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.
Long considered an attractive investment destination in the otherwise troubled Horn of Africa, Djibouti’s reputation is at risk following the government’s controversial seizure of the DP World-operated Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT). The unilateral termination of DP World's contract has raised concerns over the stability of the country’s investment environment and may damage investor confidence in the longer term.
As uncertainty prevails over whether President Joseph Kabila will seek an unconstitutional third term in office, the DRC’s political opposition at last appears to be making attempts to present a united challenge to his rule. The prospect of the DRC’s political opposition fielding a single unity candidate in the upcoming elections has raised the possibility of the country witnessing a change in government in December 2018.
As public confidence and trust in Nigeria’s traditional two dominant parties remains low, it is looking increasingly likely that a third political party will emerge as a real competitor in the coming months. By capitalising on the public’s demand for an alternative choice, a third political party has the potential to cause a real upset in 2019.
As President Kabila’s hold on power becomes more and more tenuous, persistent instability across the DRC has become the government’s main excuse to continue to delay new elections. This unrest appears to have been exacerbated by the actions of various illicit networks who, according to various observers, are acting on behalf of the government.
While 'conflict free' certification schemes for 3TG imports from the DRC are commendable, in practice their effectiveness remains limited. This is particularly apparent in their failures to address the less publicised issue of how artisanal and small-scale mining in the DRC contributes to environmental crime.
Despite a marked increase in judicial autonomy over the past several decades, the Tanzania judiciary remains subject to external manipulation and executive influence. Low salaries and a lack of resources further encourages corruption and rent-seeking behaviour, leading to an erosion of public confidence in this institution.
Nigeria’s various illicit networks enjoy varying degrees of political access and influence. In general, illicit networks have had little sway over the government in terms of influencing the decision-making process; but individually, each network is capable of impacting the country’s political, economic and social climates.
Despite the departure of Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s government is still made up of the same set of ZANU-PF heavyweights, serving as a reminder that the right to rule Zimbabwe revolves around the military, and liberation war credentials. Under Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s future remains threatened by the same patronage-based system of predatory and anti-democratic government.
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Wildlife poaching and trafficking have long been a serious problem in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Despite his recent resignation, the ruling ZANU-PF’s strong links to these criminal activities means that a decrease in Zimbabwe’s thriving illicit wildlife trade is unlikely in the short term. In fact, the probability that the elite networks that benefit from the trade will remain in place under Mnangagwa remains high.
President Magufuli’s increasingly authoritarian actions have attracted concerns over the state of democracy in Tanzania. There are indications that the recent closures of opposition-linked newspapers could be a mere ploy to weaken the opposition and stifle government critics.
Sonangol’s complex relationship with the Presidential office has created a de facto parallel government. Over the years it has operated outwith the traditional remit of a national oil company, exercising undue political and economic influence to the benefit of a select few. However, a combination of low global oil prices and restructuring will likely serve to finally curb its influence.