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The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources invites expressions of interest by 12 December from consultants to assist with the electrification of a number of provincial capitals and other communities through the installation of solar photovoltaic systems.

DR Congo
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The Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbons is drawing up a new energy policy and least-cost development plan and is seeking private partners to carry out studies for potential hydro schemes. The energy policy’s five aims are access to modern energy, affordability, quality of products and services, energy security and durability. The least-cost development plan will draw up a list of projects focused on renewables, as well as a strategy for the expansion of existing resources and development of new schemes to ensure supply for the next 20 years.

Madagascar
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Two consortia have prequalified for a contract to build a 100MW power plant fuelled by shale oil from Tarfaya

Morocco
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The jailing of former President Jacob Zuma for contempt of court on 7 July came at an unfortunate moment for South Africa. Pent up frustration following a year of economic hardship due to tough Covid-19 restrictions as well as upcoming local elections and public sector wage negotiations – both historically associated with angry protests – added an edge to demonstrations that was exploited by political and criminal groups.

South Africa
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The Tanzanian government is pressing ahead with large-scale renewable energy projects, in particular the controversial 2.1GW Julius Nyerere dam, alongside a state-owned solar project and donor-backed transmission and distribution initiatives.

Tanzania
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After the government surprised many observers by announcing in April that membership of the Desertec Industrial Initiative would be central to its ambitious renewable energy policy, recently appointed energy minister Abdelmadjid Attar has announced that Algeria is pulling out of the German-led scheme.

Algeria
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A World Heritage Committee meeting in Manama decided on 28 June to inscribe the Lake Turkana National Parks on the List of World Heritage in Danger, citing the impact of Ethiopia’s Gibe III dam on the site.The committee expressed concern about the changes affecting the hydrology of the Lake Turkana Basin, notably the disruptive effect of Gibe III on the flow and ecosystem of Lake Turkana, and Ethiopia’s huge Kuraz Sugar Development Project, which will include a significant irrigation element posing a further threat to water flows.

Kenya
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Diplomatic tension between Egypt and Ethiopia has risen in recent weeks as negotiations have stalled over the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) and the potential effect it will have on the reallocation of Nile River water rights. If the current rate of construction continues, the testing of power generation could begin next year, but technical studies on the best way to begin the water storage process have not yet been agreed.

Egypt | Ethiopia
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Ethiopia’s 6,000MW Grand Renaissance dam on the Blue Nile River is the centrepiece of the country’s five-year Growth and Transformation Programme, which aims to turn the country into a middle-income nation by 2015, expanding its electricity coverage to 75% of the population and supplying the region with power. The dam’s commissioning was originally scheduled to begin during late 2013, but disputes over the potential impact on Ethiopia’s downstream neighbours, Sudan and Egypt, have hampered progress. In 2010, Ethiopia signed an agreement with several other countries in the region, except for Sudan and Egypt, asserting its right to build on the Blue Nile (AE 218/5).

Ethiopia
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The Organisation for the Development of the Gambia River (OMVG) has given a contract to a joint venture of Portugal’s COBA Consultores de Engenharia e Ambiete and the Portuguese subsidiary of France’s Artelia Eau & Environnement to carry out feasibility and detailed engineering studies for a 20MW run-of-river hydropower plant on the Corubal River in the Saltinho area of central Guinea-Bissau.

Guinea-Bissau
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has set out its latest policy towards Democratic Republic of Congo in a 2013-17 Country Strategy Paper released on 18 July, which places a heavy emphasis on developing hydroelectric power and other renewables, for domestic and regional consumption. The AfDB said it “continues to play the lead role among the donors for the Inga 3 Project by strengthening co-ordination of [technical and financial partner] TFP contributions and the financing of supplementary studies and major capacity building and advisory needs related to the structuring of the Inga site development in the form of a [public/private partnership] PPP”.

DR Congo
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The Communauté Electrique du Bénin, the power producer and grid operator serving Benin and Togo, invites prequalification applications by 16 January for the rehabilitation of the 65.6MW Nangbeto hydropower plant on the Mono River, which forms the border between the two states.

Benin
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The Department of Energy’s release on 22 November of the long-awaited draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and Integrated Energy Plan opens the way for further debate about South Africa’s energy future. The plans give prominence to renewables and gas, and may further build confidence by pushing back timetables for a nuclear new-build, rather than committing huge and controversial spending in the coming two decades. The announcement comes at a tumultuous time for Eskom, which is leaderless following chief executive Brian Molefe’s departure, while tensions between the state utility, government, and private sector interests remain unresolved.

South Africa
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The South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) has made an official complaint to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) about Eskom. The utility has been refusing to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) with renewable energy independent power producers (IPPs) selected by the Department of Energy to develop projects, claiming that the projects do not represent value for money. Eskom head of generation Matshela Koko on 20 October told City Press that the Treasury should be funding the cost of renewable energy through the R200bn ($14.4bn) contingent liability it took on to guarantee the renewable energy IPP procurement programme (REIPPP), rather than the costs being passed on to consumers.

South Africa
Free

Zimbabwe is highly unlikely to eradicate the crony capitalist structures that have favoured the Mugabe clan and other Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) grandees any time soon. But the president’s departure could favour a measured transition, building on initiatives to normalise the economy undertaken by regime officials such as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya and Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) managing director Noah Fari Gwariro. Even at 92 years old, it seems imprudent to write off President Robert Mugabe, whose ruthless political cunning has seen off international sanctions and domestic challenges.

Zimbabwe