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Subscriber

The island’s ‘Saint Louis Gate’ power procurement scandal and other corruption enquiries, plus the government’s loss of a petroleum supply arbitration appeal, highlight the potential pitfalls of doing business in Africa’s most highly rated economy, writes Marc Howard.

Mauritius
Subscriber

Ex-president Mohammed Ould Abdelaziz used an interview with Paris-based Jeune Afrique (JA) to deny he had ever taken “a single ouguiya fraudulently” from state funds. The regime of his successor – and for many decades close ally – Mohammed Ould Ghazouani has claimed Abdelaziz mismanaged public funds over his two terms (2009-19).

Mauritania
Subscriber

The Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) has gone to the Lusaka High Court seeking a judicial review to halt the government’s latest attempts to seize its transmission line network, including those it jointly owns with Democratic Republic of Congo’s Société Nationale d’Electricité (Snel).

Zambia
Subscriber

Energy minister Newton Kambala was fired by President Lazarus Chakwera on 11 August, following his appearance at Lilongwe Magistrates Court on graft charges. Kambala had been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) two days earlier.

Malawi
Subscriber

With a month to go before elections, state power utility Zesco has reduced daily power cuts to households from eight or more hours to four hours, in a move expected to boost President Edgar Lungu’s chances of another five-year term. However, the reduced load-shedding does not apply to mining companies, which are still restricted to less than 30% of their peak power demand. Zesco spokesman Henry Kapata said the utility was importing 90MW from a power barge docked at Mozambique’s Nacala port, 48MW from Aggreko and 75MW from Electricidade de Mocambique.

Zambia
Subscriber

Controversial former energy minister Chakib Khelil returned to Algeria on 17 March for the first time since his abrupt departure three years ago, pursued by allegations concerning his role in the Sonatrach corruption scandals (AE 317/17, 297/24). The path towards his rehabilitation was prepared by Front Nationale de Liberation leader Amar Saâdani, who is loyal to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika but not universally supported within his faction.

Algeria
Subscriber

With Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency marked by a lack of improvement to power supply, a push from the top is needed to clear blockages that have held up progress. Generation on 31 March stood at only 3,540MW, according to the Federal Ministry of Power. With peak demand recorded at 12,800MW, the sector suffered a shortfall of some 9,260MW.The declaration of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM) in February was seen as key to unblocking the sector. However, industry sources doubt whether the TEM is being fully implemented.

Nigeria
Subscriber

At the time of publishing it was unclear whether the United Nations would persuade delegates from Tobruk’s House of Representatives (HoR) and Tripoli’s General National Congress (GNC), meeting in the Moroccan town of Skhirat, to sign a deal on a unity government. They were ready to do so on 16 December, but at a separate meeting in Malta, HoR speaker Ageela Gwaider and GNC speaker Nuri Abu Sahmain – normally arch-rivals – jointly called for a postponement, making clear that the delegates in Morocco did not represent the will of either assembly.

Libya
Subscriber

A huge rush is under way to tackle governance issues at Kenya Power and address the cost of energy from IPPs ahead of President Kenyatta’s Christmas Day deadline for implementing recommendations of the Presidential Taskforce’s PPA review, writes Dan Marks

Kenya
Subscriber

The formation of rival governments in eastern and western Libya threatens to drag the country into a full-blown civil conflict even as oil sector activity has reached levels not seen for more than 12 months. The official government appointed by the recently elected House of Representatives and led by interim prime minister Abdullah Al-Thinni appears to command National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the main oil terminals and fields. However, its authority over the Central Bank of Libya is less certain, and its control over military forces, even those that support it, is negligible.

Libya
Free

The trial of former president Rupiah Banda, which opened in April, has been suspended until October. Banda was charged with abuse of office in connection with a Nigerian oil deal with the Abuja-based Sarb Energy (AE 253/26). Former energy minister Kenneth Kongo, who was testifying as a state witness, rejected claims that Banda personally benefitted from the deal.

Nigeria | Zambia
Subscriber

The announcement that ArcelorMittal had finally agreed with President George Weah’s government to expand the Luxembourg-based steelmaker’s iron mining and logistics operations in Liberia was especially ill-timed for Conakry, coming days after Colonel Mamady Doumbouya’s coup d’état, which removed President Alpha Condé.

Guinea | Liberia
Issue 429 - 17 December 2020

US to require ownership disclosure

Subscriber

In a major victory for transparency campaigners, the US Congress has passed a groundbreaking measure to ban anonymous shell companies by a veto-proof majority. The Corporate Transparency Act, which was tacked on to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, will oblige corporations and limited liability companies established in the United States to disclose their real owners to the US Treasury Department.

Subscriber

An unusually bitter spat between National Oil Corporation and the central bank over the value of oil revenues earned during 2020 is the most public manifestation of the new realignment in Libyan politics. At stake is the question of who will control the nation’s finances over the next year while preparations are put in place for new elections, writes John Hamilton.

Libya
Subscriber

The scale of the challenges facing Kenya Power has been highlighted by the release of its results for the past two years. The utility has been hard hit by Covid-19, with demand dropping while arrears soared, but its finances were struggling long before the pandemic struck, writes Dan Marks.

Kenya