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Mali: Prime Minister Ousted by Military

11 Dec

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

The military junta in Mali, arrested and ousted the countries Prime Minister and his entire government earlier today. The move will be condemned by regional leaders who are already holding emergency talks over the development. Further it will likely serve to hasten the deployment of regional troops that has already been authorized by the regional organizations, ECOWAS an AU. The delay is largely attributed to the UN Security Council that was originally believed to be a supportive partner in the process but has actually delayed intervention already by months. The move by the military junta is also a serious indictment of the UN Secretary General and his special envoy for Mali, Prodi who have recently downplayed the need to act urgently in Mali. France recently called for an urgent resolution authorizing action in Mali. However their ambassador in Bamako had recently softened their proactive stance. Regional troops will soon be in Mali regardless of what the UN Security Council does in New York. Regional leaders will soon have an emergency summit on the matter, after which a concrete decision will be take to move forward. While it believed that the force would not arrive till 2013, it is not possible that forces will arrive before the end of the year.

The military in Mali has been closely watching the development surrounding the intervention force, something that the junta members still serving in the military have resisted. The lack of support shown by the United Nations, including the Secretary General and his special Envoy Prodi, and the United States to the urgent appeals of ECOWAS and the AU likely encouraged them to take this step. Not only did the Secretary General say that military intervention was not a priority he also questioned the comprehensive plan put forth by ECOWAS, ridiculing the only major authority that has kept the military in check in Mali. The United States and its Department of State also sought to undermine ECOWAS by somehow unilaterally appointing Algeria as the “leader” in negotiations in Northern Mali. The lead negotiator, appointed by ECOWAS, is the President of Burkina Faso. He has been effective in gaining concessions from two of the groups operating in Northern Mali. The steps to undermine ECOWAS by the UN and the US will be futile. Algeria will not be the lead negotiator and the Secretary General’s attempts to delay military intervention will also not materialize. The key power in the West African region is ECOWAS, ultimately their agenda as they have prioritized it, will prevail. As this happens all other stakeholders will fall in-line, eventually.

Moving forward, watch closely for ECOWAS decisions as this will indicate the direction of the multilateral mission. For details of the process behind multilateral missions see my book The Power of Interdependence.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D. Managing Director Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy Phone: 212.363.0936 david.kuranga@kaglobal.net https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Political Risk in Mali and West and North Africa: Update…

4 Dec

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

There is great concern over the security situation in Mali. At present both ECOWAS and the AU have agreed to send up to 5000 troops from African countries to help regain Mali’s territory. The plan enjoys wide support throughout Africa and as it appears even among some parties in Europe who are not keen on seeing an extremist haven involved in criminal activity develop and train equip and spread through North Africa. According to decision-makers that I have spoken to, a lot of the responsibility for what is happening in Mali falls squarely on NATO due to its hastily planned intervention in Libya which was not supported by the AU at the time. Shortly after the NATO led bombing campaign in Libya fighters and weapons caches traveled to Mali to establish a foothold in the North of the country. Had it not been for the failure of the NATO led campaign in Libya to contain post regime fighters from leaving the country with large supplies of weapons the situation in Mali would not be.

Now regional decision-makers are poised to begin to clean-up that mess starting in Mali. They have pledged material resources as well as armed troops to commence the task. It was the view of some African decision-makers that financial support from Western allies responsible for the Libya fiasco, would be forthcoming. Primarily for this reason, they forwarded plans to the UN Security Council to get an international resolution endorsing the steps they had taken and opening up the mission for international support. However, based on the statements made by UN Special Envoy Prodi, and the UN Secretary General himself, ECOWAS and AU decision-makers are now realizing that same UN Security Council that endorsed the intervention in Libya which directly lead to the problem in Mali is not willing to support their efforts to clean things up. The UN Secretary General noted that the UN did not have the resources to support an African-led mission and it was not clear how they intended to finance the operation. The Secretary General and his Envoy have called for more negotiations, even though one of the largest groups occupying northern Mali has never participated in any negotiations and has no intention of doing so. Further its membership appears to be almost entirely foreign, with more and more recruits coming in from territories as far as Pakistan.

