The next challenge for the sector is the organization of artisanal mining, aiming to place this asset at the service of social and economic development in the face of illegal mining and smuggling.
The Government of Mozambique assumes increased responsibilities in boosting energy transition, due to the production and exploration of liquefied natural gas this year, in the Rovuma basin, in the north of the country, through the Coral Sul FLNG Project, as well as the closing of the sixth tender for new areas of hydrocarbon research.
This is one of the steps that adds a greater sense of responsibility and necessary reflection on the much-desired energy transition.
The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of Mozambique, Carlos Zacarias, who was speaking at the opening of the seventh coordinating council of his ministry, said that — in addition to contributing to the energy transition — Mozambique intends that its natural resources are also used for the social and economic development of the country.
“As far as hydrocarbons are concerned, they are seen as an indispensable vector for the country's future. It is, therefore, in this vein that, at the end of these two days of reflection by the coordinating council, we should have a more refined strategic vision”, Carlos Zacarias.
In this sense, the official defended that artisanal mining operators should organize themselves into cooperatives with the aim of facilitating the control of the activity.
According to Lusa, Mozambique is committed to ensuring universal access to energy by 2030, through the electrification of administrative posts throughout the country, using the national electricity grid and isolated systems.
This objective, the minister said, will be achieved through an increase in electricity production capacity and the development of new transport and distribution projects.
Due to its immense potential in natural gas, Mozambique is positioned as a major player in the reduction of polluting fuels and increasing adoption of clean energy sources.
The Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, and the Italian ENI signed a memorandum to study the construction of the infrastructure, in the country's capital, Luanda.
Diamantino Azevedo considers future infrastructure one of the “key technologies” for decarbonization. (Photo: D.R.)
Angola will be able to count, in the coming years, with a biorefinery. The signing of the memorandum, between Sonangol and the Italian company Eni, for the beginning of studies for the construction of the project took place last week.
The Angolan Minister of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, Diamantino Azevedo, highlighted that the biorefinery is considered one of the “key technologies” for decarbonization that will give rise to a multisectoral value chain, with the integration of agriculture and other industries.
Diamantino Azevedo, who was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the gasoline production complex at the Luanda refinery, stressed that the project will bring investments in agriculture, “because it will be based on the production of castor, which will feed the biorefinery”, stressing that this is the most a contribution of the hydrocarbon sector to the diversification of the country's economy.
In turn, the general director of Eni's Natural Resources Division, Guido Brusco, highlighted the sustainable and environmental characteristics of the project, namely the rehabilitation of the combined cycle, which will be powered by hydrogen and the electricity now produced by recycling gas as a net reduction in polluting carbon dioxide emissions.
Load shedding, implemented when the state-owned electricity company Eskom is unable to provide power to the whole country and the electricity grid needs to be kept stable, seems to have reached a new nadir in recent days with most areas going without power for up to 12 hours a day.
At the end of apartheid in 1994, only 36 percent of households in South Africa were electrified, with almost all white households having electric power and most Black households having no access to electricity. Ten years later, more than 80 percent of households were electrified. This was an important achievement, albeit one that mostly left out the residents of the rapidly growing shantytowns across the country.
But this progress came to a halt in 2007 when South Africa first began to endure “load shedding,” which is the cutting of power supply to different areas on a rotational basis. Load shedding, implemented when the state-owned electricity company Eskom is unable to provide power to the whole country and the electricity grid needs to be kept stable, seems to have reached a new nadir in recent days with most areas going without power for up to 12 hours a day. There have been warnings that total blackouts may be necessary.
Eskom has been unable to provide a stable supply of electricity for 15 years due to a lack of investment in keeping infrastructure up to date and its poor maintenance, a period of plunder under the kleptocratic regime of former President Jacob Zuma, and a longstanding state austerity program that has resulted in general disinvestment from state-owned companies.
The energy crisis has been very damaging to an economy already reeling from socially devastating deindustrialization, state austerity, and the increasing hold of political mafias over economic life. It has been estimated that load shedding has led to the economy losing R500 billion (just over $28 billion) since 2018, working out to about R1 billion per stage, per day.
