Africa's Barometer

AFP/Getty

HAT TRICK: Yar'Adua, at left, is backed by President Obasanjo

In the struggle to restore health to Africa's politics and economies, there are decisive moments of tangible gain or dangerous relapse. The presidential election in Nigeria on April 21 is such a breath-holding moment. Africa's scorecard is finely balanced. Its 53 countries are overwhelmingly democratic, and the economic growth rate of sub-Saharan Africa remained above 5% last year. Ghana has just celebrated 50 years of independence and is prospering. Last year's elections in Congo went better than most people dared hope. A new peace deal has been brokered in the Ivory Coast. But there are also serious negatives: conflict...

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