African decision-makers in ECOWAS and the AU are sending representatives to the UN to convey the need to act urgently. It was the UN Security Council that requested they provide a clear plan for retaking the territory during the UN General Assembly, something that was never done for Libya. Even after presenting this plan, the prevailing disposition is to wait and allow the groups that refuse to negotiate more time to recruit train and equip fighters making dislodging them that more difficult. However, it is not likely that ECOWAS and AU will entertain more stalling from the international “partners”. Intervention in Mali by a regional force will occur in a matter of weeks. The measure has already been authorized by ECOWAS and the AU. It does not require any UN Security Council approval or authorization and it is fully within the UN Charter for states within the region to act. Indeed, a United States General, said in a statement that groups in Mali were funding and supporting Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, giving that country the full right of self-defense to remove them. In addition the regional arrangements for both ECOWAS and the AU allow for intervention in member states for reasons such as this. Indeed ECOWAS has already intervened in Guinea-Bissau with troops to stabilize that country. The only reason why there has been a delay in Mali was the expectation that countries outside the Africa region would support and take part once the UN Security Council endorsed the ECOWAS and AU authorized mission. The right of regional organizations to intervene in member-states is also part of the UN Charter in Chapter 8 (Article 52) on regional arrangements, thus it is fully within the authority of ECOWAS and the AU to intervene in Mali without any UN Security Council action.

The signaling by the international community that it will not act on Mali will not be accepted by African decision-makers. Regardless of what happens in New York, African troops will be in Mali in a matter of weeks. ECOWAS has already planned on holding a donors conference to raise resources needed to support an intervention, originally it had been planned to hold it after the UN Security Council resolution, but it could be held before even if the UN choses to do nothing. It is not possible to negotiate with parties that do not wish to negotiate. Further armed rebellions are not ended by negotiation unless there is a credible threat of force that would compel a fruitful negotiation, something that has not occurred thus far.

There will be an armed operation in Mali, both the regional countries and Mali itself will be shouldered with the cost of executing it if international partners do not provide support and if they are not effective in raising revenue through their planned donors conference. As this happens, investors in the region should understand that the government in Mali will need resources, thus increase in taxes and fees as happened recently with the Mali gold tax is entirely possible. Further, neighboring countries, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Libya could see instability spill over into their territory. Likely many of the fighters will flee north to Mauritania, Algeria, and Libya, as they will blend in better with those populations than they would if they chose to venture south. While regional forces will work to contain and neutralize them, they are fully aware that many of them will flee the fighting as they are dislodged.

As this happens one country to be very watchful of is Mauritania. The president of that country is still suffering from a gunshot wound he sustained from one of his officers in October. As he spends most of his time in France receiving treatment, it is not clear he will be able to hold on to power. He has refused to support any armed role in the conflict in Mali, however should armed fighters enter into his countries territory his army will undoubtedly be drawn in. Should this happen, his government will have to divert more resources to securing their border with Mali and the tenure of his presidency could be cut short. Investors should be mindful that there are substantial political risks in Mauritania moving forward, just as much as Mali if not more. It is entirely possible that there will be a regime change there and the transitional government may tap mining and energy investors there for more revenue as aid flow may be cut in response to a military take-over.

The best case scenario would be for the NATO alliance; that bares full responsibility of the residual effect of their handy work in Libya, to support the African-led mission in Mali. If this happens it will shorten the length of conflict, and potentially enhance the ability of regional countries to round-up weapons caches and the surge of foreign fighters that moved into Mali. Despite this, the regional body is ready to act and will within weeks. This will eventually lead to stability in Mali, perhaps within a year. There may however be some spill-over into neighboring countries. For the time being, Mauritania appears to be at the most risk, followed by Algeria which may see another authoritarian leader in North Africa fall if instability reignites social unrest there. The other reason why Mauritania is at greater risk than Niger and Burkina Faso is because Mauritania is no longer a member of ECOWAS. Had it been, ECOWAS leaders would have sent envoys there to mediate with the military, opposition, and political stakeholders as soon as the president was shot in October, limiting the possibility that he would be overthrown. The details of the process behind regional diplomacy in Africa is detailed in my book, The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

***For the full report contact me by email.***

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/

http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Mali: ECOWAS Strips Former Junta Leader of “Head of State” Status

5 Jul

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

The former junta leader that removed the out-going president of Mali before his term was set to expire in just a few weeks is no longer recognized by ECOWAS as a former “Head of State”. The agreement to recognize the junta leader was done in order to pave the way for a quick return to civilian governance. However, shortly after the parliamentary speaker assumed the presidency, military guards aided an attack on him at the presidential palace and refused to prevent protestors from occupying the usually heavily guarded residence. After the incident the regional body promised to investigate and punish all those that were responsible for the attack on the interim-President and parliamentary speaker. As it appears that investigation has led to reversal of the fortunes of the former junta leader. Those who speculated that the military in Mali had any leverage over ECOWAS to prevent the return of constitutional order, or to block a multilateral ECOWAS force from helping to retake the north of the country are mistaken.

