Africa Briefs

31 August 2020 | Economics

Worst power cuts on record in SA

South Africa has endured its worst power cuts on record this year, research by the country's national science council showed on Friday.

The power cuts by ailing state utility Eskom are one of the biggest challenges facing president Cyril Ramaphosa as he tries to revive investor confidence in Africa's most industrialised economy.

Analysis by South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) found that 1 498 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy had been shed so far in the first eight months of 2020, more than 1 352 GWh in the whole of last year and 1325 GWh in 2015, the previous two worst years on record.

The CSIR estimates planned power cuts, known locally as load-shedding, cost the economy up to R120 billion last year.

The CSIR predicts load-shedding will continue for two to three years, depending on the actions the government takes to address the electricity shortfall. – Nampa/Reuters

Angola to join transparency group

Angola plans to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international effort to fight corruption in revenues from oil, gas and mineral extraction.

Tete Antonio, Angola's minister of foreign affairs, announced the move on Twitter late on Friday and said Angola "has clearly demonstrated its commitment to promote the open and accountable management of its natural resources for the benefit of its people."

EITI, formed in 2003, has more than 50 implementing countries.

Angola's president João Lourenço has embarked on an anti-corruption drive since taking power from Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who stepped down in 2017 after a near four-decade rule.

Africa's second-largest oil exporter is also working to stem a steady decline in oil output due to a lack of investment. – Nampa/Reuters

Malawi to lift air travel, school restrictions

Malawi will allow airlines and schools to resume operations from Sept. 1, as it seeks to limit the economic and social damage from its coronavirus lockdown, authorities said on Thursday.

Schools and airports have been closed since March, when the government imposed a lockdown to try to contain the epidemic.

Malawi has recorded 5 474 cases and 173 deaths from the virus so far, although the real figure may be higher as fewer than 50 000 tests have been conducted.

The main international airport in the administrative capital Lilongwe will now open to limited flights next week.

The school closures left more than 5 million pupils across all levels out of class. – Nampa/Reuters

Nigeria postpones international flight restart

Nigeria on Thursday delayed the resumption of international flights until September 5, aviation authorities said, citing logistical problems.

The vast west African nation of 200 million inhabitants shut its airspace in March as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Aviation minister Hadi Sirika said on Twitter international flights would resume on Sunday from Lagos and Abuja.

But the head of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authorities (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, told reporters in Abuja on Thursday "international flights [are] now shifted to September 5".

"While airlines and airports were ready, other non-aviation logistics require the one-week extension to be ready." – Nampa/AFP

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