Items of Interest: May 2

The following items from May 2 may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa:

Burkina Faso: President Roch Kaboré received German Chancellor Angela Merkel and announced the German provision of a €46 million grant to support security measures in the country’s north and east.

Significance: Burkina Faso hosted the German chancellor along with the presidents of the 5-member state G5 Sahel initiative for a one-day extraordinary summit of the sub-regional security alliance. The German aid comes at a time of escalating stress on the Burkinabé security environment, with almost daily attacks occurring across the country’s west, north, and east by Islamist militants and their indigenous proxies. The target selections remain focused on   Burkinabé civilians and security personnel found in remote rural and urban environments of the country. Regular instances of the theft of cash, weapons, vehicles, and other supplies enable sustained operations by militants. Though the January 16 killing of the Canadian citizen kidnapped from the Progress Minerals mining site remains anomalous insofar as the killing of foreigners in Burkina Faso is concerned, the high tempo of Islamist militant attacks conducted with a high degree of impunity carries a worrisome outlook for the country and neighboring border regions.

Mali: Prime Minister Boubou Cissé convened a signing ceremony establishing a political agreement for the formation of a nationally-inclusive and broad-based government. 

Significance: Cissé was appointed to the prime ministership on April 22, replacing Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, with essentially one mandate: to form a new government inclusive of ruling and opposition political parties, civil society organizations, and representatives of the country’s multiple ethnic and territorially aligned armed groups. The intent of forming a new broad-based government is to solve for wide-spread dissent and insecurity (the latter found especially in the central and northern regions where Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its indigenous proxies behave predatorily) in the country. Next steps to watch from the May 2 signing ceremony are how the allocation of cabinet portfolios are distributed and provided with administrative resources to demonstrate responsiveness to demands for improved political and socioeconomic governance heard at the sub-national regional and territorial levels.

South Africa: The Department of Energy will table the Integrated Resource Plan for approval by the Ramaphosa administration in June.

Significance: The Integrated Resource Plan provides for a long-term framework to ensure a sufficient supply of electricity as well as modern forms of energy access in the country. The Plan includes targets for electricity generated from diverse sources including coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydro, wind, and solar technologies, and also incorporates inputs required from foreign sources, to include natural gas feedstock from Mozambique and hydroelectric power from the Inga 3 power project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The comprehensiveness of the Integrated Resource Plan in addition to preparations by the South African government to hold national elections on May 8 likely contributed to delays in already obtaining cabinet approval for the energy strategy. Persistent and costly electricity shortages by the state-owned energy producer Eskom surely underscore the imperative by the Ramaphosa administration to implement the Integrated Resource Plan and obtain reliable and diverse supplies of electricity and other forms of energy.

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