The regional body utilizes methods of “sticks” and “carrots” in order to coerce or enties key domestic stakeholders to comply with their decisions. Once this occurs the domestic parties usually do not have many real options at their disposal. They can either benefit from cooperating or can face the consequences of failing to comply. As it appears, the former junta leader in Mali tried to do both. He stepped down and recieved the status as a “former head of state” a position that grants a $9,000 USD monthly salary. After he handed power to the civilian authorities, he then through the military refused to protect the new civilian leader and an help orchestrate an attack on his residence conducted by plain-cloths civilians.

An ECOWAS force on the ground in Mali is imminent. Likely France and potentially a few other western countries will provide further assistance once a UN resolution is passed. Once this happens, military leaders in Mali will have lost most of their bargaining power, if not already. Further rebels to the north who refuse to comply with regional mediators will also come under threat of military action. They are likely to be repelled from key central cities and towns shortly after the mulitalateral intervention. They also retreat to neighboring countries or sparsely populated regions of Mali.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Threat of ECOWAS Military Action Brings Mali Rebels to the Table

20 Jun

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

In armed rebellion negotiation only occurs when the rebels feel as though their security is in jeopardy and that they can perhaps secure themselves through dialogue. Given the ease at which the two major rebel groups in Mali were able to capture the North after the military junta took power in Bamako there is no reason to believe they were at all threatened or that their security was placed in jeopardy by Mali’s military. In fact, the military junta leader in Bamako sought to hold talks with the rebels but was ignored completely.

As the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) intervened pledging to boost Mali’s military efforts the rebels have reevaluated their initial decision not to negotiate. Those who believe that ECOWAS military forces are not up to the task of routing the two rebel groups in northern Mali need to take a closer look at the rebels themselves who certainly disagree. If the ECOWAS threat was not significant then both groups would have ignored them the same way they did the military junta leader in Mali. However both groups have not ignored ECOWAS. Instead they have sent delegates to neighboring Burkina Faso to hold negotiations with President Blaise Compaoré, the official ECOWAS mediator in the crisis. Perhaps even more significant, one of the groups have dropped their calls for an independent state a clear sign that they are heeding the ECOWAS stance that the territorial integrity of Mali is non-negotiable.

I was recently contacted by a high-ranking Western diplomat who questioned the capacity of ECOWAS to follow-through on their threat to conduct military operations to restore the territorial integrity of Mali. Anyone with this view has only to look at the response of rebel leaders themselves. First look at the way both rebel groups responded to the military junta in Bamako when they completely ignored the military leader who briefly took over the government. Then look at the way they are now sending entire delegations to the capital of Burkina Faso to negotiate with the ECOWAS mediator after the block pledged to send thousands of troops. Both groups are threatened and they know that if they do not change course their days are numbered. As I said to the Western official who contacted me, it is not advisable to underestimate the capacity of the sophisticated multilateral instruments in place in the African region. When put into action, they are yet to fail to yield positive results. The impact of multilateral action throughout the world is the topic of my new book The Power of Interdependence.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Impending Military Intervention in Mali

13 Jun

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

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After meeting in Abidjan Thursday, June 7, regional West African leaders of ECOWAS and of the AU agreed that if this last round of negotiations with rebel groups in the north of Mali fails, they will take military action. In seeking a broad base of support for the measure particularly from non-member states the AU is seeking the endorsement of the UN Security Council for the impending military intervention. Contrary to the misinformation being propagated by many mainstream media outlets, neither the AU nor ECOWAS require the UN Security Council’s endorsement to conduct a military intervention in their own region. Article 52 in Chapter 8 of the UN Charter makes it clear that regional bodies like the AU and ECOWAS maintain the authority to deal with matters of peace and security in their respective regions including military intervention without referring them to the UN Security Council. The purpose of AU leaders going to the UN is to call on other nations outside the region to support their efforts, indeed many view the problem in Mali as directly linked to the NATO-led campaign in Libya.

Going Forward

Moving forward, it is almost inevitable at this point that there will be a multilateral military intervention in Mali. Negotiations with at least one of the two rebel groups will fail and they will not withdraw from the cities in central Mali until they are forced to. The two major rebel groups in Northern Mali are not united at all. In fact they are seeking to form political authorities to govern the territory without the inclusion of the other. There have also been reports of armed conflict between them. Further the groups do not have strong support from the local population in much of the region especially in central Mali. Once the likely ECOWAS-led multilateral military operations commence the rebels will be repelled and at best will be relegated to sparsely populated desert regions in the far north of Mali. Regional military chiefs have drawn military plans from several months back and have continued to gathered intelligence on both groups and their strategic positions. The territory in Northern Mali is large and expansive, roughly the size of France, it may take over a month for the multi-lateral intervention to secure the bulk of Mali’s territory depending on how much support the mission receives from non-regional states.

