Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Senior CNN correspondent Stephanie Andree recently traveled to Egypt’s famed Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to learn more about a recent restructuring of the airline Etihad. In this exclusive CNN video, Stephanie explains why it’s now common for captains of big ships to wind up in military uniforms, and reasons why coups and military coups are making a comeback on the African continent.
Yohannes Efendi is an MD in the ship management industry based in London, and he has worked for major companies such as the German, French and Russian navies as well as the African navy.
But despite decades of experience, he doesn’t think he has ever worked as a captain before.
Efendi believes there is something in the water here in Africa that is supporting the insurgencies, political upheavals and coups.
“Things have changed a lot since then. I think in the early part of this century, most of them happened here in Africa. None of them took place in the rest of the world.
“But now there are reports of coups going on in a few countries, in Yemen, for example, it’s happened more recently. It’s happened at least in one other country in Africa — Eritrea.”
Co-editor Renee Mauborgne and CNN producer Steve Nevaldegui work on a report from Sharm el-Sheikh.
The coups most recently felt in Africa have followed the revolutions that swept through the continent in the late 80s and early 90s.
Founded in 1971, Egypt’s Al Tahrir Airways airline was forced to change course in 2017 after a turbulent few years at the peak of its popularity. The carrier was sold to state-owned EgyptAir, amid plans to restructure operations and turn the airline into a budget carrier — a route followed by many of the growing network of airlines in the Middle East and North Africa.
The first such coup in Africa in more than a decade was carried out last year, when 51-year-old Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi was toppled in a military coup backed by a group of dissident soldiers. It marked the end of a 38-year-old decade in power that had made Benin something of a leader of a booming economy in the sub-Saharan region.
This followed longtime Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who was brought down by the same method in April 2018 — after he had just won a second term in office.
And Efendi believes Africa’s success in boosting growth rates in recent years can be blamed at least in part on coups.
“When they look for challenges in a company or a country, who are you going to say? You’re probably going to say crime, insecurity, and that’s mainly on the African continent. And yes there is some corruption, but it’s not as bad as many people think, and people don’t really realize that.”
He says that Africa’s political leaders could actually use that cooperation to develop a more stable, democratic continent.
“What I have learned in the past, most of these leaders have had two or three coups, and this kind of revolution comes from a very unfortunate situation for the people in the country.
“Because they have been in power for a long time and the people are ready to revolt, wanting to leave that job, and maybe — and some say all things being equal — they should do this job for a shorter period of time.”
Read more about CNN’s coverage of African affairs, from good news and stories of progress to sit-ins and protests.