Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Virunga Report 30-Jun-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
36 illegal miners died in copper mine owned by Glencore in the DRC (Guardian 27-Jun)
Yuma remains pres of SOE Gecamines but with no power (Bloomberg 14-Jun)
South African companies happy for results of Mining Week in Lubumbashi (IOL 24-Jun
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Tanzania to build dry port at Inyala targeting the DRC (All Africa 24-Jun)
Govt targets militia large-scale army operations in eastern region (Times Live 30-Jun)
China to build hydroelectric power plants (Bloomberg 27-Jun)
The Virunga’s View
The ebola crisis in the DRC risks broad and long-term health and economic consequences. The country urgently needs foreign aid to prevent the epidemic expanding. Govt inability to manage rebel groups is causing mass migration toward neighbouring African countries. Ebola outbreaks are affecting the famous Turkana fish market and now the disease is starting to appear in Western Uganda. Approx. 300,000 people are now displaced from the DRC. The Virunga is nevertheless positive considering the increasing and diversified Chinese investments in the hydroelectric sector. This will surely positively influence the DRC’s ability reduce dependency on mining exports. Moreover, the increasing intra-African trade plans are a good prospect for the DRC’s economy. The East African Community trade plans will need the DRC for better intra-continental trade. 
Fun Fact: On 09-Jun a DRC committee organised a ceremony in honour of Kim Il Sung (KCNA Watch 17-Jun)


The Virunga Report 31-May-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
China strikes back on Huawei after US sanctions: battery nickel from DCR mines (Bloomberg 21-May)
Amani Gold to raise $3m through share placement (Mining Weekly 23-May)
Total SA oil explorer pulls out (Bloomberg-29-May)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Rwandan Pres. P.Kagame encourages citizens to trade at border with the DCR (Daily Monitor 19-May)

Return of opposition leader Moise Katumbi might create turbulence in govt stability (allAfrica 23-May)
IMF returns to the DCR as Pres. Tshisekedi seeks to repair relations (Bloomberg 23-May)
The Virunga’s View
The DRC has taken important economic and political steps forward this month. Pres. Tshisekedi is seeking to reunite both the government and the opposition toward a common anti-corruption goal, to guarantee democracy and incentivise foreign investments. First, he allowed the return from the exile of opposition leader Moise Katumbi, and nominated an ally of former President Kabila as Prime Minister.
The DCR’s economic prospects are growing by selling raw materials to the Chinese IT sector. Both China and the IMF are offering a debt relief program. The Virunga sees striking improvements and solidification of Congolese institutions. The new anti-corruption and transparency program sets a better climate for investment. If wisely exploited, copper mining could create new surpluses, but only if profits are well integrated with other sectors through a farsighted use of Chinese-financed infrastructure. 
Fun Fact: Female entrepreneur Josephine Uwase Ndeze is the winner of Miss Geek Africa 2019 (New Times 17-May)


The Virunga Report 30-Apr-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
MMG, Glencore, ERG plan more efficient mining methods (Bloomberg 03-Apr)
Vodacom paid $2.3m to Tanzania’s govt due to company’s irregularities (Bloomberg 11-Apr)
Glencore faces corruption investigations: shares dropped by 3.5% (Bloomberg 25-Apr)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines 
Congolese army killed 36 Burundi rebels at the border (Reuters 12-Apr)
Islamic State claim 1st attack in the DCR (Reuters 19-Apr)
Deforestation increased 38% since last year ( Guardian 25-Apr)
The Virunga’s View
The outlook for the DCR’s economy is positive because of the mining sector. Political instability remains but investors can be a little more confident in the new govt. China’s interest in the copper and cobalt industry should increase competition in a mostly US dominated mining sector. New Pres.Tshisekedi will have to work hard to stabilise the country. There are tensions with the govt opposition, military conflict at the border with Burundi, and terroristic/ethnic clashes between internal factions. The Virunga is sceptical about how impactful the first transfer of power through the ballot box will prove to be on a political and economic ground. The UN is pushing hard for stability.
Fun Fact: “Gorilla Selfie” of iconic animals taken by Virunga’s rangers goes viral (Guardian 26-Apr)


The Virunga Report 31-Mar-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Govt ordered to pay DIG Oil $617m (Bloomberg 07-Mar)
SX-EW production increased by 16% in recent years (ScrapRegister 24-Mar)
Kenya Commercial Bank announces expansion in the DCR by 2022 (Agence Ecofin 28-Mar)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Ex-President Kabila approved oil contract that encroaches on Virunga National Park (Bloomberg 26-Feb)
DCR to increase taxes on mining firms (BBC News 10-Mar)
US Treasury sanctions 3 govt members for electoral fraud (Reuters 21-Mar)
The Virunga's View
The international community have accepted the falsified electoral outcome of what was supposed to be the first democratic election in the DCR’s history. The newly elected president Felix Tshisekedi calls for a reconciled Congo, but political instability is almost a certainty.
Electoral fraud has delivered an unaccountable and illegitimate government. Its authority will be challenged. Moreover, the recent attacks of armed assailants on five ebola centres, and the massacre of the Bananu community last December, show a high risk of internal conflict that nobody is prepared to prevent. The UN is proposing to reduce the strength of MONUSCO’s military personnel. This will cause further instability in the country. 
Fun Fact: President Tshisekedi pardoned 700 political prisoners (Al Jazeera 14-Mar)