What This Means for Investors

The military intervention in Mali should bring some relief to investors in that country and reduce the likelihood that constitutional order will collapse again in the near future. Despite the fact that regional leaders are concerned that Northern Mali will become a hotbed for terrorist groups, retaking the territory will not end that threat. I recently had a brief conversation with a CEO of a mining corporation in Mali, in our discussion I said to him “when your neighbors house is on fire, pour water on yours”. The proverbial fire that began in Tunisia, then spread to Egypt, and Libya, and now to Mali, will not end with the impending military intervention there. The rebel fighters that were driven out of Libya before they fled to Mali will flee the fighting in Mali and go elsewhere. Those that are invested in any of the surrounding countries need to immediately take steps to reduce their exposure to the political and security risks that will come following the military intervention in Mali. The affected countries include, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania, Algeria, Nigeria, and Chad. Investors and management of companies that have intermediate and long-term investments in any of these countries require immediate political risk management services if they do not have an internal risk management capacity already within the company. Those that have invested or who are planning should not be concerned as the opportunities in the region remain stronger than ever. However, those that will succeed in the region and receive the highest returns on investment (ROI’s) will be those that manage the political risks best.

For more clarification on the need for political risk management watch the video of my discussion in March, 2012.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
Managing Director

Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Office: 212.363.0936
New York, NY
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Mali: Interim President Flown to France for Medical Treatment

24 May

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy, a political and economic risk management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

Shortly after the ECOWAS mediators negotiated a settlement between the military junta in Mali and civilian leaders that would see the national assembly leader stay-on as interim president, protesters were allowed to entire the presidential palace in Bamako and beat the interim leader till he was unconscious. After being treated and released from a hospital in the capital, the 70-year-old leader, Dioncounda Traore was flown to France yesterday for further treatment. He has suffered from a heart condition and is believed to be receiving additional treatments there. The incident clearly shows is that the military and security forces have no desire to actually uphold the agreement brokered by ECOWAS with civilian authorities. As it appears the military orchestrated the attack on the interim president using civilian supporters to carry-out the final blow so as to appear as bystanders. Reporters that were present have indicated that the military ushered “protesters” into the the presidential compound and even showed them where the president was staying inside the building.

As I have indicated in previous articles on this, even as the interim president is outside the country receiving medical treatment, the military junta will not return to power in Mali as it is not in-line with the ECOWAS zero tolerance policy of for military seizures of power. Military leaders in Mali had two choices, they could have chosen to cooperate with ECOWAS and maintain their seat at the table, or be coerced and forced to comply. As it seems from the recent developments, they chose the latter. ECOWAS leaders have already begun to investigate military leaders in Mali and have pledged to place sanctions on anybody found to be involved in the incident. The road to normalcy in Mali will be windy and bumpy, yet still the outcome and core elements of the process towards the outcome is not in question. Further details on this can be found in my book, The Power of Interdependence, now available for order.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/              http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

The Political Risk in Mali: Moving Forward

17 May

As I predicted in an earlier article the military junta in Mali stepped down to allow for the restoration of constitutional order. As the May 22nd deadline for elections emerges there is continued concern that the military will step back into power. I have received yet again more queries from investors and decision-makers at some of the firms exposed to the country as to what will happen next. I have done extensive research that utilizes detailed accounts from the last decade of regional intervention in Africa. The accounts, which include minutes from the closed door meetings similar to the ones that are occurring now behind the scenes of the Mali crisis, can be found in my book The Power of Interdependence. I strongly recommend investors, scholars, and political advisers for the African region to read this text as it provides detailed insight behind the multi-lateral interventions in the region and could answer many questions surrounding issues like the Mali crisis.

What Next?

The West African regional block, ECOWAS, does not want the military to return to power in Mali. They have numerous resources at their disposal to exert their wishes and they will not hesitate to use them should it become necessary. For this reason the military will not return to power in Mali. Any attempts they make will be short-lived and will greatly reduce the ability of military leaders in the country to have any say in the future course of the country. Thus all the investors and firms that are concerned of this scenario, need not be. While the road ahead will be filled with bumps and winds, the dooms day scenario that many have been inquiring about is not a significant possibility at this time. This does not however mean that there are no major political risks in Mali or in several other countries in the region.

