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Industry scepticism about the project’s economics notwithstanding, on 23 January, President Uhuru Kenyatta shook hands with Total executive committee member Momar Nguer to confirm the French major’s commitment to investing in the Lokichar-Lamu oil pipeline. These things matter in East African oil and geostrategic manoeuvring; Uganda’s export pipeline was planned to pass through Lokichar until Total backed a rival route to Tanzania, but having since bought Maersk Oil, it needs an export route in Kenya too.

Kenya
Issue 384 - 17 January 2019

Ghana: ECG handover planned for February

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The transfer of management of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to Power Distribution Services Ghana Ltd, which is owned by a consortium led by the Philippines’ Manila Electricity Company (Meralco), is expected to take place on 1 February, Millennium Development Authority (Mida) chief executive Martin Eson-Benjamin told a media briefing in Accra this month.Mida is responsible for implementing Ghana’s $469.3m compact with the US’ Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Ghana
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Tribal rights NGO Survival International has lodged a complaint with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) against Italian company Salini Impregilo, which is building the 1,870MW Gilgel Gibe III dam on the Omo River in Ethiopia. The complaint was filed under the 2011 OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to which Salini is a signatory.

Ethiopia
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Former finance minister Basil Pesambili Mramba and energy and minerals minister Daniel Ndhira Yona were jailed for three years on 6 July for issuing illegal tax exemptions to an international company and also arbitrarily awarding a contract to audit gold, costing the government millions of dollars of lost revenues. Both politicians are from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party and issued the exemption certificates in the early 2000s. “The accused acted arbitrarily in granting tax exemptions to a gold audit firm, totally disregarding advice by taxation and legal authorities,” the court judgement read.

Tanzania
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Malawi is completing the sign-up steps to become an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) candidate and is expected to present an application to the EITI Board by 30 June. The EITI is part of the government’s commitment to develop the oil and mining sector in a manner that generates revenue to the state and benefits the citizens of Malawi.In a state of the nation speech to parliament on 5 May, President Peter Mutharika said: “In view of the commitment by government to enhance transparency in the mining sector, government will join the EITI to promote revenue transparency.

Malawi
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President Abdelaziz Bouteflika may be gone, but demonstrators continue to call for radical change to a system dominated by ‘deep state’ players, including a genuine crackdown on corruption. Senior establishment figures are trying to persuade the popular ‘Hirak’ street protest movement that the system can reform itself, with assurances that recent scandals such as the Kamel El-Bouchi cocaine affair and older cases including the collapse of Khalifa Bank should be revisited.

Algeria
Issue 268 - 20 December 2013

Mali: Corruption investigation

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In mid-December six judges and judicial officers were charged and taken into custody in an investigation into corruption. “In the context of the fight against corruption and financial crime triggered by the Malian government, six judges and judicial officers were charged with forgery, fraud and extortion,” a justice ministry official told the Agence France-Presse news agency. In late November, new President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta restated his commitment to tackling corruption and impunity. Before his election following a second round of voting in August, Keïta promised “zero tolerance” of corruption

Mali
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Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has agreed to pay out $84m to residents of the Bodo community for two of the Niger Delta’s largest oil spills, which took place in 2008 and 2009. Some $54m of the settlement will go to around 15,600 fisherman, while the remaining $30m will be left for the community. Outgoing SPDC managing director Mutiu Sunmonu said the company accepted responsibility for the spills, both of which SPDC admits were caused by operational failures of the pipelines.

Nigeria
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The sacking of petroleum, energy and renewable energy minister Thierry Tanoh, formally announced on 10 December, was not unexpected. Tanoh had been in conflict with powerful players, notably influential presidential adviser and former minister Adama Toungara, over a planned audit of the sector, further reforms and project developments. The former banker had also clashed with Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who was lobbying President Alassane Dramane Ouattara to sack the minister.

Côte d'Ivoire
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The South African government suffered a major setback in its efforts to procure nuclear power when the High Court in Cape Town ruled on 26 April that three intergovernmental agreements, two ministerial determinations and all subsequent procurement activity was unlawful and unconstitutional. The decision means that two ministerial determinations – announcements by the energy minister that a certain amount of capacity will be procured from a particular technology – from 2013 and 2016 underpinning the government’s ambitious, and controversial, efforts to procure 9,600MW of nuclear power have been set aside.

South Africa
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Emboldened by President Donald Trump’s election win, Republican lawmakers have started the process of dismantling the bipartisan Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule, which requires oil, gas and mining companies publicly listed in the US to publish their payments to governments in countries where they operate. The rule became law in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, but its implementation was held up by legal challenges and it was released by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) only in June 2016 after Oxfam America sued to speed the process up.

Free

With further progress in its electricity privatisation, increased food production due to investment in agriculture, and capital markets responding favourably to banks and bonds, it is easy to be drawn into the bubble of optimism that has built up around the Nigerian economy and its prospects. Away from the conflict zones of the north and Niger Delta, real progress has been made, but for every bit of positive newsflow there is a reality check, such as a new report from the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) which examines illegal oil exports – a still little understood cog in the machine of money and power-broking that defines public life in Nigeria.

Nigeria
Issue 411 - 12 March 2020

Troubled Tullow cuts costs

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Tullow Oil has slashed 2020 spending and announced plans to cut its workforce by a third as it reported a 2019 loss of $1.69bn, compared to an $85m profit in 2018. Already under pressure due to lower than anticipated production in Ghana and delays in farming down part of its stake in Uganda, the company has been hard hit by the sharp drop in the oil price in recent days.

Issue 357 - 09 November 2017

US withdraws from implementing EITI

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The United States has opted to withdraw from implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) but will continue to support its implementation by other states. In a letter to EITI board chairman Fredrik Reinfeldt on 2 November, US Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) director Gregory J Gould, said the US was withdrawing as an EITI implementing country with immediate effect.

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Following the 14 April arrest in Florida of a former BSG Resources (BSGR) associate, Frédéric Cilins, the Guinean authorities have detained Ibrahima Sory Touré, a senior manager in the company’s local unit. Cilins, who was involved in setting up the BSGR office in Guinea in the mid-2000s was charged with obstructing a criminal investigation, tampering with a witness and destruction of records.

Guinea