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Mnangagwa's Decision to Freeze All Lending in Zimbabwe and Fuel Shortages in ROC and CODECO's Attack

May 5-11, 2022 | Issue 7 - AFRICOM

Ashliyn Burgos, Matthias Conti, Isaac Clemons, Natalie Weidenbach, AFRICOM

Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff




Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Harare[1]



Date: May 7, 2022

Location: Zimbabwe

Parties involved: President Emmerson Mnangagwa; Zimbabwean citizens; national banks; international banks; Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe; Zimbabwe government; local Zimbabwean governments; private persons

The event: Mnangagwa announced the decision to freeze lending from any financial institution to the national government, local governments, or private persons. The decision comes as the Zimbabwe dollar becomes increasingly weak against international markets. The president also announced new taxes on money transfers and other restrictions.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Removing Zimbabweans' access to loanable funds is likely to increase the amount of economic activity in areas that are not regulated by the government, like cash markets or cryptocurrency. Shifting more economic activity to these areas will likely weaken the effectiveness of government financial regulation. The Zimbabwean government’s lack of control over the economy will likely increase the population’s discontent and their probability of taking action against a government they perceive as ineffective. Public pressure has a roughly even chance of creating regime change in Zimbabwe.

  • The decision to limit financial activity in the country will likely decrease the international reputation of Zimbabwe as an economic power, likely decreasing the flow of international investment. Cutting Zimbabwe out of the global economy will likely limit the country’s access to international goods like food and medicine. Without access to imported supplies, the population will likely suffer an artificial famine, likely increasing starvation in the country.


Date: May 8, 2022

Location: Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo

Parties involved: Republic of the Congo government; Republic of the Congo citizens; Russia; Ukraine; illegal dealers; criminal networks; business operators

The event: There are reports of fuel shortages, with long queues at filling stations across the capital. Prices of taxi fares have almost doubled since the beginning of the year, while fuel sold on the black market has tripled in cost.[3] The Republic of the Congo lacks the refining capacity to support the domestic demand for fuel.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The recent fuel shortages are likely due to global oil supply chain disruptions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Because Congo relies on imported oil, fuel shortages will likely affect the local economy in the one-year outlook. This will likely impact economic activities and disrupt business operations, very likely weakening the country’s economic performance, including decreasing foreign investment.

  • A prolonged fuel shortage will likely increase the risk of civil unrest. A lack of fuel will likely negatively impact the daily lives of individuals and businesses due to difficulty fueling vehicles or transporting goods. If the Congolese government fails to address the root causes of periodically growing fuel costs, including building infrastructure to refine oil domestically, reduce reliance on imported fuel and stabilize the import market, protests in affected cities are likely.

  • Since buying fuel from dealers certified by the government is increasingly difficult, individuals and business operators will very likely search for fuel on the black market. Increased demand for black market fuel will very likely increase illegal imports and expand operations of criminal networks. This will very likely increase illegal financial and monetary transactions, likely weakening the government’s budget deficit over the next year and further worsening drivers of instability.


Date: May 8, 2022

Location: Mungwalu settlement in Djugu Territory, Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Parties involved: Cooperative for Development of the Congo (CODECO) Militia; DRC Miners; Camp Blanquette Mining Community; DRC soldiers

The event: The CODECO militia raided and attacked the Camp Blanquette gold mine in Ituri. The camp is located in a forest far from military outposts, which delayed the arrival of military support. 35 people were killed, 29 of the bodies were retrieved and six were found burned. Officials believe that there are more bodies to find, as some were thrown down mine shafts.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • This incident will likely highlight the need to improve transportation infrastructure for rural areas, as the location of the mine likely increased the response time of the soldiers from the local military outpost. Developing easier access to rural areas will likely result in quicker response times by support, which has a roughly even chance of saving more lives or serve as a deterrent for groups who would have a shorter window to carry out an attack.

  • The attack on the gold mine will likely lead to an increase in security efforts at other gold mines in fear of similar events taking place. Leadership within other gold mine communities could likely urge civilians or miners to be on high alert or employ security such as local and governmental defense forces. This could provide some protection until military forces arrive at the scene or could dissuade violent groups from attacking these communities since there may be opposition.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1] Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe - (Central Bank) - Harare - Zimbabwe 2019 by Erik Törner licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Zimbabwe freezes all bank lending, Central Banking, May 2022, https://www.centralbanking.com/central-banks/currency/demand/7947456/zimbabwe-freezes-all-bank-lending

[3] Congo-B.: Brazzaville à la recherche de carburant, RFI Afrique, May 2022, translated by Matthias Conti https://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20220508-congo-b-brazzaville-%C3%A0-la-recherche-de-carburant

[4] Republic of the Congo Launches Construction of $600-Million Refinery, Energy Capital & Power, February 2021, https://www.barrons.com/news/congo-s-double-challenge-dependence-on-oil-and-food-imports-01618502121

[5] At least 35 killed in attack on DR Congo gold mine: local sources, France24, May 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20220508-at-least-35-killed-in-attack-on-dr-congo-gold-mine-local-sources

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