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Africa Arrives: New Guide to the “World’s Hottest Market” Proves Africa is Open for Business!
September 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

United Kingdom – When asking businesspeople and economists to name a continent that springs to mind for its opportunities, workforce and potential to provide stable growth for the next five decades, few would say Africa.

However, investment banker Mark Byron can prove that Africa is *the* perfect continent for the rest of the world to invest in, operate from and thrive under. In his new book, ‘Africa Arrives:’ The Savvy Entrepreneur’s Guide to The World’s Hottest Market’, Byron explains why.


Finally a book has arrived that approaches the continent of Africa with a realistic sense of optimism and a forensic sense of history that renders it more vital, more accurate and more compelling than any other book—business, personal or historical—that has ever dared to take on this Gargantuan theme. Rather than merely take one narrow aspect of the African economic paradox or become another blatant “cheerleading” carte blanche to the international FDI clique, AFRICA ARRIVES is truly The Savvy Entrepreneur’s Guide to the World’s Hottest Market. From top to bottom, from beginning to end, AFRICA ARRIVES breaks down, analyses and opens up the heart and soul of 38 of Africa’s 54 Nations. And it does so in a way that is fresh, innovative, compelling and content-rich. It even takes 20 of them and rates doing business there on a basic Wall Street Stock Purchase Matrix. Buy, Strong Buy, Hold, Buy and Hold, Sell—all these common investment terms are applied to every major economy from Algeria to Botswana, from Cote d’Ivoire to Kenya.

Everything you ever wanted to know and more is included in this book. At this very moment, 390 Million “Afrilennials” are using technology to break out of their tribal enclaves and into a whole new world that is financially free, bullish, and (in all the best ways) replete with “Futureshock.” AFRICA ARRIVES is also the first book that ever uses historical forensics to dive into the complex Matrix that is Africa’s Colonial History, how it has come out of Foreign Aid (and “death by good intentions”) to become the economic force of the future. Alive with anagrams, it uses BRICS, STICKS and NO-STRINGS and gives them a whole new meaning, replete with profiles of several Africapitalists and movers and shakers of the world. A warts and all book that brings you a realistic look at the future, AFRICA ARRIVES has landed with a whole new World of perspectives. And it’s mutable. 

This book will appeal to:

1) Young internationally intensive entrepreneurs and growing companies looking to develop Africa as a robust new market.

2) Foreign Direct Investment wanting a truly in-depth look at what is best and most diverse in Africa’s Top 20 Emerging Markets…and some of the risks those entail.

3) The hundreds of thousands of African expatriates looking to markets such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique as platforms for the recent spate of “reverse diaspora” back to the Sub Sahara that is presently sweeping the world.

4) Forbes, Fortune and Business Weekly financial shakers and movers looking for a comprehensive analysis of Africa that cuts through the veneer while offering a solid framework for doing business on the Continent.

5) Any business and marketing directed person looking for a cautionary tale on how to navigate this varied economic landscape with intelligence and a sense of self-preservation.

“This book is perfect for foreign Investors, diasporas and Institutions looking to invest in Africa,” explains the author. “In fact, I’ve also included lists of verified contacts that readers can tap into; individuals who can help them grow and thrive under this new frontier that is tipped to be strong and growing for the next 50 years. It’s an opportunity they won’t want to miss.”

Continuing, “Africa’s economic landscape is extremely varied which, while requiring a solid game plan to navigate, is rich with opportunity across all sectors. To date, the book has been extremely well received, and I’m excited to see how it empowers people to invest in Africa, its resources and its amazing people.”

Indeed, reviews have been glowing. Grady Harp comments, “AFRICA ARRIVES is meeting with kudos from around the globe. The riches of that huge continent are immeasurable but this learned book present the potential of that great continent to the economic atmosphere of the world. This is a fascinating and highly informative book not only for entrepreneurs but also for all lay people excited about the rise of the importance of Africa. Highly Recommended.”

JA Armstrong adds, “This book reads like a listing of the who’s who in African business circles, highlighting important figures in each country, up and coming businesses as well as international companies who have chosen to come and stay. Each country is showcased with their strengths and where they stand on the FDI listing. This indicates to us as Investors whether we should simply buy, or hold, or even both.”

AFRICA ARRIVES: The Savvy Entrepreneur’s Guide to The World’s Hottest Market is available now:

About the Authors:

Mark Byron is a successful British/Nigerian investment banker who takes us on a journey through this phenomenal Economic Giant—from the financial corridors of Cairo to the petroleum politics of Lagos, from the real-estate/construction boom in Cape Town and to the high tech revolutions in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Accra.


Robert Joseph Ahola Is an author, playwright and screenwriter who lives in Malibu, California. He has authored a number of published and/or produced plays, including HIGH TEA/With His Excellency, Judas Agonistes, Pavlov’s Cats, The Decline and Fall of Us All, Death by Helium and NARCISSUS: The Last Days of Lord Byron.  Along with AFRICA ARRIVES, Mr. Ahola is an author/co-author of sixteen published books including The Silent Healer, The Return of the Hummingbird Wizard, I, Dragon, The HEDGE, Delusion is Good, and the upcoming fantasy novel, The Drums of Azure Skye. 

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Angola – the times they are a changing: João Lourenço, infrastructure investment and moving forwards
September 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
President João Lourenço

President João Lourenço

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 7, 2018/ — Angola has seen changes in the last 2 years. This began with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos stepping down after 38 years. President João Lourenço (aka “JLo”) who took power in September 2017 succeeded him when JLo’s People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party won 61.7% of the vote and an absolute majority of the legislature.

However, to many Angolans and Angolan watchers, this change has been a long time in coming and Angola urgently needs not only new leadership but also new investment particularly in infrastructure to support diversification away from its long reliance on revenues from the oil industry. Low oil prices have had a severe impact on the Government’s coffers. As with many other oil producing nations, there is an increasing recognition of the need to diversify the economy, develop the country, reduce the reliance on oil and attract foreign investment.

A good summary of where Angola is today is the following excerpt from a recent World Bank report:

Angola has made substantial economic and political progress since the end of the war in 2002. However, the country continues to face massive development challenges, which include reducing its dependency on oil and diversifying the economy; rebuilding its infrastructure; and improving institutional capacity, governance, public financial management systems, human development indicators, and the living conditions of the population. Large pockets of the population live in poverty without adequate access to basic services, and the country could benefit from more inclusive development policies.

The key point here is that, the major obstacle for investment into industries other than oil is the poor quality of Angola’s infrastructure – from its transport network to its power system.

The good (bad) old days

In the days of high oil prices and overflowing government coffers, the Government procured a massive building programme. According to the Center for Studies and Scientific Research, Angola has spent $120 billion on reconstruction. At its peak, spending reached $15.8 billion in 2014. Whilst on one level the state of infrastructure in Angola today is a huge improvement on what was left behind after the end of the civil war, this rebuilding programme has had its own issues.

Much of the rebuilding programme was financed by oil-backed loans to China with a significant number of contracts awarded to state owned Chinese companies and their sub-contactors.  Many of these contracts were awarded with limited or no transparency and with rumours of corruption and pay-offs. This, together with lax oversight/project management on behalf of the Government resulted in poor quality construction/delivery in some projects.

Bond issue

So what do international investors think of Angola? Perhaps a good test of investors’ pulse was the ability of Angola to issue $500 million of its 30-year Eurobond programme earlier this year. Whilst perhaps the rather attractive return of 9.1 per cent may have had some influence on the success of the Eurobond, it does nevertheless show that there is appetite for investment in Angola.

China, china, china and others

Angola’s love affair with China keeps growing. According to a recent study by Boston University, Angola is the African country that has received most Chinese funding for the construction of energy infrastructure since the year 2000. For example the USD4.5 billion 2170 MW Caculo Cabaça dam (which will be the largest power plant in Angola when completed) is being built by the China Gezhouba Group Co. Ltd and financed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

The recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report on Angola says that relations with China would be given “high priority” by the Angolan authorities. Examples of how this has manifested itself include the:

recent agreement on entry visas between Angola and China; and
opening of a branch of the Bank of China in mid-2017 in Angola.

The EIU also states that:

“The government will also continue to seek loans from China to enable it to continue capital spending programmes to build highways and power plants,” despite greater attention from Chinese entities on the “risk of projects with dubious repayment capacity,”

For example, Angolan authorities hope to secure around $2.5bn from Exim Bank China for infrastructure and energy projects. Of which, $690m will be for the Corimba coast road, while $760.4m will be for an electricity transmission system at Lauchimo dam. In addition, $1.1b will be used to build a naval academy in Kalunga.

Angola also has plans to negotiate a loan of nearly $13bn from the International and Commercial Bank of China, out of which $1.28 billion will be used to construct a new airport in Luanda and $11.7 billion as a credit line to fund various other projects across the country.  China is here to stay in Angola but hopefully the lessons of the past are that there needs to be more oversight on the quality of works plus greater transparency on how contracts are priced and awarded.

This not to say that there have not been investors from other countries including such as a number of European countries and Brazil. However China still dominates the landscape.

Notwithstanding the love affair with China, the Angolan government is also making efforts to woo foreign investors more generally and open up its economy.

Private Investment Law

Most Angola watchers/investors were delighted when the new Private Investment Law (the “PIL”) established a new Private Investment Agency for Angola (AIPEX) and removed two requirements that had previously stifled foreign investment:

the requirement for a foreign investor to have a local partner who had at least 35% of the business; and
the requirement for a minimum investment of USD1 million.

The PIL also contains provisions relating to:

government financing programs (micro funding, privileged interest rates, public collaterals and risk capital);
administrative support (simplified and privileged access to business and operational licenses or assets of private domain of public entities);
benefits for reinvestment into projects.

