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Uganda dumps planned hydro project near Murchison Falls

Earlier this year, Uganda’s electricity regulator announced that a South African firm would construct a hydropower dam at Uhuru Falls

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Uganda dumps planned hydro project construction near Murchison Falls

Uganda has scrapped plans for a hydropower station near Murchison Falls, an official said Wednesday, a project tourism operators had warned would irreversibly scar one of East Africa’s natural wonders.

Cabinet agreed the proposed 360-megawatt project on the Victoria Nile in Murchison Falls National Park would “affect the scenery, ecosystem and subsequently tourism”, said Tourism Minister Ephraim Kamuntu.

More than 100,000 tourists visit the park in Uganda’s northwest every year, the government says, to gape at mighty waterfalls that channel the force of the world’s longest river through narrow points.

“Cabinet took a decision at its latest sitting that there will be no construction of the hydropower dam in Murchison Falls National Park,” Kamuntu told reporters.

“Definitely, we still need more electricity to power our expanding economy, but this project can go elsewhere, not in the park.”

Earlier this year, Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Authority announced that a South African firm, Bonang Power and Energy Pty (Ltd), had applied for a licence to construct a hydropower dam at Uhuru Falls, upriver from Murchison.

The proposal caused outcry and a spirited campaign by Uganda’s hoteliers, environmentalists, researchers and tour operators under the “Save Murchison Falls” banner.

“This is the gift of a lifetime. I am very happy this has been rejected by the government,” said Ambrose Olaa, an activist who campaigned against the hydropower project.

“It was going to destroy the tourism potential our region has. We demand the government stick by its position, and not turn back.”

Uganda’s economy is fast-growing at more than six per cent annually, with similar expansion forecast for 2020 in the landlocked nation of 42 million, according to the World Bank.

More than three-quarters of its installed energy capacity comes from hydropower, the International Hydropower Association says, but less than 15 per cent of its inhabitants have access to electricity.

Uhuru Falls, which means “freedom” in Swahili, was created in 1962 when powerful floods cut a second channel about 200 metres north of Murchison Falls, after which the fabled park is named.

At Murchison, the Nile is squeezed through a seven-metre gap in the rocks and tumbles 43 metres with tremendous force as it continues its journey toward Lake Albert.

The waterfall featured in the 1951 Hollywood adventure classic “The African Queen” starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.

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Nigeria to sign military cooperation deal with Russia

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari is due to meet Putin on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in Sochi

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Nigeria to sign military cooperation deal with Russia

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari hopes to sign a military-technical cooperation deal with Russia at talks with President Vladimir Putin this month that will help it fight Boko Haram militants.

The Nigerian leader is due to meet Putin on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea city of Sochi amid a push by Moscow to expand its influence in Africa.

“We’re sure that with Russian help we’ll manage to crush Boko Haram, given Russia’s experience combating Islamic State in Syria,” Nigerian envoy, Steve Ugbah said in an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency, adding that Nigeria was interested in purchasing Russian helicopters, planes, tanks and other military equipment.

Ugbah says a military-technical cooperation deal between Russia and Nigeria had already been drafted and that it is awaiting finalisation. 

“We hope President Buhari can take the talks to their logical end. The agreement will open new possibilities in such areas as the supply of military equipment and training for specialists,” he adds.

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Nigeria, Cameroon to plan Cocoa price cartel

The plan suggested by Nigeria is part of a trend by cocoa growers in West Africa and Latin America

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Nigeria, Cameroon to plan Cocoa price cartel

Nigeria aims to team up with Cameroon to agree on a premium for its cocoa with buyers, after the world’s top growers, Ivory Coast and Ghana set a price floor for the crop.

The plan suggested by Nigeria, the world’s fourth-largest cocoa producer, is part of a trend which has seen growers in West Africa and Latin America seek to influence prices in the global market.

The move follows Ghana and Ivory Coast’s union in July, which set the price for a ton of cocoa from their countries at $2,600 plus a $400 premium described as “living income differential”.

READ: Cocoa industry stakeholders accept Ghana, Ivory Coast price

Both countries produced 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa in 2018.

Vice President of the World Cocoa Producers Organisation, Sayina Riman says discussions will be held with the private sector and the Nigerian Government before formal talks are held with Cameroon.  

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Exxon to invest $500 million in Mozambique LNG project

Construction of onshore facilities has been awarded to a consortium led by Japan’s JGC, U.K firm TechnipFMC and U.S. company, Fluor Corp

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Exxon to invest $500 million in Mozambique LNG project

Exxon Mobil plans to invest more than $500 million in the initial construction phase of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique.

The U.S. oil company’s $30 billion Rovuma LNG project, jointly operated with Italy’s Eni, has a capacity of more than 15 million tonnes a year (mtpa) and is set to pump much-needed cash into the country’s ailing economy. 

“The Area 4 partners will advance midstream and upstream area project activities of more than $500 million as initial investments,” Exxon head of power and gas marketing, Peter Clarke told a ceremony in Mozambique’s capital Maputo on Tuesday.

Construction of onshore facilities has been awarded to a consortium led by Japan’s JGC, U.K firm TechnipFMC and U.S. company, Fluor Corp.

“These EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contracts cover the construction of two natural gas production trains with a total capacity of 15.2 million tons per annum, as well as associated onshore facilities,” Clarke adds.

Final investment decisions, a term used by the oil industry to mean the commercial and regulatory aspects of a project are finalised, will be made in 2020.

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