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Grid operator confirms nationwide blackout in Uganda

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Uganda’s state-run power grid operator reported that the country experienced an uncommon national blackout on Friday for a few hours and that power was progressively coming back late in the afternoon.

According to a statement made on the X platform by Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL), the grid outage occurred as a recently finished 600 megawatt hydroelectric facility on the northern Nile River, which was constructed by China and cost $1.5 billion, was being tested.

“Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited informs the general public that a national blackout has been registered following a load rejection test at the Karuma hydropower plant,” the company posted on X on Friday.

 

About two hours later, there was another statement stating that the grid had partially recovered.

The energy ministry reports that Uganda has 2,000 MW of installed power-producing capacity. It has been looking at the possibilities of selling the excess power to neighbours like South Sudan and Kenya because it produces more than it needs.

 

Uganda uses 0.0593 quadrillion Btu of primary energy annually, or 14.94 million tons of oil equivalent (2012). The bulk of Ugandans still rely mostly on biomass as their energy source. Biomass accounts for almost 90% of all primary energy usage.

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Zambia to establish unit for mineral trading, investing

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To increase its revenue from its natural resources, Zambia will establish a new company for investment and mineral trading, the cabinet announced on Wednesday following approval.

According to the statement, the government of Zambia, the second-largest copper producer in Africa, would create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for trading and investment purposes. Through ZCCM Investment Holdings, the government currently owns many mining assets.

The new entity would help Zambia “move away from the dividend payment model for mineral resources and adopt a production-based sharing mechanism to ensure benefits accrue to the people of Zambia beyond Statutory obligations,” the Cabinet said.

 

It further stated that the new business model will guarantee accurate disclosure of mineral consignments intended for export and internal consumption, permit the government to negotiate mineral prices, and share produced minerals.

10% to 20% of mines, including those controlled by Barrick Gold, Vedanta Resources, and First Quantum Minerals, are owned by ZCCM. It recently retained the remaining 51% of Mopani Copper Mines after selling the remaining portion to a division of United Arab Emirates International Holding Company.

Paul Kabuswe, Zambia’s minister of mines, told Reuters in February that Zambia intended to negotiate bigger stakes in new mining operations to increase revenue and encourage investment in social programs.

The nation aims to produce 3 million metric tons of copper annually within the next ten years as the demand for metal rises in the building and electricity sectors. In 2023, the nation produced 698,000 metric tons of copper, down from 763,000 metric tons the year before.

The production of copper decreased from 763,000 tons the year before to 698,000 tons the following year, according to the Zambia Chamber of Mines.

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Kenya’s govt authorizes sale of its stakes in 6 publicly traded firms

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According to President William Ruto’s office, the Kenyan cabinet has accepted a government proposal to sell shares it owns in six listed companies, including the nation’s stock exchange and a cement manufacturer.

The government will sell its holdings in battery manufacturer Eveready East Africa, Nairobi Securities Exchange, HF Group, Stanbic Holdings, Liberty Kenya Holdings, and East African Portland Cement, according to a statement released late on Tuesday by Ruto’s office.

 

The National Social Security Fund owns 27% of East African Portland, while the government owns a direct 25.3% share. The government holds 1.1% of Stanbic Holdings, 0.9% of Liberty Kenya Holdings, 2.41% of HF Group, 3.36% of Nairobi Securities Exchange, and 17.2% of Eveready.

This action is in line with government intentions to sell off stakes in further state-owned businesses. After passing a bill in October to provide guidelines for the process, Ruto said in November that the government intended to privatize 35 state-owned businesses.

 

But in December of last year, the opposition party filed a lawsuit to oppose the plan, arguing that some of the enterprises being sold had vital national interest and should only be sold with public approval. As a result, the plan encountered difficulties.

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