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Any administration would be hard-pressed to cope with Cyclone Idai. For central Mozambique, southern Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe, the catastrophe is piled onto already often poorly served communities and underperforming governments. Even after the most severe storm hit on 14-15 March, news outlets and the donor community took time to appreciate the scale of the disaster – as mosque killings, Brexit and Donald Trump jostled for airtime that might have helped generate more immediate support.

Issue 411 - 12 March 2020

Cameroon: New VOG CEO, FEED contract


Victoria Oil & Gas (VOG) has named Roy Kelly as its new chief executive, with effect from 23 March. Kelly was previously partner, head of technical, at private equity fund Kerogen Capital. Once Kelly starts work, Ahmet Dik will step down as chief executive and from the board of directors, but will continue to work with the company for a 12-month transition period. After the annual general meeting, expected to be held in June, Roger Kennedy will move from his role as executive chairman to a non-executive chairman role.


Viewed from the 4th Congo International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition (CIEHC4) in the Turkish-built Kintélé conference centre outside Brazzaville, there should be little of major concern to Republic of Congo’s oil industry. France’s Total and Italy’s Eni have numerous projects under way and newcomers like Russian billionaire Vagit Alekperov’s Lukoil, US independent Kosmos Energy and trader Mercuria’s upstream arm are bedding in, while local firms led by Africa Oil and Gas Corporation (AOGC) and Petro Congo (Petco) are taking up ever more acreage.

Congo Brazzaville

Hyperdynamics Corporation said on 12 March that Tullow Oil had declared force majeure over its Guinea acreage. The announcement followed a guilty plea by French national Frédéric Cilins to obstructing a US criminal investigation in connection with a bribery probe into how Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources (BSGR) acquired mining rights in Guinea.On 30 September, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a subpoena asking Hyperdynamics, the original licence holder, to produce documents relating to its business in Guinea. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a similar subpoena in January this year.


Project developers and financiers spend inordinate amounts of time and money assessing risks and their mitigation. But when traditional credit and political risk calculations are being made, they still too often overlook the populations whose land they are building on, even if they think they have community engagement in hand. Disgruntled populations may express their frustration and even violently turn on developments that seem beyond their control, and that threaten their (sometimes literally) sacred home turf.


The former head of state electricity company Société Nigérienne d’Electricité (Nigelec) Foukory Ibrahim has been arrested and jailed on suspicion of embezzling some CFA20bn (£25.7m). Ibrahim was an ally of former president Mamadou Tandja, who was toppled in a February 2010 military coup. Ibrahim had immunity as a serving MP for the Mouvement National pour la Société du Développement, which is now in opposition, but this was lifted last year.

Issue 297 - 26 March 2015

Botswana: Energy efficiency tender


The World Bank is seeking a consultant to develop a comprehensive energy efficiency strategy, funded by a grant from the Africa Renewable Energy Access programme. The government has undertaken several energy efficiency programmes over the last few years, including distribution of compact fluorescent bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs in 2010, the implementation in 2013 of ripple control to remotely turn on and off domestic hot water heaters and the development in 2008 of guidelines for energy efficient building design that are yet to be implemented, as well as public awareness programmes and energy audits of public institutions.

Issue 412 - 26 March 2020

Algeria: Sonatrach promotions


Sonatrach chairman and chief executive (PDG) Toufik Hakkar on 12 March appointed a number of new senior managers. The company said the changes were intended to “revitalise the functioning of those structures concerned”. The appointments, including a number of women, are:


Global Witness has called on Italy’s Eni to explain incoming chief executive Claudio Descalzi’s apparent personal involvement in a corrupt oil deal in Nigeria. Descalzi is credited with heading Eni’s E&P division when it discovered huge gas resources offshore Mozambique, and will replace Paolo Scaroni, who has had three terms as Eni’s head (AE 276/19). According to Global Witness, police investigations in Italy and the UK into how Nigeria’s OPL 245 was awarded to Eni and Shell show that Eni officials led by Descalzi were centrally involved in negotiations with former Nigerian oil minister Chief Dan Etete. Etete is believed to have been one of the deal’s main beneficiaries.


Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company began receiving power from the first 100MW unit of the 200MW Dema emergency power plant in mid July. Since the government began talks with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group last year, there has been a concerted push to improve the country’s woeful power situation. Alongside Dema, a 120MW emergency plant is planned for Mutare, tenders have been reissued for the refurbishment of the country’s moribund coal power plants, as well as a solar tender and a feed-in tariff for renewable energy independent power producers.


Forces in Cyrenaica opposed to the United Nations-imposed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli have provoked a definitive challenge to its authority by blockading oil exports from the only major terminal still working in Libya. The damaging financial consequences of this action will be felt across the whole country, and the total shutdown of production – possibly within days – will also cause immense technical problems. But for those behind the action, such concerns may now be secondary as they attempt to shift the balance of the conflict in favour of the east, while also preparing for a likely military confrontation in the central zone presently dominated by Islamic State (IS).


The long-awaited sector regulator Autorité Nationale de Régulation de l’Electricité (ANRE) has finally held its first board meeting in Rabat, approving its working procedures and a strategic road map for 2021-25. Details have yet to be published.

Issue 426 - 05 November 2020

World Bank debars Kalpataru, CEDRI


The World Bank has announced debarments of India’s Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd and its regional subsidiaries and of China Electric Design and Research Institute (CEDRI). The bank said Kalpataru was sanctioned as a result of fraudulent practices when participating in the Southern African Power Market Project (SAPMP) in Democratic Republic of Congo, which rehabilitated and extended high-voltage power lines, and the Egypt Wind Power Development Project (EWPDP), which included developing transmission infrastructure.

DR Congo | Zambia

A French court has dismissed an appeal by two French and four Ugandan NGOs seeking to challenge Total’s handling of the Tilenga development project. The case is the first to be brought under France’s 2017 Corporate Duty of Vigilance law, and the NGOs hope to establish a precedent with wider implications for Total and other international companies.


President Kenyatta has set up a taskforce to review the PPAs signed by monopoly distributor Kenya Power and electricity producers, in a fresh bid to renegotiate terms in favour of the struggling state-owned utility, reports Neville Otuki in Nairobi.