The details of some of these are yet to be finalised but the intent of the Government to provide these benefits/incentives is clear.

In addition, foreign investments above USD 1 million can now get certain tax benefits and incentives depending on fulfilling certain criteria. Whilst investments above USD50 million are able to get further special tax benefits and incentives provided that they are able to generate a certain minimum number of jobs (although the details of how this will operate is subject to further regulation).

Creating a level playing field

The Competition Act was passed to create a more level playing field in Angolan business by prohibiting anti-competitive practices such as restrictive agreements and abuse of dominant position.  In addition, the new cabinet has implemented a number of measures to tackle certain long established monopolies controlled by the previous political elite and the “Dos Santos entourage”.

Angola’s plan to develop infrastructure

So coming back to infrastructure, what next for this critical sector in Angola. The good news is that the Angolan government has made infrastructure for development a key element of Angola’s 2018/2022 National Development Plan (NDP). Highlighted statement from the NDP on infrastructure include:

public interest projects (including in infrastructure) may be financed “through public investment or promoted by the private sector” and “public-private partnerships’;
a strategy to develop an integrated transportation and logistics network (with connectivity to neighbouring countries) built around an improved railway sector with priority in urban areas and the “installation of logistics platforms along rail lines”;
investment in air and water transport infrastructure relating to completing the construction of existing airports (especially the New International Luanda Airport) and ports, as well as improved logistics (air) and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure (maritime);
investment in logistics infrastructure is to undertaken exclusively through concession agreements with private operators;
increase the electrification of the country with an emphasis on the less electrified provinces (e.g. Bié);
General Law of Electricity revised to facilitate private sector involvement in the production and distribution of electricity;
recognition of  the importance of the private sector’s investment, financing and management of the development and maintenance of electrical sector infrastructure.

However the question remains as to how the Government is going to attract private investment into this sector since budgetary constraints will limit Government spending. There is clearly a need to focus on “productive” infrastructure such as agriculture value chain, transport and any other industry that would allow imports substitution since Angola imports almost everything. The criteria and process by which Government will identify priority projects that will bring real value add to the economy, will be a key signal to foreign investors, that Angola is now serious about attracting FDI from reputable and long term investors.

Whilst a PPP law has been on the statute books for some time, the legal framework for PPPs has gaps.  Getting a PPP programme going in Angola to attract private investment will require a lot more work and investment in governmental/institutional capacity and skills. One idea would be to partner with an organisation like the IFC to structure programmes for power, transport, waste management etc. This model has been undertaken in other African countries with some measure of  success.

It is also hoped that traditional DFIs will look to invest in the private sector in Angola that in turn will pave the way for more commercial financings.

What next? The challenges ahead…

So whilst it’s early days for JLo, the general consensus seems to be that he is moving Angola in the right direction. This ranges from purging key members of the previous regime from positions of power, pursuing legal action against Dos Santos’s son (previous head of the Sovereign Wealth Fund) to changes to laws and regulations to promote FDI.

However JLo has a long way to go to improve Angola’s business climate. Although it gained 7 places in the World Bank report on business climate 2018 Doing Business,  its ranking is still at the bottom end of the table – 175 out of out of 190 countries.

On corruption, although JLo has taken a number of anti-corruption steps and made various anti corruption statements, Angola still stands at 167th place out of 180 in the Index of Perception of Corruption.

A further challenge for Angola is that it has few “real independent” business people with experience.  Previous so called “business people” were mostly linked to politicians and the previous regime where more often than not, had no real “skin in the game” with skewed risk/reward profiles.

A key issue that will need to be addressed to attract private investment is the Government’s ability to give long-term assurances that foreign exchange will be available for dividend repatriation. Dividend repatriation and currency control issues remain a key impediment to private sector investment in Angola. There have been talks of leveraging the balance sheet of the Angolan sovereign wealth fund but this has not been borne out yet.

Angolans are optimistic people and the country has abundant resources (e.g. -hydro, agriculture and minerals other than crude oil). On the surface it would seem that that JLo is taking the right steps to move the country forwards and open up the economy. For example:

some inroads have recently been made by private sector investors in power generation, particularly into renewable energy projects,  although investors continue to battle to obtain  “bankable” documents from Government agencies/bodies;
the opening up of the downstream Oil & Gas retail sector, where the French giant, TOTAL, will now join Sonangol and Puma;
removal of the new Luanda Port concession from Isabel dos Santos to issue a new international tender;
taking steps to increase investment in agriculture (estimating a growth of 5.9% in this sector for 2018) through projects such as the Quiminha Agricultural Development Project which aims to start exports to Europe in October; and
the Government has signed a US$101 million loan agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) that will be invested in the development of agricultural value chains in Cabinda Province.

On the other hand whilst there have been headline reports of purges of key members of the Dos Santos regime, the reality is that many others are still in place operating in the same manner as they did under the old regime. Furthermore, JLo’s image of fighting corruption and a new approach to government in Angola was dented by reports earlier this year that his daughter (Ms Jéssica Lorena Dias Lourenço) had chartered a $200,000 private plane to deliver her child in Washington USA. In the meantime, calls for the wholesale clean up and privatisation of state owned companies such as Sonangol, Taag (the cargo/transport company) and others persist with little sign that this is happening or will happen.

Only time will tell whether we are moving quickly to a a new, diversified and prosperous Angola. Whilst there are some green shoots of change and progress in the air there is much more to be done. Whilst Angolans and the world waits for this,  there is always Angolan music and dance, from merengue to kizomba, to enjoy in the meantime.

*Source Dentons

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A Report On The DRC and Its Election
September 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

Dr. Gary K. Busch*

Congolese President, Joseph Kabila (L) and former Interior Minister, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary (R) who was picked as successor.

Congolese President, Joseph Kabila (L) and former Interior Minister, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary (R) who was picked as successor.

There are long-delayed elections for a new President in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Despite its vast mineral wealth the country has not prospered. Wars, poverty, occupation and exploitation of the country has been its fate since its independence from Belgium. Its mineral wealth has attracted the most avaricious forms of intervention of its neighbours, international mining companies who have not ceased in their ravaging of the countryside and the population of the country. These upcoming elections are hoped to be an improvement but seem, in the light of the political situation at present in the country, to be a forlorn aspiration. The DRC is a stranger to peace and stability, cursed by its mineral wealth and the failures of its political class.

I. The Mineral Background

There are certain elemental truths about the DRC, its mining history and its political structures which are crucial to understanding the industry.

Most of the metals mining in the country takes place within the province of Katanga; its business is conducted primarily in Lubumbashi, the regional capital. Since its earliest colonial days under the Belgians many international corporations and mining houses have acquired licences to extract the rich ores of the Congo. The Union Minière du Haut-Katanga (‘UMHK’) was a Belgian company set up by Societe Generale of Brussels to control the industry with Belgian Colonial approval. It did so from 1906 to 1966. It was a private company owned by the bank which was given a concession in Katanga, allowing it to mine uranium, copper, cobalt, radium, zinc, cadmium, germanium, manganese, silver, gold, and tin. By 1940 Société Générale controlled 70% of the Congolese economy.

When the Congo won its independence in 1960, the nationalist government led by Patrice Lumumba, wanted to take control of the mineral wealth of Katanga for the good of the new state. Union Miniere was unwilling to part with its assets and transferred around US$35 million to the separatists of Katanga, led by Moise Tshombe. Tshombe declared the independence of Katanga and allowed the UMHK to continue its mining in Katanga, paying all duties, taxes and costs to the Tshombe Government. The UKMK also funded international mercenaries to support the rebellion. By 15 January 1963, the UN established full control over Katanga: Tshombe went into exile in Spain, and his military commander swore an oath of allegiance to the Congo. The last troops of the UN contingent in Congo withdrew on 30 June 1964. Mobutuism became the rule until Kabila supplanted him.

Opposition to Mobutu grew, spawning a number of opposition groups. One, in South Kivu, was led by Laurance-Desire Kabila. Kabila returned to the DRC in October 1966 leading ethnic Tutsis from South Kivu against Hutu forces, marking the beginning of the First Congo War. With support from Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, Kabila pushed his forces into a full-scale rebellion against Mobutu as the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL). By mid-1997, the ADFL had almost completely overrun the country and confronted the remains of Mobutu’s army. Following failed peace talks held on board of the South African ship SAS Outeniqua, Mobutu fled into exile on 16 May.

During 1997, relations between Kabila and his former backers (Museveni of Uganda and Kagame of Rwanda) deteriorated. In July 1998, Kabila ordered all foreign troops to leave the DRC. They refused to leave; claiming that the DRC troops could not defend their interests or protect them from the exile groups operating the Eastern Congo. On 2 August 1997, fighting erupted throughout the DRC as Rwandan troops ‘mutinied’, and fresh Rwandan and Ugandan troops entered the DRC. Kagame ordered his troops to attack Kinshasa to depose Kabila in the hopes that his Banyamulenge Tutsi allies in the newly formed Rwandan-backed rebel group called the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD) would take over. Soon after, Museveni created the rebel group called the Mouvement pour la Liberation du Congo (MLC) to fight for Uganda’s interests and sent into the Congo thousands of Ugandan soldiers. This campaign was impeded when Angolan, Zimbabwean, and Namibian troops intervened on behalf of the Kabila’s DRC.

