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Two meetings of African leaders that took place in the last week of October in towns 1,000 miles apart point to a reshaping of the continent and the emergence of a new scramble for regional political and economic influence.

In Kigali, Rwanda, President Paul Kagame hosted Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta to sign off on a Single Customs Territory for the three countries. President Salva Kiir of South Sudan was also in attendance and his country is expected to eventually join the East African Community and the regional infrastructure projects at the heart of the new ‘coalition of the willing’ within the EAC

Around the same time President Joseph Kabila was hosting President Jacob Zuma on a state visit to Kinshasa – the first ever by a South African leader to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Both meetings offer a glimpse into the changing alliances across Africa informed by economic and political interests, and cemented by cross-border infrastructure projects. In Kigali the three presidents tied their countries into a SCT that, in theory, flattens borders, reduces cargo transit time by 75 per cent and cuts the cost by half.

In Kinshasa President Zuma and President Kabila signed a treaty to jointly develop the $80 billion Grand Inga hydropower project. When complete the dam will generate 40,000 Megawatts which is more than two times the amount of power produced by China’s Three Gorges Dam.

DR Congo currently has an installed capacity of 2,400MW but only produces about half of that due to ageing and poorly maintained infrastructure; only about one in 10 of the 70 million Congolese has access to electricity.

Most of the power produced out of Inga will, however, be exported – to South Africa, to other countries in the region, and possibly as far north as Europe.

This text is part of the site construction. The first Topic/Feature Article is coming soon.

Two meetings of African leaders that took place in the last week of October in towns 1,000 miles apart point to a reshaping of the continent and the emergence of a new scramble for regional political and economic influence.

In Kigali, Rwanda, President Paul Kagame hosted Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta to sign off on a Single Customs Territory for the three countries. President Salva Kiir of South Sudan was also in attendance and his country is expected to eventually join the East African Community and the regional infrastructure projects at the heart of the new ‘coalition of the willing’ within the EAC


Around the same time President Joseph Kabila was hosting President Jacob Zuma on a state visit to Kinshasa – the first ever by a South African leader to the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Both meetings offer a glimpse into the changing alliances across Africa informed by economic and political interests, and cemented by cross-border infrastructure projects. In Kigali the three presidents tied their countries into a SCT that, in theory, flattens borders, reduces cargo transit time by 75 per cent and cuts the cost by half.


In Kinshasa President Zuma and President Kabila signed a treaty to jointly develop the $80 billion Grand Inga hydropower project. When complete the dam will generate 40,000 Megawatts which is more than two times the amount of power produced by China’s Three Gorges Dam.


DR Congo currently has an installed capacity of 2,400MW but only produces about half of that due to ageing and poorly maintained infrastructure; only about one in 10 of the 70 million Congolese has access to electricity.


Most of the power produced out of Inga will, however, be exported – to South Africa, to other countries in the region, and possibly as far north as Europe.


This text is part of the site construction. The first Topic/Feature Article is coming soon.


South Africa has had a partnership framework with DR Congo in the form of the General Cooperation Agreement signed in 2004 and has long courted the country but Pretoria’s newly aggressive foreign policy stance is likely to have wider implications on geopolitical configurations.


The projection of force under the Zuma administration began with the successful installation of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as chairperson of the African Union and, more recently, with Pretoria’s deployment of a brigade to the United Nations Intervention Brigade in eastern DR Congo.


South Africa’s deployment and emergence as guarantor of peace and investment partner has turned eastern DR Congo into a theatre of contest between the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community.


Tanzania, which has a leg in SADC, has also contributed troops to the brigade which last week dislodged M23 rebels who retain sympathies and, according to a UN panel of experts’ report, support from Rwanda and Uganda.


In a speech before the DRC Parliament President Zuma acknowledged the need for the faltering peace talks in Kampala and the need for a political settlement in eastern Congo but he also fired a veiled warning shot towards the external actors in the conflict.


“South Africa remains deeply concerned by the enduring conflict in eastern Congo, perpetrated by local and externally supported armed groups on innocent Congolese civilians,” he said.


This text is part of the site construction. The first Topic/Feature Article is coming soon.


South Africa has had a partnership framework with DR Congo in the form of the General Cooperation Agreement signed in 2004 and has long courted the country but Pretoria’s newly aggressive foreign policy stance is likely to have wider implications on geopolitical configurations.

The projection of force under the Zuma administration began with the successful installation of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as chairperson of the African Union and, more recently, with Pretoria’s deployment of a brigade to the United Nations Intervention Brigade in eastern DR Congo.

South Africa’s deployment and emergence as guarantor of peace and investment partner has turned eastern DR Congo into a theatre of contest between the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community.

Tanzania, which has a leg in SADC, has also contributed troops to the brigade which last week dislodged M23 rebels who retain sympathies and, according to a UN panel of experts’ report, support from Rwanda and Uganda.

In a speech before the DRC Parliament President Zuma acknowledged the need for the faltering peace talks in Kampala and the need for a political settlement in eastern Congo but he also fired a veiled warning shot towards the external actors in the conflict.

“South Africa remains deeply concerned by the enduring conflict in eastern Congo, perpetrated by local and externally supported armed groups on innocent Congolese civilians,” he said.

This text is part of the site construction. The first Topic/Feature Article is coming soon.

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