Frenchman Charles Debbasch, a professor of administrative law and architect of tailor-made constitutions in Africa, died on 8 January, though his family had been trying to keep the news under wraps. Until the end of his life Debbasch advised Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé, who welcomed him to Togo shortly after his conviction in France over his management of the Vasarely Foundation.
Faced with a jihadist threat on Chad's northern border and with troops engaged in peacekeeping operations in Mali, Togo's head of state has spearheaded a major shakeup of the army and defence ministry's leadership to prepare for challenges ahead.
The Paris summit on investing in Africa, which will largely focus on debt, and the World Bank and IMF spring meetings will take place in quick succession in the coming months. To prepare for these major gatherings, the IMF and G20 countries have started to tackle the thorny issue of debt reduction, a frequent source of disagreement with China.