As one of Tanzania’s most important economic sectors and sources of foreign investment, tourism provides widespread opportunities for rent seeking and patronage activities among politicians. This trend is epitomised in the government’s relationship with the Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC), whose almost three-decade tenure in Tanzania has been plagued by allegations of corruption, human rights abuses and illicit hunting practices.
The Congolese government is seeking to exploit the recent surge in global cobalt prices by substantially raising taxes on the metal. Despite concerns over an increase in operational costs, the DRC has a virtual monopoly over global cobalt production, leaving international mining companies with little option but to concede to the sector’s new regulatory changes.
Tanzania’s mining sector appears to finally have a functioning governing body following the appointment of Idris Kikula as Chairman of the newly established Mining Commission. A subsequent resumption in the process of issuing mining licences and permits after an almost 10 months hiatus is expected to create more certainty in Tanzania’s mining industry and slowly restore investor confidence in the East African country.
Despite fierce opposition from international mining companies, the DRC has signed into law regulations to implement the country’s new Mining Code, which introduces several major fiscal and regulatory reforms. Pursuing a high risk, high reward paradigm, these reforms will have a serious impact on the DRC’s already weak investment environment.
The recent introduction of new mining regulations has created uncertainty within Tanzania’s banking sector, as the government attempts to further maximise the country’s economic benefits gained from its abundant natural resources by limiting the involvement of foreign-owned banks in mining-related businesses.
Uncertainty over recent changes to Tanzania’s mining laws and regulations has created an increasingly unpredictable operating environment within the country’s mining sector. While many western companies already operating in Tanzania remain reluctant to commit their future to such an uncertainty, China is exploiting emerging opportunities to gain entry into the country’s lucrative mining sector.
Endemic corruption has long rendered the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) ineffective in its role as governor and operator of Nigeria’s maritime ports, deterring investment and limiting economic development. However, the appointment of Hadiza Bala-Usman to head the critical parastatal promises an end to this trend, as President Muhammadu Buhari’s war against corruption turns to the country’s ports.
Ghana’s inviting investment climate, and apparent commitment to the long-term development of its nascent tourism sector, is making the hospitality sector an attractive target for hotel investors looking to expand into Africa. While progress is being made, challenges remain as Ghana continues to struggle with unnecessary bureaucracy, excessive regulation and infrastructural deficiencies.
While still not considered one of Ghana’s dominant economic sectors, Ghana’s new NPP administration appears to be making concerted efforts to prop the country’s tourism sector. Over the past 12 months the government has introduced a number of key initiatives to open up the country’s tourism sector to private investment and turn the country into a leisure tourism destination.
Sport hunting in Tanzania has long been synonymous with government corruption, with access to the lucrative sector believed to be controlled by a small group of elite politicians. However, the appointment of a new Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism suggests an imminent end to this trend, as sport hunting has finally attracted the attention of President John Magufuli’s war against corruption.
Aliko Dangote’s new refinery – which is expected to be operational in 2019 –represents a huge potential boost for the Nigerian economy. Of equal interest, it will also secure Dangote’s eminent position in Nigeria’s economic and political circles, potentially at the expense of some politically-connected individuals who are alleged to have improperly profited from importing refined petroleum.
While cocoa smuggling between Ghana and Ivory Coast is common, allegations of corruption and other illicit practices within Ghana's cocoa sector regulator, Cocobod, may tarnish Ghana's international reputation as a reliable supplier, and could prove more damaging to the country's lucrative industry.
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