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Lotus Resources’ fundraising will help the Australian miner to restart the Kayelekera mine in Malawi, where negotiations for a power purchase agreement and grid connection with Escom continue.

Malawi
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UAE-owned Guinea Alumina Corporation’s 1m t/yr bauxite refining project is in addition to the similar-sized alumina refinery already planned by Société Minière de Boké in partnership with Alteo. Coming after Conakry demanded bauxite miners develop local value-adding facilities, these developments could add gigawatts to electricity demand and may require significant LNG imports.

Guinea
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New Vice President Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah is a Swapo veteran who is favourite to become Namibia’s first female president after elections are held in November, but who faces challenges, not least from within the ruling party. African Energy also gives an assessment of the man she hopes to ultimately to succeed, Namibia’s President Hage Geingob, who died on 4 February after a battle with cancer.

Namibia
Free

As Namibia enters a new period of hydrocarbons and minerals-driven development, the death of President Hague Geingob has set up a political transition in which vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah is favourite to become the country’s first female leader at elections in November, but nothing is certain as Swapo factions manoeuvre for position.

Namibia
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In a development that could destabilise Namibia’s electricity export initiative, industry sources have told African Energy the authorities have drastically downsized the amount of power allowed for export from 750MW to 100MW, making export-oriented independent power producers’ plants economically unviable.

Namibia | South Africa
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President Macky Sall’s decision to postpone the 25 February presidential election until 15 December exacerbated an already poisonous atmosphere in Senegal. His 19 February decision to reverse that decision should lead to an election being held very soon, but political tensions will persist. African Energy’s Risk Management Report focuses on political risk indicators in a country that has long been favoured by donors and investors, and whose natural resources industries are booming as offshore oil and natural gas exports beckon. With attention firmly directed towards gas-to-power development, most other aspects of electricity industry reform, such as the unbundling of utility Senelec and introduction of wheeling have been left on hold – and further delays are likely.

Senegal
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Robert Friedland’s High Power Exploration (HPX) plans to develop a rail line to take iron ore from its Nimba licence in south-eastern Guinea to a deep-water port at Didia in Liberia. It is the second major Mano River region iron ore rail announcement in recent months following the giant Simandou scheme, and promises to increase demand for electricity from Côte d’Ivoire’s hydroelectric plants.

DR Congo | Guinea | Liberia | Côte d'Ivoire
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Primera Gold, a joint venture between the Democratic Republic of Congo and United Arab Emirates, aims to more than quadruple the amount of gold it exports from DRC this year, despite criticism from a UN panel.

DR Congo
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Rivalry between the world’s two most powerful nations is driving a rush to build strategic export-focused railway infrastructure in Africa on a scale not seen since the height of the Cold War. Washington’s $500m commitment to the minerals export-focused Lobito Corridor has been countered by a $1bn Chinese proposal to rehabilitate the creaking Tazara line. The two megaprojects will have terminals close together in the Copperbelt, but geopolitical considerations are likely to prevent any interconnection, writes Marc Howard.

DR Congo | Angola | Guinea | Zambia | Liberia | Tanzania
Free

Publication of the 500th issue provides an opportunity to look back at a few triumphs and many missed opportunities in the industries African Energy has covered since it was launched in 1998. Industry and financial trends have evolved, and sometimes returned to haunt stakeholders years after they were thought to be history. One constant has been the huge increase in the continent’s population, which means the UN target of universal clean energy access is constantly pushed into the distance.

Subscriber

President Kaïs Saïed’s appointment of former EBRD executive Ouael Chouchane as secretary of state for energy transition is a rare optimistic sign for the Tunisian renewable power sector, following years of drift.

Tunisia
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The wave of coups across the Sahel region over the past three years appears to have prompted a surge in defence spending across Africa – as newly-installed military regimes pour money into their own fiefdoms and other governments seek to bolster their security. International Institute for Strategic Studies data show total spending rose by more than one-fifth in 2023, but more money for soldiers and armaments means there is less to spend on social and infrastructure improvements.

Subscriber

With elections looming later this year, under-pressure President Cyril Ramaphosa used his 8 February State of the Nation Address to extol the ruling African National Congress party’s successes since the end of apartheid. However, his administration’s failure to deal with key election concerns – the electricity crisis, high unemployment, poverty and crime – could lead the ANC into uncharted territory come polling day, writes Tonderayi Mukeredzi.

South Africa
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Project bulletin

French developer GreenYellow has agreed to sell its stakes in solar PV and hybrid power plants in Madagascar and Burkina Faso to Antananarivo-based conglomerate Axian Group.

Madagascar | Burkina Faso
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The World Bank Group has approved a $202m finance facility to help address grid constraints and enable regional interconnections – opening the way for a doubling of hydropower imports from Ethiopia – under the second phase of its ten-year green energy programme for Kenya.

Kenya | Ethiopia | Tanzania