Eritrea and Ethiopia pressing for measurable economic cooperation, South Africa’s State of the Nation address, and stalled debate on Zimbabwe’s Maintenance of Peace and Order bill are actions from June 19 that may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa.
Eritrea, Ethiopia: Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Advisor Yemane Gebreab were received in Addis Ababa by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Significance: The Eritrean delegation traveled to the Ethiopian capital to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the state of peace being initiated between the neighboring states. The visit by the senior Eritrean officials may also precede in the coming weeks a presidential-level summit between Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki. Though much political goodwill has been established between Eritrea and Ethiopia over the last twelve months, measurable deliverables from economic cooperation since the state of peace has fallen short of government and private expectations. An agenda for a follow-on heads of state summit will be to encourage foreign diplomatic and commercial commitments made jointly to Eritrea and Ethiopia be followed through on.
South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa will on June 20 deliver a State of the Nation address.
Significance: The State of the Nation address will be Ramaphosa’s inaugural parliamentary speech since his reelection as South African president on May 22. The South African leader will speak with optimism and a sense of unity as necessary ingredients to restore confidence in the government and economic growth to the country. Many different constituents will be anticipating more effective policy outcomes from the next South African government, but satisfying the diversity of these significant priorities will require patience, considerable resources, and compromise.
Zimbabwe: Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi was reported stating that debate over the government’s proposed Maintenance of Peace and Order bill will not be quickened.
Significance: The Maintenance of Peace and Order bill is intended to replace the Public Order and Safety Act, one of two controversial pieces of legislation seen as impeding the repeal of Western sanctions on Zimbabwean officials. For certain there are concerns among critics of the Maintenance of Peace and Order bill that the proposed legislation is little-changed from the existing legislation that provides the Zimbabwean government significant powers to curtail democratic freedoms. Justice Minister Ziyambi may argue that additional debate is required to fully receive concerns over whether the proposed legislation satisfies popular expectations for creating greater democratic space in the country. But given President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s stated prioritization to repeal the Maintenance of Peace and Order bill, the apparent set back would reveal that political divisions within the Mnangagwa-led Zimbabwe African National Congress-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party are not in consensus on repealing the legality of the country’s assertive security measures.