However, this left the Eastern Congo (where the war was being fought), in the hands of Uganda and Rwanda with some sections held by the Mayi-Mayi and Burundi. This created a standoff situation where the occupying forces could engage their efforts in the massive looting of eastern DRC’s riches. Numerous accounts and documents suggest that by 1997 a first wave of ‘new businessmen’ speaking only English, Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili had commenced operations in eastern DRC. Theft of livestock, coffee beans and other resources began to be reported with frequency. By the time the August 1998 war broke out, Rwandans and Ugandans (top officers and their associates) had a strong sense of the potential of the natural resources, especially coltan, and their locations in eastern DRC.

The Ugandan decision to enter the conflict in August 1998 was defended by some top military officials who had served in eastern Zaire during the first war and who had had a taste of the business potential of the region. The Ugandan forces were eager to move in and occupy areas where gold and diamond mines were located. In September 1998 this looting was put in the hands of General Salim Saleh (born Caleb Afande Akandwanaho) on 14 January 1960). He is Museveni’s half- brother; a proven money-launderer, drug dealer, resource thief and plunderer. Salim Saleh formed a company which would supply the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo with merchandise and would return with natural resources. The project never materialised in this form but was realised as pure looting and pillage under the protection of his brother the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni.

Despite their claims of a security concern generating their interest in the DRC, some top army officials clearly had a hidden agenda: economic and financial objectives. A few months before the 1998 war broke out, General Salim Saleh and the elder son of President Museveni reportedly visited the eastern DRC. One month after the beginning of the conflict, General James Kazini was already involved in commercial activities. He already knew the most profitable sectors and immediately organised the local commanders to serve their economic and financial objectives.

This was mirrored in the activities of the Rwandans. At the heart of the financial setting was the Banque de commerce, du développement et d’industrie (BCDI) located in Kigali. This was the initial vehicle through which all revenues were passed at the initial stages of Rwandan and Ugandan engagement in the DRC. Then, when the war broke out the Rwandans retained the BCDI as their conduit and the Ugandans set up their own banking system. The extraction of minerals rose to a fever pitch as hostilities began with no attention to safe or rational methods of extraction.

In September 1999, the UPDF local commander demanded the extraction of gold from the pillars of the Gorumbwa mine galleries in which dynamite was used. The galleries collapsed, leading to the death of a number of Congolese miners. Some months later, Ugandan soldiers who came to mine in the same area contracted respiratory disease from the uncontrolled levels of dust in the mines. Even when the local commanders were informed about the dangers of these activities, there was an acceptable level of tolerance for death and disease by the military leaders.

Local Congolese had been mining the areas for years for their own benefit as artisanal miners. Some of them were used as ‘convincible labour’ to mine gold, diamonds or coltan.  In the Bondo locality within Equateur Province, young men from 12 to 18 years were recruited by Jean-Pierre Bemba. His Ugandan allies trained the recruits and shared with them the idea that the Ugandan army was an ‘army of development’ that aimed at improving ordinary people’s living conditions. After the one-hour morning physical training session, they were sent to gold mines to dig on behalf of the Ugandans and Bemba.

In Kalima, the RPA commander Ruto enrolled two teams of local Congolese to dig coltan; these Congolese worked under the heavy guard of Rwandan soldiers. In the Kilo-Moto mineral district, Ugandan local commanders and some of the soldiers who guarded the different entry points of the mining areas allowed and encouraged the local population to mine. The arrangement between the soldiers and the miners was that each miner would leave at the entry/exit point one gram of gold every day. On average 2,000 individuals mined this large concession six days a week. It was so well organised that the business ran smoothly. On average 2kg of gold were delivered daily to the person heading the network.

The other form of organised extraction by the occupying forces involved the import of manpower for mining. Occupying forces brought manpower from their own countries and provided the necessary security and logistics. In particular, Rwanda utilised its own prisoners to dig coltan in exchange for a sentence reduction and some limited cash to buy food. There were 1,500 Rwandan prisoners in the Numbi area of Kalehe alone. These prisoners were seen mining coltan while guarded by RPA soldiers.

This was the pattern of exploitation of the DRC and its human and mineral wealth even when peace agreements, like the Lusaka Accords which supposedly ended the war, were signed. Instead of warring armies Eastern Congo became controlled by warlords and militia groups whose exploitation took the form of pillage, rape and murder. Most of these groups had affinities with either the Rwandan or Ugandan governments which handled the physical trade in the wealth which was exported. The Rwandans backed ‘rebel’ military warlords like Laurent Nkunda or Bosco Ntanganda. These provided the fig leaf for Rwanda’s continuing rape of the Congo. Others did the same for Uganda. They operated with impunity. The people most responsible for these continuing atrocities were protected. These included Yoweri Museveni, Salim Saleh, Paul Kagame, James Kazini, Moses Ali, James Kabarebe, Taban Amin, Jean-Pierre Bemba, Laurent Nkunda, Bosco Ntanganda, Meles Zenawi and a long list of people whose culpability is without question; many of whom have been named for atrocities again and again. Bemba was finally brought to the ICC to stand trial. This was more to do with his political opposition to Kabila Junior and the Central African Republic than his depredations in the Eastern Congo. Recently he has been released by the ICC and returned home.

Theoretically, the United Nations has installed teams of peacekeepers in the DRC as MONUC (United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo); since 1 July 2010, MONUC was renamed the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). The track record of MONUC/MONUSCO is not impressive. In the words of a Zimbabwean general: ‘They are like tits on a bull. They are there but serve no useful purpose!’ Two of the inbuilt reasons for their lack of success was (1) relying at the beginning on the French military who encamped at Ituri and refused to leave the city because the rebels killed two French officers on the first outing; and (2) relying on Rwandan troops to co-ordinate the fight against the rebels they are covertly supporting in the name of MONUSCO. This scheme offered limited optimism for the Congolese. In fact, many peacekeepers of the MONUC were engaged in rape, murder and pillage for their own account. Some have been prosecuted and sent home. Their presence in the DRC adds to the fears of the population.

Unfortunately, when the war was stopped, and Uganda and Rwanda officially withdrew their troops they left behind paramilitary bands (like M23) who kept up the exploitation of the Congo’s riches and the misery of Congo’s inhabitants. Initially these wars and the rapes, murders and pillaging associated with them derived from the efforts of Uganda and Rwanda seeking to profit from the valuable mineral resources of the Eastern Congo.


The most important aspect of the mining of minerals and metals in the DRC is that the majority of the mining is conducted by artisanal miners. The immense capital costs of industrial mining have been earmarked for the DRC but have been delayed or have never been brought to completion. Many firms, like  Tengke-Fugurume, made valiant efforts to make heavy capital improvements to the mining processes, but these are largely the exceptions.

The truth is that the current mining industry in the DRC is characterised by very poor geological knowledge, and the true extent of mineral resources is unclear due to a lack of modern exploration.   The country has substantial reserves of copper, cobalt, cadmium, diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, germanium, columbite-tantalum (coltan), bauxite, iron ore and coal.  It is estimated that the DRC contains 80% of the world’s columbite-tantalite (coltan) reserves, 49% of its cobalt reserves, and 10% of its copper reserves; while the gold potential is substantially under explored. Most of the known mineral wealth is concentrated near the country’s eastern borders, and south into Katanga where it shares the rich Copperbelt of the Lufilian Arc with neighbouring Zambia.  In the south-central area of the country there is a large, prolific diamond area within the Kasaï Craton; along and adjoining the north-easterly Angolan kimberlite trend.

By 2001, the mining sector’s contribution to GDP had declined to a depressing 7%. Fortunately, legitimate mining companies have shown an increasing interest in the DRC with inward investment growing year on year (based on increased metal demand particularly from Asia and buoyant international commodity mineral prices). Although from the outside, progress has been slow, in 2006, 57% of the state budget (US$2.2 billion) came from international aid and 80% of the country’s economy was ‘underground’ and informal. The transitional government did make some rather commendable efforts to reignite and increase investment in the mining sector; for instance, with the help of the World Bank, the DRC implemented a new Mining Code in 2002, Mining Regulations in 2003 and more recently a Mining Plan in 2006.

In 2005 a special National Assembly Commission (the Lutundula Commission) highlighted that some of the industrial mining contracts agreed and negotiated during the period of   the transitional governments might need to be renegotiated and finally in May 2007 the government announced that it intended to review sixty-three mining contracts approved from 1996 to 2003. The process involved experts from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), the Carter Centre and the Rothschild Cabinet. It opened the door to more than just a review of contracts; it opened the door to renegotiation under pressure, which was not the original intent. Many of these contracts have been renegotiated and several key large-scale miners have been disenfranchised in the process.

The DRC’s economic collapse, social instability, and resource plunder have resulted in a proliferation of clandestine artisanal mining activities in the DRC, and today the situation in the sub-sector could be described as utterly chaotic with little respect for law and order in almost all mining areas in virtually all provinces. In addition, the two wars, foreign army invasions and occupations, militia activity, and ethnic conflict have created large numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) and ex-combatants (including DDRRR (Disarmament, Demobilisation, Repatriation, Reinsertion, Reintegration) beneficiaries) who have few livelihood options.  In some areas, such as Orientale, up to 80% of the miners are ex-combatants (militia and soldiers), a livelihood which is keeping them from re-joining militia forces. Also, the prolonged presence of violent militias in many rural areas forced many farming communities to abandon their traditional agro-pastoral livelihoods and rely on coping strategies such as artisanal mining (‘ASM’) to secure an alternative source of income.

