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Rwanda extends lockdown by 15 days to contain coronavirus
April 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Kigali roads that used to be busy are empty during lockdown
Kigali roads that used to be busy are empty during lockdown

The Government of Rwanda has extended lockdown period by 15 days, to further contain the spread of COVID-19.

By Wednesday, 1 April 2020 Rwanda had the highest number of cases of COVID-19 in East Africa, with 82 confirmed cases.

The initial lockdown period Government set would last until the  4th April 2020.

In a special cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame via video conference on 1st April, decided to extend the lockdown.

Statement released after the meeting, said that borders are to remain closed except for goods and cargo.

Travel between different cities and districts of the country is not permitted  except for medical reasons or essential services. Shops and markets are closed except for those selling foods, medicine, hygiene and cleaning products and fuel.

Farming will continue preparation for the ongoing agricultural season  while observing the guidelines from health authorities.

Schools and higher education institutions (both public and private) will remain closed.

Employees of both public and private institutions will to continue using technology to work from home with the exception of those working in essential services.

The statement also banned  motorcycles  to carry passengers. Bars are closed and restaurants will be providing take away services only.

Government of Rwanda had started distributing foods to the needy families during the lockdown, and those who would eat because they have gone to work.

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Angola, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria among the most hard hit amid Covid-19 and oil price plunge
March 31, 2020 | 0 Comments
Offshore oil rig worker prepare tool and equipment for perforation oil and gas well at wellhead platform. Making up a drill pipe connection. A view for drill pipe connection from between the stands.

The African Energy Chamber analyses the most vulnerable African countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic and low oil price.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 31, 2020/ — Angola revises national budget and suspends CAPEX; Senegal’s first oil development faces debt arrangement challenges; Nigeria poised for a major revenue loss; Analysts predict Ghana will get half its projected revenue; Cameroon can expect to see a three percent drop in economic growth.

African oil-producing and reliant countries have been among the most hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and declining oil price. In particular, Senegal, Nigeria and Angola continue to face new challenges each day amid the threat of economic fallout.

Angola

In 2020, the Angolan government led by H.E. President João Lourenço, had set out to focus on economic diversification and uplift the country from nearly five years of recession. However, in the face of the oil price slump, the oil-reliant country has slowed the implementation of its planned economic reform strategy, which had included the privatization of state-owned companies and plans to reduce public debt to less than 60 percent of GDP by 2022 from approximately 90 percent in 2018 and, over 100 percent in 2019.

In response to the current market instability, the Angolan government which relies heavily on oil revenue has declared a state of emergency and made the decision to review its national budget. With this, it will object its budget on a reference oil price of $35 per barrel maximum – a significant cut from the initially drawn up $55 per barrel, Finance Minister Vera Davis de Sousa revealed on Friday, explaining that the country’s oil production is expected to tumble to 1.36 million barrels per day(bpd).

Further, Davis de Sousa shared that Angola would also be freezing 30 percent of its goods and services budget and its CAPEX would be suspended pending completion of the budget review. Meanwhile, the Angolan sovereign wealth fund has agreed to offer $1.5 billion on condition of future repayments through increased tax in the Bank of Angola’s growing debts.

“In this time, the Angolan economy will be best served by swift government action,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “With the finance minister already confirming that the country’s economy will shrink by 1.21 percent this year, signally a fifth year of recession, Angola needs a solid action plan that involves intense renegotiation strategies with domestic and foreign creditors, if it is to make it out on the other side,” he added.

Senegal

Since discovering oil and gas in 2014, the West African country emerged as a major player in the global oil and gas industry, with it moving rapidly on setting up a new Petroleum code in 2019, creating new entities such as COS-Petrogaz and revising local content regulations. As a result, the country has enjoyed increased foreign investment and entry of international majors. However, global market turbulence has had a hard knock-on effect on Senegal’s promising oil future.

