among a fairly small circle of political clients.

            – formative years-

            Born on 28 August 1942 to a modest family, Mr dos Santos grew up in the “barrio” or neighbourhood of Sambizanga.

            This son of a bricklayer joined the MPLA in 1961 but only briefly joined the armed struggle.

            Two years later, he obtained a scholarship to study in Azerbaijan where he obtained an engineering degree and married a Soviet woman, Tatiana Kukanova, Isabelle's mother. He then married Ana Paula, a former air hostess 18 years his junior, and had several children.

            In the 1970s, he continued his political rise by joining the MPLA Central Committee. He was the successor to the first Angolan president, Agostinho Neto, and became his chief diplomat upon independence in 1975. When Neto died in 1979, he was invested as head of state by the party, of which he became president.

            – False democrat” –

            He then never relinquished power, as elections and changes in the Constitution took place, without ever being directly elected.

            In 1992, the presidential election was cancelled between the two rounds after accusations of fraud by his rival Jonas Savimbi.

            Another election scheduled for 2008 never took place and the 2010 Constitution allowed him to be re-elected two years later as leader of the MPLA, winner of the legislative elections.

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                        Foreign

                        Infos: Dos Santos, omnipotent figure of independent Angola

                        File photo taken on January 1, 1970 of Jose Eduardo dos Santos.   –   Copyright © africanews -/AFP or licensors By Rédaction Africanews with AFP Last updated: 8 hours ago Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who died on Friday, ruled Angola for 38 years and used oil windfalls to enrich his family while his country remained

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                        Infos: Dos Santos, omnipotent figure of independent Angola
                        File photo taken on January 1, 1970 of Jose Eduardo dos Santos.   –  

                        Copyright © africanews

                        -/AFP or licensors

                        Angola

                        Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who died on Friday, ruled Angola for 38 years and used oil windfalls to enrich his family while his country remained one of the poorest on the planet.

                        Never directly elected by the people, the former Marxist rebel died at the age of 79 in the Barcelona clinic where he was hospitalized in June, more than five years after leaving power in 2017.

                        He reigned over Angola with an iron fist and his heir apparent and successor, current President Joao Lourenço, surprised everyone by launching a vast campaign against corruption as soon as he came to power.

                        Born on August 28, 1942 from a modest family, dos Santos grew up in the “barrio” or district of Sambizanga.

                        In this shantytown of the capital, the core of the struggle against the Portuguese colonial power, this son of a mason joined the MPLA in 1961 but only briefly entered the armed struggle.

                        Two years later, he obtained a scholarship to study in Azerbaijan where he obtained an engineering degree and married a Soviet, Tatiana Kukanova, Isabelle's mother. Then married to Ana Paula, an ex-stewardess 18 years his junior, he is the father of several children.

                        In the 1970s, he continued his political ascent by joining the Central Committee of the MPLA. Dauphin of the first Angolan president Agostinho Neto, he became his head of diplomacy at independence in 1975. On his death in 1979, he was invested head of state by the party, of which he took over the presidency. He was 37 years old.

                        He then no longer let go of power according to the elections and the changes of the Constitution, without ever being directly elected.

                        When Dos Santos came to power Angola had been in the throes of civil war for four years following its independence from Portugal.

                        A long and difficult war – some 500,000 dead in 27 years – which he led, with the support of the USSR and Cuba, against Jonas Savimbi's Unita, supported by the South African apartheid regime and the States -United.

                        In the late 1980s international conditions were created for the appeasement of the civil war in Angola.

                        In 1991, Dos Santos and Jonas Savimbi sign an agreement mediated by Portugal for the first free and democratic elections in Angola.

                        The United Nations supervised vote was considered “free and fair” despite shortcomings but UNITA rejected the results and took up arms again.

                        A hot spot of the Cold War, the civil war only formally ended in 2002 after the death of Savimbi. In April the government's military chiefs and UNITA's chief of staff sign the peace agreement, under the eye of José Eduardo dos Santos, in the national assembly.

                        Dos Santos then makes Angola the first producer of black gold in Africa – neck and neck with Nigeria, but only to the benefit of a tiny part of the population.

                        Unusually, he maintains total control over his party, the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which earned him constant reappointment as head of the country where he heads the government, army, police and judges.

                        Under his reign, the media were locked down and the rare outbreaks of popular protest suppressed.

                        In 1992, the presidential election was cancelled between the two rounds after accusations of fraud by his rival Jonas Savimbi. 

                        Another election scheduled for 2008 never took place and the 2010 Constitution allows him to be reappointed two years later as leader of the MPLA, winner of the legislative elections.

                        The police crackdown on any attempt at a mass demonstration. His political adversaries cry “dictatorship”, which he denied. “We are a democratic country. We have several parties,” he said in 2013 in a rare press interview. 

                        Dos Santos then runs in 2012 for what would be his last presidential term.

                        In 2013, he confided to Brazilian television his weariness of power, describing his reign as “too long”.

                        At the end of 2016, when rumours say he was suffering from cancer, he announced his retirement. He leaves his place as promised a few months later to his runner-up Joao Lourenço.

                        In 2019 he settled in Barcelona in order to follow medical treatments in the clinic where he died less than two months before his 80th birthday.

                        The legacy of Angola's ex-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos

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                          Former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos dies at 79

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