African leaders’ tax returns

The Paradise Papers are shedding light on the mechanics of how African leaders hide their incomes.

Image via The Outline

It is common knowledge that many African leaders, like several leaders all over the globe, put in place structures for tax evasion; basically theft. But the Paradise Papers are shedding light on the mechanics of how that actually happens domestically. From Liberia’s outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the head of Nigeria’s senate Bukola Saraki, fishing in Namibia and the important role of the oft-forgotten island of Mauritius in all this.

(2) The Paradise Papers also make a connection between the commodities company Glencore (originally a South African company), a notoriously corrupt Israeli billionaire accused of illegal weapons trading by the UN (and close friend of Congolese President, Joseph Kabila) and mining rights in the DRC.  Keeping an eye on Glencore is important because they have their hands in problematic deals all over the continent. This includes oil rights in Chad, which is looking to end this relationship this week.

(3) Elites in Africa’s youngest country South Sudan exploit the ongoing war there to loot the country’s foreign reserves. A leaked report shows how this happened.

(4) Welcome to Harare R.G. Mugabe International Airport. Our dear leader has had a busy week, as he fired his vice president to pave way for his wife to succeed him. Blessing-Miles Tendi, writing in African Arguments makes the case that Britain, which has subtly showed support for ex-VP Emmerson Mnangawa, betrayed a lack of understanding of Zimbabwe’s political history.  Others argue Mr. Mnangawa was not as shrewd as he appeared to be. Either way, there is evidence of mounting support against our dear leader.

(5) The Ebola pandemic did not stop internal fraud in the Red Cross, which discovered that about US$5 million was stolen via staff (overpriced supplies, salaries for non-existent aid workers and fake customs bills) in collusion with local banks.

 (6) Americans voted last week. Meet the Liberian refugee who was voted Mayor of Helena, Montana last week.

(7)  An investigation in to the alleged Vampire attacks that have surfaced in Malawi.

(8) Your monthly reminder about the pitfalls of the #AfricaRising narrative.

(9) Why is it so hard to get to the truth about violence against protestors in Togo?

(10) Finally, how motorcycles have increased in African streets, and African modern art.

Further Reading

A power crisis

Andre De Ruyter, the former CEO of Eskom, has presented himself as a simple hero trying to save South Africa’s struggling power utility against corrupt forces. But this racially charged narrative is ultimately self-serving.

Cinematic universality

Fatou Cissé’s directorial debut meditates on the uncertain fate and importance of Malian cinema amidst the growing dismissiveness towards the humanities across the world.

The meanings of Heath Streak

Zimbabwean cricketing legend Heath Streak’s career mirrors many of the unresolved tensions of race and class in Zimbabwe. Yet few white Zimbabwean sporting figures are able to stir interest and conversation across the nation’s many divides.


After winning Italy’s Serie A with Napoli, Victor Osimhen has cemented his claim to being Africa’s biggest footballing icon. But is the trend of individual stardom good for sports and politics?

The magic man

Chris Blackwell’s long-awaited autobiography shows him as a romantic rogue; a risk taker whose life compass has been an open mind and gift to hear and see slightly into the future.

How to think about colonialism

Contemporary approaches to the legacy of colonialism tend to narrowly emphasize political agency as the solution to Africa’s problems. But agency is configured through historically particular relations of which we are not sole authors.

More than just a flag

South Africa’s apartheid flag has been declared hate speech by a top court. But while courts are important and their judgments matter, racism is a long and internationally entrenched social phenomenon that cannot be undone via judicial processes.

Resistance is a continuous endeavor

For more than 75 years, Palestinians have organized for a liberated future. Today, as resistance against Israeli apartheid intensifies, unity and revolutionary optimism has become the main infrastructure of struggle.

Paradise forgotten

While there is much to mourn about the passing of legendary American singer and actor Harry Belafonte, we should hold a place for his bold statement-album against apartheid South Africa.