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While North Africa’s popular revolutions focus the world’s attention on too long silent majorities’ demands for a political voice and good governance, conflicts and crises that beset many sub-Saharan polities fester away from the global media’s prying eyes. Chronically unstable these regions might be, but investors keen to book new oil reserves and other resources often overlook political realities, adding to a volatile mix

Cameroon | Nigeria
Issue 224 - 02 February 2012

Donors fund small hydro

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Dutch development finance institution FMO has arranged a $24m senior loan for the financing of a 14MW run-of-the-river hydropower project at Kilembe Donors fund small hydro

Uganda
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General Electric (GE) announced on 24 February that it has signed a fast-tracked seven-month turnkey agreement to supply equipment and services including two 9E.03 gas turbines and electrical balance of plant for national utility Société Tunisienne de l’Electricité et du Gas’ project to add 250MW to its Bouchemma power plant. The deal includes a two-year contractual services agreement with a possible ten-year extension. A gas power plant using GE turbines has been operating at the coastal site in Bouchemma since the 1990s. It is hoped that the additional capacity will help keep the lights on at tourist resorts during the summer. GE has 15 turbines at seven plants in Tunisia with combined capacity of more than 1.8GW.

Tunisia
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London-based offshore Block 2B operator Thombo Petroleum Ltd has awarded a 3D seismic acquisition and processing contract to WesternGeco, covering 686km2 of the A‐J1 graben off South Africa’s west coast.

South Africa
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State utility company Office National de l’Electricité has lined up a E50m ($67.6m) buyer credit to support the construction of a 72MW power plant in the Agadir region to be built by Man Diesel & Turbo.

Morocco
Issue 271 - 14 February 2014

Kenya: Ormat adds new Olkaria capacity

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Ormat Technologies has completed plant 3 in the Olkaria III geothermal power plant complex, bringing total generation capacity to 110MW. The power generated by the Olkaria III complex in the Hells Gate national park near Naivasha is sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Kenya Power. The new capacity will enable Kenya to decommission its remaining 30MW of costly rental power. Olkaria III was financed with a $310m debt facility from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Kenya
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The Agence Française de Développement and the Kenyan and French governments signed a financing agreement worth €33m ($37m) on 1 August to support renewable energy powered mini grids. The project is expected to introduce 9.6MW of solar photovoltaic capacity and 0.6MW of wind generation to power 23 mini grids which currently rely on diesel generators. Kenya Power will be responsible for the project, which is expected to reduce the cost of power on the grids by an average of 20%.

Kenya
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The US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has approved five-year compact agreements with Benin and Liberia, worth $375m and $257m respectively, and a $44.4m threshold agreement with Sierra Leone. The grant packages are intended to develop infrastructure in the three countries, with a focus on electricity in line with the MCC’s intention to invest $2bn in support of the Power Africa initiative. Liberia’s compact agreement was signed with the MCC on 2 October but required ratification by the country’s House of Representatives and Senate before it could be passed into law.

Benin | Sierra Leone | Liberia
Issue 266 - 25 November 2013

EAPP: Restructuring

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The Eastern African Power Pool (EAPP) is restructuring its organization and independent regulatory board, officials say. The Eastern Africa Power Master Plan, released in 2011, is also being updated, to take account of the region’s accelerated growth. The revised master plan is scheduled to appear by June 2014.

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Pay-as-you-go power distributor M-Kopa Solar on 24 March announced that it had connected over 20,000 off-grid homes in Uganda; it is now expanding its solar power distribution, targeting an additional 50,000 Ugandan homes by end-2015. M-Kopa Solar was launched in October 2012 in Kenya, where it now supplies over 150,000 homes, and began pilot operations in eastern Uganda in mid-2013. Consumer-friendly sales plans, serviced with regular payments via mobile phones (in Uganda provided by MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money, in Kenya by the fast-growing M-Pesa platform), are central to M-Kopa’s rapid growth.

Issue 378 - 12 October 2018

Uganda: Solar scheme

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Ugandan developer Xsabo Group has launched construction of a 25MW solar park at Kabulasoke in the central district of Gomba. Vice-president Edward Ssekandi laid the first of the 68,000 modules in a ceremony on 3 October. President Yoweri Museveni is expected to commission the $24.5m project in November, with the Buganda King Ronald Mutebi expected to lay the last module. Xsabo Group plans to commission a total of 150MW of solar power around the country at a cost of $199m.

Uganda
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Conference and business information company Global Pacific & Partners has named former National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) managing director Mary M’mukindia as its East Africa representative, as the region’s onshore and offshore oil and gas potential is increasingly in the spotlight.

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Events in South Africa, whose sovereign debt has been reduced to junk status by President Jacob Zuma’s crony capitalist rule, are another reminder that when power is exerted abusively shortfalls in governance can be highly damaging for the wider economy. This is also apparent in Democratic Republic of Congo’s minerals and Nigeria’s oil kleptocracies, which are both under renewed scrutiny, with international judicial authorities contemplating action against President Joseph Kabila’s long-time business partner Dan Gertler and sifting through new evidence against former Nigerian oil ministers from Dan Etete to Diezani Allison-Madueke.

South Africa
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The 20MW Windiga solar scheme is progressing towards financial close during the summer, Windiga Energy president and chief executive Benoit La Salle told African Energy. He said construction was planned to start in Q3 this year. Windiga has been developing the project in Zina, Mouhoun province, since the company was established as part of miner Semafo’s corporate social responsibility policy in 2010. The project suffered some delay as a result of political upheaval in Burkina Faso, but the pace of investment is picking up with BioTherm Energy planning solar plants at Pâ and Bobo-Dioulasso.

Burkina Faso
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Sonelgaz subsidiary Compagnie d’Engineering de l’Electricité et du Gaz has cancelled a E290m contract with a German consortium to construct a fully integrated solar module factory in Algeria. It notified the Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG and Kinetics Germany GmbH consortium of its decision on 13 June. In a formal statement, issued under the German securities trading law, Centrotherm gave no reason for the cancellation but said it was “examining” its “effectiveness and significance”.

Algeria