In particular, the country’s first oil development, the $4.2 billion Sangomar deepwater offshore project has suffered immense pressure as project partner FAR Ltd fails to finalize debt arrangements. Citing current environment as a major contributor, FAR said: “the company’s ability to close the Sangomar Project debt arrangements that were ongoing during this time have been compromised such that the lead banks to the senior facility have now confirmed that they cannot complete the syndication in the current environment,” adding that neither the junior nor mezzanine facilities that were being arranged will be able to be completed for the foreseeable future. Project operator, Woodside and partner Cairn, continue to explore other options to see through project development.

The current global environment also stands to slow down the country’s other activities in the sector specifically, the country’s first offshore licensing round which was launched earlier this year by the national oil company, PETROSEN as a means to further push the countries exploration and production.

Though the government is yet to share incentives for companies to continue activities, it has set up a fund to support the local economy.

“Senegal is undoubtedly one of the most promising oil and gas producers Africa has to offer. Led by H.E. President Macky Sall, the country is primed for new growth and investment. Despite what is happening in the global market, we hope to see Senegal build on its eight oil and gas discoveries, and enjoy first oil from the Sangomar oil field and first gas from BP’s Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG project,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.

As it stands, Senegal has also seen Cairn Energy reduce its planned investment to below $330 million from the initial forecast of $400 million.

Nigeria

Nigeria is projected to suffer substantial revenue losses. With it having planned for an oil  price of $57 in 2020, the low oil price presents massive struggles for Africa’s largest oil producer. To this point, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari said at a crude oil price of $22 per barrel, high-cost oil producers like Nigeria should count themselves out of the business.

To this, the Atlantic Council has predicted that COVID-19 would cause the country to suffer the biggest lost in the continent with $15.4bn, representing about 4% of the nation’s GDP, a fair assessment considering the country has over $58bn in oil projects set to suffer delays or cancellations.

Though the country is yet to announce incentives for continued oil exploration and production, it is set on protecting its oil production which contributes generously to its economy. Specifically, the country’s petroleum regulator has, according to Reuters, ordered oil and gas companies to reduce their offshore workforce and move to 28-day staff rotations in order to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

“Nigeria is at risk to suffer the biggest loss. With the low oil price pushing the country to cut its budget and companies to reduce their CAPEX, the global is waiting to see Nigeria’s next move,” said NJ Ayuk, “Although it is hard to see the light for Nigeria, with the commitment of companies and resilience of the government, the country can certainly weather the storm, “ he added.

Ghana

The fall in oil prices coupled with COVID-19 has also had heavy impacts on Ghana’s oil industry, which has been on a path of steady growth for over 10 years since Kosmos Energy’s oil discovery west of Cape Three Points in the country’s offshore. And, more recently, Springfield Group’s historic 1.5 billion barrels.

Having set a benchmark of $58.66 oil price per barrel until the end of 2020, Ghana’s projected oil revenue is set to take a hit, with analysts already predicting the country will get half its projected revenue.

Oil production activity is also expected to see delays as Tullow Oil revises production targets and terminates the drilling contract with Maersk Drilling for the Maersk Venturer drillship offshore Ghana.

“If prices should stay around the US$30 mark, then the government is less likely to get half of the revenue that it projected. Already, we’ve seen Tullow cut back it’s production. So aside the international fall in crude oil price that we have to match with in selling our own bit of oil that we get as a country, production is also falling in our own shores,” said Paa Kwasi Anamua Sakyi, Executive Director at the Institute for Energy Security.

Cameroon

According to an analysis of the economic and financial impacts released by the Press Secretariat of the CEMAC Economic and Financial Reforms Programme, Cameroon can expect a three percent drop in growth in light of the global crisis.

Operations in the oil also stand to be affected with the country already seeing a turn. Specifically, with companies such as Tower resources declaring force-majeur on its development in the Thali block in the country’s offshore. The company also revealed that activity on the NJOM-3 offshore well may also be suspended.

Although the government has not announced any incentives for continued activity in the sector, it has acknowledged the non-oil commodities that will contribute the most to the country’s economic decline.

Now is an extremely challenging time for African oil development, the African Energy Chamber encourages Africa’s oil producing countries to adapt to the changes, implement incentives and plan for the future. This global crisis can only be worked through with continued commitment, support and collaboration.

