1. Nigerian Senate passes Petroleum Industry Bill
After years of delay, the Nigerian senate passed an oil and gas reform bill in early July 2021, which is set to affect every aspect of the local industry. Oil and gas are at the core of the country's revenue stream and still present the best leverage for future growth, but developmental prospects have long been weighed down by widespread corruption and a poor regulatory environment. The new bill proposes a series of wide-ranging reforms including plans for the selling of shares in a reformed Nigeria National Petroleum Company, the replacement of regulatory bodies, and the reduction and streamlining of royalties. Additionally, the bill also outlines rules for environmental clean-ups, introduces new dispute-resolution mechanisms, and sets up a midstream government infrastructure fund to assist in mitigating environmental degradation. This move is the latest in a long string of oil and gas reforms across Africa, as local legislatures update oil and gas legislation while simultaneously attempting to ensure the maximum benefit for local communities and ecosystems.
2. Zambia reinvigorates public utilities with new investment, digitisation
The Southern African state of Zambia has ventured headlong into modernising some of its core utility installations this month. The Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has signed Memorandums of Understanding with its partners to integrate data collection and analysis into its efforts to electrify the underserved rural areas of the country. This will take place via a central platform - Edison - which will allow policymakers to gain clear insight into the state of electrification across the country. The REA hopes to increase Zambian electrical coverage to 51% by 2030. At the same time, the Zambian government has signed a US$310 million deal for the expansion of the Lusaka sewage system, which will be financed by several high-level development partners, including the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the German Development Bank. The project will feature the construction of a sewage pipeline and service more than 525 000 families.
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