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International efforts to channel financial and technical support to Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional administration will intensify when Berlin hosts a much-anticipated Sudan Partnership Conference on 25 June. Convened by Germany, Republic of Sudan, the United Nations and European Union, the conference follows initial talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a staff-monitored programme, which would be a significant move towards reintegrating Khartoum into a donor-backed reform process.

Sudan
Issue 418 - 26 June 2020

AfDB debars BWSC, Sieyuan Electric

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced debarments for Denmark’s Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) and China’s Sieyuan Electric Company Ltd and its subsidiaries.BWSC, which said it self-reported to the AfDB following an internal investigation over a contract in Mauritius, has been debarred for 21 months. Sieyuan Electric has been debarred for 12 months and its subsidiary Jiangsu Rugao HV Electric Apparatus Company Ltd for 20 months.In 2014-15, BWSC won contracts to redevelop the Saint Louis HFO power plant in Mauritius.

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The World Bank Group (WBG) has said it will develop “a new approach” to assessing the business and investment climate of countries around the world, following the decision to cancel its annual Doing Business report after an investigation had shown that the rankings of China and other powerful players had been artificially boosted.

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Even while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board was praising the Brazzaville authorities’ commitment to reform, a recent IMF working paper underlined the extent of governance problems. Macro-Fiscal Gains from Anti-Corruption Reforms in the Republic of Congo, published on 3 June, observes that annual crude output was estimated at 86m bbls/yr between 1990 and 2018, making Congo sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil producer, but “oil revenue management and public investment spending occurred in a context where corruption is perceived to be prevalent as measured by a range of internationally recognised indicators relative to other countries in the SSA regions”.

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Talks are under way between the government of Republic of Congo and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a potential three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme. An IMF spokesperson confirmed to African Energy that talks with President Denis Sassou-Nguesso’s administration were continuing following a mission in November but declined to predict when an agreement might be reached. “The IMF continues to hold productive discussions with the authorities.

Congo Brazzaville
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The World Bank Group (WBG) on 22 August debarred Slovenia’s Flycom for making corrupt payments in connection with a project in Democratic Republic of Congo. The infrastructure services company was debarred for 18 months from working for the WBG and four other major multilaterals for engaging in corrupt practices linked to the Southern Africa Power Market Project.

DR Congo
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The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 8 June announced that Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) had agreed to pay nearly $6.5m to settle charges that it violated US securities laws by failing to register bonds sold to Ethiopians in the US to fund construction of the 6GW Grand Renaissance Dam.The SEC said EEP had held a series of public roadshows in major cities across the US and marketed the bonds on the website of the Ethiopian embassy as well as through radio and television advertising aimed at Ethiopians living in the US.

Ethiopia
Issue 326 - 24 June 2016

Algeria: Bouterfa delivers

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State utility Sonelgaz has faced capacity and financial pressures, but is generally seen to have performed to an acceptable level (by current Algerian standards) under Noureddine Bouterfa’s leadership, since January 2004. Algiers analysts noted that power cuts were no longer endemic on the new minister’s watch.Announcing Sonelgaz’s 2015 results on 5 June, Bouterfa pointed to investments worth AD577bn ($5.3bn) in 2015, when 1,285.6MW of new generation capacity was brought online.

Algeria
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Senior officials and some notable international investors are optimistic that Egypt’s upstream sector is back on track, but this does not mean that some casualties have not been left by the wayside. The announcement of a new licensing round and the prospect of others later this year is the latest indication of the opportunities now on offer. Field developments are under way on and offshore, but Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) has not paid back arrears owed to international oil companies (IOCs) as quickly as it said it would, and a number of IOCs have suffered because of this.

Egypt
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The main outstanding risk facing developers in the feed-in tariff (FiT) programme is whether the government or the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will guarantee the convertibility of revenues earned in Egyptian pounds into dollars. Currently, exchange controls are in force and the bank has set quotas and conditions on the quantity of hard currency that can be exported each month. In mid-February, the CBE began to gradually lift some of these restrictions to try to get foreign exchange from the black market back into the banks.

Egypt
Issue 315 - 14 January 2016

Rwanda’s investor-friendly environment

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Rwanda’s style of governance was a positive factor in developing Gigawatt Global’s solar PV project. Developer Chaim Motzen told the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa’s annual conference in November that, “from the time we started negotiations [February 2013] to full production there were three ministers of infrastructure, two [ministers of state for] energy, three Rwanda Development Board heads and three heads of the utility”. Whereas in most countries such frequent churn in key institutions would be seen as a sign of instability, he claimed that in Rwanda it pointed to President Paul Kagame’s rigorous demands for maximum performance.

Rwanda
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Abdelhamid Zerguine was sacked as chairman and chief executive of Sonatrach on 26 July in a move confirmed by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. In Algiers, the sacking was widely linked to a further round of faction fighting surrounding the Algerian energy giant, but it may also have much to say about years of paralysis within Sonatrach, which has slowed its project pipeline to an extent that threatens exports in the latter part of this decade. Vice-president for upstream Saïd Sahnoun has been appointed interim president director-general (PDG). Director of associations Kamel Chikhi has taken over Sahnoun’s old job.

Algeria
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African Petroleum Corporation has applied for a listing on Oslo’s junior Axess market, following the appointment of new management in recent months. Controversial former chairman Frank Timis stepped down in October. “Due to historical events related to other listed companies where he has been involved, Mr Timis will not be employed by the company nor hold board positions nor play any governance role going forward,” the company said. Before founding African Petroleum, Timis was chief executive of Regal Petroleum, whose directors were fined £600,000 in 2009, after a Financial Services Authority investigation, for misleading investors on the viability of an oil well in the Aegean Sea in 2003. African Petroleum and its sister company International Petroleum listed on Australia’s National Stock Exchange in 2010 after the main Australian Stock Exchange declined to have Timis involved.

Liberia | Côte d'Ivoire
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A case in the Federal High Court of Nigeria over the Barracuda oil field in Niger Delta Block OML141 has again been adjourned, this time until 16 November.

Nigeria
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A dispute over loans given to Aiteo Eastern E&P to pay for its acquisition of Nigerian oil assets from Shell in 2015 is heading for arbitration after a London court ruling. One lender warned that a default could have serious consequences for the Nigerian banking system.

Nigeria