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The appointment of a younger generation executive who has spent his career in senior roles within TotalEnergies to run the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy is an indication of intent to advance a substantial pipeline of delayed and expensive projects, but to succeed Tarik Moufaddal will need to add political nous to his corporate abilities, writes Waly Dione Faye in Casablanca.

Morocco
Subscriber

The potential of Morocco’s ‘southern provinces’ to generate large amounts of solar and wind power does little for the main consumption centres much further north if the kingdom’s transmission systems can’t handle the electrons. As geopolitical perceptions shift, projects in the disputed Western Sahara to develop these renewables and transport the electricity northwards could offer opportunities for foreign investors – and France seems to have taken the bait, with an apparently significant change of policy that could lead to a major investment in HVDC connections between Dakhla and Casablanca.

Morocco
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State agencies have new leadership, but Onee’s Tarik Hamane and Masen’s Tarik Moufaddal, their political masters and the wider electricity supply industry have big barriers to overcome if Morocco is to fulfil its much-vaunted renewable energy potential and provide a stable base for the next phases of the kingdom’s economic take-off, write John Hamilton and a Special Correspondent in Rabat.

Morocco
Free

Voters are going to the polls earlier than expected, on 7 September, with incumbent President Abdelmadjid Tebboune as the ruling establishment’s candidate, having overcome some powerful décideur (decision-maker) factions’ doubts about his credentials to drive Algeria forwards in a second term. Able to pull the levers of presidential power, Tebboune will seek to present a record of solid first term achievement, although many of his electorate know that results have been mixed, at best, especially given the buffer of higher oil and gas prices his administration has enjoyed. Tebboune has much to prove.

Algeria
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Senegal President Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s administration has made its inaugural round of senior energy sector appointments, following the 24 March election. The new appointments have a technocrat tinge that may reassure investors – and, indeed, underline the technocratic backgrounds of Faye and his influential Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko, both of whom were tax inspectors prior to entering politics.

Senegal
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Politics are entering uncharted waters after the African National Congress lost its parliamentary majority in South Africa’s 29 May general election, leaving the governing party to embark on uncomfortable national coalition-building and some very spiky provincial deal-making. Many grassroots ANC members would prefer a return to more radical roots via deals with Julius Malema’s EFF or ex-president Zuma’s MK Party, but others are hoping President Ramaphosa can secure a stable alliance that promotes economic stability with the Democratic Alliance. Failed coalition-building would lead to another election, in which the ANC might not do better a second time around.

South Africa
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Re-elected amid some controversy for a second term, President Félix Tshisekedi, is promising accelerated reform, while multilateral officials and ambitious executives are again heavily focused on making the ‘transformational’ Grand Inga hydroelectric megaproject work, and miners looking to better exploit global-scale geology are structuring innovative C&I schemes. But enthusiasm about DRC should always be tempered with realism as its politics remain sulphurous, domestic conflicts murderous, and energy and other economics complex.

DR Congo
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Libya’s oil sector governance is under fire as never before, with Presidential Council head Mohammed Al-Menfi asking National Oil Corporation to explain its multi-billion-dollar spending over the past two years. With oil production flatlining and gas production at risk of severe decline, Libya needs new field developments, but two of its biggest projects have become mired in allegations of corruption. With potential ramifications for all those operating across a range of sectors in Libya, African Energy has been investigating these issues and more for a series of articles based on extensive source enquiries and documentary evidence.

Libya
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Benin’s President Patrice Talon has allowed the temporary lifting of the inaugural cargo from the Niger-Benin Export Pipeline, after his 8 May bombshell announcement that Cotonou would not allow exports until Niamey reopened its side of the border, write Virgile Ahissou in Cotonou and Marc Howard.

Benin | Niger
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President Mohammed Ould Cheikh Mohammed Ahmed El Ghazouani’s meeting with Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune on 22 February, at the airport in Tindouf, south-western Algeria, was replete with symbolism. Not only did the leaders formally inaugurate fixed border posts on the 460km bilateral frontier, a roster of projects were announced that signal of a wider intensification of relations. Some of these schemes could help Algeria to outflank its bitter regional rival Morocco by increasing its business further south.

Mauritania | Algeria
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Ahead of his expected late June re-election, President Mohammed Ahmed El Ghazouani is presiding over a potentially fast-changing Mauritania that can expect new revenues from its joint GTA gas field with Senegal and potentially more long-term investment plays that exploit its minerals reserves, P2X potential and route to the sea, write Marc Howard, Waly Dione Faye and Jon Marks.

Mauritania | Senegal
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President Patrice Talon’s sudden announcement that Benin would block the lifting of oil cargoes from the Niger-Benin Export Pipeline was a shock move that may be remedied swiftly but nevertheless point to continuing pressures on Niamey, since the military regime opted to end alliances with the US and France in favour of Russia and special friend China, write Marc Howard and Virgile Ahissou

Benin | Niger
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The unveiling of a new gold-backed currency has been met with a sceptical reception, reflecting a lack of public confidence and issues around non-convertibility the authorities will have to overcome if the ZiG is to avoid the fate of the Zimbabwe’s other monetary failures over the past two decades, writes Tonderayi Mukeredzi in Harare.

Zimbabwe
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There are signs of progress on two multi-billion dollar asset sales to local players by international majors which, coupled with sector reforms unveiled in March and a new licensing round launched in late April, may give rise to guarded optimism in the upstream sector, despite perennial issues around security and theft, writes James Gavin.

Nigeria
Subscriber

Mauritania’s government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabia to co-operate in the electricity, renewable energy and clean hydrogen sectors.

Mauritania