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President Cyril Ramaphosa is once again promising strong action to deal with South Africa’s electricity supply crisis, with new appointments expected at the beleaguered state utility Eskom to reinvigorate the board. Among the changes that have been mooted is replacing chief executive André de Ruyter, although that has yet to be confirmed. Measures to increase generation and ease load shedding that were announced by the president in July are also now being implemented at pace.

South Africa
Issue 469 - 30 September 2022

Mozambique/Tanzania: Hassan and Nyusi meet

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Presidents Samia Suluhu Hassan and Filipe Nyusi on 20 September announced agreements to enhance defence and hydrocarbon co-operation between Tanzania and Mozambique.

Mozambique | Tanzania
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An early September judgement confirming the Eastern Cape High Court’s rejection of Shell’s attempt to conduct seismic surveys along South Africa’s eastern coast will leave the government – and oil companies – with plenty of food for thought, as South Africa and many other countries look to produce more hydrocarbons in sensitive environments, James Gavin writes.

South Africa
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The three core Mano River Union countries are confronted by major decisions that will shape their future direction, from potential progress on major resources plays led by Guinea’s huge Simandou iron ore mining and infrastructure development and Liberia’s struggles with major investor Arcelor Mittal to Sierra Leone’s political crisis. All three have searching questions of governance and equity for their populations, writes Jon Marks with correspondents in Freetown, Conakry and Monrovia.

Sierra Leone | Guinea | Liberia
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A substantial number of African leaders are expected in London on 19 September for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, who died aged 96 in Balmoral, Scotland on 8 September. The major international gathering in London will provide a rare opportunity for informal meetings, as politicians engage while they mourn the monarch – whose service to the Commonwealth, hard work and friendly relations with a great number of political leaders over many decades was particularly appreciated.

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Recently dismissed National Oil Corporation chairman Mustafa Sanalla claims his successor Farhat Bengdara is planning a deal with UAE-based Al-Ghurair Group over the Ras Lanuf oil refinery that could end up costing NOC up to $600m/yr. For a decade, Al-Ghurair subsidiary Trasta Energy and NOC have been in a relentless dispute over the Libyan Emirati Refining Company (Lerco) joint venture – and the refinery hasn’t operated since 2013.

Libya
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Mini-grid developer ZIZ Energie hopes to have its second ‘metro-grid’ online by December, having commissioned the first of five 1.7MW hybrid mini-grids in June. But success has not come easy for the development finance institution (DFI)-backed Chadian developer, amid political turmoil and supply constraints that continue to delay developments.

Chad
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Governments are assessing their positions over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) project, after the dam’s third filling was completed, despite an escalation of rhetoric from Egypt and Sudan as the downstream nations continue to complain at a threat to their dependency on Blue Nile waters for irrigation and basic water supply.

Egypt | Sudan | Ethiopia
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The European Union intends to support The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) mission in Cabo Delgado with an amount equivalent to the €15m ($15m) that the European Council recently committed to the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (Samim), EU high representative Josep Borrell said in Maputo on 8 September.

Mozambique | Rwanda
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“I will never abandon you,” President Ali Bongo Ondimba told his fellow citizens in an emotional Independence Day address on 17 August, talking of “great ambitions” for his country “in the months and years to come.”

Gabon
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Financial pressures are building to an uncomfortable extent as a result of sharp increases in global commodity prices, but the authorities in Cairo are holding firm to their strategy for energy market liberalisation and reform.

Egypt
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As the anniversary of Sudan’s 25 October 2021 coup approaches, General Abdel-Fatah Burhan’s efforts to re-establish a military-led framework that can secure western funding while also keeping ties with powerful Russian and Gulf allies continues with little expectation of imminent success. That is bad news for a country whose eviscerated economy was hoping for lift-off last year, as the United States began to wind down sanctions and allow debt relief.

Sudan
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President João Lourenço and his ruling Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) were declared the winners in Angola’s 24 August general election. Equally predictably, the opposition led by the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (Unita) has contested the result, which was announced on 29 August by the National Electoral Commission (CNE).

Angola
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By replacing Mustafa Sanalla as NOC chairman with Qadhafi-era central bank governor Farhat Bengdara, Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dabaiba has bought himself time and granted a major concession to his chief opponent, Khalifa Haftar. This potentially opens the door to some kind of compromise – but how a critical institution that has maintained operational independence and kept Libyan oil flowing throughout 12 years of conflict survives the change is another question.

Libya
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Kenyan elections always raise tensions and, sometimes, expectations – and opinion polls point to a close race for the presidency, in an important and tightly contested election in early August. The candidates’ energy policies look similar on paper, but investors expect very different approaches to emerge.

Kenya