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Energy minister Medard Kalemani has said the first phase of the 2,115MW Julius Nyerere hydropower project at Stiegler’s Gorge is more than 70% complete. Speaking after visiting the project site on 5 April to counter reports that the project had stalled due to a shortage of funds, he said the Treasury had paid more than $700m towards the project, which has an estimated total cost of $3bn.“We are on schedule for the first phase, which is due to be completed next year,” he said.

Issue 429 - 17 December 2020

Niger: Nature reserve boundaries redrawn


The government is set to pass a decree revising the boundaries of a 97,000km2 nature reserve in eastern Niger to address the concerns of environmentalists, oil companies and donors. French NGO Noé, which manages the Termit and Tin-Toumma National Nature Reserve (RNNTT) hopes the decree will be adopted before the first round of the presidential election on 27 December.


Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) says energy minister Matthew Nkhuwa acted beyond his authority by declaring its transmission network common carrier to allow government-controlled Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to continue receiving power supply despite a year of failing to pay its bills. CEC is seeking to overturn the statutory instrument (SI) issued by Nkhuwa on 29 May declaring CEC’s network common carrier.


With the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (Pida) framework endorsed by African leaders in 2012 returning the development focus to big dams, there is an increasing amount of research into how climate change may affect future water supply. Pida includes a Priority Action Plan which calls for an expansion of hydroelectric power generation capacity by more than 54GW. The listed priority projects, currently being designed on the basis of the historical climate, will jump to the head of the queue for donor funds and government approvals.


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.


South African Development Community (SADC) energy ministers met in Johannesburg on 24 July to express concern at the region’s estimated 8,247MW generation shortfall, while noting that 1,999MW had been brought on line in 2014 from new plants or rehabilitation.Of the 2014 additions, 150MW was commissioned in Angola, 150MW in Mozambique, 1,654MW in South Africa and 245MW in Zambia. Some 83% of new capacity was from renewable sources, predominantly in South Africa.


French consultancy Sofreco has a new technical assistance contract to support the energy agency of the three-nation Great Lakes Economic Community (CEPGL), Energie des Grands Lacs. The 2015-16 contract is intended to build institutional, technical, human and other capacity; update the Regional Energy Master Plan; harmonise norms and standards, and environmental assessment practices; adopt funding, implementation and monitoring procedures for studies and projects; and consolidate the information and communication system.


A London court on 15 December turned down a request by Nigeria’s Malabu Oil & Gas to release $85m frozen last year at the request of the Italian authorities amid an investigation into corruption at Eni relating to the licensing of OPL 245. The sale of OPL 245 to Shell and Eni in 2011 is under investigation by the Public Prosecutor of Milan, the UK’s National Crime Agency and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Issue 309 - 09 October 2015

Algeria: Saipem case advances


An Italian court will try six defendants in December on charges related to Saipem’s payment of €198m in bribes to secure approximately €8bn worth of contacts in Algeria. The most significant among the accused is the alleged go-between in the affair, Farid Bedjaoui, for whom Interpol has issued a red notice saying that he is wanted for “criminal associations leading to corruption”. He will be tried in absentia with two other Algerians. Three Italian senior Saipem executives will be in the dock, but the company’s country manager at the time will not, as he has struck a deal with prosecutors.


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.


The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) notified Hyperdynamics on 24 April that the company had fallen below its continued listing standards. The Houston-based company’s average global market capitalisation had been less than $50m over a consecutive 30 trading-day period and its stockholders’ equity is less than $50m. The company moved to the main NYSE from the NYSE Amex exchange in July 2011 after Ray Leonard took over as president and chief executive (AE 213/15), but shareholder enthusiasm has evaporated.


Having suddenly declared force majeure in Guinea, nearly six months after the US Department of Justice launched a corruption probe into its partner Hyperdynamics, Tullow is playing up its transparency credentials. Its annual report published on 24 March includes project-by-project reporting of payments, making it the first oil company to disclose such detail in every country in which it operates. The significance of this is huge. The American Petroleum Institute (API) in September 2012 sued the US Securities and Exchange Commission in an attempt to avoid disclosing project-level payments, and API members are lobbying against tougher reporting standards in the EU and elsewhere.

Issue 287 - 27 October 2014

Chad: EITI compliant


Chad has been accepted as a full member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at an EITI board meeting in Myanmar on 15 October. An EITI statement said the country was deemed ‘compliant’ with the global EITI transparency standard, which means Chadians have access to extensive information about how their natural resources are governed.“Thanks to the EITI, some major reforms have been engaged when it comes to follow-up of revenue collection and payments from the extractive industries. Implementing the EITI has allowed us to realise that we do not have an adequate system for tracking these revenues.

Issue 276 - 03 May 2014

Senegal: Karim Wade to face trial


Karim Wade, son of former president Abdoulaye Wade, is to go on trial in June on charges of corruption. Karim, a former minister for international co-operation, infrastructure, air transport and energy, was accused in 2013 of amassing a personal fortune of some $1.4bn, accumulated while his father was in office between 2000 and 2012. He has been in prison on remand for over a year. Abdoulaye Wade, who went into self-imposed exile after his 2012 election defeat, arrived in Senegal on 25 April after two years in Versailles, to show support for his son, and to campaign in upcoming local elections on behalf of his Parti Démocratique Sénégalais.


The trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) of Kenyan deputy president William Ruto was adjourned for a week on 23 September after Ruto asked for a suspension to enable him to return to Nairobi to handle the aftermath of an attack on the city’s Westgate shopping mall. Ruto went on trial on 10 September along with radio presenter Joshua arap Sang, charged with crimes against humanity in relation to their alleged role in co-ordinating the violence that swept Kenya in the aftermath of the country’s contested 2007 elections.