*Africa Energy Chamber

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Gambian leader Describes New Constitution as All-inclusive
March 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow

State House, Banjul, March 30, 2020 – President Adama Barrow has said that the new Constitution, premised on strong foundations and all-inclusiveness, will provide a safe haven for all citizens to enjoy the path to peace, freedom and prosperity.

The President made this remark in receiving the draft new Constitution presented by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) at the State House on Monday.


The drafting process took the 11-member Commission, headed by Justice Cherno Jallow, under two years to consult, draft, review and submit a validated new Constitution to His Excellency, President Adama Barrow.

The exercise was meant to provide Gambians with a constitutional framework to enjoy their rights as citizens of the country.

Constitution Review commission team with Barrow

“This springs off from the belief that every Gambian should comfortably relate to the Constitution, and that our institutions must be structured for sustained performance,” President Barrow said at a ceremony attended by Speaker of the National Assembly, Chief Justice of The Gambia and a cross section of Cabinet Ministers.

He added that it would promote and nurture best practices, as well as to maintain the country’s values as a nation.

“Accommodating our diversity allows us all to enjoy the fundamentals of democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” he maintained, noting that the new Constitution will allow Government to focus on development, and create the environment for all to enjoy their citizenship and realise their full potentials.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambadou described the submission of the new Constitution by the CRC as progress that is “most profound and satisfying” for him.

He said a number of Bills tabled before the National Assembly for enactment, on top of this new Constitution, will radically transform the legal landscape of the country, particularly with respect to the country’s criminal justice system.

“[It] marks another fulfilled promise to the people of this country. You promised a new Constitution within two years and you have delivered on your promise. It is now up to us, the Gambian people, to uphold our part of the bargain,” Aboubacarr Tambadou said.

Justice Jallow, Chairperson CRC

In June 2018 the eleven-member Constitutional Review Commission was sworn into office and mandated to execute their assignment in two phases: First, to review the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia and write a new Constitution; second, to prepare a report with regard to the new Constitution.

The CRC Chairperson, Justice Cherno Jallow reported that they adhered to these statutorily established functions and exercised their discretionary powers “in a fair and balanced manner”, bearing in mind at all times matters that it considered to be in the best interest and future of The Gambia.

“Constitution-building is a serious business,” said Chairman Jallow. “But it is also a herculean task, especially when the drafters of the new Constitution are confronted with tons of wishes and aspirations for inclusion in that Constitution,” he added.

Mr. Jallow said when President Barrow tasked them to review the 1997 Constitution, he was emphatic about the need to develop a Constitution that will serve the test of time. Hence they were grateful to be given both the strength and the commitment to achieve this for their country and as their leader expected of them.

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Equatorial Guinea shortlists companies for Key Energy Projects under its Year of Investment
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.
The decision was adopted during a meeting on March 19th, 2020

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, March 30, 2020/ — The Board of Directors of the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) of Equatorial Guinea has selected and revealed the key companies shortlisted for the execution of its landmark projects under its ongoing Year of Investment. The decision was adopted during a meeting on March 19th, 2020.

At Punta Europa, where most of Equatorial Guinea’s gas and energy activities are currently located, the country is building a modular refinery, storage tanks and a methanol-to-derivatives plant. Interested companies for the modular refinery include American oil company Marathon Oil, a Spanish-Russian consortium of Selquimica International with Engineering and Energy, and British company Rosslyn Energy.

The latter is also interested in the development of the Storage Tanks, along with British company Orange Resources Worldwide and the China Communications Construction Company.

Finally, the Methanol-to-Derivatives project has attracted the interest of South African company Pan African Energy, Nigerian company Bugabi Group, and Danish catalysis company Haldor Topsoe.

At Kogo South of the nation’s economic capital Bata, the second Modular Refinery project has attracted the interest of Egyptian company Petrojet, British company Rosslyn Energy, the Spanish-Russian consortium of Selquimica International with Engineering and Energy, and UAE-based SDLE International DMCC. Meanwhile, South African company Grindstone Resources and Omani company MSS LLC are both shortlisted for the gold refinery project and the Minerals Industrial Zone.

While the MMH is still registering interest from additional players, including Chinese companies, these are the shortlisted potential investors for these projects so far.

