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The approval of winning bidders for the privatisation of generation and distribution companies was a step forward for Nigeria’s electricity industry, but the subsequent stripping of Manitoba Hydro’s transmission management contract could represent two steps back. The creation of a new Nigerian industry may yet beckon, but allegations of cronyism, if not outright corruption, in some concession areas can only add to the mood of never-ending crisis, write David Slater and Jon Marks.

Nigeria
Free

The newsflow from Nigeria is, as ever, hectic: political alliances are shifting as President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress splits and the People’s Democratic Party, written off only one election cycle ago, draws back power-brokers; finance minister Kemi Adeosun has resigned over her submission of an apparently forged National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate (she had anyway thought she was exempt, having lived in the UK until she was 34); clashes between herders and farmers in the Middle Belt are now killing more people than the jihadist Boko Haram – which has not gone away despite huge military operations.

Nigeria
Issue 248 - 14 February 2013

Sonatrach graft scandal back in focus

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The decision by the Milan prosecutor to include Eni and its chief executive, Paolo Scaroni, in its investigation of Saipem’s activities in Algeria has focused attention on a key associate of former energy and mines minister Chakib Khelil.

Algeria
Issue 258 - 12 July 2013

Petroceltic sues adviser

Free

Dublin-based explorer Petroceltic International is suing two individuals and a Tunis-based law firm over service and consultancy agreements related to its North African activities signed in 2004 and 2005. According to the High Court of Ireland, Petroceltic Isarene – the Jersey-based subsidiary for the company’s Algeria assets – and another plaintiff opened a case on 4 July against Abdelly & Associés International Consultants, its founder Dr Samir Abdelly and a second defendant, Maza Seghir.

Tunisia
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Tullow Oil has agreed to brave Guinea’s complex operating environment, taking a 40% stake in Hyperdynamics’ offshore concession. Past exploration has been a saga of corrupt governments and inexpert partners, but Tullow’s arrival comes as the government of President Alpha Condé tries to overturn the legacy of dictatorship and military rule. Tullow chief executive Aidan Heavey told African Energy in early November that the geology of the offshore concession was highly promising.

Guinea
Free

Former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s death on 19 September did not grip the majority of Tunisians as much as the presidential election earlier that week, which has left two populist outsiders competing to replace the late Béji Caïd Essebsi in a second round of voting, expected in October. Ben Ali seized power in November 1987 from president-for-life Habib Bourguiba, a genuine giant of post-colonial politics who had become incapable of ruling.

Tunisia
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South Africa is under unprecedented pressure to reform its power sector. The financial situation at Eskom, which has a balance sheet big enough to cause the government to default, continues to cause serious concern. Eskom’s board presented its plan for the future of the utility up until 2035 to energy minister Jeff Radebe on 12 November. One source told African Energy that if the plan is rejected the government will have to decide the next steps.

South Africa
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SE4All has some sweeping aims: to ensure universal access to modern energy services; to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. National plans will channel resources into much-needed energy efficiency plans, improve cooking stoves and help to finance renewables, from big hydro to solar and other off-grid solutions. But it is highly unlikely to ensure universal access 17 years from now.

Issue 402 - 25 October 2019

African leaders flock to Sochi summit

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More than 40 African leaders have headed to the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the 23-24 October Russia-Africa summit. Significant military deals are expected to be signed, as well as nuclear and oil and gas agreements. Russia, whose African presence waned after the Cold War, is making a new push to increase its influence to compete with China, Europe and the Gulf states. In Guinea, where Rusal owns bauxite mines, Russian ambassador Alexander Bregadze has spoken in support of President Alpha Condé’s controversial bid to change the constitution so he can run for a third term.

Free

Viewed from Harare, it is business as usual on all fronts: European Union and US sanctions continue to inconvenience President Robert Mugabe and key members of his regime; swathes of the population (including the estimated 4m Zimbabweans living abroad) despair of genuine political change that can unlock the country’s huge potential. However, after a 16 March referendum approved a new constitution, elections will follow by 29 June at the latest. Off the record, leaders of coalition partner the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) say their horizons are limited to winning extra seats and obtaining more ministerial posts in the next government. This recognises the effective hold that Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu PF), backed by a powerful securocrat elite, exerts over power.

Zimbabwe
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The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) on 29 October released the Roadmap for Eskom in a Reformed Electricity Supply Industry 2019 report, which claims to propose “bold actions” and to be “the largest institutional transformation that South Africa has undertaken in a strategically important area in recent history”. The report outlines many previously announced policies, including the functional unbundling and legal separation into subsidiaries of Eskom’s generation, transmission and distribution functions, and efforts to improve operational performance, governance and transparency.

South Africa
Issue 243 - 15 November 2012

Nigerian power ministry reshuffle

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President Goodluck Jonathan on 1 November announced a minor cabinet reshuffle, swapping minister of state for power Darius Dickson Ishaku with minister of state for Niger Delta affairs Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi. The move comes only two months after the resignation of Professor Barth Nnaji as power minister, after which Ishaku stood in as the senior minister on an interim basis.

Nigeria
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An agreement on maritime jurisdiction areas signed by the head of the Libyan Government of National Accord’s Presidency Council Fayez Al-Sarraj and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in late November has provoked furious responses from the governments of Egypt, Greece and Cyprus and has dragged Libya into the intractable geopolitical morass of the eastern Mediterranean.Important elements of the accord are not yet clear. For instance, it is not yet obvious whether it is a memorandum of understanding or an actual treaty.

Libya
Subscriber

There was dramatic confirmation that Nigeria’s power sector is bracing to undergo another period of political flux when, on 4 February, it was announced that respected regulator Ransome Owan and other officials had been held on corruption charges. The EFCC’s swoop came as new Power Minister Rilwan Babalola is seeking to stamp his mark on the troubled sector and add those missing gigawatts to the national grid as quickly as possible – even if it means challenging other key players, write Jon Marks and Leo Lawal.

Nigeria
Subscriber

Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour was dismissed as head of state energy giant Sonatrach on 23 April, to be replaced by head of production Rachid Hachichi. Respected as an industry professional but widely distrusted for his links to the now discredited Bouteflika clan, and especially his ties to the politically ambitious former energy minister Chakib Khelil, Ould Kaddour’s position was in doubt even before Abdelaziz Bouteflika departed the presidency.

Algeria