At present, this disorganised and recalcitrant sector probably provides a vital livelihood to many thousands of people dispersed throughout the country, and collectively probably constitutes over 80% of the entire mining sector production. The Office des Douanes et Accises (OFIDA) does not have accurate statistics on mineral production.  In addition, escalating and fluctuating global mineral commodity prices, continued national economic decline, parastatal mismanagement, and staff retrenchments have exacerbated the problem and swelled the numbers of artisanal miners. However, as there is currently no enabling legislation or policy sympathetic to ASM, and because virtually all these miners work casually, seasonally, or are migrant workers from other parts of the country or neighbouring countries, it is impossible to determine the actual number of workers in the ASM sector.

A concomitant development of this type of production has been the development of a semi-clandestine transport sector. Illegal activities have benefited from the evolution of the means of transportation in the region.  Prior to the second war most exchanges of goods and products were conducted through road transportation.  To a large extent, smugglers utilized Lake Kivu and Lake Tanganyika to smuggle goods and products to and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, in limited circumstances, used aircraft.  An increasing number of aircraft are utilized to transport products and arms into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while transferring out vast quantities of agricultural products and minerals, to Kampala and Kigali.  The other novelty of increased air transport has been the use of aircraft leased by the army for commercial and non-military functions.

This change in mode of transportation was accompanied by a change in players as well as a redefining of transportation companies.  Traditional and well-established companies such as TMK saw their share of the market erode while others simply disappeared (Air Cargo Zaire).  At the same time, new companies emerged and expanded, such as Air Navette and Jambo Safari; they were owned or controlled by the relatives and friends of generals, colonels and Presidents.  At the other end, outsiders who entered the region with the AFDL “conquest” of Kinshasa during the first war, by transporting troops, remained and consolidated their positions. Most flights to and from Equateur and Orientale Provinces originate from the Entebbe military airport.  This raised the issue of revenue loss to the treasury due to the fact that products entering or leaving the Democratic Republic of the Congo by air to and from Entebbe military airport were not checked, and taxes were not levied by the customs services. The essence of the institutionalisation of trade in minerals was that it was conducted with a hands-on control by the African presidents.

President Paul Kagame has been one of the two main beneficiaries of the use of illegal miners in the DRC. His position in the State apparatus with regard to the exploitation of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the continuation of the war has evolved, yet his role has remained pivotal.  This role can be situated on three levels: his relations with the Rwandan business community operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo control over the army, and the structures involved in the illegal activities.

President Kagame has close relationships with top Rwandan businessmen.  For instance, he maintains good relations with Modeste Makabuza, “owner” of Jambo Safari.  He is also close to Alfred Khalissa, the “founder” of BCDI and former manager of BCD.  The same sources say that President Kagame is very close to Tibere Rujigiro, who is known for generous financial support to RPF during the 1990-1994 war.  Mr.  Rujigiro is one of the shareholders of Tristar Investment, with very close ties to RPF.  This close aide to President Kagame has business relationships with Faustin Mbundu, who is known for his arms dealing activities.  What all these businessmen have in common is their direct involvement in the exploitation of natural resources in the areas that Rwanda controls.  Different sources have related that each of these businessmen has at a certain point benefited from the President’s “help”.

President Kagame, when he was Minister of Defence, reorganized or approved the reorganization of the Rwandan army and the Ministry of Defence, which subsequently led to the creation of the Department of External Relations in which the Congo desk is located. This unit has been the cornerstone of the financial transactions of RPA.  The former Minister of Defence must have been aware of the functioning of RPA as well as the daily operations of the army.

The President announced in a radio interview that private Rwandan citizens were carrying out commercial activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.   The President has admitted in the past that the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was self-financing.  All these elements combined suggest the President’s degree of knowledge of the situation, his implicit approval of the continuation of the illegal exploitation of the resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and somehow his complicity as well as his political and moral responsibility.

President Yoweri Museveni.  President Yoweri Museveni’s role in the exploitation of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo can be situated at the following levels: his policy towards the rebel movements, his attitude towards the army and the protection provided to illegal activities and their perpetrators.

He shaped the rebellion in the area controlled by Uganda according to his own political philosophy and agenda.  He opted for a more decentralized authority and only intervened when major problems arose, but he had a very good knowledge of the situation on the ground.

Messrs.  Mbusa Nyamwisi and Tibasima, former first and second Vice-Presidents close to General Salim Saleh and General Kazini, are more inclined to business and the extraction of natural resources.  In December 1999, a report was handed over to the President of Uganda, specifically pointing out the embezzlement of $10 million by Mr.  Nyamwisi and $3 million by Mr.  Tibasima.  Another report was handed to President Museveni in February 2000, specifically denouncing the collusion between Trinity Group and Mr. Tibasima and the impact on the collection of customs duties.  President Museveni chose to appoint the leadership of his Congolese Liberation Front to those who were the accomplices of illegal cartels.

President Museveni was also informed of the situation on the ground, the exploitation being carried out and the involvement of officials of MLC and RCDML, including the conflict between Hemas and Lendus. The President’s family has also been very involved in business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the occupied zones.  General Salim Saleh and his wife, shareholders in Victoria and Trinity, have confidently carried out their activities undisturbed. So, overall, it is clear that when the information is passed to the President and he chooses not to act, he appoints the very people who carry out criminal activities, and when his family members get away with their commercial endeavours, he does everything to assist and protect them.

III. The Battle For Political Power In The DRC:

The fortunes of the international mining companies in the DRC are intimately interwoven with the struggle of Joseph Kabila to remain in power as President of the country long after his constitutional mandate has expired. Elections have been due for several years and the search for a new leadership among the opposition groups to Kabila has had a dramatic effect on the fortunes of the international mining companies. In addition, the old division between Katanga and the rest of the DRC has not abated; also colouring the power relationships for the miners.

There are more than two-hundred ethnic groups in the Congo as a whole. About 80% of these peoples speak Bantu languages. Of the four major national ethnic clusters, three are Bantu: the Mongo, the Luba, and the Kongo. The fourth is the Mangbetu-Azande cluster of north-eastern Congo, speakers of Sudanic languages. Together, the Mongo, Luba, Kongo, and Mangbetu-Azande account for about 45% of the Congolese population. However, these ethnic clusters are not the most relevant indicators of ethnicity. Often, they are divided e.g., Luba-Kasai. Luba-Katanga, or Tetela (Mongo of Kasai) vs. Mongo-Equateur. Much of the fighting since 1994 has taken place in North and South Kivu, along Congo’s eastern border and in Katanga. In North Kivu can be found Rwandan language-speakers (both Hutu and Tutsi) who constitute a major ethnic community. In South Kivu, the major group is Shi. The most fractious and problematical are the Tutsis in exile, the “Banyamulenge”, who are few in number but with disproportionate power.

Laurent Kabila came to power as head of the AFDL, a coalition of anti-Mobutu groups in which Rwandan and Congolese Tutsi (the Banyamulenge) occupied key positions. Kabila strengthened his position by bringing in Congolese from his home province of Katanga. The split with his Tutsi backers led to the second war in which Ugandan and Rwandan soldiers fought alongside dissident Banyamulenge.

However, the Kabila 1 government remained divided between Kivu and Katanga factions, the latter in turn split between Luba-Katanga (ethnic group of Laurent Kabila’s father) and Lunda (ethnic group of his mother). The assassination of Laurent Kabila was blamed on soldiers from Kivu, but in the aftermath, leading Lunda figures were arrested.

Joseph Kabila’s own background has been contested. Some have questioned whether he is the son of Laurent. It has been alleged that his mother is a Banyamulenge Tutsi. The official version is that his mother is a Bangubangu from Maniema. The issue of Joseph Kabila’s legitimacy as a Congolese is a critical issue.

When “Mzee” Kabila was assassinated by one of his bodyguards on January 18, 2000 in the midst of the war, it was decided that his 24-year-old son, Joseph Kabila, recently elevated to an army general, would replace him. This caused quite an uproar from some quarters of the opposition, especially from the veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who protested what they saw as a monarchical succession. It’s bizarre to see in the intervening years Joseph Kabila, through an orchestrated campaign by the opposition, morph into the “foreign Rwandan usurper” at the helm of the Congo in the eyes of a considerable number of Western Congolese living mostly abroad who are very active organizing muscular anti-Kabila 2 campaigns in European capitals.

It was very important that Joseph Kabila assert his legitimacy as a ‘true’ Congolese and Katangan. He did so through his mother, Maman Sifa Maanya, always referred to as “Mama Sifa”. Mama Sifa Kabila was the first wife (of three) of Laurent Kabila. She fled with Kabila into the bush immediately after the assassination of Patrice Emery Lumumba on 17th January 1961; Laurent Désiré then succeeded in setting up a maquis in the East in 1965. They began in the Fizi region where they located their staff headquarters, but had to move to the mountains, running away from Mobutu’s army attacks. There were Hewa Bora I, Hewa Bora II, Makanga encampments but it was at Kasingere that they founded the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRP). It was there that in 1971, her first children, the twins Jaynet and Joseph were born. Then other births followed: Joséphine, Zoé, and Masengo. Soon after they fled to Tanzania

Joseph Kabila was recognized as head of state by a number of foreign governments, which gave him a considerable advantage in dealing with opposition groups. Kabila has been very active in Katanga in promoting local ethnic loyalties and groups. The memory of the forced ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Kivu immigrants in 1992 was not far from anyone’s mind. In 1992 and 1993, UNIFEC’s president, Antoine Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza, incited supporters to massacre as many as 5,000 Kasaians living in Katanga and forcibly returned another 1.35 million back to Kivu.

