Democratic Republic of the Congo President Tshisekedi addressing the country’s Mining Code, preparatory meetings for the Russia-Africa Summit, and the scheduling of the South African finance minister’s budget address are actions from September 19 that may emerge to become significant factors impacting geomarket developments in Africa.
Democratic Republic of the Congo: President Félix Tshisekedi addressed his government’s revised Mining Code of 2018.
Significance: Tshisekedi spoke to diaspora supporters during his official visit to Belgium and addressed concerns for the Congo’s mining sector performance and governance. In his first commentary regarding the Mining Code, the Congo president spoke of the need to restore order to the country’s mineral sector by complying with existing laws (Tshisekedi also called for the promotion of transformational industries, as opposed to merely exporting minerals in raw form). The Congo government’s Mining Code, which was revised in 2018, is a controversial piece of legislation that foreign mining companies prefer to be amended so as to restore more favorable terms and conditions for their operations in the country. The Tshisekedi administration cannot easily do so, however, facing political and economic imperatives to assert greater administrative and fiscal oversight of the mining sector, in addition to complying with the interests of Tshisekedi’s coalition partner, the Common Front for Congo alliance loyal to former President Joseph Kabila (whose government passed the revised Mining Code in 2018).
Russia/Africa: The Russian government is hosting preparatory meetings in anticipation of the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit.
Significance:Russia will host its first-ever summit with Africa, which is scheduled to be held in Sochi from October 23-24. While Russian foreign ministry officials have in recent weeks and months travelled throughout Africa to deliver personalized invitations for African heads of state and government to attend, diplomats from African governments accredited to Moscow are now liaising so as to confirm the agenda for the two-part gathering that begins with an Economic Forum and ends with the heads of state Summit. The tentative agenda includes discussions on how to cooperate in the energy, transportation, infrastructure, finance, security, and digital information sectors. While Russia is not an economic partner for Africa on the scale of China, the European Union, Japan, or the U.S. (others who have hosted similar summits with Africa), Russia brings to bear long-standing political and security relationships that continue to be quite influential among governments in Africa, especially among liberation-era political parties that rule in countries including Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
South Africa: Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will present his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on October 30.
Significance: Mboweni’s budget address, delayed by a week so as to allow President Cyril Ramaphosa to participate in the Russia-Africa Summit, will be intensely watched by innumerous stakeholders comprising the spectrum of domestic constituents and foreign lenders and investors. The South African finance minister will be under competing demands to, on the one hand, contain (and not increase) the government’s public debt levels, and, on the other, extend subsidies and guarantees to state-owned enterprises (as well as sustain public sector job levels and wage packages) to solve for persistent and politically untenable high levels of unemployment. A closely-watched follow-on implication will be the sovereign credit rating decision to be issued by Moody’s, who will use Mboweni’s debt management presentation to inform their decision whether or not to downgrade the country’s Baa3 investment rating.
Other items of note:
-Côte d’Ivoire’s Guillaume Soro called for a new social contract, saying it is doubtful the country is moving toward a peaceful transition of state power.
-Guinean opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo said he would not participate in constitutional consultations with Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana.
-Military junta leader Mariano Nhongo of the Mozambique National Resistance claimed responsibility for two September 17 attacks on civilian traffic in Gondola district, Manica province.
-Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou named five leaders of Mali’s High Council for the Unity of Azawad for responsibility for attacks conducted in Niger.