“Equatorial Guinea has postponed most investment conferences under its Year of Investment in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus, but we keep working with our team and our partners on having all these projects break ground as soon as possible. These are landmark infrastructure development projects that will ensure the sustainable growth of our hydrocarbons and minerals industry, create jobs and generate income for the state and citizens for decades to come,” commented H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.
*African Energy Chamber

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African Development Bank launches record breaking $3 billion “Fight COVID-19” Social Bond
March 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

Landmark transaction,largest US dollar denominated Social bond transaction to date in capital markets

The African Development Bank (AAA) has raised an exceptional $3 billion in a three-year bond to help alleviate the economic and social impact the Covid-19 pandemic will have on livelihoods and Africa’s economies.  

The Fight Covid-19 Social bond, with a three-year maturity, garnered interest from central banks and official institutions, bank treasuries, and asset managers including Socially Responsible Investors, with bids exceeding $4.6 billion. This is the largest Social Bond ever launched in international capital markets to date, and the largest US Dollar benchmark ever issued by the Bank. It will pay an interest rate of 0.75%.

The African Development Bank Group is moving to provide flexible responses aimed at lessening the severe economic and social impact of this pandemic on its regional member countries and Africa’s private sector.

“These are critical times for Africa as it addresses the challenges resulting from the Coronavirus. The African Development Bank is taking bold measures to support African countries. This $3 billion Covid-19 bond issuance is the first part of our comprehensive response that will soon be announced. This is indeed the largest social bond transaction to date in capital markets. We are here for Africa, and we will provide significant rapid support for countries,” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.

The order book for this record-breaking bond highlights the scale of investor support, which the African Development Bank enjoys, said the arrangers.

“As the Covid-19 outbreak is dangerously threatening Africa, the African Development Bank lives up to its huge responsibilities and deploys funds to assist and prepare the African population, through the financing of access to health and to all other essential goods, services and infrastructure,” said Tanguy Claquin, Head of Sustainable Banking, Crédit Agricole CIB.

Coronavirus cases were slow to arrive in Africa, but the virus is spreading quickly and has infected nearly 3,000 people across 45 countries, placing strain on already fragile health systems. 

It is estimated that the continent will require many billions of dollars to cushion the impact of the disease as many countries scrambled contingency measures, including commercial lockdowns in desperate efforts to contain it. Globally, factories have been closed and workers sent home, disrupting supply chains, trade, travel, and driving many economies toward recession. 

Commenting on the landmark transaction, George Sager, Executive Director, SSA Syndicate, Goldman Sachs said: “In a time of unprecedented market volatility, the African Development Bank has been able to brave the capital markets in order to secure invaluable funding to help the efforts of the African

continent’s fight against Covid-19. Not only that, but in the process, delivering their largest ever USD benchmark. A truly remarkable outcome both in terms of its purpose but also in terms of a USD financing”.

The Bank established its Social Bond framework in 2017 and raised the equivalent of  $2 billion through issuances denominated in Euro and Norwegian krone. In 2018 the Bank was designated by financial markets, ‘Second most impressive social or sustainability bond issuer” at the Global Capital SRI Awards.

“We are thankful for the exceptional level of interest the Fight Covid-19 Social Bond has raised across the world, as the African Development Bank moves towards lessening the social and economic impact of the pandemic on a continent already severely constrained. Our Social bond program enables us to highlight our strong development mandate to the investor community, allowing them to play a part in improving the lives of the people of Africa. This was an exceptional outcome for an exceptional cause,” said Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Treasurer, African Development Bank.

Fight Covid-19 was allocated to central banks and official institutions (53%), bank treasuries (27%) and asset managers (20%). Final bond distribution statistics were as follows: Europe (37%), Americas (36%), Asia (17%) Africa (8%,) and Middle-East (1%). 

*AFDB


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Three Things the G20 must do to support Africa in COVID-19 Pandemic
March 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
The G20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan .Photo Reuters
The G20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan .Photo Reuters

Addis Ababa, 26 March 2020 (ECA) – This is a global crisis affecting the whole world. Africa, however, will be hit harder with a heavy and durable economic toll, which will threaten progress and prospects, widen inequalities between and within countries, and worsen current fragilities.

