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President Samia Suluhu Hassan has made sweeping changes to the leadership of Tanzania’s energy sector in the post-Magufuli period but macroeconomic, political and legislative obstacles to deeper change will remain for some time, writes Dan Marks.

Tanzania
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The risk that almost 11GW of planned sub-Saharan power generation capacity will be shelved if Beijing carries through on one of its more public climate change pledges, to end state financing of overseas coal projects, underlines the extent Chinese policy impacts on African economies. In the run-up to a COP26 meeting, where superpower posturing may overwhelm efforts to achieve global consensus, Chinese policy on foreign projects, military expansion and huge debts are examined by Marc Howard, Ajay Ubhi and Jon Marks

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African delegations are meeting in a massive and not yet fully prepared conference venue several days before COP26 officially opens, writes John Hamilton in Glasgow. The pre-sessional meeting of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) is attempting once again to get the continent’s priority issues onto the global agenda, a few days before G20 leaders gather in Rome for what, in part, will be a pre-COP 26 assembly of developed nations and leading emerging markets.

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Project bulletin

After three years of slow growth in adding generation infrastructure to the continent’s grids, capacity additions reached new lows in Q2 2021, with only 751MW of net on-grid capacity added – the lowest figure since at least 2013, according to African Energy Live Data. This was in part due to Covid-19, but other factors are at play too which suggest recovery will not be immediate

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Despite fierce resistance from many resource-rich, infrastructure-poor African governments, 34 countries and five development banks committed to ending external funding for fossil fuel projects at the Cop26 summit. Dan Marks and African Energy staff ask whether the writing really is on the wall for natural gas projects

Free

Decarbonisation programmes being drawn up at Eskom and Sasol have the potential to drastically alter the energy landscape in South Africa and Mozambique, potentially catalysing investment in gas infrastructure and offering new opportunities in renewable energy, green hydrogen, and sustainable aviation fuel.

South Africa
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Legal proceedings are due to be launched to challenge fundamental aspects of South Africa’s electricity policy, as the stakes in the battle between the government and environmentalists escalate, writes Dan Marks

South Africa
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Cairo has secured the hosting rights for the COP27 intergovernmental meeting next year, in further evidence of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s interest in using climate change as a diplomatic tool, but the short-term prospects for large renewable schemes will remain limited until the economy expands by enough to use up existing surplus generation capacity, writes John Hamilton.

Egypt
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Policymakers agree more action is needed to counter debt distress and unlock funds for the energy transition, but there are few signs that a more effective financial architecture will emerge any time soon. Meanwhile concerns over rising sovereign debt are feeding into hesitancy over new lending, writes Jon Marks.

Kenya | Mozambique | Angola | Zambia | South Africa
Free

Efforts to mitigate climate change, while electricity supply industries, transport networks and other big consumers of energy are put on a more sustainable, less carbon-intense footing, will rise sharply up the global agenda in 2021, ahead of the next big round of climate talks to be held on 1-12 November in Glasgow. This is likely to involve a rush into green bonds, new project financing and other instruments that could significantly increase the pace of Africa’s shift into a more sustainable energy future.

Subscriber

National utility Eskom is gauging interest in a $10bn plan to become carbon neutral by 2050. The plan was first devised by the Eskom Sustainability Task Team and hinges on South Africa having one of the highest carbon emissions per capita in the world, providing plenty of scope for emissions reductions.

South Africa
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As the hype around hydrogen gets ever louder, governments and developers are putting forward grandiose plans to manufacture green hydrogen – ‘the new oil and gas’ – across the continent. African Energy has been sceptical about the hydrogen boom’s relevance to economies that are hard pressed to finance basic needs, but high hopes are being generated in countries like Mauritania and Namibia, where schemes to install an unimaginable 65GW of hydrogen-driven capacity are promised, writes John Hamilton.

Egypt | DR Congo | Namibia | Mauritania | Morocco | South Africa | Tunisia | Western Sahara (under UN mandate)
Issue 429 - 17 December 2020

UK acts on fossil fuel funding

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The UK government has announced that it will no longer provide funding for fossil fuel projects overseas as it prepares to host the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next year. The UK has been talking up plans for a green economy as the end of the Brexit transition period approaches, and funding from UK Export Finance (UKEF) for oil and gas projects has attracted criticism at a time when Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keen to position the UK as a global leader on climate change.

Mozambique
Free

TotalEnergies’ latest Strategy and Outlook paper, Building a sustainable multi-energy company, offers a heavily-illustrated, if light-on-detail, glimpse of how the corporate giants formally known as ‘oil majors’ may change in the coming decade. The document, presented at a 28 September shareholders meeting, is strong on TotalEnergies’ plan for “reinvention”, from being a bad old oil major to one with a cleverly constructed – and often very valuable – sustainable energy strategy.