Mali and DRC try to reverse unfavorable mining deals
In recent years, African countries such as Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have sought to rewrite unfavorable mining contracts that leave states short on revenue generated as well as recover funds owed to those pandemic concerns. has deteriorated. Last year, Malis Auditor General found that mining companies such as Barrick Gold and Resolute Mining had not paid dividends to public shareholders that were part of the original contracts. Last September, Barrick Gold ended up making its first dividend payment in 15 years since the opening of the Loulo Mines. Moreover, SOMISY, a subsidiary of Resolute Mining, agreed to start dividend payments once they are profitable.
In 2018, DRC introduced a new mining code which increased taxes on minerals like cobalt, copper and gold. New code met with resistance: Glencore Mining Company, the largest western company operating in the country, has not yet accepted the new code and its royalties. There have also been strong reactions to the tightening of rules elsewhere on the continent. Australian iron ore company Sundance Resources is planning to enter into international arbitration proceedings against the Republic of Congo after the government canceled the Nabeba iron ore project in December last year.
The possibility of success in many of these efforts is unclear given past court rulings against African countries. For example, only on Monday, British court overturns Sierra Leone dispute over 2020 International Chamber of Commerce ruling including an arbitration registration SL Mining 2019. The decision of the British courts means that Sierra Leone will pay SL Mining a partial award and reach an arbitration settlement within three months.
COVID-19 vaccines are moving forward, albeit with challenges; new Ebola outbreak appears in Guinea and DRC
COVID-19 deaths in sub-Saharan Africa exceeded 100,000 this week, moving the fatality rate of the regions above the global average of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent during the second wave of the disease. Richard Mihigo, immunization program coordinator at the office of the World Health Organization in Africa, recently noted that the fact that the death toll has been faster in countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi can show further spread of the virus variant in South Africa, known as 501Y.V2. Gaps in testing may still be masking the full extent of the spread of all variants of the virus as well, as CDC Africa Director John Nkengasong noted last week Are we counting all the deaths on the continent? not … But most people on the mainland know someone who died of COVID during this second wave.
Recent news that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine offers limited resistance to variants 501Y.V2 forced authorities in South Africa to try for a vaccine that could offer more protection. By Tuesday night, the place had taken over 80,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, allowing her to move forward with her vaccination program. President Cyril Ramaphosa, who received that vaccine this week, also noted that the country has secured 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and is seeking the vaccines Chinas Sinopharm and Russias Sputnik V. Meanwhile, other countries in the region have started their vaccination programs, with Senegal, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea taking the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.
Procurement and distribution of vaccines has generally been challenging and controversial. On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized the efforts of developed countries to provide vaccines first, calling for the distribution process wild unequal and unjust, and noting that only 10 countries have administered 75 percent of all vaccines. Emphasizing that point, on Thursday, February 18, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the current unequal distribution of doses demonstrates a the unprecedented acceleration of global inequality, and underlined that some countries were being charged two or three times more than the price paid by the European Union and other developed countries.
While some countries are trying to get vaccines, Tanzanian President John Magufuli has done refused any need for them. According to The Washington Post, Magufuli has promoted herbal remedies and claims that his country has been without COVID since three days of national prayer in June last year. In particular, the country has no virus numbers have been issued since April 2020 and field reports, including by The US Embassy in Dar es Salaam opposes the claim of zero issues, instead stating that the numbers are increasing.
Meanwhile, New Ebola outbreaks have emerged in Guinea AND Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Already, vaccines have been distributed in both countries, with one another 11,000 are expected in Guinea this Sunday from the European Union and another 8,000 from the US not long after. Tuesday, The United Nations announced it would release $ 15 million for both countries in emergency aid funds. two countries and their neighbors are on high alert given that over 11,000 people diedin the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa and thousands have gone missing in a series of outbreaks over the last decade in the DRC and surrounding area.
For more on supporting sub-Saharan African health systems, see the February 12 AGI event with John Nkengasong, director of the African Centers for Disease Control, and his essay Foresight Africa 2021.
UN calls for strengthening in Central African Republic as France reaffirms commitment to military operations in Sahel
Despite the second anniversary of a peace agreement between the government of the Central African Republic and rebel groups, the situation in the country has deteriorated. On Wednesday, February 17, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recommended increasing the UN peacekeeping presence in the Central African Republic, calling for an additional 3,700 soldiers and police to strengthen forces and assist the peacekeeping mission. Guterres stresses that reinforcements are not intended as a means to a military solution to current challenges [nor] a replacement for the main responsibility of national authorities to advance the peace process and protect the population. Multi-dimensional United Nations Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA abbreviated from French) currently deploys nearly 15,000 personnel, 11,000 of whom are military, in the region. Any further increase in military and police deployment missions requires approval by the UN Security Council.
In other security news Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron ruled out an immediate landing in its seats of 5,100 soldiers currently fighting armed fighters in the Sahel. Eight years after sending troops to help Mali fight rebel groups, the intervention has cost France billions of dollars and killed 55 French soldiers. The conflict in the region has continued for a decade and has crossed the borders of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, resulting in the death of thousands and the displacement of millions. In fact, experts believe that Malis’s inability to control the violence led to resentment with then-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keta, which resulted in a coup last August.
Internal pressure in France for a withdrawal has led to calls to review the country’s strategy and, ultimately, to seek an exit strategy. In response to this pressure, Macron argued that a quick exit from the region would be a mistake due to the prolonged instability there. In his remarks, he stressed France’s commitment to its partners in the Sahel, stating that any change in military deployment will result primarily from a collective discussion with our Sahel partners. They will be based on the results obtained and the degree of commitment from our partners. He then described the launch of additional operations by a consortium of international forces including the Czech Republic, Estonia and Sweden (which have already sent troops) and Hungary, Greece and Serbia (which have stated their readiness to do so). .
Brookings Institution Africa Development Initiative, Recognized Distinguished Collaborator Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at the helm of the World Trade Organization.
This week, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed the new head of the World Trade Organization. She will be the first woman and the first African to hold this position. Okonjo-Iweala was also Nigeria’s first female Minister of Finance and the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs. ithad a 25-year career at the World Bank and served as its Chief Operating Officer from 2007-2011.
For more on the history of Okonjo-Iwealas as well as other leading women around the world, join us on March 4 for the launch of her book authored by Julia Gillard, also a non-resident outside colleague of Brookings and the former Prime Minister of Australia »Women and Leadership: True Life, True Lessons.