South Africa has much higher rates of electricity connections compared to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, where about 90 percent of the children who are able to afford a primary school education attend schools that do not have electricity. But with load shedding causing power to be off for much of the day many people in South Africa can often face similar conditions to those living in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Given that South Africa is currently the most unequal country in the world, the deepening energy crisis further widens the gulf between the rich and the poor, with the latter being overwhelmingly Black and comprising a largely female population.
According to the latest reports, more than 30.4 million people in South Africa live below the poverty line, out of a current population of 60.6 million. About 50 percent of the population lives on R1,335 a month, or approximately $75 a month. The basic cost of electricity for a low-income household is approximately between R1,100 and R1,500, which is already higher than what half the population subsists on. Along with widespread food insecurity, it is likely that the same population of more than 30 million South Africans also concurrently experience “energy poverty,” a term used to describe a situation in which electricity, gas, and other sources of energy bills make up a larger percentage of the household expenditure, making it difficult for South Africans to cover other costs such as food, rent, and clothing. Also, the reduced use of energy in households and workplaces has a negative impact on their physical and mental health. In shack settlements, the lack of electricity has long meant that people cook using candles and gas to light up their homes while living in cramped conditions resulting in regular fires, which are often devastating. With frequent load shedding, fires are now likely to become more common in other types of housing also.
Moreover, South Africa had the eighth highest murder rate in the world in 2020, and the fourth highest rate of gender-based violence in the world, according to 2016 figures. The increased hours of load shedding and the radical decrease of access to electrification will make this pervasive violence worse. A 2017 study carried out in Brazil on the socioeconomic impact of electrification found that it results in a significant decrease in gender-based violence due to better lighting in public spaces.
The burden of social reproduction has always largely fallen on the shoulders of women. Access to electricity can reduce this. An important 2021 study titled “Powering Households and Empowering Women” found that by freeing up women’s time poverty is reduced by creating opportunities for women and girls to develop livelihoods, enter the labor force, or focus on school. It can also reduce exposure to harmful indoor air pollutants, improve maternal health, and reduce gender-based violence.
Demand for the resolution of the electricity crisis has been one of the few issues that have helped bring the poor, the working class, and the middle class together. But, so far, the demands for the resolution of the crisis are not well organized and have been met with little more than platitudes by the ruling elites, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The African National Congress’s (ANC) commitment to neoliberal austerity has meant that there is insufficient investment in the state electricity company. Their only proposal is to move from state-owned coal-fired power stations, which are highly polluting, to privately owned renewable forms of energy. Currently, one of the best-placed people to benefit from this is the president’s billionaire brother-in-law, Patrice Motsepe, given his investments in renewable energy.
Trade unions in South Africa have insisted that while a move to renewables is welcomed, undertaking it via privatization will raise the costs of electric power for the poor and the working class and result in a bias toward serving the needs of the capitalists and the rich. They have proposed that renewables should be socially owned and managed.
The proposals from the unions have been ignored, austerity continues, and there has been minimal movement toward private electricity production. The situation is one of stasis.
Experts believe that very high rates of economically and socially damaging load shedding are likely to continue for at least the next three to four years. Many analysts have argued that this is likely to hit the ruling ANC very hard in the next presidential election, scheduled for 2024. A crisis in terms of electric power could lead to a loss of political power. With right-wing and xenophobic parties rapidly advancing, this is not cause for easy optimism.
South Africa will not move into the light until the social value of access to electricity is affirmed. The proposal by the trade unions for a shift to socially owned and managed renewable energy is the best option on the table. We need a solution that is for the majority and not the few.
Vashna Jagarnath is an academic as well as a political and labor activist. She is the director of Pan Africa Today (PAT), and she works in the office of the general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). She also serves as the deputy general secretary of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) in South Africa.
The agreement reinforces regulatory and inspection programs in exploration, development and production, between the Angolan National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels with its Brazilian counterpart.
This week, Angola and Brazil signed an agreement that aims to establish cooperation in the fields of technical promotion to strengthen the oil and gas industry.
The agreement, according to a press release to which FORBES ÁFRICA LUSÓFONA had access, reinforces the regulation and inspection programs in exploration, development and production between the Angolan National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) with its Brazilian counterpart, the National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP).
