Editor’s Note: December 18, 2018

Big trouble for big oil in Nigeria?

Oil majors Shell and Eni were ‘fully aware’ that the bulk of $1.3bn they paid for an oil field in Nigeria in 2011 would be used to pay off corrupt politicians and officials.This was the conclusion of an Italian judge on Monday, explaining her September decision to jail two middlemen involved in the deal.

The verdict is part of a high profile investigation into the purchase, with the main event being an upcoming trial involving senior executives at both companies including Eni’s current chief executive and his predecessor.

The case is being billed as a landmark that could help end the industry’s opaque dealings in developing countries.

If Shell and Eni – who deny any wrongdoing – lose the case, it could result in jail terms and hefty fines.

The precedent could prompt other investigations – a step in the right direction. 

But these would likely not extend to major non-Western oil companies, leaving them free to continue with business as usual. They would also be painfully slow – it has taken 7 years to bring Shell and Eni to court.

While encouraging cases like this will struggle to tackle the main enabler of corruption – poor governance. This is primarily a challenge for governments in host countries.

From The Continent

Nigeria’s Access Bank and struggling competitor Diamond Bank have announced plans to merge their operation, hoping to complete the tie-up in the first half of 2019. The deal values Diamond Bank at around $200m and would create the country’s biggest lender. More: Vanguard


Struggling low-cost airline Fastjet grounded its Tanzanian flights on Monday following a 28-day notice from the country’s aviation authority instructing the airline to submit a turnaround proposal or risk losing its license. The move adds to Fastjet’s woes, coming after repeated warnings that its operations are under threat due to cash flow problems. More: Bloomberg

The Daily Stat

31%

Zimbabwe’s inflation rate in November, hitting a ten-year high amid an acute economic crisis. More: Reuters

The Global Perspective

South African media and internet company Naspers has led a $540m investment round into Indian education technology startup Byju’s. The money will be used to fund a global expansion drive. More: TechCrunch

Public and private sector workers in Morocco on Monday staged demonstrations in the capital Rabat, demanding better pay and living conditions. Emulating France’s recent protests by wearing yellow vests the demonstrations are reportedly planned to go on for a week, with a nationwide strike on the cards if demands are not met. More: Anadolu Agency

The Daily Follow

@CGAP: Global development initiative to promote financial inclusion