Items of Interest: August 15

Cabinda beneficiation, Benguela and Namibe basin oil and gas auctions in Angola, the Mauritanian president’s first cabinet meeting, and Zimbabwe Republic Police foreshadowing an adverse response to opposition demonstrations are actions from August 15 that may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa.

Angola: The political opposition has called for Cabinda province-empowering legislation. The government is auctioning oil and gas blocks in the country’s Benguela and Namibe basins.

Significance: The exclave Cabinda province is Angola’s existing crude oil and natural gas heartland. Historic struggles over central government control versus local autonomy has sustained a low-level rebellion in the hydrocarbons-rich territory. The call by member of parliament and deputy leader Raul Danda of the opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) party for new legislation enshrining greater financial beneficiation for Cabinda province will be a long-term endeavor given competing demands on the already strained Angolan treasury. That Angola’s recently-created National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANPG) will auction new blocks in the country’s Benguela and Namibe basins, found off the country’s central and southern coastline and unentangled with Cabinda territory, provides the Angolan government new avenues of extractive industries development that for the time being are uncomplicated by indigenous governance requirements.     

Mauritania: President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani held his cabinet’s first working meeting.

Significance: The cabinet working meeting is Ghazouani’s first since his inauguration as president of Mauritania on August 1. Since becoming the nation’s leader, succeeding Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Ghazouani has focused his efforts to principally liaise within the ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) party to effect a smooth and stabilizing presidential transition and ensure no adverse clannish fears upset the country’s macroeconomic stability that is counted on to contribute toward the realization of an estimated $40 billion of hydrocarbons industry investments by 2024.  

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Republic Police are warning that opposition Movement for Democratic Change protests will be violent. 

Significance: The Movement for Democratic Change will begin nationwide protest demonstrations on August 16. The Zimbabwean opposition party has stated their planned protests are in compliance with legal requirements to notify the police with logistical details of their movements. That the Zimbabwe Republic Police have stated they anticipate protest violence (citing the discovery of stones and slingshots) foreshadows an adverse Zimbabwean government response to opposition demonstrations. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on the opposition party to cancel planned protests and agree to dialogue, which the Movement for Democratic Change believes is disingenuous. The net outlook disfavors a near-term resolve that ameliorates foreign economic engagement with and sanctions lifting on Zimbabwean officials. 

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