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Algeria’s State Oil Firm Gets New Management, Targets Brain Drain

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Algeria's State Oil Firm Gets New Management, Targets Brain Drain

The head of Algerian state oil firm Sonatrach has assembled a new leadership team, a senior company source said, aiming to reverse a flow of talent from an unwieldy state enterprise that keeps the country afloat.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika put U.S.-trained Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour in charge of overhauling Sonatrach in March, 2017, after years of short-lived CEOs, fraud scandals and red tape had put foreign investors off the North African OPEC producer.

The oil giant is an important source of energy for European states trying to reduce their dependence on Russia, and it funds a major part of the budget in a country where economic security helps prevent social turbulence.

Jobs at Sonatrach are plentiful and sought-after, but, on a global scale, pay is low and depends on time served.

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“We have lost thousands of experienced and talented people mainly because we can’t give them a salary they get now in the Gulf and other countries,” Kaddour said in an interview in his 10th-floor office in Algiers.

The CEO, who came with his own team to help win back the trust of oil majors, has now chosen eight vice presidents from within the firm, the Sonatrach source said, declining to be named because the appointments have not been made public.

The source said they included experienced managers such as Salah Mekmouche for exploration and Arbi bey Slimane for pipe transportation, and what he said were “rising stars” Farid Ghazali, for strategy, and Ahmed Mazighi on commercial affairs.

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“The appointments still need to be validated by a presidential decree but the top managers have already started,” the source said. Sonatrach and Kaddour were not immediately available to comment on the appointments.

Kaddour aims to make the firm one of the top five state oil companies by 2030.

In 2017, Algeria was ranked 18th in a U.S. Energy Information Administration list by output.

Empowering Kaddour to make far-reaching changes is part of efforts by Bouteflika, an army-backed former independence fighter in office since 1999, to overcome a slump in oil and gas exports by easing the grip of generals on economic matters.

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Annual energy revenues have halved since 2014.

Bouteflika, who has not spoken in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, dismissed four senior generals in June, including police chief Abdelghani Hamel, a display of power over security services before elections next year.

It is part of a trend some outsiders have noticed.

“When you speak to a banker or to an economic operator now you can be sure that they no longer have someone telling them what to do, as used to be the case when the old guard was in charge,” a Western diplomat said.

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Algeria Buries Remains Of Anti-Colonial Fighters After 150 Years

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Remains Of 24 Algerian Anti-Colonial Fighters Returned From France

Skulls of the 24 fighters killed while fighting against French colonial rule in the 19th century were flown into Algiers from France on Friday.  They had been kept at a Paris museum after being brought to France as trophies.

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Their arrival comes days before Algeria celebrates the 58 anniversary of its independence on Sunday.

France colonized and rules Algeria for one hundred thirty-two years until the north African country won independence in 1962, after an eight-year war that left one and a half Algerians dead.

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Algeria buried the remains of the resistance fighters as it marked the 58th anniversary of its independence from France.

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133 Somali Nationals Repatriated Out Of Uganda

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133 Somali Nationals Repatriated Out Of Uganda

One hundred thirty-three Somali nationals have been repatriated to Mogadishu, the Somalian capital, after more than three months in Uganda because of the suspension of flights.

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They are part of the three hundred fifty, who have so far been evacuated from Uganda by the Somali government since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Majority of these were Somalis studying in various universities in Uganda.  Others were visitors, tourists and Somali business men and women.

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Acting Somali ambassador to Uganda, Ali Mohamed, expressed his country’s gratitude to his Somalia’s government for extending a helping hand toward supporting its nationals return home.

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Zimbabwe Nurses Arrested As They Protest Over Pay

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Zimbabwe Nurses Arrested As They Protest Over Pay

The Zimbabwe nurses’ association says police have arrested 13 nurses during protests outside state hospitals on Monday.

The union, which represents nearly 15,000 state nurses, had called on members last week to go on strike over low salary.

The health workers are demanding to be paid in U.S. Dollars as inflation running at nearly 800% was eroding their salaries.

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Zimbabwe police arrested more than a dozen nurses, including, union representatives and leaders while a demonstration- against poor pay was ongoing at Zimbabwe’s biggest hospital in the capital Harare. The union said they had been told that the arrested health workers would appear in court on Tuesday.

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Nurses also gathered in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second biggest city, to demand better pay.

The protests, come at a time coronavirus cases are rising in the nation. Zimbabwe has recorded 734 infections and nine deaths.

President, Mnangagwa’s government announced a 50% salary hike for state employees last month and a $75 allowance for three months but workers said the increase was not reflected in their June salary.

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Zimbabwe’s lockdown measure to combat the spread of coronavirus have led to economic crisis.

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