Items of Interest: June 27

Recovered assets and Angola’s Integrated Municipal Intervention Plan and a summit of the Congo and Zambian presidents are actions from June 27 that may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa.

Angola: President João Lourenço announced the launch of the government’s Integrated Municipal Intervention Plan (PIIM).

Significance: The Integrated Municipal Intervention Plan is funded by $2 billion of Angolan government assets recovered from the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund that had been improperly managed by political exposed Angolan persons. The deployment of the $2 billion represents the first demonstration of new government spending since fraudulently used or obtained government assets have been voluntarily or coercively recovered. Secondly, the scale of capital deployed is significant, and is intended to fund to construction of classrooms, health clinics, and secondary and tertiary roads – in other words, projects that benefit the Angolan population at large, as opposed to ruling party elite. Lastly, the launch of the municipal-oriented development plan comes as the Angolan government prepares for inaugural municipal elections scheduled for 2020. The net result from the launch of the PIIM is a political and economic action plan intended to ensure electoral confidence in the Lourenço administration as the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola works to reverse degraded governance and confidence as a result of behavior of the preceding Jose Eduardo dos Santos administration.

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia: Congo President Félix Tshisekedi traveled to Lusaka to meet Zambian President Edgar Lungu. Tshisekedi will later open the Zambia International Trade Fair in Ndola. 

Significance: Ensuring uninterrupted cross-border trade between the DRC and Zambia is always of primary interest to the neighboring countries, especially when it comes to copper and cobalt mining that stretches across Zambia’s Copperbelt and the Congo’s Katanga provinces. Tshisekedi has recently had to intervene with provincial and administrative officials in the Congo’s mining capital of Lubumbashi to resolve behaviors that have impeded the smooth throughput of Congo mineral output to global markets via Zambia. At the same time of the Congo president’s visit to Zambia, the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments have pressed for greater use of railway connectivity to Mozambique’s port of Beira and South Africa’s port of Durban. The two southern African ports are principal gateways to Zambia and the southern, mining-centric provinces of the Congo, however truck, rather than rail, is the primary mode of transportation. Encouraging greater southern African rail usage follows the Tshisekedi administration approving a feasibility study into extending Tanzania’s standard gauge railway to the Congo, though the eastern provinces where the Tanzanian railway would potentially link to are not meaningfully connected to the Congo’s copper and cobalt zones. Lastly, the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia are both asserting greater fiscal and regulatory controls over the foreign-operated mining sectors in their countries. Coordinating on comparable operating regimes is likely on the agenda for Tshisekedi-Lungu talks.  

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