African countries need support in preparing for the health crisis, and for the economic fallout. The measures being taken in Asia, Europe and North America such as physical (social) distancing and regular hand washing will be a particular challenge for countries with limited internet connectivity, dense populations, unequal access to water and limited social safety nets.

In line with the steps being taken across the globe, African countries are preparing for the worst effects of this pandemic.

Here are the three things the G20 must do:

1. Support for an immediate health and human response

a. G20 leaders should support and encourage open trade corridors, especially for pharmaceuticals and other health supplies, as well as support for the upgrade of health infrastructure and provide direct support to existing facilities. This will enable countries to focus on prevention as much as possible and start building curative facilities. Support should be provided to WHO and CDC Africa with funds channelled through the Global Fund, GAVI and others.

b. G20 leaders should support public health campaigns and access to information including through an expedited private sector partnership for internet connectivityto enable economic activity to continue during social distancing measures and to support the effective sharing of information about the pandemic.

2. Deliver an immediate emergency economic stimulus to African governments in their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

a. G20 leaders should announce a US$100 billion (in addition to the $50bn already committed) to fund the immediate health response, social safety nets for the most vulnerable, feeding for out of school children, and to protect jobs. As a proportion of GDP this is consistent with measures taken in other regions. To ensure immediate fiscal space and liquidity, this package should include a waiver of all interest payments, estimated at US$44 billion for 2020.

b. G20 leaders should support a waiver on principal and interest for African Fragile States such as the Sahel, Central African Republic and others who are already struggling with the burden of debt and have limited fiscal space.

c. G20 leaders should endorse for enhanced predictability, transparency and accountability of financial flows so finance ministers can plan effectively and civil society stakeholders can help track flows to ensure reach those most in need.

3. Implement emergency measures to protect 30 million jobs immediately at risk across the continent, particularly in the tourism and airline sectors.

a. G20 leaders should take measures to support agricultural imports and exports, the pharmaceutical sector and the banking sector. An extended credit facility, refinancing schemes and guarantee facilities should be used to waive, restructure and provide additional liquidity in 2020.

b. G20 leaders should support a liquidity line available to the private sector operating in Africa to ensure essential purchases can continue and all SMEs dependent on trade can continue to function.

c. G20 leaders should ensure that national and regional stimulus packages covering private and financial systems include measures to support African businesses through allowing for the suspension of leasing, debt and other repayments to global businesses

*Economic assessments of the impact of COVID-19  presented to the African Ministers of Finance can be found here: uneca.org/vc-covid19-impact-africa

*Source ECA

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Botswana leaders’ fight blights Africa’s democracy poster child
March 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Khonani Ontebetse

The fight between former President Ian Khama and current President Mokgweetsi Masisi is threatening the image of Botswana as a leading democracy in Africa
The fight between former President Ian Khama and current President Mokgweetsi Masisi is threatening the image of Botswana as a leading democracy in Africa

Botswana’s reputation as one the least corrupt countries on the continent is under renewed scrutiny as the tension between the immediate former and current administration boils over.

There are no indications that former Botswana President Ian Khama and his chosen successor and current President Mokgweetsi Masisi may find themselves sitting side-by-side as part of their reconciliation efforts.

This was not helped by Khama’s decision late last year to quit the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which was founded by his father in the 1960s and has been ruling the southern African nation since independence from Britain in 1966.

It is understood that hopes of Khama and Masisi smoking a peace pipe were dashed when Khama founded the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) together with some disgruntled BDP members, a few months before the general election last year.

Initially, the rumblings of displeasure and growing agitation behind the scenes between the two men was swept under the carpet a few months after Khama handed his chosen successor the baton. Masisi’s administration tried to play down the tension between the two men. But it exploded into the public domain during the build up to the October general election held last year when Khama accused Masisi of failing to provide effective leadership.

Masisi and Khama have never made the reason for their fallout public except that the latter accused the former of reversing some of his policies such as the hunting ban and alcohol levy. On the other hand, Masisi accused Khama of trying to force him to do him favours which were outside the precincts of the law.

