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Gulf States News - Issue 1039 - 22/06/2017

Dynastic conflicts and generational shifts exacerbate regional crisis

The politics were long in the making before the crisis erupted between Qatar and three major Gulf Cooperation Council partners turned adversaries – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (the ‘GCC-3’) – plus Egypt and other allies from the wider Muslim world, but several of the immediate consequences emerging from the conflict are nevertheless unexpected.

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African Energy - Issue 348 - 15/06/2017

Zambia overhauls electricity regime as sector heats up

Acombination of drought, national utility Zesco’s balance sheet, and an alarming bill for electricity sector subsidies has persuaded the Zambian government to push ahead with a radical overhaul of its power sector. Pressure from drought is easing gradually. Energy minister David Mabumba told the National Assembly on 28 March that generation from hydropower had improved, in particular at Kafue Gorge, where available capacity had increased from 630MW to 900MW , of an installed 990MW . He put total available capacity in the country at 1,901MW , plus around 75MW imported from Karpower in Mozambique.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1038 - 08/06/2017

Showdown with its neighbours heaps pressure on Qatar, threatens GCC’s future

The most consequential dispute among Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) members for years has escalated from a curious allegation of injudicious comments and hacking into a full-blown diplomatic and economic crisis in the space of a few weeks, to the point where it no longer feels fanciful to question the bloc’s long-term viability. Such is the dispute’s gravity that Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani’s rule has been called into question, while Qatar is confronted with a potentially deep and multi-faceted crisis.

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African Energy - Issue 347 - 01/06/2017

South Africa’s IPP Office to move in institutional reshuffle

Asignificant reshuffle of energy sector institutions is under way in South Africa, centring on the Central Energy Fund (CEF). Among other moves, the Independent Power Producer (IPP) Office will be transferred from the Department of Energy to the CEF , while the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (Pasa) and African Exploration and Mining Corporation will move from the CEF to the Department of Mineral Resources. New energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi made the announcement during her first budget speech on 19 May.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1037 - 25/05/2017

Rouhani victory sets the scene for future battles between Iran’s competing factions

Hassan Rouhani’s landslide victory in the presidential election on 19 May – when he won 57% of the vote, removing any need for a second round – presents the second term head of government and the wider political establishment with short- and long-term challenges that will be difficult to resolve. At the most basic level, the result was a retort to the hardline conservative/principalist agenda, which has been roundly rejected by the population, allowing Rouhani to come first in 23 of the Islamic Republic’s 31 provinces.

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African Energy - Issue 346 - 18/05/2017

NOC alleges Wintershall interference in Libyan politics

National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla has intensified his conflict with Presidency Council head Fayez Al-Sarraj, alleging that German oil company Wintershall has formed an alliance with the UNbacked Government of National Accord (GNA) and succeeded in influencing the drafting of legislation for its commercial benefit.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1036 - 11/05/2017

Monarchies struggle with the complexities of their near abroad

The efforts by Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states to manage their ‘near abroad’ continue to cause difficulties and political trouble. GSN has been talking to senior players and well-placed analysts in a number of the region’s neighbours to gauge how the Gulf states – particularly Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar – are perceived, where their policies are working and where they are failing.

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African Energy - Issue 345 - 04/05/2017

South Africa’s High Court rules key nuclear decisions unconstitutional

The South African government suffered a major setback in its efforts to procure nuclear power when the High Court in Cape Town ruled on 26 April that three intergovernmental agreements, two ministerial determinations and all subsequent procurement activity was unlawful and unconstitutional. The decision means that two ministerial determinations – announcements by the energy minister that a certain amount of capacity will be procured from a particular technology – from 2013 and 2016 underpinning the government’s ambitious, and controversial, efforts to procure 9,600MW of nuclear power have been set aside. As a consequence, the request for information which was scheduled to close at the end of April was also ruled unlawful (AE 338/8, 305/6). The role assumed by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) was again challenged, striking, for the second time since early 2016, at the uncomfortable balancing act the regulator has attempted since it was established in 2004 between political considerations and quasi-independence.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1035 - 27/04/2017

King Salman reshuffles the pack and wards off unrest with austerity reversal

In a flurry of several dozen royal orders on 22 April, King Salman Bin Abdelaziz turned back the clock on some key austerity measures while keeping an eye to the future with promotions for the younger generations of royals. A string of perks and payments removed under the austerity regime promoted by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) just a few months ago have been reinstated (GSN 1,023/5). King Salman also shook up the ranks of government and provincial administrations, setting the scene for the grandsons and great-grandsons of the country’s founder Ibn Saud to have a greater role.

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African Energy - Issue 344 - 20/04/2017

On the night of 30-31 March, President Jacob Zuma announced the momentous decision that he was firing respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan, along with nine others from the 35-member cabinet, among them energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Gordhan was replaced by Malusi Gigaba, an experienced politician considered to be a Zuma supporter.

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