It was important for Kabila 2 to take over power in Katanga and the mining industry. Seizing the initiative (on the urgings of his Belgian and French advisers) Joseph Kabila, by an order dated 12 January 2008, massively increased his economic power and his political patronage. He replaced the heads of 37 state enterprises with his own men. The former bosses, appointed under pressure from his government’s international protectors by the transitional government in August 2005, came from parties and movements that Kabila did not control. Most of the new chairmen and chief executives belong to Kabila’s Alliance pour la Majorité Présidentielle (AMP). Less senior managers have been recruited by competition and a few were internal promotions. These state companies control mining, transport, power and public finance. Kabila 2’s patronage links includes:

  • Office des Mines d’Or de Kilo-Moto (OKIMO)
  • Centre d’Expertise, d’Evaluation et de Certification (CEEC)
  • Entreprise Minière Kisenge-Manganèse (EKM)
  • Congolaise des Hydrocarbures (Cohydro)
  • Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL)
  • Lignes Aériennes Congolaises (LAC)
  • Compagnie Maritime Congolaise (CMC)
  • Office National des Transports (ONATRA)
  • Régie des Voies Fluviales (RVF)
  • Régie des Voies Aériennes (RVA)
  • Fonds de Promotion de l’Industrie (FPI)
  • Office de Gestion de la Dette Publique (OGEDEP)
  • Institut National de Sécurité Sociale (INSS)
  • Caisse d’Epargne du Congo (CADECO)
  • Société Sidérurgique de Maluku (SOSIDER)
  • Office Congolais de Contrôle (OCC)
  • Office de Gestion du Fret Maritime (OGEFREM)
  • Office National du Tourisme (ONT)
  • Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC)
  • Agence Congolaise de Presse (ACP)
  • Office Congolais des Postes et des Télécommunications (OCPT)
  • Agence Nationale de Météorologie et de Télédétection par Satellite (METTELSAT)
  • Office des Routes (OR)
  • Office des Voieries et Drainages (OVD)
  • Institut National d’Etudes et de Recherches Agronomiques (INERA)
  • Institut National de Statistique (INS)
  • Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN)
  • Institut des Jardins Zoologiques et Botaniques du Congo (IJZBC)
  • Office National du Café (ONC)
  • Foire Internationale de Kinshasa (FIKIN)

Parallel to this the new Kabila Government decided that it was time to look at all the concessions and fringe operators in the mining sector, especially in Katanga.

The government announced in mid-2007 that it would investigate about 60 mining contracts, agreed while the civil wars raged from 1996 to 2003.

The origin of this review of international mining practices was the move by the Indonesian government which imposed new rules on the exports of unprocessed ore. Its goal was to develop a domestic smelting industry, thus creating jobs and revenue. It also demanded that foreign investors sell down their majority stakes within 10 years of starting production. This spurred on Tanzania. The government imposed a ban on exports of powdered gold concentrate, ostensibly because it, too, wanted to develop a smelting industry. The country’s biggest miner, London-listed Acacia, was suddenly unable to export 30pc of its output, sending its share price into a tailspin. Tanzania then accused it of dodging taxes by under-reporting the amount of gold it shipped abroad. John Magufuli, the Tanzania president slapped a tax demand of $180bn (£128bn) on Acacia – many times greater than its annual revenue of $1bn.

These moves inspired Kabila 2 to restructure the DRC Mining Code. The daunting task of this investigation fell on a joint team from the government body supposed to guide the reform of parastatals, the Comité de Pilotage de la Réforme des Entreprises Publiques, and from the ministries of Mines and of State Assets. They were supervised by the United States-based Carter Center, with experts from Rothschild’s Bank.  Kabila’s new government was trying to deflect outside critics and to attract reliable investors. His Prime Minister, Antoine Gizenga, promised reform during the election campaign and in March 2007, the Mines Minister, Martin Kabwelulu Labilo, instructed all state companies to suspend negotiations with potential foreign partners. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and United Nations’ experts had urged this suspension. Moreover, the Lutundula Report, by a commission of the Transitional Assembly, had identified contracts to be renegotiated, cancelled or maintained.

 Two-thirds of the contracts under investigation involved projects in Katanga and the state companies Gécamines, Kisenge Manganèse and the Société de Développement Industriel et Minier du Congo. Also under investigation were the Société Minière de Bakwanga (Miba) in Kasaï, owned 80% by the state, 20% by South Africa’s Mwana Africa; the Office des Mines d’Or de Kilo-Moto and Société Aurifère et Industrielle du Kivu et du Maniema, whose main shareholder is Banro, a Canadian gold company. The DRC move was followed by copper-rich Zambia which hit First Quantum with a $7.9bn bill for alleged unpaid taxes.

The mining industry’s long-standing answer to questions of tax and its wider contribution to society boils down to investment. Identifying and then building mine sites is a hugely expensive undertaking, requiring years of work. It can take years before mines turn a profit. The large upfront capital costs explain why many companies pay little or no taxes when starting out. Under its new code, the DRC increased royalties on base metals from 2pc to 3.5pc. So-called “strategic minerals” could face a 10pc levy. Royalties are essentially a rental payment from mining companies to the ultimate owner of the mineral: the state. Controversially, the DRC has ripped up a “stability clause” dating from 2002, which gave companies a 10-year stay of execution on any change to the law.

Until 1990 the government enterprise Gecamines, which owned all the mining rights in Katanga, was the government’s money-spinner, providing at least one third of the government’s income. The secret of this high profitability was that the ore was refined on a large scale in Congo itself, up to purity of 98%; giving value-added to the export of just ore. This has changed dramatically. Shares of Gecamines have gradually been privatized through joint ventures in which Gecamines contributed its mining rights and the private partners put up the money.

In 2002, a UN panel recommended that 29 companies – including the George Forrest Group – face sanctions for their operations in DR Congo. The panel’s report accused the George Forrest Group of running its mineral operations in a way that took as much profit as possible out of the country, while bringing minimal benefit to DR Congo.

The panel called for financial restrictions to be levied on 54 individuals and 29 companies it said were involved in the plunder, including four Belgian diamond companies and the Belgian company George Forrest, which is partnered with the U.S.-based OM.  The individuals named include Rwandan army Chief of Staff James Kabarebe, Congolese Minster of the Presidency Augustin Katumba Mwanke, Ugandan army Chief of Staff James Kazini and Zimbabwean Parliament Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The report also accused 85 South African, European and U.S. multinational corporations — including Anglo American, Barclays Bank, Bayer, De Beers and Cabot Corporation — of violating the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s ethical guidelines on conflict zones.

In 2006 Australia’s Anvil paid over $50 million for the Kinsevere, Tshiufa and Nambulwa mines, north-west of Lubumbashi. The seller was MCK, controlled by Katanga Governor Moise Katumbi. MCK had acquired the rights from Gécamines without payment. Anvil’s position is protected because its contract was signed after 2003 and its board included for several years Katanga’s former Governor and presidential advisor Augustin Katumba Mwanke. It subsequently set up an ‘offtake’ agreement with Trafigura as a means of acquiring capital.

The late Augustin Katumba Mwanke is a very important figure in the symbiotic relationship between national DRC politics, Katangan politics and the mining industries. Augustin Katumba Mwanke, one of the most influential personalities in the DRC, was a mechanical engineer by training, a former employee at South African Bateman before the 1996-1997 war. He was at the centre of the main transactions in the Congolese mining sector for several years. As governor of Katanga, in 1998 he placed his signature at the bottom of the contract – annulled in 2000 – which gave the Zimbabwean firm Ridgepoint, headed by Billy Rautenbach, 80% shares in the mines and industrial plant belonging to Gecamines at the mining town of Kakanda. Elected as a deputy in 2006, Mwanke had already been appointed as deputy minister to the presidency in charge of the government’s portfolio in April He was appointed governor of Katanga by Laurent Désiré Kabila who found him a loyal ally. In 1998, when the DRC was invaded by the military forces of Uganda and Rwanda, Kabila asked and was given assistance by Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia. 2001. He added this position to his role as director of Anvil Mining until 2004. These three countries sent troops and supplies to assist Kabila. Because of the war and the disruption Kabila did not have the money available to help pay for this assistance. He relied on loans from Angola and opened up his mining sector, particularly diamonds, to the Zimbabweans to help defray the costs of the war. Mwanke played an important role in the negotiations with Dos Santos in Angola and Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe.

Augustin Katumba Mwanke, one of Mr Kabila’s—and his father’s—closest advisers, was appointed executive secretary of the Alliance pour la majorité présidentielle (AMP), the main support and co-ordinating group for Joseph Kabila’s presidency. Augustin Katumba Mwanke, held the PPRD together and fostered a close relationship with the National Assembly leader Evariste Boshab. However, in 2010 in the preparations for the Presidential election in 2011 Mwanke left the AMP and was ostensibly preparing to become a candidate for the Presidency. Kabila 2 won the contested election against veteran politician Etienne Tshisekedi. Mwanke died in an unfortunate accident in February 2012.

Kabila 2 refused to leave office when his term expired in December 2016. The country’s electoral commission said at the time that it could not organise elections until 2018 because violence in the eastern Kasai region had impeded registration of voters. There was an electoral pact made by former Katanga governor Moise Katumbi Chapwe and Felix Tshisekedi to run against Kabila 2, but Moise Katumbi had to leave the DRC to avoid imprisonment by Kabila. He continues to campaign, but from exile. In August 2018 Kabila 2 agreed to proceed to a presidential election in which he would not stand as a candidate. He blessed the candidature of former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary; a Kabila 2 protégé.

At present both sides are preparing for the presidential election although Moise Katumbi is unlikely to return to the DRC or be approved as candidate; just as Bemba was not approved to run for the presidency after his return from the ICC.

