Items of Interest: August 21

Angola hosting a summit of the Great Lakes region, Chad’s closure of its northern, eastern, and southern borders, Nigeria’s new cabinet, and no Zambian meeting with Vedanta Resources are actions from August 21 that may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa.

Angola, Rwanda, Uganda: President Lourenço hosted the leaders of Rwanda and Uganda, as well as of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo, to moderate peace and cooperation in the Great Lakes region. 

Significance: The Rwandan and Ugandan presidents agreed not to destabilize the other, and all five presidents agreed to support greater political and economic cooperation in the Great Lakes region of central Africa. Diplomatic and trade ties between Rwanda and Uganda will improve, but not reverse the outlook that each government is pursuing separate supply chain corridors connecting to global markets (Rwanda via Tanzanian roads, rail, and ports, and Uganda via Kenyan transportation infrastructure). Non-adversarial relations between Rwanda and Uganda will contribute to stability in eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the Kagame and Museveni administrations will have less compulsion to intervene in or support proxy militia, though the Congo’s Tshisekedi administration still has a long road ahead of asserting meaningful control over this distant but resource-rich region of his country. 

Chad: The Chadian government closed its borders with Libya, Sudan and the Central African Republic, though excepting cross-border traffic through named checkpoints. 

Significance: The closing of the country’s borders follows the state of emergency declared by the Déby administration in the context of persistent inter-communal violence in Ouaddaï, Sila and Tibesti provinces. Though checkpoints will remain open at Adré, Ounianga, Mourdi, Tiné, Amdjirémé, Sido, Goré and Kouri, tight restrictions are placed on vehicle movements beyond these localities. Additionally, artisanal gold mining is suspended until new regulatory procedures are established. The state of emergency and closing of the country’s northern, eastern, and southern borders reveals a national security fear held by the Chadian president and that he intends to disrupt Chadian rebel group movements who typically retreat to safe zones across the three borders now closed. The state of emergency and border closings do not interfere with the country’s hydrocarbons sector, whose activity takes place in the extreme southwest and whose supply chain corridor is via Cameroon to the Gulf of Guinea coast. 

Nigeria: President Muhammadu Buhari swore in 43 members of his new cabinet. 

Significance: The forty-three ministers and ministers of state are representatives drawn from all thirty-six states of the Nigerian federation, complying with patronage expectations that federal government appointments will be apportioned with a degree of internal political balance. Though he retained the Petroleum Resources portfolio for himself, Buhari selected former Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva to serve as Minister of State in day to day charge of the ministry. Alongside newly-appointed Minister of Niger Delta Affairs former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio and reappointed Minister of Transportation former Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, political management of the volatile oil and gas producing region is placed in known and experienced hands whose ability to assimilate the region’s militants will contribute to a stabilizing outlook

Zambia: President Edgar Lungu will not meet with Vedanta Resources during his state visit to India. 

Significance: Lungu’s office refuted the announcement by Vedanta Resources that its chairman Anil Argawal will meet the Zambia president during Lungu’s August 20-22 state visit to India. No meeting means no resolution to the Konkola Copper Mines partnership that the Zambian government aims to dissolve and that Vedanta Resources aims to preserve. Lungu not meeting with Vedanta Resources leadership is consistent with his political position that the Zambian government will assert its economic imperatives and not compromise its legislative and regulatory policies to foreign mining biases. That being said, the Zambian government is delaying the introduction of a new non-refundable sales tax regime so as to accommodate its tax structure to the concerns of other more compliant foreign mining companies. 

Other items of note:

-Côte d’Ivoire political opposition allege that unspecified constitution amendments called for by President Alassane Ouattara will include an age limit clause intended to bar former President Henri Konan Bédié from contesting the country’s 2020 presidential election

-Tullow Oil expects that commercial scale oil exports from Kenya will begin in 2024, a delay from 2022. 

-Mozambique’s Assembly of the Republic approved the government’s draft Peace Agreement and National Reconciliation law. The ruling FRELIMO voted 140 and the opposition RENAMO voted 52 in favor.

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