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Events in South Africa, whose sovereign debt has been reduced to junk status by President Jacob Zuma’s crony capitalist rule, are another reminder that when power is exerted abusively shortfalls in governance can be highly damaging for the wider economy. This is also apparent in Democratic Republic of Congo’s minerals and Nigeria’s oil kleptocracies, which are both under renewed scrutiny, with international judicial authorities contemplating action against President Joseph Kabila’s long-time business partner Dan Gertler and sifting through new evidence against former Nigerian oil ministers from Dan Etete to Diezani Allison-Madueke.

South Africa
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The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) – previously known as the Norwegian Petroleum Fund – decided on 28 June to exclude Cairn Energy and Kosmos Energy from its portfolio because of the two companies’ decision to explore for oil and gas in areas offshore Western Sahara under licences issued by the government of Morocco. According to a statement by Norges Bank, which runs the fund, its executive board’s decision was made following an “assessment of the risk of particularly serious violations of fundamental ethical norms”.

Morocco
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) on 21 October released a 63-page report, ‘Letting the Big Fish Swim’, which details how the Ugandan government has failed to hold to account senior officials implicated in the theft and diversion of public funds. 
According to the report, no high-ranking government official, minister or political appointee has ever served a prison sentence, despite investigations into numerous corruption scandals over the years. This is despite repeated official pledges to eradicate corruption and an array of anti-corruption institutions. 


Uganda
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New prime minister Aminata Touré has named a cabinet, including Maîmouna Ndoye Seck, head of the electricity regulator, as energy minister. The appointment of veteran human rights advocate Sidiki Kaba as justice minister suggests the crackdown on high-profile corruption is set to remain a priority.

Senegal
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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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
Issue 304 - 11 July 2015

Zambia: Banda acquitted

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A Lusaka magistrates court on 30 June acquitted former president Rupiah Banda, who had been accused of personally benefiting from a $2.5m oil deal with Nigeria’s Sarb Energy. Magistrate Joshua Banda ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case, and called the prosecution’s evidence inconsistent and contradictory.

Zambia
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Despite his incapacities, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, with his Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, has spent recent weeks giving the impression of action at the top. New senior management is bedding in at national oil company Sonatrach, and military promotions on independence day, 5 July, signalled business as usual, even if there is still no movement on the retirement of key players such as military intelligence chief General Mohamed ‘Tewfik’ Mediene and chief of staff and deputy defence minister Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah.

Algeria
Issue 269 - 16 January 2014

EBRD: New energy strategy

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) released a new energy strategy in December to guide future investments in the energy and natural resources sector. Significantly, given the size of its energy investments – from January 2006 to October 2013 the EBRD invested some €8.6bn ($11.7bn) in 172 energy sector projects – the bank laid out its commitment to public disclosure of subsoil contracts and licences in each hydrocarbon extraction project it finances from 2015. The EBRD is now the second international financial institution, after the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation private sector investment arm, to require loan recipients to disclose the terms and conditions of contracts governing natural resource exploitation.

Issue 271 - 17 February 2014

Angola: No investigation of debt deal

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The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland on 4 February said it had examined a criminal complaint filed by the London-based NGO Corruption Watch and Angola’s Associação Mãos Livres regarding a 1990s debt deal between Angola and Russia, and had decided that no further action would be taken. “The events surrounding the repayment to Russia of Angolan government debts, dating back to Soviet times, shall therefore not result in further criminal investigations in Switzerland,” the office said. A 166-page report, ‘Deception in High Places: The Corrupt Angola-Russia Debt Deal’, released by Corruption Watch in April 2013 detailed how, in 1996, Angola restructured $5bn of its Soviet-era debt

Angola
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President João Lourenço has issued a decree modifying the contract for the construction of the 2,172MW Caculo Cabaça dam with the removal of companies associated with controversial businesswoman Isabel dos Santos. Decree 79/18, dated July 12 and signed by Lourenço, states that the contract must be modified to remove the consortium of China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC), Niara Holding and Boreal Investment, and give sole rights to CGGC.

Angola
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The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has approved an average increase in the electricity tariff for standard customers of 9.8% in 2016-17. The increase follows an application by national utility Eskom to recoup unexpected costs incurred in 2013-14 through a mechanism called the regulatory clearing account (RCA). It allows Eskom an increased revenue over the period of R11.2bn ($727m), less than half of the R22.8bn the utility had applied for and only a marginal change on the increased revenue allowance already approved in the third multi-year price determination (MYPD3), which covers the period 2014-18.

South Africa
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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As momentum builds behind transparency regulations in much of the world, a US court has backed a challenge by big oil companies and ordered revisions to new regulations issued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 
The US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on 2 July that the SEC must provide better justifications for some of the transparency regulations it issued under Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The court ruled that the SEC had misinterpreted Dodd-Frank when drawing up regulations that would have forced oil companies to disclose details of payments to governments.

Issue 312 - 19 November 2015

Buhari confirms Nigerian cabinet

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Seven months after his election victory, President Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed the members of his first cabinet with some familiar names holding important ministries, and the number of portfolios cut from 42 to 36. As widely expected, Buhari has retained direct control over the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and chosen the recently appointed general managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, as junior minister.

Nigeria