IV. The Katanga Connection

Moïse Katumbi Chapwe was born on 28 December 1964 to a Congolese mother and an Italian Jewish father, Nissim Soriano, who migrated to the DRC from his native island of Rhodes (Greece).  Katumbi’s mother was of the Kazembe royalty line of Lunda People of the Congo and Zambia. His father settled in Kashobwe, near the Zambian border, and made a substantial living from the trade in fish from neighbouring Lake Mweru. When Mobutu demanded that the Zairians change their names to more African names, the Sorianos chose Katumbi from the mother’s side.

Katumbi’s career began by selling salted and fresh fish to the state-owned mining company Gécamines. In 1987, he created the holding company Etablissement Katumbi to aggregate all of his business activities including mining, transportation, and food processing. Katumbi founded MCK (Mining Company Katanga) in 1997, which specialized in mining and logistics and became a subcontractor for the mining companies in the region, including Gécamines. By 2015, the company had grown to 1900 employees and was a leading mining company in the country. A French company Necotrans bought MCK in November 2015 for an undisclosed amount. Around 2000, during the Second Congo War, Katumbi moved to Zambia, where he had business ties in transportation. He returned to the DRC in 2003 by invitation from President Kabila, who urged Katumbi to help fix the mining industry in Katanga.

In 2006, Katumbi was elected as a deputy in the National Assembly and then won election as Governor of the Katanga Province in January 2007. While he was governor he immersed himself in the mining industries and carried on with his own companies engaged in that industry. Most importantly, his transport company, Hakuna Matata, provided transport for much of the exported minerals and had an unusually clear run of customs facilities on the Katangan-DRC border.

Katumbi’s governance improved the revenue stream for Katanga and encouraged private enterprise. Shortly after he took office as governor, Katumbi implemented an export ban for raw minerals, including cobalt, forcing major mining companies to either build processing plants in the province or pay a tax on the exported concentrate. Under Katumbi, copper production increased from 8,000 metric tons in 2006 to more than 1 million tons in 2014.

One advantage of Katumbi in his role as governor was his association with both Kabila 2 and Kabila’s friend, the Israeli entrepreneur Dan Gertler. Gertler used to fly to Lubumbashi with kosher meals to share with Katumbi. Gertler was also the partner and stalking horse for Glencore in the copper and cobalt industries as well as for the Och-Ziff and ENRC associates. The initial link for Gertler was his ties with the Ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement. The current leader of the DRC Jewish community, Aslan Piha, who also serves as the editor-in-chief of Kadima (the Jewish quarterly of Kinshasa created in 2004), was born and grew up in Lubumbashi.

The government has exploited legal woes of Katumbi to keep him out of the Presidential race

The government has exploited legal woes of Katumbi to keep him out of the Presidential race

In mid-2016 Katumbi’s term as Governor of Katanga ended. At that point Katumbi broke ranks with Kabila 2 and decided that he would be a candidate for the Presidency. At that point Kabila retaliated. He began to close down the Katumbi business empire. Pascal Nyembo, national coordinator of the fight against mining fraud in the DRC, was turned loose on Katumbi’s business partners and made a special appeal against Glencore and Gerald Metals and the smuggling of ores and concentrates across the border, largely on Katumbi’s trucks. Two of Gerald’s managers were kidnapped in Kinshasa and required a negotiation with Nyembo. Sources say that $300,000 was spent on legal fees to free them and an additional $ 3 million to the authorities in 2017 to continue operating the DRC.

The trucks which were carrying the ores and metals were impounded at the border and, despite the good efforts of Gerald’s staff and friends, they were not released. The Chinese deal was dead, and the reputation of the metal traders was diminished through court cases and rumours.

Mining in the DRC is never easy or straightforward. However, if there is one lesson to be learned it is that putting one’s faith in the survival of an African politician, however shrewd and brave, is never a wise move. The culture and history of the DRC should be ample warning of this.

V. The December Election

The DRC will finally go to the polls on 23 December 2018 unless there are further delays. The voters will be faced by a choice of up to nineteen candidates; some with better chances than the others. Joseph Kabila’s ruling party will be represented by Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the candidate blessed by Kabila. Shadary was Governor of Maniema Province and served Kabila as interior minister. He is a founder member of Kabila’s ruling Peoples’ Party for Reconciliation and Democracy (PPRD). He is not particularly popular throughout the country; he is also under European Union and U.S. sanctions for his alleged role in human rights violations.

When the Kabila faction was preparing for the election in July 2018 it created the Common Front for Congo (FCC), which named Kabila as its moral authority and pressed for support of a single candidate for the presidency. When the candidate turned out not to be Kabila (who was persuaded not to run) his Minister Tryphon Kin-Kiey Mulumba decided to run against Shadary. Bruno Tshibala Nzenze, the current Prime Minister (who took his office in November 2017 after receiving a provisional release from prison) decided to run when Kabila was forced to decline his candidacy for the election..

There are also candidates from the Opposition, led most formidably by Felix Tshisekedi, son of the veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, and Vital Kamerhe, a former Kabila ally turned opponent. The 92-year old Antoine Gizenga, of the Lumumbist Party, is running again.

Jean-Pierre Bemba, recently released from the ICC detention, has been banned from running and Moise Katumbi, who was not allowed home from exile to file his candidate’s papers in person will not be a candidate was ruled out of contention. The main runners are Shadary, with the Kabila machine behind him, and Felix Tshisikedi who effectively represents the surviving opposition negotiations and deals. Under the current rules (changed months before the last elections in 2011), the DRC’s next president could come to power with just 5.3% of the vote.

Under DRC’s electoral rules, the president is elected in a single round, making it one of the few African countries where executive presidents are popularly elected through the plurality system. Under this arrangement, whoever garners the most votes wins, even if they are far short of a majority. That means that with 19 candidates currently on the ballot, DRC’s next president could – in theory – be elected with just 5.3% of the vote

Such a breakdown is, of course, highly unlikely. In the 2011 elections, President Joseph Kabila won with 49%. In 2018, several candidates are already polling in the double-figures. Yet unless things change, it is still likely that the DRC’s next president will come to office in a fragile and divided nation with a majority of his compatriots – perhaps a large majority – having voted for someone else.[i]

It is widely believed that if Shardary wins the Presidency he will name Joseph Kabila as his Prime minister.


* The author is the editor and publisher of the web-based news journal of international relations and the distance-learning educational website He speaks and reads 12 languages and has written six books and published 58 specialist studies. His articles have appeared in the Economist Intelligence Unit, Wall Street Journal, WPROST (a leading Polish weekly news magazine), Pravda and several other major international news journals

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IGD to Hold Series of High-Level Events to Promote Trade and Investment in Africa During UN General Assembly
September 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
  •  IGD will co-host with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Africa Business Center, a breakfast roundtable discussion on Sept. 25 with His Excellency Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice-President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. A press conference with Vice-President will follow the roundtable discussion. 
  • A Presidential Dialogue with His Excellency Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique and top government officials on Sept. 26 will outline trade and investment opportunities with leading U.S. and global business leaders.



President Filipe Nyusi of Mozeambique will headline one of the IGD events during the UN General Assembly

President Filipe Nyusi of Mozeambique will headline one of the IGD events during the UN General Assembly

WASHINGTON D.C. – September 11, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) will hold a series of high-level events with top African leaders on boosting U.S. trade and investment in Africa during the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.

To boost trade opportunities in Côte d’Ivoire, a press conference will be held with H.E. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice-President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and U.S. business leaders on September 25 from 11:00-11:30am, following a breakfast investor roundtable discussion. Duncan, a leading Ivorian economist, is the former Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire and has served in top positions at the West African Central Bank and as Finance Minister.

IGD will host a Presidential Dialogue on Doing Business in Mozambiquewith H.E. Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday, September 26 from 8:00-9:30am at Thomson Reuters’ Times Square office in New York City. The Presidential Dialogue is an invitation-only event, where investors and business leaders gain access to the Head of State and key Government Ministers on potential trade and investment opportunities. This exclusive gathering is also a preview to the IGD Advanced Executive Program on Doing Business in Africa, a five-day executive training program held from October 29 to November 2, 2018 in Maputo, Mozambique. Read the press release here.

Five Heads of State from the Sahel region — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger — will attend the G5 Sahel Summit, which will bring private-sector concerns to the fore of the security agenda on September 25,from 2:00-4:00pm in New York City. IGD, in collaboration with the U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Business CenterCorporate Council on Africa (CCA), and CIPE, is organizing the high-level roundtable session. This event is closed to the media. A joint press statement and photos will be released after the event. 

U.S.-Cote d’Ivoire Business Roundtable 

  • Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice-President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire

WHEN:  Tuesday, September 25, 2018 
Press Conference: 10:30 – 11:00AM
Presidential Dialogue on Doing Business in Mozambique with H.E. Filipe Nyusi

  • H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique

WHEN:  Wednesday, September 26, 2018 – 8:00 – 9:30AM
WHERE: Thomson Reuters New York Office, 3 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

MEDIA CONTACT: Shanta Bryant Gyan, Initiative for Global Development * email,  * phone, 202-412-4603

MORE INFO: Due to tight security, all press must be accredited by IGD. For press accreditation, please contact Shanta Bryant Gyan at or call (202) 412-4603. For more information on the UNGA event, please visit

Founded in 2003 by Bill Gates Sr. and other US business leaders, the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) advises, educates and promotes the US and African private sector in order to advance Africa’s economic growth and sustainable development for mutually beneficial economic prosperity.

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Twelve African countries publish information on newly launched ARIPO IP database
September 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Dos Santos

Dos Santos

Twelve African countries have had their information on Intellectual
Property (IP) published on the newly launched African Regional
Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) regional IP database
launched in Harare, Zimbabwe at the ARIPO headquarters on 10
September, 2018.


