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Issue 423 - 24 September 2020

Botswana aims to procure 645MW by 2026

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Mineral resources, green technology and energy security minister Lefoko Moagi has said Botswana will look to procure 645MW of new capacity by 2026. Moagi made the comments in parliament in August while presenting his ministry’s proposals for the mid-term review of the country’s National Development Plan (NDP).

Botswana
Issue 419 - 09 July 2020

AfDB president under fire

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The African Development Bank board has named a three-member panel to review a report by the bank’s ethics committee into whistleblower allegations against bank president Akinwumi Adesina.The review was agreed after US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and several other bank shareholders rejected the findings of the committee’s report and said the complaint warranted further examination.

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The US decision to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, announced on 19 October, should open the way for a multilateral debt deal and big new financial flows, but pressure to normalise relations with Israel will not play well with many Sudanese, adding to pressure on a transitional government struggling with severe economic pressures.

Sudan
Issue 413 - 17 April 2020

Liberia: EITI board lifts suspension

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The board of the Extractive IndustriesTransparency Initiative (EITI) has agreed to lift Liberia’s temporary suspension with effect from 6 March. A statement said Liberia had shown improvement in implementation related to stakeholder oversight and the publication of outstanding EITI reports. Liberia was one of the first countries to implement the EITI, under former president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, but was suspended from the initiative in September 2018 due to reporting delays and the lack of a multi-stakeholder group to oversee the process.

Liberia
Issue 411 - 12 March 2020

Zimbabwe: ZETDC raises tariffs again

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Faced with a tumbling local currency and soaring inflation, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission & Distribution Company (ZETDC) has increased the price of electricity by 19% from 1 March. The increase is the second in six months, following a 200% rise in October 2019. Announcing the increase in late February, ZETDC managing director Ralph Katsande said the new tariffs would ensure the ailing utility could continue to import electricity. He said ZETDC would use a monthly tariff indexation formula, taking account of fundamentals such as the exchange rate and inflation.

Zimbabwe
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Barely a month after banning the use of foreign currencies within the country, the government has declared that mining companies and hotels must pay for their power in US dollars as part of new measures aimed at improving electricity supply. In June, the government banned the use of foreign currencies for local transactions and reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar, which it abandoned in 2009 at the height of hyperinflation. As an interim measure, the government introduced the RTGS dollar in February to pave the way for the reintroduction of the local currency.

Zimbabwe
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President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s debt-stressed administration has finally obtained a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) facility, worth nearly $449m, despite criticism that Brazzaville has not provided sufficient detail of parallel rescheduling deals for arrears contracted in pre-financing arrangements with China and Swiss-based oil trading houses, nor implemented previous commitments to control borrowing, spending and other policy shortfalls.

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The government has approved a deal for private US company High Power Exploration (HPX) to acquire the 95% interest in the Nimba iron ore deposit held by BHP, Newmont Goldcorp and French nuclear power group Orano (the former Areva).HPX is run by Canadian mining magnate Robert Friedland and former Rio Tinto head of exploration Eric Finlayson. Two directors of Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines, former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe and Belgian financier Guy de Selliers, will become co-chairs of the HPX subsidiary that will hold the Nimba asset and join the board of Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée (SMFG), the Guinean company operating the project.

Guinea
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One of Algeria’s few privately financed infrastructure projects has formally broken down after years of problems, with state energy giant Sonatrach and water company L’Algérienne des Eaux telling a group led by Malaysia’s Malakoff Corporation they are terminating their water purchase agreement (WPA) for the troubled Souk Tleta desalination plant. The reverse osmosis plant in Tlemcen province began commercial operations in 2011 under a 25-year contract, but has been out of operation since 2016; before that it never treated anything like its 200,000 m3/d capacity to process sea water, which was intended to produce a nominal 71,400 m3/d of drinking water.

Algeria
Free

Elections on 23 December are unlikely to deliver the change Democratic Republic of Congo so badly needs. The outlook is deteriorating as polling day approaches, following deaths at rallies in support of opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, and an apparently deliberate fire in Kinshasa that destroyed controversial voting machines. Fears have been expressed that the elections will be far from free and fair, potentially stoking further conflict as President Joseph Kabila Kabange – who has been in power since 2001 – seeks to hold on to state institutions via his hand-picked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

DR Congo
Free

Projections and commitments from Ghana’s eloquent political class and the human resources offered by its vibrant young population – forecast to reach 29m in 2018 – drive optimism that a sub-Saharan success story can generate sustainable growth to move its economy beyond lower middle-income status. Following their December 2016 election victory, President Nana Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) government have struggled to turn around a legacy of debt and alleged malfeasance by their National Democratic Congress (NDC) predecessors.

Ghana
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdelaziz held talks with Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on 25 March. The doyen of Central African leaders’ three-day visit was aimed at securing Saudi infrastructure investment. Sassou was accompanied by finance minister Calixte Ganongo and the recently appointed head of heavily indebted state oil company Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (SNPC) Maixent Raoul Ominga. The delegation left the kingdom on 27 March without any major deals being announced.

Congo Brazzaville
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In another twist in the long-running saga of the 6GW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) and controversy over water use in the Nile Basin, there are reports from Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to mediate between Egypt and Ethiopia over the issue. Israeli online news site Mida reported on 19 July that a decision on Israeli involvement followed a flurry of recent diplomatic activity, including a visit to Tel Aviv by Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shukri, which came soon after Netanyahu returned from a tour of Africa. The previous negotiator was former Palestinian Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan.

Egypt | Ethiopia
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The resolution of a blockade at the Marsa al-Harigah terminal in mid-May averted what many expected to be a highly damaging financial and political crisis. However, it leaves unresolved the main grievances that provoked leaders in Cyrenaica to shut the port and deprive Tripoli of revenues earned from the sale of crude produced in the east of the country. The continued political disagreements and the expected delivery by a Russian company of LYD4bn worth of bank notes to the Benghazi-based administration will provide fertile ground for further disputes over both money and oil.

Libya
Issue 327 - 08 July 2016

SEC finally issues disclosure rule

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a rule requiring oil and mining companies publicly traded on US stock exchanges to disclose payments to the US and foreign governments. The rule will finally enact Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. The SEC introduced an implementing rule for Section 1504 in 2012, but this was set aside by a US district court in 2013 following a legal challenge by the American Petroleum Institute lobby group.