Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What You Need to Know Today

The M23 rebels have penned an open letter to Obama, asking him to scotch the proposed intervention brigade for eastern Congo.

The inquiry into human rights activist Floribert Chebeya's assassination has again been delayed, and the organization he headed, Voix des sans-voix, continues to boycott the proceedings, saying they are a whitewash for the man almost certainly responsible for his death, former police chief John Numbi.

Reuters has a good brief round-up on the DRC's political/economic risks. The key questions, with my best guesses in parentheses:
  • - Will M23 rebels return to arms as peace talks in Uganda splutter? (prob not)
  • - Will resurgence of pro-separatist violence in Katanga discourage investment? (prob not)
  • - Can the economy keep growing on the back of Katanga's copper production despite security fears? (yes, but slowly and fitfully)
  • - Can Congo re-establish a loan deal with the IMF? (yes)
  • - Will Kabila finally take any steps towards tackling endemic corruption? (no, corruption is not a bug, it's the way the system works)
  • - Will a reform to the mining code expected this year damage investor confidence? (no--Ponyo will see to that; but what the mining code says and what it actually takes to do biz in Congo are two different things)
  • - Will a plan to get state miner Gecamines back on its feet succeed? (eventually, maybe)
Can't possibly be true: South Africa is planning to invest $20 billion in Inga, says DigitalCongo. Seems too high by an order of magnitude.

On the airstrip under the active volcano Mount Nyiragongo,
an Antonov AN-12 cargo plane prepares to leave Goma.
Guy Tillim, in Vanity Fair
With about a dozen crashes in the past two years, the DRC remains the most dangerous place to be a plane: Radio Okapi reports on a conference held to address airplane safety. Which reminds me to plug this 2007 piece on Congo's aviators by William Langewiesche.

Questions continue to emerge about whether South Africa's recent decisions to participate in peacekeeping operations in CAR and now DRC are driven by the desire of the well-connected elite to protect their investments. More tk on this. 

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