Officially launching the regional IP database, ARIPO Director
General, Fernando Dos Santos said that the regional database enables
users to centrally view all published titles in the ARIPO region. He
said that


The regional IP database was launched with information from ARIPO,
Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda,
Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


“The regional database is designed to serve multiple purposes,
including on-line provision of published IP data, encouragement of
regional trade, IP scientific research, IP rights protection and
enforcement in the ARIPO region, as well as sustainable development of
IP,” Dos Santos said.


He added that ARIPO was utilizing ICT tools to establish their
presence in global intellectual property and to foster creativity and
innovation for economic growth and development in Africa.


It is also reported that ARIPO has embarked on a number of ICT
projects taking advantage of the ICT tools available to provide
efficiency in IP business processing, support the availability of IP
information, encourage IP scientific research and IP rights protection
and enforcement.


“The launch of the regional IP database is a result of hard work put
in by the ARIPO secretariat and member states and support from
cooperating partners,” Dos Santos said.


According to Dos Santos, the project proposal for the creation of
a regional database for published IP titles of the ARIPO office and
those of its member states was presented and approved at the 38th
session of the administrative council of ARIPO held in Victoria Falls,
Zimbabwe in 2014.The main objective was for ARIPO to create a
centralized database for its published IP titles and those of its
member states.


Also the development of the database has been done with support from
the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) who are reported
to have provided the software for the database and assisted with the
extraction of published IP data from the IPAS system in the member
states through the Japan Funds-in-Trust for Industrial Property.


Dos Santos urged member states to fully utilize the ARIPO regional
IP database and to continue working with ARIPO to improve the use and
uptake of intellectual property increasing the number of local and
regional applications which are reported to be still very low.
He said that according to WIPO, Africa as a whole accounted for only
0,6% of the total applications filed internationally.

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Uganda’s Museveni blames ‘external forces’ for opposition unrest
September 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni seized power in 1986 at the head of a rebel army (AFP Photo/Sumy SADURNI)

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni seized power in 1986 at the head of a rebel army (AFP Photo/Sumy SADURNI)

Kampala (AFP) – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has accused “external forces” of trying to foment trouble by funding his political opponents in a bid to undermine the country’s image abroad.

In an hours-long televised speech late on Sunday, the 74-year-old railed against the opposition and accused “external forces” of seeking to “sabotage” Uganda’s growth.

His address comes as Kampala grapples with a wave of unrest following the arrest of several parliamentarians including a former pop star, drawing an unusual amount of attention and condemnation from abroad.

Museveni, who took power in 1986, claimed “foreign money” was being funnelled to his political opponents by unnamed NGOs to foment trouble by paying youngsters to burn tyres and throw rocks at police.

The aim, he said, was to “show the world Uganda is not stable”.

And Uganda would deal firmly with opposition troublemakers, he pledged.

“The indisciplined opposition politicians that are accused of terrorism against the population, conspiracy to commit arson or treason should be handled firmly,” he said.

His remarks appeared to be directed at 34-year-old MP Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as pop star Bobi Wine, who entered parliament last year and has since become a lightning rod for youthful opposition to Museveni.

Kyagulanyi and more than 30 others were charged with treason after a crowd of opposition supporters allegedly threw stones at Museveni’s motorcade, breaking a window.

Released on bail, the singer is in the US seeking medical treatment for injuries he claims were sustained while in custody.


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Ethiopia, Eritrea reopen border points for first time in 20 years
September 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Aaron Maasho*
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed addresses a news conference in his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kumera Gemechu/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed addresses a news conference in his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kumera Gemechu/File Photo

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea re-opened crossing points on their shared border for the first time in 20 years on Tuesday, cementing a stunning reconciliation and giving Addis Ababa a direct route to its former foe’s Red Sea ports.

Ethiopian and Eritrean forces stationed along the border will be moved back to camps to ease tensions further, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.

“We heralded the new year by demolishing the trenches along our border,” Abiy told reporters, referring to the fact that Ethiopian New Year was celebrated on Tuesday.

“As of today, Ethiopia’s defense forces (along the border with Eritrea) will be gathered to camps and ease tension that was often extreme. The same will be done from the Eritrean side.”

The war that broke out in 1998 over the border and other issues killed an estimated 80,000 people before fighting ended in 2000 in a contested peace deal.

Tensions burned on over the position of the frontier – until Abiy offered to end the military standoff this year as part of a package of reforms that have reshaped the political landscape in the Horn of Africa and beyond.

Thousands of people from both countries watched one border opening ceremony in Zalambessa, an Ethiopian border town that was reduced to rubble soon after hostilities between the neighbors started in 1998.

Soldiers and civilians waving Ethiopian and Eritrean flags lined the road as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki opened the frontier in a ceremony broadcast live on Ethiopian state TV.

“This is the happiest day of my life,” Ruta Haddis, an Eritrean from the town of Senafe just across the frontier, told reporters. “I never thought this would take place in my lifetime.”

The two leaders opened another frontier crossing at Bure, Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Meskel said in a tweet.

The Debay Sima – Bure crossing leads to the port of Assab in Eritrea’s east, while its Massawa port is directly north of the Serha – Zalambessa connection.

Ethiopia, a rising economic power with 100 million people, had been almost entirely dependent on tiny neighbor Djibouti for access to the Red Sea since 1998.


Pictures posted online by Abiy’s chief of staff showed the leaders talking and walking side by side in Bure – Abiy in camouflaged military fatigues and Isaias wearing sandals and a safari suit.

Some of the fiercest fighting during the 1998-2000 war took place in the Bure region.

The Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders have moved swiftly to end two decades of hostility since signing a breakthrough agreement in Asmara on July 9 to restore ties.

Eritrea reopened its embassy in Ethiopia in July, Ethiopia reciprocated last week and the two countries have resumed flights.

The two leaders also celebrated Ethiopian New Year together at the border with their troops on Tuesday, Abiy’s Chief of Staff, Fitsum Arega, said.

Ethiopia follows a calendar similar to the ancient Julian one – which started disappearing from the West in the 16th century – meaning the country entered its year 2011 on Tuesday.

*Source Reuters

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Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Swears In New Cabinet
September 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa swears in first post-Mugabe Cabinet.Photo: New Zimbabwe

President Emmerson Mnangagwa swears in first post-Mugabe Cabinet.Photo: New Zimbabwe

The President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa has sworn in , Constantine Chiwengwa and Kembo Mohadii as Vice Presidents.  He also extended his hand of power to swear in 20 Ministers, 13 Deputies, 10 Ministers of State for the Provinces and 2 Ministers of State in the office of 2 Vice Presidents.

The new face cabinet consists of  8 new Ministers who occupied Ministries of Finance , Health and Child Care , Information ,Media  , Broadcasting Services and publicity , Public Service , Labor and Social Welfare , Industry and Commerce , Home Affairs , Energy and Power  , Youth , Sport , Art and Recreation . These new faces respectively are Thuli Ncube , Obediah Moyo , Monica Mutsvangwa , Sekesai Nzenza , Mangaliso Ndhovu , Kane Matema  , Jorum Gumbo and Kirsty Coventry .

There are 5 women in the cabinet. In terms of Gender Equality, this is a bit of an improvement. The new faces have been in the Parastatals , in Government sectors and Provincial Leadership . He also sworn in 13 Deputies among them 3 women , 10 Ministers of State for the Provinces among them 5 women and 2 Ministers of State in the Office of 2 Vice Presidents .

President Mnangagwa slashed out big wigs tails and heads rolled down hitting hard granite rock. Old faces like Obert Mpofu , Patrick Chinamasa , David Parirenyatwa  , Supa Mandiwanzira , Samuel Mumbengegwi , Webster Shamu and others have their faces scalded by the dusk of a clouded night .

However, people have since last week appreciated the new face cabinet which is anticipated to work hard for the development of the country. The new faces sworn in pledged to work with the new Government in a transparent and accountable manner. Mnangagwa made it clear that the country will be a Middle Income country by 2030. He however said this needs the effort of those who take office.

Speaking at a ground taking off ceremony at State House in Harare Emmerson Mnangagwa assured the Nation service delivery of state nurtured commitment and perseverance. He urged the nation to remain calm and knuckle down to deliver for national development. He further restored confidence in the growth of the economy.

‘’Let us focus now on economic development rather than glaring at political issues. We have opened our way into the future. Now let us work to foster economic development without any drawbacks..

‘’Zimbabwe can one day lift itself out of challenges it currently faces if we unity for peace and economic development in the country. Let us open the way to open Zimbabwe for business.’’

The new Cabinet has been cleared to take the ground for work. Their resumption of work is expected to change the shape of the country which has a very low Gross and National economic weight. Zimbabwe has very low Industrial growth due to low Primary production in Agriculture, Mining and Manufacturing Industry. This has created room for 90% Indigenized Economy with low- low employment growth and Income per-capita .


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Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Opens New Revenue Business Through Telecommunications Industry Partnerships.
September 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu..

Faith Mazani

Faith Mazani

ZIMBABWE REVENUE AUTHORITY hails the spirit of a new Zimbabwe through partnerships.  The Revenue collection organization boasting of its motto , ‘’my taxes , my duties , building a new Zimbabwe strengthened its partnerships for a new Zimbabwe open for Business through collaboration with partners to make Administration easy in the vibrant organization .

Speaking in Harare at a Telecommunications Industry and ZIMRA REVENUE ASSURANCE AND SPECIAL PROJECTS DIVISION breakfast meeting, ZIMRA Commissioner General- Faith Mazani said these partnerships are a way forward in bringing sustainable revenue in the country. She pointed out that the new Zimbabwe open for business has weaved new strategies to fatten co-operative compliance with best practices to foster way-forward new developments to build up on a new Zimbabwe.