“I have met a couple of times with the mediators and expressed my sentiments regarding the conflict with Masisi, but I have never received any feedback following our meetings,” he was quoted as saying in March this year.

For his part, Masisi has since informed Parliament that relations between him and Khama is so bad that he has asked former president Festus Mogae and former Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Balopi to mediate between them, but to no avail.

The tension between the two men took a new twist late last year, when Khama and some BPF members did not attend Masisi’s inauguration. Before that, at one point Khama even advised opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko to investigate what the BPF termed grand election fraud that was allegedly done by the BDP in last year’s tightly contested election. Prior to the poll day, Khama even campaigned for the UDC and opposition in general as he sought to oust Masisi whom he also accused of being undemocratic and drunk with power.

While the BDP won the general election after securing 38 of 57 seats and UDC garnering 15 seats, BPF three seats and Alliance for Progressives managing one seat, Khama and UDC insisted that the elections were rigged. The UDC even went to the extent of challenging the outcome of the general election as it accused the BDP of rigging the election aided by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and the Independent Electoral Commission. The UDC petitioned the High Court lost the case on technical grounds as among other things it did not file the petitions within 30 days as prescribed by the law.

Still the UDC and Khama insist that the elections were rigged, something that observers say makes it difficult for Khama and Masisi to reconcile.

Recently, Khama reacted angrily to thin veiled insinuations by Masisi that he is the invisible hand behind the escalating rhino poaching crisis in the country.  Khama said Masisi was to blame because when he occupied office, he withdrew arms of war from the anti-poaching unity on the grounds that it was illegal for the unit to be armed with such guns.

President Masisi is firmly in control and is expected to deliver positive results .Photo AFP
President Masisi is firmly in control and is expected to deliver positive results .Photo AFP

Masisi’s government has also taken a decision to sideline Khama as former head of state who should be invited to important and official government events. Under normal circumstances, former heads of states are invited to come and commemorate special events such as the annual commemoration of the fallen heroes and heroines that is organized by the Botswana Defence Force and the Office of the President.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Office of the President extended invitation to Khama just like it happened last year.

In a previous interview with this reporter last year, Khama said over the phone “I was not invited. I don’t understand why I was not invited because as a former commander of the Botswana Defence Force it is within my right,” he said. Khama added that does not necessarily mean that not being invited would stop him from commemorating the fallen heroes.

While President Masisi officiated at the commemoration of the fallen heroes and heroines at the Central Business District by laying a wreath for the fallen BDF heroes and heroines, Khama also had a parallel commemoration whereat he as was accompanied by his younger brother and former Tourism Minister Tshekedi Khama. Tshekedi has also quit the BDP and he is representing BPF in Parliament.

While former president Khama was in March this year quoted as having adopted a reconciliatory tone, he had used the commemoration of the fallen heroes and heroines to take a swipe at Masisi’s administration.

“We will continue fighting to restore democracy in Botswana,” Khama told his audience, mostly former soldiers from his influential tribe called Bangwato.

Last year BDF spokesperson Tebo Dikole confirmed that the former President was not invited. When asked why they did not invite Khama since he was not only a former president but also former commander of the armed forces, Dikole explained that the designation of former president precedes that of former commander hence the reason Khama did not receive a an invitation.

Commenting on the ongoing feud and reports of escalating corruption, political analyst, Mpho Mojaki said “Botswana has long been regarded as a diamond –rich nation, corruption-free, democratic, prosperous, and peaceful. Smooth transfer of presidential power, meaning that the incumbent vacates office a year before his chosen predecessor occupies office and normally that is before the general elections.” He added that “with these tension and other cases of corruption, the country’s image is at risk.”

As the tension between Khama and Masisi rages on, they have also been linked to a $25 USD million money laundering case. The prosecution claims that the money siphoned off from the National Petroleum Fund was meant to build fuel storage facilities across the country but was diverted by the former Directorate of Intelligence and Security Isaac Kgosi to buy military equipment from Israel. Some of the accused persons who had acted as middleman have since claimed that Khama and Masisi benefitted from the money. The two men have since distanced themselves from such accusations. 

