South Africa reveals its blueprint for its energy future

South African cabinet approved the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2019) that plotted the path for the nation’s generation technology mix to assuage the current energy crisis.

Last month the South African cabinet approved the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2019) that plotted the path for the nation’s generation technology mix to assuage the current energy crisis in the country. At Africa Oil Week ( last week, its Minister of Minerals Resources and Energy, Honourable Gwede Mantashe, outlined the role that oil and gas will play going forwards.

He was at great pains to point out that hydrocarbons, particularly gas, will be an important part of the energy mix in the future. “We intend to establish the first LNG hub in the Coega IDZ, in the Eastern Cape Province,” he says. “I have been talking to investors at this conference and they should take the opportunity to engage with our officials on this matter as it is an opportunity not only to invest, but to also help develop the gas industry in this country.”

Infrastructure plans to harness gas potential

The plan is that the first LNG import terminal at the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) site will lay the foundation for a breed of new gas to power plants as well as driving the conversion of existing power plants from diesel to gas. It is also intended as a base to import feedstock for the gas to liquids refinery in Mossel Bay. “The framework for supporting this major programme will be announced by my department in the near term,” Mantashe added “Linked to this is an amendment to the Gas Act of 2001, which will be tabled in Cabinet soon.”

Mantashe explained that South Africa gas to power technologies will provide the flexibility that is needed to back up the intermittent nature of renewable energy and meet peak demand during busy periods. “In the short term the opportunity is to pursue gas import options, in the future, local and regional gas resources will allow for scaling up within manageable risk levels,” he said. “Indigenous gas like coal-bed methane and, ultimately, local recoverable shale and coastal gas are options we are considering. On the Upstream, work is underway on a Petroleum Resources Development Bill, which will be before Cabinet soon.

“Our oil and gas needs to be harnessed to deliver modern energy services to all households and businesses. Our gas must power plants and other petrochemical facilities in our countries as it reaches for export markets.  This will ensure that we do not always import beneficiated hydrocarbons.”   

Upstream aspirations for South Africa

On the regional front, Mantashe said that they have noted with great interest and a sense of admiration, the major gas finds in the Eastern part of the continent, especially in Mozambique and Tanzania. “We remain patently aware that one of the oil companies in South Africa played a pivotal role in the monetisation of the earlier gas finds in Mozambique,” he said. “Earlier this year we also announced hydrocarbon finds by Total and its partners off the Mossel Bay coast.  We are confident that this find will spur further interest in the upstream potential of South Africa.

“We have taken note of global industry shifts and are encouraged that many countries in our continent have set themselves the vision to enter the global gas market and promote the development of a domestic and regional gas market.  Natural gas can improve the efficiencies of many industries currently using sub-optimal fuel sources in their production processes and resulting in a turnaround in the industrial capacity and demand in the region.”

A new energy future

Mantashe explained that the IRP reflects the fact that South Africa’s energy generation landscape is evolving. “Old assumptions should give way,” he added. “For example, demand is not captive to the national grid; costs are declining as a result of technology advancements and our national utility, Eskom, is being restructured into its regulated functions of generation, transmission and distribution.”  

Coal will continue to play a significant role in electricity generation for South Africa, but renewable energy is growing in importance. “We have a more than thirty-thousand-megawatt portfolio of existing coal power plants, and the abundance of the resource,” he explained. “New investments will be directed towards more efficient coal technologies, including underground coal gasification, and carbon capture and storage, to enable us to continue using our coal resources in an environmentally responsible way.

“The IRP 2019 continues to make provision for significant rollout of renewable energy and storage. Combined with storage, renewables offer an opportunity to produce distributed power closer to where demand is; and to provide off-grid electricity to far-flung areas of the country.” The next 12 months may well prove pivotal to the energy future for South Africa. As the government continues to balance the demands to lower carbon emissions with the need to supply power to its citizens, gas will certainly have a big part to play.

WHO envisions a world free from road traffic deaths and injuries

In the context of the Fifth UN Global Road Safety Week (6-12 May 2019), thousands of road safety advocates from around the world are highlighting the need for more effective leadership for road safety.

WHO states that strong leaders – both government and nongovernment alike – are those who Speak-Up for road safety and act on the concrete interventions which have proven to save lives.

“WHO’s vision is a world free from road traffic deaths and injuries” notes World Health Organization Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It’s also a world in which all people benefit from universal health coverage, including trauma care, rehabilitation and psychological support for road traffic victims. This week and every week, play your part in making the roads safe for everyone. A safer road for others is a safer road for you.”

Despite progress, road traffic deaths continue to rise, with an annual 1.35 million fatalities. Road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of children and young people aged 5-29 years. Globally, of all road traffic deaths, pedestrians and cyclists account for 26% and motorcycle riders and passengers account for 28%. The risk of a road traffic death remains three times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries, with rates highest in Africa (26.6 per 100 000 population) and lowest in Europe (9.3 per 100 000 population).

