Items of Interest: August 12

The Democratic Republic of the Congo closer to forming a government, the government of Gabon articulating its new Petroleum Code, and Zimbabwe nearing approving the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill are actions from August 12 that may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Prime Minister Sylvester Ilunga Ilunkamba received a list of 65 candidate ministers to form the Tshisekedi administration. 

Significance: The list of recommended cabinet ministers is the product of six months of consultations between the Common Front for Congo (FCC) alliance loyal to former President Joseph Kabila and the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS)-led alliance led by incumbent President Félix Tshisekedi. Of the 65 recommended appointees, 42 are from Kabila’s FCC while 23 are part of Tshisekedi’s party. The balance of power is consistent with expectations held by the Kabila-loyal FCC coalition. The focus in Kinshasa on how to divide political appointments, as opposed to a focus on the policy preferences of the ministerial portfolios, is also consistent with internal political expectations. 

Gabon: The Petroleum Code of 2019 revises the government’s fiscal terms in a manner intended to raise investor confidence supporting the auctioning of oil and gas blocks currently underway through September. 

Significance: The government of Gabon is revising its existing petroleum code, which came into effect in 2014, to reverse a period of declining investment and declining output in the country’s crucial hydrocarbons sector. New terms include significantly reduced levels of taxes, fees, and government shares. The liberalization effects by the Gabonese government stands out from the nationalist legislative and regulatory behavior of many peers in the region.  

Zimbabwe: The Senate will imminently debate the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill.  

Significance: The Zimbabwean Senate will debate on August 14 the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill, following a constitutionality review and subsequent amendments by a parliamentary legal committee. Bringing into law the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill, to replace the Public Order and Safety Act, would align one measure of democratic governance with foreign donor expectations and contribute toward ameliorating foreign relations that are strained under sanctions on Zimbabwean officials. Repealing adverse legislation is but one known political factor, however, for the Zimbabwean government to demonstrate pro-democratic governance sufficient to see Western sanctions on Zimbabwean officials repealed. 

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