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Félix Tshisekedi has won a second presidential term and his coalition a big parliamentary majority in Democratic Republic of Congo. But victory comes in the face of complaints from his opponents, unease among allies and a toxic blend of rebellions, insolvency and social discontent.

DR Congo
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International oil companies in Gabon have adopted a ‘business as usual’ approach since General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema’s coup last August, as expressed by Vaalco Energy’s chief executive George Maxwell in an interview with African Energy. But the government’s decision to step in and use the state-owned Gabon Oil Company to acquire Assala Energy – thus sidelining French independent Maurel & Prom which had planned to buy the business – points to a more activist approach from the recently-installed authorities in Libreville.

Gabon
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The latest version of the South African government’s Integrated Resource Plan, issued in early January and now open for public feedback, advocates the longer-term use of coal-fired power plants and reduces renewables’ role in the overall energy mix, prompting a strong reaction from industry observers, as critics claim it will set back the energy transition, writes Tonderayi Mukeredzi.

South Africa
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The Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) co-ordinator of military operations in North Kivu, Lieutenant General Fall Sikabwe on 16 January announced the launch of joint operations with Southern African Development Community (SADC) forces in eastern DRC, mainly drawn from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi. They will be targeting 23 March Movement (M23) rebels, who are widely believed to be backed by Rwanda.

DR Congo | Malawi | Rwanda | South Africa
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Disbursement of the first tranche of Afreximbank’s $3.3bn crude-for-finance deal will help to ease Abuja’s immediate financial difficulties, as the Tinubu administration needs all the help it can get to alleviate a cost of living crisis that threatens to alienate the president’s support base and derail essential reforms.

Nigeria
Free

African electricity markets are on the threshold of genuine reform in 2024, even if policy-makers’ grandest ambitions are destined to meet with disappointment. African Energy has examined the first data that has emerged from the third development phase of the African Union’s Continental Master Plan and found much to applaud.

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It is unlikely electric cars will come to dominate African roads for decades, but in the likes of Kenya and Benin battery-powered buses, motorbikes and industrial vehicles could have a radical impact on urban environments and commercial operations. Investors are lining up to support e-mobility projects in the most attractive markets, but in many jurisdictions the lack of capital, infrastructure and policy support and the high cost of vehicles are holding back what could be a revolution, write Tonderayi Mukeredzi and Jon Marks.

Kenya | DR Congo | Benin | Nigeria | Uganda | Tanzania | Togo | South Africa
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Actis, a prominent UK-owned backer of African power projects, has been acquired by US equity investor General Atlantic for an undisclosed amount. The electricity industry will be looking to see how Africa fits into Actis’ plans as it comes under new management.

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London-listed independent Harbour Energy has announced a $11.2bn cash, debt and share deal to acquire Wintershall Dea’s assets in Algeria, Egypt, Libya and five other countries. The reverse takeover is complicated by the involvement of Russian-linked investors

Egypt | Libya | Algeria
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Aliko Dangote’s eventual 650,000 b/d capacity plant has received 6m barrels of crude to date and is about to start producing diesel, aviation fuel and liquified petroleum gas.

Nigeria
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Félix Tshisekedi has won a second presidential term in Democratic Republic of Congo. The result has been contested by his opponents, who were crying foul long before most of the country went to the polls on 20 December and have continued to point to major irregularities thereafter.

DR Congo
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The UAE’s latest comprehensive economic partnership agreement has been signed with Brazzaville, in another step forward for Abu Dhabi’s plans to build its global profile by negotiating bilateral trade deals.

Congo Brazzaville
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Abu Dhabi’s perceived support for General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti)’s RSF rebels led the Burhan regime to order 15 UAE embassy staff to leave Khartoum, posing further questions about the Gulf state’s role in the Sudanese civil war, while Hemedti makes significant diplomatic gains abroad and military advances in tortured Sudan.

Sudan | Chad
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Renewed momentum for nuclear energy was underlined by a COP28 climate summit pledge to triple global capacity by 2050 – although huge capital costs pose daunting obstacles to the several African countries who are looking at potential atomic power developments. A new generation of small reactors, while not yet commercially viable, may offer a solution for some to add significant capacity, writes Marc Howard.

Ghana | Egypt | Niger
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Project bulletin

According to a number of people close to the project, the final delivery cost for the 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydroelectric power (HEP) station is now expected to be some $300m less than the previously expected, after refinancing by Zambian state utility Zesco and the main contractor. Zesco managing director Victor Mapani outlined to African Energy the expected impact on the final tariff that Kafue Gorge Lower Power Development Corporation (KGLPDC) charges to Zesco.    

Zambia