“Road traffic deaths and injuries are an unacceptable price to pay for mobility,” notes WHO Director, Dr Etienne Krug. “There is no excuse for inaction. This is a problem with proven solutions. Governments and their partners must demonstrate leadership and accelerate action to save lives by implementing what works.”

In the settings where progress has been made, it is because of strong leadership around legislation on key risks such as speeding, drinking and driving, and failing to use seat-belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints; safer infrastructure like sidewalks and dedicated lanes for cyclists and motorcyclists; improved vehicle standards such as those that mandate electronic stability control and advanced braking; and enhanced post-crash care.

Côte d’Ivoire: Government seeks Bank’s support for $5.8 bln tourism plan

Ivorian Minister of Tourism Siandou Fofana on 25 April 2019 presented a strategy document aimed at making Côte d’Ivoire Africa’s fifth biggest tourism destination from 2025 to the African Development Bank ( , and sought its support to implement the plan.

The document entitled “Sublime Côte d’Ivoire”, was presented to the Bank’s Vice-President responsible for Private sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, Pierre Guislain, at the headquarters in Abidjan.

“We have come to share this new vision for Côte d’Ivoire with the Bank and to secure your help and financial support. We need your help to pool resources to carry this project out,” Minister Fofana said, adding that the strategy will rest on nine new flagship projects and would require a $5.8‑billion investment.

“One of these is the ‘Abidjan Business City’, which will be a central point for holding conventions in Côte d’Ivoire. We do not currently have a conference centre and we do not have a hall with the capacity to accommodate 5,000 people. There is, therefore, a need to move quickly in that regard,” he said.

“We will also have a ‘beautiful beach for all’, with a 550-km coastline that has yet to be exploited. In addition, we will build a 100-hectare leisure park to be a place of entertainment for the sub-region, and develop press trips and seven flagship tourist areas,” Fofana added.

Projects envisaged under the strategy include strengthening of the tourism code, establishing additional tourist attractions with a land reserve of 6,000 hectares, the creation of a bank of tourism-sector projects and redesigning of a tourism ‘one-stop shop’. The government also plans to strengthen security and health care, develop the aviation sector and increase airport passenger flow to three million, and train and certify 230,000 sector professionals.

“All this will drive employment and our intention is to create 375,000 new jobs. From 2025, we plan to welcome four to five million tourists, (there were 3.08 million in 2016 and 3.47 million in 2017), to make this sector the fourth economic pillar of the country and to make Côte d’Ivoire the fifth biggest tourism power on the continent and the joint leader in African business tourism,” said Fofana.

Bank Vice-President Guislain commended Côte d’Ivoire’s “progress” in the tourism sector, saying it was essential for investors.

He briefed the delegation on the Bank’s financing instruments for the public and private sectors, highlighting the existence of private investment funds and the Bank’s priority focus on supporting bankable projects for partners with sufficient financial capacity.

“We are glad to have been visited by you and to have learnt about your strategy. This is important. Business tourism needs to be consolidated and your ambitions are good. The African Development Bank has a strong partnership with Côte d’Ivoire, the host country of our headquarters. The Bank finances many infrastructure projects (energy and roads) that are essential to the development of tourism. We also financed the expansion of Air Côte d’Ivoire, whose development is essential for tourism to flourish in the country,” Guislain said.

African Ministers Adopt Landmark “Cairo Declaration” on Infrastructure

Ministers from 39 African countries have confirmed their commitment to consider strategies for developing smart infrastructure to boost Africa’s continental transformation and integration, by adopting the Egypt Declaration and Action Plans for the Transport, Energy and Tourism sectors.

The Declaration was adopted at the just concluded Second Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee meeting on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism (STC-TTIIET), which kicked off Sunday in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt under the theme “Developing SMART Infrastructure to boost Africa’s Continental Transformation and Integration.”

Culminating a four-day meeting, the Declaration calls for Member States and Regional Economic Communities to strengthen inter-African and continental cooperation in the development of infrastructure. Given, the transformative nature of digital technologies, and the frequency and severity of climate-induced disaster on the continent, member States were requested to promote smart as well as climate resilient infrastructure.

Addressing the Ministerial Segment of the event, the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shaker El Markabi said “I am honoured to have hosted this second meeting of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee meeting on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism (STC-TTIIET), which will support the integration of the continent.

The Minister highlighted Egypt Vision 2030, which is the roadmap that will shape the future to which the country’s citizens aspire.

To achieve Egypt Vision 2030, and all of the goals outlined by Vision 2030, the minister stresses “cooperation between countries, development partners, AUC is required in order to move forward.”

The declaration also urged the African Union Commission and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) to fast-track the development of the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA PAP 2) integrating gender and youth dimensions, which should be submitted for adoption to AU organs by January 2021and to prioritise the launch of the African Network for Women in Infrastructure (ANWIn).

In her closing remarks, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, conveying her appreciation and gratitude to the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Chairperson of the African Union, H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil El-Sisi for hosting the event, said it was clear from the declaration of the depth of the discussions that were held on key issues in the sectors of transport, infrastructure, energy and tourism.

