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African Energy - Issue 409 - 13/02/2020

Nigerian electricity regulator acts to rein in distribution chaos

A tumultuous few months in Nigerian electricity distribution that included the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) threatening to withdraw the licences of eight of the country’s 11 distribution companies (discos) in October has forced progress on some of the many intractable problems preventing investment in the sector. A clearer and more balanced regulatory framework has been put in place and, with a regulatory order on electricity distribution franchising expected later this month, discos have some options for attracting investment and improving service quality (AE 367/6, 363/7).

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Gulf States News - Issue 1097 - 06/02/2020

Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ leaves Gulf allies struggling to respond

The “Deal of the Century” has finally emerged, with typically Trumpian braggadocio, several Gulf ambassadors and embattled Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in attendance. This was countered by muted defiance from the aging Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership and a flurry of rockets from Hamas in Gaza, to which Israel predictably responded in kind. After decades of conflict in the post-colonial Middle East’s traditionally central issue, US President Donald Trump’s unbalanced proposal to wrap up the Israel-Palestine conflict was more notable for the majority of tired and ambiguous responses it received, than for shifting geopolitical tectonic plates.

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African Energy - Issue 408 - 30/01/2020

Haftar rejects peace efforts, reimposes Libya oil terminal blockade

The warlord Khalifa Haftar’s comprehensive blockade of oil export terminals in eastern and western Libya is an attempt to force his drawn-out siege of Tripoli into an endgame. His price for lifting the blockade is the replacement of both National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla and Central Bank of Libya (CBL) governor Sadiq Al-Kabir. He also wants a greater share of oil revenues. Acceding to these demands would hand Haftar control of the two institutions that control the country’s resources and its money. It would confirm his legitimacy and represent the capitulation of the Government of National Accord (GNA). This shift to economic blackmail can be interpreted as a sign of weakness as it confirms the failure of military and political strategies for attaining victory. However, muted international condemnation and growing fatalism among Libya’s oppressed and war-weary people mean the gambit may well succeed.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1096 - 23/01/2020

Qaboos bequeaths a smooth succession as Haitham Bin Tariq takes over in Oman

Rumours about Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said’s health and imminent death had become a staple of political analysis about Oman and the wider region, reflecting his longstanding position as an essential mediator in Middle Eastern conflicts, as well as the architect of his nation’s emergence from a conflicted and backward-looking past. Close observers said that, by mid-December, the 79-year-old sultan had abandoned a planned programme of medical treatment in Leuven, Belgium, knowing it would be futile. While widely predicted, his death on 10 January nonetheless came as a profound shock to the nation he had not only ruled but profoundly shaped since 1970, and whose political life he had dominated as an absolute ruler (see Perspective for GSN’s appreciation of this remarkable life).

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African Energy - Issue 407 - 16/01/2020

CFA franc to be replaced by eco, but initial change is largely symbolic

The move by the eight-member Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (Uemoa) to end its 55-yearold currency union based on the French-guaranteed CFA franc will have a range of consequences for businesses and political relations. The new eco currency, whose creation was formally announced in Abidjan on 21 December by President Alassane Dramane Ouattara and the visiting French president, Emmanuel Macron, includes some major changes, notably ending control over franc zone institutions by the Banque de France and reducing the guarantee of the French state. But it does not yet represent an economic revolution: the eco’s introduction in the Uemoa will be subject to a steady transition, intended to avoid upsets in a region that has made considerable economic progress in the past decade, but remains prone to security concerns and potentially volatile populations.

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Ghana’s Genser Energy raises $366m for off-grid power supply

Ghana’s Genser Energy raises $366m for off-grid power supply

Genser Energy Ghana Ltd announced in December that it had reached financial close on a $366m financing agreement that will fund the expansion of its business in Ghana. The transaction funds the expansion of existing plants and the company’s gas pipeline network, as well as new projects that have signed power purchase agreements.The package comprises a $230m syndicated loan alongside a mezzanine loan and preference shares. South Africa’s Standard Bank and Nedbank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and existing lender Barak Fund SPC Ltd financed the senior loan.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1095 - 09/01/2020

Trump sends region to the brink with killing of IRGC kingpin Soleimani

The crowds that thronged the streets of Kerman on 7 January to see the coffin of slain Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander General Qassim Soleimani were in sharp contrast to the crowds that filled the streets of Iranian towns and cities in late 2019. Authorities that brutally suppressed nationwide demonstrations in November were happy to see even more people take to the streets – even in generally dissident regions such as Ahvaz – to mark the death of the architect of Iran’s ‘forward defence’ strategy, killed by a United States drone strike at Baghdad airport in the early hours of 3 January. There were large crowds in Tehran and Qom, as well as in Iraq, as Soleimani’s body made its extended final journey.

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Zimbabwe: Schweppes installs 1MW rooftop PV plant

Zimbabwe: Schweppes installs 1MW rooftop PV plant

Beverages manufacturer Schweppes Zimbabwe has commissioned a 1MW solar plant which project installers have described as the largest roof-mounted commercial solar system by an IPP in southern Africa outside South Africa. The solar plant was installed by Distributed Power Africa (DPA), an Econet-owned off-grid company that specialises in the building and installation of solar plants, at a cost of $2m.The system is grid tied with generator integration and will provide energy for the soft drink maker’s production facility, ensuring continuous production in a country plagued by chronic electricity shortages.

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Tunisia: Eni inaugurates solar plant

Tunisia: Eni inaugurates solar plant

Eni Tunisia inaugurated a new 5MWp off-grid solar PV plant at the Adam oil concession in Tataouine governorate on 11 December. The plant, built under a cooperation agreement with Entreprise Tunisienne d’Activités Pétrolières, includes a 2.2MWp/1.5MWh storage battery system that will facilitate integration with existing gas turbines. Work is also under way under the cooperation agreement to build a 10MWp PV plant in Tataouine city, which will supply the grid.

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Burundi: SEFA grant for hybrid scheme

Burundi: SEFA grant for hybrid scheme

The African Development Bank-managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa has approved a $990,000 grant to support the preparation of a 9MW solar-hydro hybrid project. The project consists of two plants, the 1.07MW Ruvyi102 project in Ryansoro commune of Gitega province and the 8MW Mule037 project in Songa commune of Bururi province, each featuring a solar and a hydro component as well as a local distribution network and interconnection to the national power grid.

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