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Issue 240 - 04 October 2012

Backers line up for Lamu Corridor scheme

Free

Of all the assorted regional infrastructure projects jostling for supremacy in East Africa, the growing credibility of the Lamu Corridor project raises the possibility of a new East African power axis of Kenya and an emergent Ethiopia.

Kenya | South Sudan | Uganda | Ethiopia
Free

Another year and thoughts turn to the potentials – be they 39GW, 44GW or 50GW – of the Congo River’s Inga hydroelectric resource, or of oil plays in the Albertine Graben, where Tullow Oil’s Ugandan field on the other side of the lacustrine border will come on stream this year

DR Congo
Free

The much-anticipated partial float of the naira, introduced from 20 June, reflected a concession by President Muhammadu Buhari, who had resisted devaluation as he did during his first stint as president in the 1980s. Buhari was forced by deteriorating economic conditions and declining confidence to listen to markets. African Energy hears that concerns over the naira and other issues have led to the World Bank Group, a key guarantor of the liberalised generation and distribution system, making quiet threats to stop guarantees.

Free

The standoff between Sudan’s diffuse opposition movement and the military junta that replaced President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir in mid-April has deepened as both sides – each in their own way deeply divided – dig in. This could pose major problems for Africa and a creaking international order.While US national security adviser John Bolton was quick to condemn violence against peaceful demonstrators, Washington, former colonial power Britain, and other European states are not expected to play a defining role.

Sudan
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As the economic powerhouse of southern Africa, with a legacy burnished by its emergence two decades ago from apartheid, South Africa is expected to take a leading role in the continent’s politics. Through players such as African Union secretary-general Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and the expansion of its corporate presence north of the Limpopo, SA is doing just that. Its ambitions are huge: for example, taking a lead in developing the Inga hydroelectric resource in Democratic Republic of Congo. But concerns that high political ambitions are often tainted by low economic motivations have become pervasive during Jacob Zuma’s presidency, emerging again in Central African Republic.

Central African Republic | South Africa
Free

There is a curious disconnection between Egypt’s dire political and financial straits and the relatively upbeat assessments from the international oil companies (IOCs) developing assets there. In spite of the continued closure of Eni and Union Fenosa’s Damietta LNG export terminal and the substantial debt owed by Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) to domestic gas producers, long-term prospects still appear to justify investments.

Egypt
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Veteran Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo) leader Afonso Dhlakama’s surprise return to the bush in October 2012 was an unsettling reminder of the fragility of post-conflict Mozambique, as guerrilla roadblocks returned and coal exports were halted in the central region. Renamo’s rebellion was triggered by demands for a greater share of state jobs and resources. A peace agreement signed on 24 August 2014 promised jobs, above all in the army and police, and set a platform for campaigning to start for general elections on 15 October.

Mozambique
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Industry scepticism about the project’s economics notwithstanding, on 23 January, President Uhuru Kenyatta shook hands with Total executive committee member Momar Nguer to confirm the French major’s commitment to investing in the Lokichar-Lamu oil pipeline. These things matter in East African oil and geostrategic manoeuvring; Uganda’s export pipeline was planned to pass through Lokichar until Total backed a rival route to Tanzania, but having since bought Maersk Oil, it needs an export route in Kenya too.

Kenya
Free

As his presidency passes its second anniversary, Muhammadu Buhari is back in a London clinic, being treated for cancer. His absences, about which few facts filter officially, are causing jitters. The president had been expected to deliver a major anniversary speech on 29 May but remained abroad. Chief of army staff General Tukur Buratai’s 16 May warning that “some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons” added to the febrile atmosphere.

Nigeria
Free

It may be symbolic that, beyond the state-run grid, Tanzania provides an enticing opportunity for innovative investors to build businesses in marginalised communities with aspirations to move beyond energy poverty. Tanzania has been a pioneer in the sub-Saharan off-grid revolution, where mini-grid operator Jumeme and other innovators have been able to build their businesses. Germany’s Redavia last year began operating its first two mini-grids, supported by InfraCo Africa.

Tanzania
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Despite governance shortfalls and a number of crises, President Filipe Nyusi’s government has reassured investors with its support for transformational LNG schemes, leading towards final investment decisions and financial close in the months to come. This is a major success for an African gas industry where smaller projects seem to be making more impact than the majority of big-ticket schemes. Mozambique’s progress reassured CbI Meetings’ 2-3 May Africa Investment Exchange: Gas event in London that the African industry can deliver world-scale projects.

Tanzania
Free

Has Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar overreached in his high-risk military advance on Tripoli? The dominant view is that he has erred politically by throwing everything into an all-or-nothing play for domination, and militarily by underestimating the difficulty of conquering the capital and the cohesiveness of local militias. The alternative view is that while military options remain open to him, there is no reason to compromise, especially with the militias who increasingly dominate and control the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). He may still have some advantage to gain.

Libya
Free

Morocco’s readmission to the African Union in January 2017 was widely welcomed, ending a boycott called by the late King Hassan II in 1984 after the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was admitted as a full member of the then Organisation of African Unity. Morocco sees its future security and prosperity in an energetic drive to build business, political and cultural relations across Africa and King Mohammed VI received a standing ovation when he addressed the 2017 African Union summit.

Morocco
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President Paul Biya has not survived in power for over 37 years by showing great sensitivity to local or international criticism, let alone by accommodating outright opposition. Like other leaders and sympathetic opinion-formers across Central Africa and beyond, he has rationalised authoritarian tendencies and crony relations by insisting on his regime’s essential role in ensuring stability. While governance shortfalls may define the daily lives of Cameroon’s multi-ethnic population, a nation created first by German colonisation and then by division between the British and French empires has traditionally avoided identity-based conflict.

Cameroon
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The UK-Africa Investment Summit, which brought an impressive number of heads of state and government to London on 20-21 January, was a ceremony to mark UK ambitions to create a ‘Global Britain’ following Brexit and still be seen as a major player in Africa. It was cast in the mould of similar events hosted by France, the United States (during Barack Obama’s presidency), Japan, Germany and Russia, as well as the triennial Sino-African summits that underline China’s African business dominance.