“The adoption of the Declaration of Cairo shows the collective endorsement and consensus for infrastructure development as an impetus for the regional integration of the continent. Cooperation and partnerships among multiple countries with different core competencies are vital to boost continental transformation,” the Commissioner stated.

Member States were also requested to speed up ratification of pending legal instruments related to infrastructure, notably the Maritime Charter, Yamoussoukro Declaration, the Single African Air Transport Market, and Road Safety Charter.

Speaking earlier on behalf of the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the Director for Infrastructure and Urban Development, Mr. Amadou Oumarou underscored that the key priorities of the STC Agenda align with the Bank’s Strategic priorities – the High 5s, which prompted the financing of a number of projects within PIDA and beyond the framework fulfilling the objectives of this Specialized Technical Committee.

“I reaffirm the Bank’s commitment to work with all stakeholders in the preparation of the second phase of PIDA” Mr. Oumarou noted, “which will require concerted efforts to come up with transformative priorities that will have the desired impact on regional economic development, jobs creation, and opportunities for all”.

On her part, the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport the Togolese Republic and outgoing Chair of the STC, H.E Ms. Zouréhatou Tcha-Kondo épse Kassah-Traoré, gave an overview of the activities of the STC Bureau since the last session of the STC. She informed the meeting that the STC Sub-Committees had all met to review the implementation of the STC Plan of Action under the different sectors. She underscored the importance of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and called upon all Member States to support it as the programme plays a big role in the economic integration and development of the continent.

The meeting, organized by the African Union Commission jointly with the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), drew over 400 participants from 39 AU Member States, Regional Economic Communities, the regional development banks and financial institutions, the continental specialized organizations, academia, private sector and civil society, and representatives from the development partners and international organizations involved in energy, transport and tourism.

Sierra Leone: Making a case for Kailahun District

By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)

There’s now a loose saying among Sierra Leoneans that any menace that starts in Kailahun District, Eastern Sierra Leone, will definitely spread across every region of the country.

From the first gun shot in Bomaru, Kailahun District, in 1991 the decade-long rebel war reached every corner of Sierra Leone leaving an unprecedented trail of destruction of lives and property in the country’s history.
At the peak of the war Kailahun District recorded the most deaths. The infamous Slaughter House, where hundreds of innocent civilians including women and children were reportedly butchered in cold blood and in broad day light, still stands there at the center of the town. The stench of decayed human blood still fills the atmosphere around the war relic.

From the first officially confirmed Ebola case in Kpondu village, Kissi Teng chiefdom, Kailahun District on 24th/25th May, 2014, the EVD touched every district in Sierra Leone, except perhaps Bonthe Island which, for reasons of ‘remoteness and God’s mercy’ according to the District Health Superintendent (DHS) there at the time, didn’t record any positive case during the outbreak.
At the height of the Ebola outbreak in late June-July 2014, according to WHO, ore than 80 new Ebola cases were reported per week in Kailahun; and more than 50 bodies were buried in just 12 days in makeshift graves close to the Ebola treatment center. ‘And this number did not include people who died in their homes’.
Guilty by location?

But how do the people of Kailahun feel about the fact that they have literally been the launch pad for two of the biggest disasters to befall Sierra Leone in the last three decades? Hon PC Mohamed Sama Kailondo Banya IV doesn’t agree it is misfortune.
“Unlike other border districts, Kailahun is strategically located between Liberia and Guinea,” he said. “The rebel war started in Liberia in the early 80s; naturally, because of proximity, it spilled over to Kailahun. Similarly, the EVD started in Guinea in Guéckédou, and spread to border villages with easy and walkable distances from Kissi Teng Chiefdom. Naturally again, you know it will eventually cross over to Kailahun. And at that time there were no laws or restrictions against cross border travels.”
Having been through all of that, one did understand why the people of Kailahun remained timid in the event of clocking past 42 days without recording any new Ebola case. The day had passed by quietly as just another day in that episode of their chequered history. Outside on the red dusty streets there were pockets of people here and there. The general mood was one of a people in great pain. A people hurt by their own misfortune and years and years of neglect by successive governments.

In the 2007 Presidential run-off election the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Chairwoman, Dr. Chrisriana Thorpe, announced the cancellation of results from a total of 477 polling stations in Kailahun, a controversial decision that sealed the defeat of the then ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)-led government and their arch rivals the All People’s Congress claiming victory. In our political Geography, Kailahun is regarded as one of the strongholds of the SLPP.
Conversely, in the just concluded presidential run-off election (31st March, 2018) the 134, 064 votes from Kailahun were the decisive quantity that handed victory to the SLPP after 10 years in opposition and the APC losing out.

With all the troubles this district has been through, the people of Kailahun should not be searching for development; it is development itself that should find them.
And the road to that development has come as close as Pendembu (work is in progress), only 17 horrible miles more to the district headquarter town of Kailahun.