*Culled from March Issue of PAV Magazine

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Energy Law Firm offers support to businesses affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic and the oil industry crisis
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

Our firm will offer assistance to local services companies in our countries of operation on contractual disputes, employment issues and compliance matters

Zion Adeoye, Managing Director of Centurion Law Group.
Zion Adeoye, Managing Director of Centurion Law Group.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 24, 2020/ — Recognizing the toll that the Covid-19 Pandemic has taken on the oil and gas industry, Centurion law Group  will assist small and mid-sized African businesses that are currently dealing with the economic impact of the Coronavirus, which is hitting many African countries. With our strong African footprint, we believe it is an opportunity to give back to a continent that has given so much to us.
 
Our firm will offer assistance to local services companies in our countries of operation on contractual disputes, employment issues and compliance matters. We will also extend our support to multinational entities at significantly discounted rates.

“While we believe that the industry will bounce back from this and come out even stronger and more united, we feel a great sense of duty at this time when the worst effects of the crisis are being felt on a daily basis,” stated Zion Adeoye, Managing Director of Centurion Law Group. 
 
In this regard, we are joining hands with the African Energy Chamber in its call for relief measures and tax incentives for oil and gas companies to ensure that jobs are protected, and business can rebound.
 
Across Africa, more than 130 lawyers working for our clients have already been set up to work remotely and will continue supporting our oil and gas clients and service companies through this Coronavirus crisis.

About Centurion:
Centurion (https://CenturionLG.com/) is a leading pan-African legal and energy advisory group with extensive experience in the oil and gas sector. The group provides outsourced legal representation and covers a full suite of practice areas for its clients, including arbitration and commercial litigation, corporate law, tax and anti-corruption advisory and contract negotiation. Centurion specializes in assisting clients that are starting or growing a business in Africa with offices and affiliates in Ghana, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, South Sudan, Nigeria, Gabon, Angola and Senegal

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African court suspends 56TH ordinary session due to coronavirus outbreak
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

President of the African Court, Hon Justice Sylvain Oré

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights which began its 56th Ordinary Session on 2 March 2020 at its Seat in Arusha, Tanzania, has cut-short its proceedings on Friday, 20 March 2020, because of the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Session was due to end on 27 March 2020.

The President of the African Court, Hon Justice Sylvain Oré, said that the measure was absolutely necessary to prevent any risk of contracting COVID-19 by the Judges and the Staff.

‘’The Court has decided to act decisively in the interest of health and safety of all Judges, Staff and residents of Arusha and beyond,’’ he stressed.

Among other emergency measures adopted by the Court, he said, was to decongest the Court by ordering all non-essential staff to work from home and key departments with limited staff to carry out their duties on shift-basis until further notice.

The President of the Court has urged the staff to take maximum precaution during this difficult period by ensuring that they adhere to all hygienic conditions, including use of sterilisers, frequently wash their hands and abstain from crowded places, among others.

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Equatorial Guinea Grants Relief to Oil & Gas Services Companies
March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons

The country takes action to support its services industry and engages on an industry-wide dialogue to study other measures for upstream operators and ongoing midstream projects.

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, March 23, 2020/ — The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea decided on the waiving of its fees for services companies in the country. This is the first action to be taken to support oil & gas services companies in Equatorial Guinea in the wake of the oil price drop caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Oil prices currently remain at around $20 a barrel, their lowest level since 1991.

“The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons took the unanimous decision to waive its fees for services companies for a duration of three months,” declared H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “We recognize that the oil sector continues to be the largest private sector employer in the country and want to give our local services companies the means to weather the storm and avoid any jobs being lost. While it is important to let market forces determine the future, the government does have a role to play in stimulating the market and creating an environment for these companies to stay strong, continue investing and create opportunities for our citizens,” he added.

Jobs security and the safety of Equatorial Guinea’s citizens have been put at the top of priorities for the MMH, which has further pledged to keep engaging with local and international companies to create the right kind of enabling environment for the sector to operate and grow despite current circumstances.

