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President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 14 May appointed lawyer Fortune Chasi as minister of energy and power development. Chasi replaces Joram Gumbo, who was fired shortly after the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) announced a debilitating load-shedding schedule that leaves consumers without power for up to ten hours a day. Chasi’s appointment has been welcomed by many in the energy industry, who see him as young, hardworking and up to date with new energy technologies.

Issue 350 - 14 July 2017

Ophir cuts jobs, FID delayed


In a sign of how tough market conditions still are, Ophir Energy is slashing London-based and expatriate jobs by 50% to save $10m-$12m/yr. Chief operating officer Bill Higgs will be stepping down from his role and will not be replaced. In a 12 July trading update, Ophir said H1 production was lower than expected at 11,300 boe/d, which was 1,200 boe/d below budget due to temporarily lower production from the Kerendan and Sinphuhorm gas fields in South-East Asia.

Issue 268 - 20 December 2013

Tanzania: No names in Swiss scandal


Kigoma North MP Zitto Kabwe has told an investigative committee headed by attorney-general Fredrick Werema that he does not have the names of five individuals accused of stashing over $190m in Swiss banks. Kabwe, an MP for the opposition Chadema Party that campaigns on an anti-corruption platform, previously claimed in parliament that large sums of taxpayers’ money were held in accounts in Switzerland and the Channel Islands, but that the government was not willing to recover the cash. The ‘Swiss Billions’ scandal has been much discussed in Tanzania since June 2012, when a Swiss National Bank report said the country held $196m of Tanzanian money in its accounts.


Botswana has come out as the most transparent in Africa in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, placing 30th out of 175 countries. This delighted the government, which said it was down to the country’s “zero tolerance” approach and the establishment of oversight institutions: the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board and the Competition Authority and the Financial Intelligence Agency. Cape Verde was ranked 41st, Seychelles 47th, Rwanda 49th and Mauritius 52nd. Somalia came bottom, and deputy finance minister Ahmed Hassan Adan reacted angrily, saying the report was not trustworthy. “We want to see any evidence to these allegations.


The government is seeking expressions of interest from consultants to draw up a communications strategy for the executive committee implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Congo Brazzaville
Issue 419 - 09 July 2020

AfDB president under fire


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.


The renewal of load-shedding, which looks likely to remain for some time despite continued suppressed demand has led to a cull of senior staff at Eskom’s generation division. The utility said on 4 September that there were 5GW of planned outages and 10.95GW unplanned, resulting in a 3GW deficit.

South Africa

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.


The Irish government has decided there are sufficient grounds to proceed with a complaint against San Leon Energy over its past activities in the onshore Tarfaya and Zag licence areas in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), an Irish NGO, filed a complaint in October 2018 claiming San Leon was not complying with a number of guidelines for multinational companies set out by the OECD, specifically the principle of meaningful engagement with stakeholders – in this case the Sahrawi people – and the principle of respect for internationally recognised human rights.

Morocco | Western Sahara (under UN mandate)

Ex-president Mohammed Ould Abdelaziz used an interview with Paris-based Jeune Afrique (JA) to deny he had ever taken “a single ouguiya fraudulently” from state funds. The regime of his successor – and for many decades close ally – Mohammed Ould Ghazouani has claimed Abdelaziz mismanaged public funds over his two terms (2009-19).


 The Angolan government and General Electric have succeeded in having a court case against them dismissed by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, after a judge ruled the dispute should be heard in courts in Angola.


Following a series of setbacks for the government this year in its attempt to declare CEC’s network common carrier, there had been hopes a negotiated settlement could be agreed. However, further legal action now looks a certainty, writes Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in Lusaka The Zambian government has made a fresh bid to seize control of Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC)’s transmission and distribution lines by issuing a new statutory instrument (SI) declaring the company’s network as common carrier.


The Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) has gone to the Lusaka High Court seeking a judicial review to halt the government’s latest attempts to seize its transmission line network, including those it jointly owns with Democratic Republic of Congo’s Société Nationale d’Electricité (Snel).


Oil and gas minister Mohammed Aoun is doing his best to impose his authority on an industry which has been dominated by his powerful rival National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla for the past seven years. There is a strong personal animosity between the two. Indeed, Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dabaiba may have appointed Aoun with the intention of making Sanalla’s position as awkward as possible.


The island’s ‘Saint Louis Gate’ power procurement scandal and other corruption enquiries, plus the government’s loss of a petroleum supply arbitration appeal, highlight the potential pitfalls of doing business in Africa’s most highly rated economy, writes Marc Howard.