Africa in business: lithium and air conditioning

STORY: Here are five business stories making headlines in sub-Saharan Africa this week.

Swiss engineering firm ABB said on Friday (September 30) that it's setting aside a provision of around $325 million to cover costs related to investigations surrounding the Kusile power plant in South Africa.

In 2020 ABB agreed to pay 1.56 billion rand, then worth $104 million, to South Africa's state-owned Eskom to settle an investigation into improper payments and compliance issues related to the project.

Also on Eskom, the South African government has said it will makes changes to the struggling power utility's board of directors, after electricity outages reached record levels this year.

Eskom, saddled with unreliable coal-fired power stations and a mountain of debt, has struggled to meet electricity demand for more than a decade.

Production is expected to begin at what would be Ghana's first lithium mine by the second half of 2024, the interim chief executive of Australia-based Atlantic Lithium has said.

Lennard Kolff said that a recent scoping study showed revenue could reach nearly $5 billion over the mine's lifetime.

Uganda's president has criticized a European Union parliament intervention over a $3.5 billion oil pipeline to carry the landlocked country's crude to a port in Tanzania.

A resolution passed earlier this month urged TotalEnergies to delay development of the pipeline by a year to explore an alternative route or alternative renewable energy projects.

Speaking at a conference where a third oil block licensing round in Uganda was announced, Yoweri Museveni said the European Parliament's move was a "wrong battleground for them" and that "we don't take kindly to arrogance".

And finally, Japan's Daikin Industries has said it will begin assembling air conditioners in Nigeria, a regional head has said, as it renews a push into Africa that had been delayed by the global health crisis.

Daikin is also aiming to becoming the leading seller of air conditioners, chillers and other cooling equipment in East African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania by 2025.