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After a decade of conflict that has threatened to submerge the Malian state, the ‘transition government’ of prime minister Moctar Ouane had a big agenda to fulfil before elections were due to held in Q1 2022.

Issue 439 - 27 May 2021

Mauritania: Military strongman


The least challenged by jihadist insurgency among the G5S states, the Mauritanian military is seen by western governments as a solid ally. President Mohammed Ould Ghazouani was a longstanding defence minister, supporting ex-president Mohammed Ould Abdelaziz – who now faces charges of misusing state funds


In June and July, gunmen from the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) carried out a series of attacks on trains that led to the Brazilian mining company Vale indefinitely suspending its use of the Sena line, one of two exporting railway lines for coal mines in Tete province. This was followed by two attacks in October that targeted the remaining Nacala railway line, sparking fears that it too might have shipments suspended. At the same time, Renamo has continued regular attacks on road routes between Tete and the port of Beira, forcing mining companies to rely on military escorts when transporting equipment and materials.


The Libyan authorities are doing their best to lift blockades of export terminals and to restart production and exports, but, despite a breakthrough in the west, the main politically motivated stoppages in the Sirte Basin are proving intractable. If eastern production remains blocked, National Oil Corporation (NOC) will struggle to lift production above 700,000-800,000 b/d, approximately half of the post-revolution peak. On 23 September, output had risen to 620,000 b/d from 240,000 b/d on 17 September. Fields supplying the Marsa Al-Brega terminal were contributing 160,000 b/d, and the western offshore fields exporting from the Bouri and Al-Jurf floating terminals were producing approximately 80,000 b/d.


The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has engaged UK-based firm Energy Market and Regulatory Consultants (EMRC) to conduct a new power sector cost of service study. Work is expected to be completed by December 2020, but the government intends to raise power tariffs without waiting for its conclusions in order to keep Zesco operating as its costs mount.


Upstream operator Total has signed a host government agreement (HGA) with Uganda for its proposed oil export pipeline project connecting Uganda’s oil fields to Tanzania’s Tanga port. “We have today reached major milestones which pave the way to the final investment decision [FID] in the coming months.

Uganda | Tanzania
Issue 438 - 13 May 2021

Tunisia: IMF deal inches closer


A new International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement to underpin a faltering economy is becoming more likely as terms are hammered out by a government terrified of being seen to be caving in to the demands of perceived powerful foreign influences and an international community keen not to be seen dictating to a government that emerged from the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ revolts as a rare functioning democracy.

Issue 150 - 14 November 2008

Sameh Fahmy rumours


Rumour has it that there is infighting between Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy and Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali over tax revenues, while Fahmy is understood to generally not be very popular with any of the ministers. One industry source said: “a lot of the ministers


President Salva Kiir’s dramatic sacking of his cabinet removes two key critics of the South Sudan leader who were also leading figures in negotiations with the north over oil exports, raising fears that talks could be affected as another deadline looms. Kiir dismissed his entire administration on 23 July in a sudden move that he claimed was driven by the need to clamp down on corruption and reduce the number of cabinet posts. Vice president Riek Machar was sacked, and Pagan Amum, secretary-general of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), was suspended. Both have been critical of Kiir, provoking suggestions that the reshuffle was politically motivated.

South Sudan

The Government of Southern Sudan will not compromise in negotiations with the north over the status of Abyei, and is prepared to take up arms again if the impasse continues

South Sudan | Sudan

Harare City Council (HCC) has suspended a joint venture with Dutch firm Geogenix, just a few weeks after the investor started work on a recycling facility and a 22MW waste-to-energy plant at the city’s Pomona dump site.

Project bulletin

The government is expected pay debts owed by Liberia Electricity Corporation to Côte d’Ivoire, clearing the way for Liberia to start receiving power through the Côte d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea (CLSG) transmission line. The move comes as Monrovia seeks a new approach to LEC’s management and funds to repair the Mount Coffee hydroelectric plant.


The latest UN-led attempt to reconcile the rival groups competing to gain control of Libya shows no sign of being any more successful than previous efforts. As none of the major factions has the strength either to break away entirely, or to subjugate its opponents and take command by force, the most likely scenario is that the country has reached a kind of deteriorating equilibrium in which economic resources will be steadily depleted.


Electricity generation across Nigeria reached 4GW in July, the Presidential Task Force on Power has announced. This is a step forward for Nigeria’s chronically underperforming industry, but shows that output remains way off peak demand of 14GW. Similarly, the transmission network’s capacity reached a new peak of 4.6GW as of 30 July, but this was not enough to fight off fierce criticism of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).TCN is run under management contract by Canada’s Manitoba Hydro International (MHI).


The focus of upstream activity in the Mediterranean has shifted from the established hydrocarbons-rich zones of North Africa to the coast of the Levant and now increasingly to parts of the Adriatic, impelled both by violence and instability in Libya and also the opening up of opportunities in these new areas. Driven by the pressures of economic austerity in the aftermath of the Euro crisis, Greece and Italy have turned back to oil and gas licensing. Greece recently launched an ‘open door’ licensing programme, and Italy has also licensed new areas after many years during which progress was effectively frozen.

Egypt | Libya | Algeria | Morocco | Tunisia