#EarlySignals - November 2022æ

16 November 2022


Our monthly selection of news, quotes and figures that slipped through the radar but could have significant implications


Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and current Chair of SADC calls for the immediate lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe

On 25 October, Felix Tshisekedi, current chair of the Southern African Development Community, restated calls for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe following the 2002 elections by the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. Only China, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the country's FDI since 2019, allows Zimbabwe to benefit from external capital. At the regional level, there are increasing calls for the removal of sanctions. In September, Senegalese President and current Chair of the African Union, Macky Sall, called for the lifting of sanctions at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. Could pressure from African leaders speed up the lifting of sanctions? In the run-up to the 2023 presidential elections, it is unlikely. A fortnight ago, US diplomacy had already threatened to add individuals to the sanctions list because of human rights abuses during the election campaign.  


“As we benchmark with the Communist Party of China (CPC), we only admire their party strength and structures. We, therefore, urge them to copy our Party UDA Kenya in advocating for democracy, human rights and free and fair elections… We also admire the steps that you have made to bring your party to where it is today, we wish to do the same.” Johnson Muthama, chairperson of the United Democratic Alliance
On 24 October, representatives of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), President Ruto's political party, met with their counterparts from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to draw inspiration from the party's modus operandi. Centred on economic exchanges since the democratic turnaround in Africa during the 1990s, communist ideology could once again become the spearhead of Chinese influence on the continent. The Kenyan UDA is not the only case of an African party taking inspiration from the Chinese model. The South African, African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) parties, demonstrated their willingness to forge closer ties with the CCP during the 20th Chinese party congress held in late October. Are we witnessing a return of communism as a political model in Africa?  


USD 9 billion: amount invested by the United States in oil and gas projects in Africa since the Paris Agreement

Since 2015, the U.S. has invested more than USD 9 billion in oil and gas projects in Africa, compared to only USD 682 million in green energy projects. Nevertheless, the Biden administration is advocating for a halt to new oil and gas projects on the continent. With COP27 opening its doors in Egypt, what will be the stance of African negotiators in the face of this double narrative? One of the criticisms made by African countries is the lack of strong actions that go along with the numerous statements and promises made by Northern countries. The first positions so far indicate that the continent's expectations will remain the same: the respect of the financial commitments made during the previous COPs (Hundred Billion Pledge) and the right of the continent to lead an energy transition adapted to its development imperatives.