The agreement, signed during the Rio Oil&Gas Conference held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will have a term of five years. The document establishes cooperation in the fields of technical promotion for the strengthening of the oil and gas industry, as well as the transfer of knowledge related to the technical standards and practices of the oil industry.
The chairman of the ANPG, Paulino Jerónimo, said that with the signing of the aforementioned agreement, a relationship of more than three years with the ANP is made official, with reflections “in the brotherhood relationship” between the Angolan and Brazilian peoples.
“One of the points we want to reinforce is our regulatory framework. We want to gain this experience that the ANP has. The relationship between Angola and Brazil is transcendental and this agreement only reinforces the commitment between the two governments to cement the relationship in the field of hydrocarbons”, underlined Paulino Jerónimo.
In turn, the director general of the ANP, Rodolfo de Saboia, considers the agreement “very promising”, stressing that the importance transcends the interest of both countries in the exploration of natural resources and hydrocarbons”. “Brazil and Angola have a common past, a close culture with the same origin and a very close feeling of brotherhood”, recalled the Brazilian official.
The cooperation will be carried out through the periodic exchange of information and experiences, in the preparation of studies and joint research, as well as in the training and qualification of human resources, the statement said.
Angosat-2, the new Angolan satellite, is already in orbit
With the name Angosat-2, the new Angolan satellite entered orbit this Wednesday, as planned.
By Tainã Mansani
October 12, 2022
Its name is Angosat-2, it weighs two tons and has a high capacity for transferring information. With the new Angolan satellite, launched this Wednesday (October 12), the Angolan Government promises to place the country in a prominent place in communications in Africa.
Already in orbit, the satellite was built by the Russian satellite manufacturing company ISS Reshetnev and launched from the Baikanur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, having been transported by the "Proton-M" rocket.
The Angosat-2 satellite, launched from the Baikanur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan
The satellite cost 320 million dollars (about 329 million euros) and should provide a bandwidth of 13 gigabytes in regions where its signal reaches, covering most of the African continent and a good part of Europe.
Angola is also expected to minimize its current difficulties in accessing communication.
It is the second time that the country has put a satellite into orbit, after Angosat-1, in December 2017, whose launch failed.
"It is a recurring situation, it sometimes happens as a result of the complexity of a telecommunications satellite" such as Angosat, justified the minister of Telecommunications, Information Technology and Social Communication, Mário Oliveira.
The Angosat-1, built following an agreement signed between Angola and Russia in 2009, cost the Angolan State US$360 million, but had US$121 million in insurance, which, in the event of an accident or disappearance, would cover the total cost of its replacement, according to Angolan news agency Angop.
The launch of the Angosat-2 satellite coincides with World Space Week
Angola, an African 'hub'
Now, Minister Mário Oliveira underlines that Angosat-2 will be part of a telecommunications ecosystem that Angola wants, as it aims to be an African telecommunications 'hub'.
"Our country's territory is extensive and satellite communications help us to reach the most remote parts of the country more quickly", he said, highlighting the positive impacts of this technological solution that will contribute to Angola's socio-economic development in several areas.
The launch of the satellite coincides with the World Space Week and culminates a series of actions that the Angolan Executive has developed for the training of staff in the aerospace sector.
The Angolan state oil company intends to share its experience with Namibia, with the aim of developing the oil industry in that country.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sonangol, Sebastião Martins. (Photo: D.R)
In addition to displaying the activity it has carried out for over 40 years, Sonangol hopes that the agreement signed this Sunday, 9th, with the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) and the Namibian Ports Authority (NAMPORT), will pave the way for joint cooperation and make it possible to “help a brother country”.
The wish was expressed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the national oil company, Sebastião Martins, on the sidelines of the third Meeting of African National Companies (NOCs) of the Organization of African Oil Producing Countries (APPO), which took place this Monday, October 10.
For Sonangol's chairman, this agreement “means taking advantage of the experience we have here with the logistical support bases for our oil operations, transferring this type of experience to a province (in Namibia) that will start to become very important because it has had some discoveries and will have activities in the oil and gas sector; and so we, as sister companies on the same continent, are going to take advantage of these experiences to see if, together, we can also make that area efficient”.
