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Uncertainty surrounds power in South Africa as Eskom hints at possible cuts

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State-owned utility Eskom in South Africa has said the power outlook remained highly uncertain, with unplanned outages often varying by 2,000 megawatts (MW) in one week.

The struggling enterprise made the announcement on Wednesday. Eskom further revealed that repeated breakdowns in its coal fleet are a major brake on economic growth in Africa’s most industrialized nation.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd is South Africa’s primary electricity supplier, generating approximately 90% of the electricity used in South Africa and approximately 30% of the electricity generated on the African continent.

The company has implemented scheduled power cuts for more than 30 days so far this year, more than in the same period last year when power cuts reached record levels.

Eskom said it will implement “Stage 2” power cuts from 1700 to 2200 local time (1500 GMT to 2000 GMT) on Wednesday after three-generation units failed, requiring up to 2,000 MW to be shed from the national grid.

The company has also revealed that none of its 15 coal stations were operating at full capacity.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last week said the process of unbundling Eskom was on track and that they were hopeful that work would be completed on the generation and distribution divisions by the end of the year.

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Somalia gives foreign banks licence to operate in decades

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The Somali government has announced the licensing of foreign banks for the first time in over two decades six weeks after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud was sworn into office following an elections that took years to conduct following a lingering political crisis.

The announcement which was made on Monday by the governor of the Central Bank of Somalia (CBS) Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, said the war-ravaged country has granted banking licenses to two foreign institutions to operate in the country after President Mohamoud had promised to open the country to international investment during his campaigns for the elections.

The first foreign banking institutions to benefit from the decision are Egyptian bank, Banque Misr, and Turkish bank, Ziraat Katilim, who have been allowed to operate in Somalia.

“The review of the applications of these two banks has been the subject of a lengthy process of several months.

“These are two strong banks that will add value to the development of Somalia’s financial sector and contribute to the growth of our economy,” the CBS governor said

Ranked one of the poorest countries in the world by the World Bank, the average Somalian lives on less than $1.90 a day as the country struggles to recover from decades civil war and and opening its doors to foreign investments is seen as President Mohamoud fulfilment of his pledge to improve the economic situation and provide basic banking services to the population.

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Egypt Suez Canal announces record $7bn profit in 2021-2022

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The management of the Egyptian Suez Canal has announced a record profit of $7 billion for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which it said was as a result of repeatedly raising transit fees for ships through the crucial passage for world trade.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA), said on Monday that between July 2021 and June 2022, about 1.32 billion tonnes of cargo transited through the canal, providing a $7 billion rent in transit fees, which is the highest in the history of the SCA, its Executive Chairman, Admiral Osama Rabie, said.

Rabie added that the Canal was able to increase its profit by 20.7% compared to the previous financial year where it made €5.5 billion.

The Suez Canal handles about 10% of the world’s maritime trade and is one of Cairo’s main sources of foreign currency and despite the war in Ukraine and the rise in the oil price which has affected shipping, the canal also recorded its highest monthly turnover in April, valued at €605 million according to Rabie.

“The international crises have demonstrated the importance of the Suez Canal for the stability of global supply chains,” Rabie said.

He added that the Canal has contributed significantly to the growth of the North African country’s economy which has been caught between inflation of over 15% and a recent devaluation of the pound by nearly 20%, which had increased transit fees for oil and gas shipments by 6% in February and then by 5 to 10% in March.

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