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French, Russia, Chinese firms court Ghana amid plan for first nuclear power plant

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According to a representative of the energy ministry, Ghana will choose a contractor by December to construct its first nuclear power station from among competitors which include China National Nuclear Corporation, France’s EDF, and the United States NuScale Power and Regnum Technology Group.

Robert Sogbadji, the deputy director for power in charge of nuclear and alternative energy, Russia’s ROSATOM and South Korea’s Kepco and its subsidiary Korea Hydro Nuclear Power Corporation were also vying for the contract, which was scheduled to last for the next ten years.

“Cabinet will approve the final choice. It can be one vendor or two nations; it will depend on the financial model and the technical details,” Sogbadji told Reuters on Monday.

The government issued a call for vendors, and 16 countries and businesses replied, according to Sogbadji. However, a technical committee of state agencies headed by the Ministry of energy reduced the list to the current five countries.

In the 1960s, Ghana began exploring the construction of a nuclear power facility, but a coup halted the project. With help from the International Atomic Energy Association, it brought the plan back to life in 2006 after a catastrophic power outage.

Similar to other African nations, Ghana is progressively exploring the potential of nuclear power to bridge supply gaps on a continent where more than 600 million people live without access to energy.

Both Burkina Faso and Uganda have agreements in place with China and Russia to build their first nuclear power plants. As part of their energy mix, Namibia, Kenya, and Morocco are also aiming to include nuclear power.

Amidst acute power shortages, South Africa, which runs the only nuclear reactor on the continent, plans to add 2,500 megawatts (MW) of power from the resource. According to Sogbadji, Ghana wants to increase its electricity mix to include 1,000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2034.

Energy authority in the West African nation, which is now experiencing power shortages, has 5,454 MW of installed capacity, of which 4,483 MW is available.

Ghana, a country that exports gold, oil, and cocoa, anticipates using nuclear power as its foundation for faster and more comprehensive industrialization while expanding energy exports via the West Africa Power Pool to countries like Benin, Ivory Coast, and Togo.

According to Sogbadji, the government has already acquired a location big enough to house five reactors. It would be preferable, he continued, to “build, own, operate and transfer” with space for local equity holding.

Musings From Abroad

Production at China’s $1 billion Tsingshan steel mill in Zimbabwe begins

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A corporate official announced on Thursday that Tsingshan Holding Group, a $1 billion steel mill in central Zimbabwe, is now producing nickel, the largest nickel producer in China.

During a factory tour, project director Wilfred Motsi informed reporters that Tsingshan’s Dinson Iron and Steel Company will produce 600,000 metric tons of carbon steel annually during the first phase of operations.

“We have started to produce pig iron, which is a raw material used for the production of steel. By July, that’s when we will start to produce the actual carbon steel,” Motsi said.
He did not say how long the first phase would last.

Tsingshan, a prominent global producer of nickel, has made noteworthy investments in Zimbabwe throughout the past few years. In addition to the steel mill, Tsingshan operates enterprises in southern Africa that mine lithium, ferrochrome, and coking coal.

In Dinson, the business has constructed a 50-megawatt thermal power plant. To meet 20% of its electricity needs, the steel plant will use the gas produced by its furnace to generate additional power.

To lessen the negative effects of Zimbabwe’s electricity shortages on its operations, the company also intends to construct a solar power facility.

The total estimated value of iron and steel imports from Zimbabwe in 2020 was $128 million. Compared to the previous year, when the products were imported to the tune of about 114 million U.S. dollars, this represented an increase in value.

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Musings From Abroad

Russia eyes more partnership with South Africa as Putin congratulates Ramaphosa

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Kremlin leader, Vladimir Putin, has congratulated Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on his reelection as president.

On the Kremlin website, a statement from Putin’s phone conversation with Ramaphosa was posted: “Hope was expressed for continued joint work on further strengthening of the partnership between Russia and South Africa in all its aspects.”

Parliament reelected Ramaphosa on Friday. However, the creation of a government composed of five parties so far was spurred by his African National Congress party’s inability to secure a majority in last month’s election—the first such loss in thirty years.

Since the invasion in 2022, Russia and Ukraine have been competing with one another for support from African countries, sending their foreign ministers on many regional tours.

Like many other African nations, South Africa has deep ties to Moscow that go back to the Soviet era, when Moscow was a major supporter of the ANC’s campaign to end apartheid and other liberation organizations.

After opposing Russia’s invasion in February 2022, South Africa has since taken a more nuanced stance, abstaining from many votes in the UN General Assembly denouncing Russian actions.

South Africa spent the weekend in the “peace summit” on Ukraine, which was hosted by Switzerland. Even though several controversial issues were left out to get broader support, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and other countries declined to sign the final communiqué.

As the host nation for the BRICS summit in 2023, South Africa was faced with a difficult decision: even though the Russian president had an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court of Justice for allegedly deporting Ukrainian children, the country thought about inviting Putin to the event.

South Africa has maintained relations with Russia and has opened stands against Western powers in global politics in recent times.

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