On April 5th the DRC government decided to stop the export of cobalt and copper concentrates . The decision was made public on April 17th and on the 18th Katanga Governor Moses Katumbi announced that he would not comply with it .
The logic announced as being behind the ban was simple , not to say simplistic : push towards the development of new electric resources . The big companies like Freeport MacMoran and the trader Glencore process their share of the mining (70%) inside the Congo . But newcomers like the Kazakh ENRC process it outside after exporting the concentrates .
The reason is lack of electrical power and prohibiting the export of concentrates is not going to make it better . The ban will not lead to more use of an electricity which is not there to use in the first place . So the main question is this : why did President Kabila take such a bizarre and apparently counterproductive decision ? This is a question I ask from my readers : readers please help me understand ! It could of course be linked to one of the multiple feuds within the man-eats-man world of Congolese mining . A company linked to Dan Gertler is said to have bought SMKK for $15m and then resold it shortly after to ENRC for $75m . If this is true , did it trigger something ? An unhappy intermediary ? Kitu kidogo money not paid ? Pressure on ENRC ? In any case , Katumbi’s enraged retort is a direct threat to the President . Katanga has been “Kabilaland” in the last two presidential elections . Fighting with its powerful Governor does not seem like a good idea for Joseph Kabila
When we think of Ethiopia we tend to think in cliches: Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the Falasha Jews, the epic reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, the Communist Revolution, famine and civil war.
Among the countries of Africa it has a high profile yet is poorly known. How- ever all cliches contain within them a kernel of truth, and occlude much more. Today’s Ethiopia (and its painfully liberated sister state of Eritrea) are largely obscured by these mythical views and a secondary literature that is partial or propagandist. Moreover there have been few attempts to offer readers a comprehensive overview of the country’s recent history, politics and culture that goes beyond the usual guidebook fare.
Understanding Contemporary Ethiopia seeks to do just that, presenting a measured, detailed and systematic analysis of the main features of this unique country, now building on the foundations of a magical and tumultuous past as it struggles to emerge in the modern world on its own terms.