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In a major investigation, African Energy’s editorial and data teams have probed unanswered questions about South Africa’s energy transition, which is being shaped by large corporations and their need for reliable, low-carbon power. The results show a booming private sector electricity market that is also unpredictable and freighted with risk for all participants.

South Africa
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African Energy examines the events surrounding the recent talks in late October between President General Abdel-Fattah Burhan’s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (often known as Hemedti).

Sudan
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Organisers made big claims about investment flows at the AfDB-backed Africa Investment Forum 2023 Market Days event in Morocco, James Gavin reports from Marrakech.

Morocco
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Ghana’s independent power producers (IPPs) are moving closer to a deal with the government over its arrears, as a wider – and long-awaited – multilateral debt restructuring package led by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG) slowly comes to fruition.

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 Sources say five more turbines are expected to come online at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the coming months, adding a huge amount of capacity to the grid, even as questions remain over the megaproject’s economic impact and whether the infrastructure exists to increase exports. Meanwhile, Ethiopia faces the prospect of renewed conflict as tensions ratchet up with neighbouring Eritrea, writes Our Ethiopia Correspondent.

Sudan | Ethiopia | Eritrea
Issue 495 - 15 November 2023

Algeria: Another government reshuffle

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Aymen Benabderrahmane has been replaced as prime minister by President Abdelmajid Tebboune’s chief of staff (since March) Nadir Larbaoui.

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Tullow has agreed a $400m, five-year debt facility with commodities trader Glencore Energy, giving the UK indie a financial boost. The two sides have also agreed two oil marketing and offtake contracts, which will run concurrently with the debt agreement.

Ghana | Gabon
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A group of multinational investors led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have provided finance for the development of the 35MW Kinguélé Aval hydroelectric power plant in Gabon’s Estuaire region.

Gabon
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Following the recent dismissal of Sonatrach chief executive Toufik Hakkar, a further eight vice-presidents have now been dismissed from the national oil company, pointing to wider tensions within the Algiers establishment, writes Our Algiers Corresondent.

Algeria
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Some pessimistic observers are heralding the end of the independent power producer (IPP) era, with the potential demise of actors and project models that have dominated private sector investment in electricity generation since the 1990s. With criticism of IPP costs providing grist to populist mills across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) – feeding into narratives of western ‘exploitation’ and anger over rising living costs – politicians have been calling for change, while developers are finding market conditions ever more challenging.

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Security is swiftly deteriorating in Mali, with security forces and their allies from the Russian Wagner mercenary group struggling to contain the jihadist insurgency and renewed attacks from a coalition of Tuareg-dominated northern separatist groups. The rapid escalation is reflected in Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (Acled) data, which shows 206 fatalities from armed conflict or political violence from 1-20 October alone.

Mali
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Were projects assessed solely on their economic and social impact, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop) and Lake Albert would probably be widely praised. Uganda needs both the energy and investment the projects bring. But the projects have drawn fierce criticism from environmental campaigners and NGOs, in Uganda and beyond in a concerted, high-profile campaign that has registered successes.

Uganda
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With oil field developments proceeding at pace, the Kampala government has signalled its intention to play a more robust role in economic management, with plans to renationalise the electricity distribution network and take an expensive majority stake in the Kabalega refinery development. Meanwhile financing for the Eacop pipeline is expected to close soon, with Chinese lenders stepping in where western financiers have refused to go, writes Marc Howard, recently in Kampala and Hoima.

Uganda
Issue 494 - 05 November 2023

Russia offers Mali nuclear pledge

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Russian state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom has signed an agreement with the Malian government to cooperate on “peaceful uses of atomic energy”. Following Colonel Assimi Goïta’s seizure of power in August 2020, Moscow has been a strong backer of the regime, as demonstrated by its scuppering of an United Nations Security Council resolution in August that would have renewed sanctions on Bamako.

Mali
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With first oil expected from Lake Albert by early 2026, an array of associated infrastructure is under development, including the controversial Eacop pipeline. Shunned by western financiers, Chinese debt is expected to rescue Eacop, with a financing package due to be finalised in the coming weeks. Kampala has also signalled its appetite to intervene in energy markets by taking a majority stake in the Kabalega refinery, writes Marc Howard in Hoima.

Uganda | Tanzania