‘’A new Zimbabwe’s dawn here comes with a New ZIMRA with partnerships meant to strengthen relationships with the organization.

‘’These partnerships will make Administration become easier as we move forward in open business flowing in a transparent and accountable manner.

‘’My taxes, my duties, building my Zimbabwe is our path to sustainable revenue in the country. Let us follow suit that Zimbabwe is open for business, also ZIMRA is open for partnerships with the Telecommunications Industry.

The Commissioner General added that the organization is in the alacrity to review tax systems, change laws and policies. In its new spirit of commitment to economic development, she highlighted that the Revenue organization is ready to fight corruption which she said is the stagnant that impedes on development in any given economy.

‘’This will be shown by our effort in reviewing taxes in the country. This we will do for the need to bring new sustainable revenue that will benefit the country.

‘’To make this see the light of the day we need to campaign against corruption which in any given economy is a stagnant that impedes economic development.

‘’That is what we mean by saying a new Zimbabwe, a new ZIMRA. However, let us sing of changing Laws and policies so that we remain moving on with the pace of nation building.

She further elaborated that there is need to expand the tax base in the country. This, she added is ZIMRA’s goal for sustainable development. She urged the Business world to continue paying tax to foster economic development.

‘’Expanding our tax base is a strategy for the benefit of the country. However, I urge companies to continue paying tax.

‘’Companies in their effort to continue paying tax builds on a new Zimbabwe. This is a new Zimbabwe buttressed by our better tax administration. Zimbabwe will be a middle income by 2030. We shall end there as a country. What we need to have as a new spirit is our commitment as we move forward as a new Zimbabwe’’, she concluded.



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A Simple Call For Devolution Could Build On A New Zimbabwe And Africa..
September 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu ..

Opposition Political Parties, Churches, Civil Society and some sections of the Ruling Party have made a simple call to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to follow the Constitution of the country and implement Devolution. Devolution is an open system which empowers provincial and district communities. These are given powers to stand alone and run their affairs in terms of Social, political and economic development.

A Base-Line and Pilot Survey by several Qualitative Researchers in political organizations have summed up that Zimbabwe and Africa needs Devolution. The development exercise turns to empower, equalize,  and reflect on rural and urban development at Democratic de-centralized points .

Several voices though still in the shadow of fear have spoken positively about social, economic and political change that may be seen if Devolution sails well through in the country. One political party which came to the open on the discussion is MDC-T and Zimbabwe Alliance of Churches.

A few days ago in Harare at a local hotel, MDC T Official Obert Gutu reiterated the same statements which were also echoed by Reverend Useni Sibanda of the Zimbabwe Alliance of Churches in Masvingo 300 kilometers south of Harare. Giving a punch soon after 2018 elections results announcement, Obert Gutu said the new Government must move ahead with new profound ideas in order to make the country move forward.

‘’Zimbabwe now needs Devolution to spread Development. We want communities to get empowered by their own resources in their respective area. We see a situation where Central powers hang around with the central administration of same people, same mind and belonging to the same political party.

‘’Let us see a new line of movement of the country as we move towards complete change. We look towards for new brains, different faces in all provinces where new look face must bring change. This is what we call Devolution in the country.

‘’This could be all over Africa. Still African communities have this type of challenge creating unending Absolute poverty that may continue if not solved. Africa is in a pool of poverty. Its resources are taken away from them. They benefit people in other far away countries, yet in Africa, poverty stings.

‘’Zimbabweans have never enjoyed their resources. Just imagine on the issues of Marange and Chiadzwa Diamonds. These benefit people seated in offices in Dubai, yet the real owners have nothing to boast of .

‘’Zimbabweans are in abject poverty. Minerals are over enjoyed by those who are not the real owners .It means there is no Community Share Ownership and Social Corporate Responsibility in the country.

‘’People have called for change through politics of which they failed to bring. Still we want them to be heard on the issue of what we call Devolution. This is time for change through Devolution’’.

Community Share Ownership gives the local people the full rights to enjoy resources in their community. This is usually where there are mining activities affecting the surrounding people like effects of Pollution. Social Corporate Responsibility make companies plough back amassed resources into the community. This means they give back into the communities like building schools and churches and giving financial resources.

During the weekend in Masvingo , Zimbabwe Churches Alliance urged Emmerson Mnangagwa to follow the constitution and follow the path of Devolution . He pointed out that this could bring new change.

‘’We urge the President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take this advice and walk towards Devolution in the country. Anew Zimbabwe needs new better ideas that work for everyone.

‘’The country can move on . People have called for change. We received what we saw as the results. Let now move towards change by calling for Devolution.

‘’We need to decentralize everything. This brings change in the country as a whole. We see a new Zimbabwe. As churches, we just want to see peace as we move forward’’, said Reverend Sibanda .

Giving his comment Dr Francis Danha  of Hash TAG 1980 FREEDOM pointed out that Devolution could work since it shapes a new Zimbabwe . He further took a swipe to the Government for its delay in instituting this.

‘’This is supposed to be a long overdue story which must have given us the right ripe fruits. If this was done long time back it might have worked well. Its only that it comes to be criticized by those who think and believe can be affected by end of the day.

‘’There are those who fear change. This could have worked long time ago. We must have seen change in the country. Alas, it sounds interesting to talk but we see the negative of what we expect by the end of the day. After all it works to work with what is important ‘’he said.

A political careless whisper known as a whip in the ZANU PF PARTY in his anonymity call still stood to stand unknown though he said to this journalist the story was impartial.

‘’I stand not to be known though this is good, -free and perfect. Devolution might not be in the minds of these guys who want all the powers to be in the hands of them and their ruling party, ZANU PF.

‘’It is brilliant and part of our constitution, but who cares?, he asked pointing fingers in gesticulation.
‘’it’s a long story to tell. What I say is , they listen and take , put aside and sit and forget what is important for them as time goes on’’ ,

He gave a pessimistic answer to the question.


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ARIPO to launch a free regional intellectual property database to promote trade in Africa
September 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) is
set to launch a Regional Intellectual Property (IP) database toady
Monday, 10 September 2018. The centralized database with published IP
titles from the ARIPO Member States will not only be accessible online
but will be free for all.

The IP Database is designed to efficiently serve multiple purposes,
including on-line provision of published IP data, encouragement of
regional trade, IP scientific research, IP rights protection and
enforcement in the ARIPO region, as well as sustainable development of

“Technology is an agent of change, and major technological innovations
have resulted in paradigm shifts in the way business is conducted. As
the ARIPO Office we are utilizing ICT tools to establish our presence
in global intellectual property and to foster creativity and
innovation for economic growth and development in Africa,” says the
ARIPO Director General, Mr. Fernando dos Santos.

“The Office has embarked on a number of ICT projects taking advantage
of the ICT tools available to provide efficiency in IP business
processing, support the availability of IP information, encourage IP
scientific research and IP rights protection and enforcement,” He

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) 2016
IP Statistics Report, Africa as a whole accounted for only 0.6% of the
total applications filed internationally. The Database will therefore
contribute significantly to improve the use and uptake of IP in the
ARIPO region thereby increasing the number of local and regional
applications which is still very low.

The IP database will be free and easy to access for searches by IP
Agents and anyone who wishes to find information or register a patent,
industrial design or trademark.

The development of the Regional IP Database was supported by WIPO.
They provided the software for the database and assisted with the
extraction of published IP data from the IPAS system in the Member

The ARIPO Regional IP Database to be launched will have information
from ARIPO, Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique,
Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The launch will be officiated by the Representative of the Director
General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),
Project Manager in the IP Office Business Solutions Division, Mr.
Gregory Sadyalunda and the Representative of the Commissioner of the
Japanese Patent Office, the Deputy Director, Information Technology
and Patent Information Management Office, Japan Patent Office, Mr.
Hiroyuki Nishibori.

The link to the database is

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Zimbabwe’s Agribank to extend support to floriculture and horticulture targeting the European market
September 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire



Agribank, Zimbabwe’s leading bank offering support to the
agriculture sector has announced that it is increasing its support to
the floriculture and horticulture sector to promote exports to the
highly lucrative European market, according to SMT Malaba, Agribank
CEO in a presentation of the bank’s financial statements for the year
ended 30 June, 2018.

According to Malabe, the bank has made significant milestones with
respect to key strategic initiatives such as enhanced support to
agriculture and capital raising initiatives.
The banks is alo expanding support to agriculture and sustaining
business growth initiatives optimising on the critical role of
agriculture in the economy of the country.
Support to agriculture is at the core of the bank’s mandate for food
security and value addition.

“The bank is expanding support to the agriculture sector and is
likely to surpass its initial set target of $105 million and achieve
$125 million agriculture financing, inclusive of both on and off
balance sheet financing,” Malaba said.

He added that to date total lending to agriculture amounted to $80
million. He said that finance is being extended to major subsectors of
the agriculture sector such as tobacco, maize, soya, horticulture as
well as critical fertilizers and chemical industries that support
agriculture with inputs.

Malaba described horticulture and floriculture as low hanging fruits
for the country to boast its foreign exchange incomes. Previously the
sector was dominated by white commercial farmers but declined due to
the 2000 land reform programme. There was a major shift when the new
communal farmers focused on other traditional crops like maize and
cotton with a few focusing on the export crops.
Malaba added that in a bid to raise foreign currency the bank
managed to also support key sectors in agriculture like the
floriculture and horticulture sectors.

He said that the bank is exploring further expanded support in
respect of horticulture crops such as macadamia nuts, mange peas,
Michigan peas, avocados and cut flowers.

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