In South Africa financial paper BusinessDay looks at the economic background against which President Jacob Zuma will make his state-of-the-nation address tomorrow.
The signs are mixed, to say the best of them.
South Africa's economy ended last year on a positive note, though power cuts and a slow pick-up in global demand will weigh on economic growth and severely constrain employment prospects this year.
Last year’s 25 per cent unemployment rate was the highest since the 2009 recession, indicating that the economy is losing the job-creation battle..
The good news comes in a separate BusinessDay story. There we learn that South Africa’s bulk export volumes surged 34 per cent to a record 16 million tons last month.
Iron ore and coal account for most of the country's bulk exports.
But every silver lining comes with a cloud... because BusinessDay also reports that President Zuma will make an announcement on strategic minerals during his speech to parliament tomorrow.
Mines Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said in October that the government was considering categorising certain minerals such as coal and iron ore as strategic for the purposes of industrialisation.
Declaring minerals strategic would curtail exports for mining companies and force them to sell minerals at prices set by the government to local companies
The vast majority of national electricity company Eskom's generating stations are coal-fired.
On its African News pages, BusinessDay reports that Lesotho is to go ahead with early elections as planned at the end of this month, despite recent renewed tensions.
Lesotho’s 28 February elections are being held more than two years early in a bid to restore stability following a coup attempt last August.
the country provides 90 per cent of the water to Johannesburg and most of the kingdom's major businesses are South African-owned.
In Egypt the Cairo-based Independent says a considerable number of well-known members of deposed president Hosni Mubarak regime have put themselves forward as candidates in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
The steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz, of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party, and former MPs Hany Serour and Haider al-Baghdady, have presented themselves as candidates, according to the Egypt Independent.
The paper wonders if the parliamentary elections forshadow the return of the Mubarak era of autocratic rule.
The first phase of voting is due at the end of March.
Nigeria's elections are making front-page news in this morning's Lagos-based Guardian.
The report says that frosty diplomatic relations between the United States and Nigeria may be further worsened by claims that election consultants being used by the opposition All Progressives Congress are closely associated with President Barack Obama.
The Jonathan administration is expected to protest against White House "meddling" in the elections through the firm AKPD Media and Messages.
The political consulting company was co-founded by David Axelrod, a chief campaign adviser to Obama during the 2008 campaign, and later a senior adviser to the president.
In 2011, Axelrod left government and became the senior strategist for Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012.
The Jonathan administration will raise concerns with the Obama administration over its "hostile" attitude to the Nigerian president and its obvious endorsement of the APC candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.
John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, on Sunday condemned the postponement of the Nigerian general election by the Independent National Electoral Commission and warned against further delays.
Following last week's incursion by Chadian soldiers into north-eastern Nigeria, the Punch daily newspaper this morning reports that no fewer than 750 troops from Niger are to be deployed in the same region to assist in the ongoing effort to end Boko Haram activities in the zone.
The Nigerien parliament has approved the deployment of foreign soldiers on national territory.
Niger currently hosts hundreds of Nigerian refugees and last week witnessed a number of attacks by the Islamist armed group on targets inside Niger.