As for the advantages for the national oil company, Sebastião Martins said that it was always a way of displaying what Sonangol's activity is and, on the other hand, “helping a brother country” and working together.
In an exclusive interview with FORBES ÁFRICA LUSOFONA, the CEO of NAMCOR, Immanuel Mulunga, revealed that the agreement will serve to discuss and identify the areas in which the three companies can cooperate to create a logistics base in Namibia, since, he adds, his country is preparing for the development and production of oil, after the recent discovery of crude oil.
“Angola and Namibia have strong ties of cooperation, they have been together in the elaboration of several partnerships, but it is important to transfer this brotherhood to the business done between the two countries”, said Immanuel Mulunga, for whom commercial exchanges are not enough. “I think it is an opportune moment to create ideas on how to do business between us and I believe that this will be the perfect opportunity for Angola to go to Namibia and invest, just as we are also investing in Angola”.
It should be recalled that NAMCOR acquired, some time ago, 10% of Sonangol's shares in block 15 and block 6. The CEO of the Namibian company defends, therefore, that investment and business between the two countries must be reciprocal.
This Sunday, October 9th, the chairman of Sonangol's Board of Directors, Gaspar Martins, NAMCOR's CEO, Immanuel Mulunga and NAMPORT's CEO, Andrew Kanime, signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
The memorandum aims to develop an integrated logistics base to support the oil and gas industry in Namibia, similar to that of SONILS (in Luanda, Angola), a project classified as “structuring and of strategic importance”.
José Maria Neves arrived today in Guinea-Bissau for an official three-day visit, with the strengthening of cooperation relations on the agenda.
The President of Cabo Verde, José Maria Neves, started this Friday, 21, his first official visit to Guinea-Bissau, “within the scope of historical, fraternity and cultural relations” that unite the two countries and to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
The visit began with a meeting with his Bissau-Guinean counterpart, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, followed by a joint statement to the press, and according to the programme, an official dinner was also planned.
This Saturday, the 22nd, José Maria Neves pays a visit to Fortaleza da Amura, where he will lay a wreath on the tombs of Amílcar Cabral and João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira, heading to the National School of Administration to deliver a conference dedicated to the theme “Challenges of Small Developing Island States”.
Also on Saturday, the President of Cabo Verde will also meet with the Bissau-Guinean prime minister, Nuno Gomes Nabiam, and with the Cape Verdean community residing in Bissau.
On Sunday, a visit to a cashew nut processing factory — Guinea-Bissau's main export product — is planned, as well as meetings with the Movement for Democratic Alternation (Madem-G15), the Party for Social Renewal (PRS) and the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).
Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde are members of both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) — currently chaired by Sissoco Embaló — and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP).
The Cape Verdean president, who traveled with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rui Figueiredo Soares, will travel to Senegal on Monday, where he will participate in the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa.
South African Employees to Go on Strike for Wage Increase
Members of the Public Servants Association of South Africa, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @channelafrica1
Published 25 October 2022 (7 hours 55 minutes ago)
Public employees said the government introduced austerity measures and suspended their salary increment for three years.
On Monday, the Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) said they would be going on a strike in the next seven days following a salary disagreement with the government
Workers have reached a deadlock with the government on their salary demands. Over the last year, public servants' salaries have been negatively affected by petrol, food, electricity, and interest rate increases.
"The PSA thus filed the notice to strike on Oct. 24, after exhausting all options possible to resolve the wage negotiation impasse and hitting a brick wall owing to the government's arrogance and disregard of workers' plight throughout the negotiations," the PSA pointed out.
"Effectively, the PSA's members will have the right to strike seven days after filing the notice," it added.
The PSA, which represents over 235,000 public sector employees, said the government introduced austerity measures and suspended their salary increment for three years.
"The strike could not be avoided as, despite all attempts by the PSA together with other unions to demonstrate a willingness to negotiate, the employer failed to cooperate," the PSA said, adding that the PSA's members, after considering the events, voted in favor of strike action as they realized that all other options were exhausted.