International operators will need to keep complying with local content requirements in Equatorial Guinea throughout the downturn, and make sure to work with the local services industry to adapt to new market dynamics. This is the first such measure to be taken in Equatorial Guinea, which will consider additional action to bring relief to its oil & gas sector.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought the world economy to a halt and critically affected oil demand. As a result, prices have been brought to their lowest levels since 1991, which brings considerable instability to African oil producers in the Gulf of Guinea.

Yesterday, a team from the Bioko Island Malaria Elimination Project (BIMEP) and the Baney Lab Research Center briefed Minister Obiang Lima on the progress of the malaria vaccine trial and current coronavirus tests being conducted in the facility. The Minister advised the team that the lab will be upgraded with new equipment to meet the current needs of 1,200,000 residents, and pledged to purchase 1,200,000 Coronavirus lab kits so that the Ministry of Health can deal efficiently with any potential future cases and be ready for any possible scenario.

*Africa Energy Chamber

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Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations donate COVID-19 Medical Equipment to African Union Member States
March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Government of Ethiopia received a consignment of medical equipment

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 23, 2020/ — Africa’s response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak received a boost today as the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Government of Ethiopia received a consignment of medical equipment from the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations.

The shipment included over 1.5 million laboratory diagnostic test kits and over 100 tons of infection prevention and control commodities.

This relief initiative was launched by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed, the Jack Ma Foundation, and Alibaba Foundation as part of actions towards implementation of the Africa joint continental strategy for COVID-19 led by the African Union through Africa CDC.

“On behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union, His Excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa, we thank the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations for this generous hospitality and contribution to the continent. We thank His Excellency the Prime Minister, and the Government of Ethiopia, for facilitating the donation,” said H.E. Mr Edward Xolisa Makaya, South Africa’s Permanent Representative to Ethiopia and the African Union. 

“This is a great honour and initiative and a great sign of solidarity that the world needs at this critical time. The test kits and other materials will support African countries in their fight against this outbreak. We are facing a humanitarian situation, an economic situation and a security situation in the continent and Africa CDC clearly applauds the initiative of the prime minister and the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC. 

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread rapidly across the continents of the world claiming thousands of lives and huge resources. In just about three months it has caused over 12,000 deaths worldwide and impacted socioeconomic activities, particularly tourism and transport. 

Ethiopian Airlines will help distribute the equipment, consisting 20,000 laboratory diagnostic test kits, 100,000 medical masks, and 1000 protective suits and face shields, to each of the Member States as part of their contribution to the fight against COVID-19 in Africa. 

“We appeal to our ministries of health to ensure that these materials are distributed and used where they are mostly needed,” said H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Idriss Farah, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti, Dean of African Diplomatic Corps, and Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council.
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Covid-19:Ethiopia maintains open borders, institutes a 14-days mandatory quarantine of all arriving passengers
March 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The government of Ethiopia has announced it is instituting a mandatory quarantine of all passengers entering the national territory for a minimum of 14 days in a bit to control and thus minimize the spread of Coronavirus.

In a statement posted on the Facebook page of the country’s airline carrier, Ethiopian Airlines on Saturday, March 21, the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that a mandatory quarantine had been put in place and will affect everybody coming into the country henceforth.

“In order to control the spread of COVID-19, the Ethiopian Government has decided to quarantine all arriving passengers entering Ethiopia for 14 days, all expenses will be covered by the passengers…Accordingly, all arriving passengers entering Ethiopia after 00:10 am of March 23 will be placed in a mandatory quarantine at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel for 14 days,” the announcement read in part.

Adding that additional hotel will be selected and utilized in due course, the public exempts diplomats entering the nation stating that they will be quarantined at their respective Embassies.

 With regards to voyagers transiting through the country or merely stopping for connecting flights, the announcement said they too will be exempted from quarantine.

The 14 days mandatory quarantine “does not apply to transit passengers. Transit Passengers holding connecting flight booking will stay at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel until their connecting flights” take off.

These measures come barely hours after business and markets news giant, Bloomberg revealed that Ethiopian Airline has lost more than $190 Million due to the coronavirus outbreak even though the nation at the horn of Africa is still counting just its first confirmed case of Coronavirus documented this week.

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