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Even before the ministerial portfolios in prime minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde’s new government were finalised on 12 April, President Félix Tshisekedi had picked the advisers to work on key dossiers with the presidency and ministers. The UK-based Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is among those advising the presidency, with a focus on the Inga dam mega-project, which remains as elusive as ever, while apparently even more candidates line up to develop the Congo river resource.

DR Congo
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According to the most widely accepted version of still hazy events, President Idriss Déby Itno (IDI) was injured on 17-18 April fighting rebels near Mao in the Kanem region, some 300km from N’djamena; he was pronounced dead early on 20 April. The military leader, who became president in 1990, had just been re-elected (with 79.32% of the official vote) for a sixth term in a vote on 11 April.

DR Congo | Mali
Issue 436 - 15 April 2021

DRC: New government appointed

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After two months of negotiations, a new government led by President Félix Tshisekedi’s Union Sacrée has created a 57-member coalition government (down from 66 ministers), led by prime minister Sama Lukonde Kyenge. The government – comprised of four  deputy PMs, nine ministers of state, 31 ministers, a ministre délégué and 11 deputy ministers – includes supporters of leading opponents Moïse Katumbi and Jean-Pierre Bemba.

DR Congo
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Italy’s Eni has settled a corruption case relating to its activities in Republic of Congo, making a payment of €11.8m ($14m). Eni said in a statement that allegations of international corruption “ceased to exist” and that the payment had followed the reduction of the charge by the Court of Milan to undue inducement.

DR Congo
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Off-grid operations have proved resilient in the face of Covid-19 challenges, as major investors and financial institutions expand their support for electricity access away from national grids. But scaling up local businesses so that distributed energy solutions can reach their potential remains a huge challenge, leading industry players told a virtual African Investment Exchange (AIX) meeting.

Kenya | DR Congo | Chad | Nigeria | Madagascar | South Africa
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President Denis Sassou-Nguesso laid a foundation stone on 3 March for a 3.4MW solar thermal hybrid plant at Impfondo in Likouala province. The project is financed by the government and will be built by Belgian company Produits de Construction de Brazzaville (Procob).

DR Congo
Issue 434 - 11 March 2021

US restores Gertler DRC sanctions

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The new US administration has restored sanctions on Israeli diamond magnate Dan Gertler over alleged corruption in DR Congo. The Treasury Department had eased the sanctions five days before Donald Trump left office, quietly issuing a licence that temporarily lifted restrictions on the mining tycoon.

DR Congo
Issue 433 - 25 February 2021

DR Congo: Tshisekedi names his new PM

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In a further stage in the battle for control of Democratic Republic of Congo between past and present heads of state, President Félix Tshisekedi on 15 February named Sama Lukonde Kyenge as prime minister.

DR Congo
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In the third year of his presidency, Félix Tshisekedi has outflanked Joseph Kabila to the extent that the former president is now lying low at his ranch near Lubumbashi amid fears his senator-for-life status may be insufficient to give immunity from eventual prosecution. The resignation on 29 January of prime minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba was another victory over key Kabila allies in a war of attrition for control of Democratic Republic of Congo that has seen members of the ex-president’s Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC) flooding to join Tshisekedi’s Union Sacré́e pour la Nation (USN).

DR Congo
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Energie des Grands Lacs (EGL) is set to launch studies for the development of the Ruzizi IV regional hydropower plant  on the Ruzizi River, which forms the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The international organisation formed under the auspices of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries has issued a general procurement notice for consulting services to study the technical, economic, financial and institutional feasibility of the 287MW run-of-river project as well as assess the environmental, social and climate change impacts and determine appropriate mitigation measures.

DR Congo | Rwanda
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President Tshisekedi’s successes in outflanking his powerful predecessor Joseph Kabila gives hope that a more inclusive economic recovery is possible. But while investors look again at opportunities around the vast country, and the president has high hopes for mega solar schemes and Grand Inga, DRC remains problematic, write Jon Marks and François Misser.

DR Congo
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While DRC locals wait for access to sustainable energy, the government is getting excited about massive Inga dam developments which in the past have attracted attention to the detriment of smaller schemes. After President Félix Tshisekedi took the African Union (AU) revolving presidency on 6 February, a European analyst commented it was “an open secret that he will be trying to use this position to seek support for the Inga III project, and beyond that for the Great Inga projects.”

DR Congo
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President Denis Sassou Nguesso confirmed on 23 January that he would seek a fourth consecutive mandate when elections are held on 21 March. The 77-year-old president will again stand as candidate of the ruling Parti Congolais du Travail. Before then Sassou is hoping for progress with Brazzaville’s International Monetary Fund-led debt restructuring, agreed in 2019 but still incomplete.

DR Congo
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The most abundant element on earth, hydrogen, already has industrial uses, but it could do much more to transform the global energy mix as industrialised economies and the global south decarbonise. Judged by the welter of governmental and corporate statements, hydrogen is featuring large in the thoughts of planners and project promoters. These range from Chinese hydrocarbons giant Sinopec’s plans to reallocate some of its Rmb87bn ($13bn) cash pile to projects “all along the hydrogen chain” to Australian junior miner AVZ Minerals’ green lithium mine project at Manono in Democratic Republic of Congo.

DR Congo | South Africa
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Australian junior miner AVZ Minerals on 21 January said its $500m-plus green lithium mine project at Manono would be fully supplied by the Piana Mwanga hydroelectric plant – once it has been refurbished – and would aim to achieve a number of other sustainability goals. Analysts said AVZ’s investor call, which focused on sustainability issues following a greenhouse gas assessment at the Manono lithium and tin project by Environmental Resource Management, produced an uptick in its share price as it focused on the project “as potentially having one of the lowest carbon footprints of any lithium mine across the globe”.

DR Congo