Investor Related Risks

What is most alarming to me about all the inquiries that I am getting on Mali is the short-term risk focus that many decision-makers have adopted with respect to the current state of their investments in the country. The greatest political risk in Mali is residual and thus will remain long after this immediate crisis passes. It is imperative that the investors and firms that are exposed to the country change their risk-management strategy towards a long-term approach. I once again urge everyone reading this to listen to my brief discussion I gave in March available on video. In this discussion I talk about the case of Chad and how energy investors were subject to hostile fees and taxes from the government after being in the country for a few years. At the time the Government of Chad was facing a security threat along their border with Sudan, not at all dissimilar from the security threat that Mali is facing today. Regardless of whether the principal investment officers at some of the major mining and infrastructure firms invested in Mali today realize it, there will eventually be an election in Mali that will bring about a greater risk than what we see today. Along the road leading to the election there will be political shifts. Further the need for greater resources to face the pressing need to secure the state has already been felt by civilian leaders. Once the election has taken place the risk for even greater political shifts will actually increase and the residual risk for investors will remain for years to come.

I urge those who have contacted me and who have been reading my articles to shift towards a long-term risk management strategy, one that safeguards investments and ensures sustainable returns. I shun those who seek to acquire my services for short-term political advice in situations like these because what the situation requires is long-term political risk management. The short-term crisis that has caught our attention will pass but the real risk for investors will remain. The good news is these political risks can be managed in such a way that will limit the risk exposure that many investors and firms will face in the years to come.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/

http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

Investing in Mali? | Security and Political Risk Management in West Africa

5 Apr

In recent days, I have received a number of inquiries about the situation in Mali and in West Africa as a whole. There is great concern for the stability of the country and what this means for stability in the West African region. Following the successful NATO-backed rebellion in Libya, security and stability in surrounding states has deteriorated. Heavy weapons, and trained fighters have been moving about the desert regions between Libya, Algeria, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Chad looking for refuge and a new home and perhaps new costumers for their heavy weapons. For the time being many of the ex-Libyan military Tuareg fighters have settled on Mali as their preferred destination. At the present they have secured much of the north of Mali, aided by heavy weapons taken out of Libya to do battle in Mali.

The roughly 7000 man Mali army has not been able to quell the well armed fighters pouring out of Libya into the north of the country. The fighting has caused an estimated 200,000 people to flee into neighboring countries, primarily Niger and Mauritania. Both these countries as a result of the fighting in Mali face a growing security threat that they did not have previously. It is not clear if this threat will spread to other countries before it is contained. In part, due to the security threat, the military in Mali overthrew the civilian government and has taken power. Their primary grievance was the inability of the civilian administration to handle the rebellion in the north. Since the military junta seized power, the rebellion spread further and now reaches further into Mali than ever before.

The West African regional body, ECOWAS at the time of the military takeover was taking steps to provide military assistance to Mali to fend off the rebellion. Regional leaders have already agreed to provide 3000 troops to assist Mali in reestablishing sovereignty over its vast desert territory. However, the regional body has no intention of providing this assistance to the military junta that took power. Regional leaders have repeatedly demanded that the junta relinquish power and reverse their overthrow of the civilian government. They have implemented a series of sanctions including shutting the borders to the landlocked country and freezing assets and declaring travel bans on junta members.

What Next?

Given the response of ECOWAS the junta is likely in its final days. The civilian government will likely return as soon as junta leaders are able to ensure they will not face prosecution for their actions. Once back in power the civilian administration, aided by regional forces will begin to address the rebellion in the north. They will likely take a dualistic approach of both negotiations and an increasing military presence in northern Mali. While the security risk for the region will remain, the regional framework in West Africa will move to contain it and take steps to reduce the security risk gradually. The process through which this will occur is outlined in my upcoming book The Power of Interdependence: Lessons from Africa.

What Does This Mean For Investors?

There have been reports and statements that mining investors in Mali have put much of their activity on hold, pending the conclusion of sanctions and when stability returns. In the long term stability will return to Mali and the civilian government will come back to power before elections are held. As this happens investors should be encouraged to continue to invest in the country and the region. While investing in Mali and in the region as a whole, investors, particularly in the commodity extraction industries should be mindful the the lingering political risks that could impact their fiscal returns. Recently I had a speaking engagement at the Murdock Capital Investment Opportunities Symposium on Friday March 2, 2012 in New York. In my talk I highlighted a case that parallels the residual political risks that remain in Mali and throughout much of West and Central Africa in the commodity industries. See Video: http://webcast.murdockcapital.com/InvestOp010NovaCapital.htm

Investors in Mali and in the West African region will need to enhance their capacity to manage political risks in order to protect their investments and ensure sustained returns.

Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy is a political and economic risk management firm with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2012 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Global Consultancy
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com/

http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga