Banana port deal makes waves inside president's office
Aspects of the renegotiated concession agreement with DP World are coming under fire at the highest levels of government.
The contract signed in December last year by Kinshasa and DP World goes beyond building a deepwater port at Banana. Its provisions also cover the river port of Matadi, at the risk of irking the players - Abu Dhabi Ports, Qatar and Bolloré - in the running for the deal to modernise the site.
The Emirati firm DP World wants an exclusive zone around the port they plan to build in Banana. Such a zone would prevent Australia's Fortescue from moving forward with their project. The Congolese authorities have asked the two companies to come to an agreement so that both projects can progress.
President Tshisekedi has a team of nine special advisors he likes to call on. Playing on rivalries among the members of Joseph Kabila's Front Commun pour le Congo, some have taken charge of state matters even if that means encroaching on the portfolios of the ministers concerned.
The deepwater Banana port project, bogged down for months by the Covid-19 pandemic and tensions between President Félix Tshisekedi and ministers loyal to his predecessor Joseph Kabila, now looks like it might move forward by the end of the year.