Items of Interest: April 23

The following items from April 23 may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa:

Democratic Republic of the Congo: President Félix Tshisekedi returned to Kinshasa from a tour of domestic provincial capitals and met with former President Joseph Kabila to discuss the formation and composition of the country’s new government and national assembly. 

Significance: The composition of a new cabinet and presiding offices of the country’s National Assembly will be heavily shaped by members of the Kabila-led Common Front for Congo (FCC) alliance. Consequently, the policy priorities of the substantive Tshisekedi administration and Congolese parliament will be informed by Common Front for Congo positions. Of geomarket interest is dialogue over the government’s Mining Code that was revised in 2018, though it is unlikely that any substantive revision of the Mining Code will take place.

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China: Heads of state from Africa began arriving in Beijing to attend the Second Belt and Road Initiative Forum scheduled for April 25-27.

Significance: Leaders from Africa will be looking for economic confidence in China as a driver of global growth. African leaders will also be looking to conclude negotiations for economic cooperation agreements so as to actualize development and infrastructure priorities. Specifically, the Kenyan and Ugandan leaders will aim to conclude negotiating borrowing terms with Chinese lenders for the construction of the standard gauge railway project linking the two countries.

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Mali: The National Consultative Framework conference that had been scheduled for April 23-28 has been postponed with no new dates announced.

Significance: The national conference was intended to facilitate inclusive and representative dialogue and contribute to political efforts aimed to reduce hostilities informed by socio-economic and political grievances especially in central and northern regions of the country. The no-confidence measure in Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga and his subsequent replacement as prime minister by Boubou Cissé surely contributed to the disruption in convening the national conference.

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South Africa: Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema stated his party will consider coalition government talks with the ruling African National Congress after national elections are held on May 8.

Significance: African National Congress internal polling suggests the ruling party is not confident in retaining the 62% vote share it achieved in national elections held in 2014. Though the African National Congress will remain the country’s largest elected party, it may have to enter into coalition talks to govern especially at the provincial level, notably in Gauteng, where it may fall below a 50% majority. A coalition government between the African National Congress and the opposition Democratic Alliance is unrealistic. A coalition government with the Economic Freedom Fighters would entrench populist and nationalist economic policies such as land expropriation without compensation and the nationalization of the country’s Reserve Bank.

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Zimbabwe: The government gazetted the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill. 

Significance: The Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill is intended by the Zimbabwean government to replace the controversial Public Order and Security Act of 2002. The new bill will next be debated in parliament before it can be passed and potentially signed into law. Concerns remain as to the content and provisions in the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill that provide for human rights and democratic safeguards. Should the U.S. government and European Union see the new Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill as inconsequentially different to the Public Order and Security Act it would replace, the call to repeal foreign sanctions on Zimbabwean officials will be undermined.  

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