Items of Interest: August 14

A female suicide bomber in Chad’s Lake Chad region, a meeting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between President Tshisekedi and the chairman of the state-owned diamond mining company MIBA, and the Guinean president traveling to France are actions from August 14 that may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa.

Chad: A female suicide bomber killed 6 in the Kaïga-Kindjiria area of Lake Chad.

Significance: The location of the suicide bomber attack, against a local chief and his advisors and which took place in the midnight hours of August 13, reiterates that the country’s national security challenges are concentrated in three remote geographies: the Lake Chad basin of the western frontier area, the Tibesti region neighboring Libya to the north, and the Ouaddaï province of eastern Chad bordering Sudan. This is to say, areas of inconsequential macroeconomic activity. The hydrocarbons-rich southern zone of Chad has not experienced meaningful insecurity, with the August 2018 truck explosion at Glencore’s Mangara oil field remaining an anomalous incident.    

Democratic Republic of the Congo: President Félix Tshisekedi met with the chairman of the board of the state-owned diamond mining company Société Minière de Bakwanga (MIBA).

Significance: The Congo president and Dieudonné Mbaya Tshiakany discussed how to restore  growth and production levels to the diamond mining company that has traditionally played a crucial role of funder of government economic priorities. In other words, Tshisekedi did not signal considerations to further degrade or isolate MIBA. The Congo leader faces some pressure to revamp the country’s extractive industries sector, and in particular revise the government’s Mining Code that in 2018 introduced new degrees of control and taxation on foreign mining operations in the country. But asserting greater economic sovereignty over the country’s mineral sector is a political imperative Tshisekedi inherited from his predecessor former President Joseph Kabila and which appears to extend not only to copper and cobalt but to diamond mining as well. 

Guinea: President Alpha Condé will travel to France for commemorations of the 75th anniversary of allied forces landings during World War II. 

Significance: Condé’s participation in France is consistent with a fairly high tempo of recent international diplomatic summitry the Guinean president has either hosted or traveled abroad for. In addition to burnishing his nationalist and pan-African leadership credentials, placing him as a peer to founding Guinean President Seiko Touré (who served from 1958 to 1984), Conde’s    

diplomatic initiatives are likely intended to gain political deference in support of an undeclared bid to revise Guinea’s constitution in order to remove the presidential term limit clause and stand for reelection in 2020. Given the significant foreign investment commitments being mobilized for Guinea’s iron ore sector, Condé is shaping internal and foreign political discourse so that his administration can consolidate control over lucrative mining and infrastructure development projects that are unlikely to break ground before 2020.   

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