R4A and IFC Launch Series to Promote Private Investment

RES4Africa and IFC Launch Series to Promote Private Investment in Africa’s Power Grid

Nairobi, Kenya, November 29 -- RES4Africa Foundation and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) held the first in a series of development partner forums on November 22 to promote private sector investment to increase and complement the limited available financing in Africa’s power grid.

The virtual workshop brought together development partners, public institutions and private sector parties from across Africa to share knowledge and best practices to promote public-private partnerships and investments in transmission infrastructure projects.

The aim of the forum series is to identify the key issues stakeholders face with financing power transmission infrastructure projects and identify solutions to these issues.  The Foundation’s Grids4Africa program will disseminate a position paper based on the discussion inputs to stimulate increased investment in transmission infrastructure.

“Without increased investment in grid infrastructure, efforts to expand access to electricity, to ensure reliable supply for end-users and to incorporate greater amounts of renewable generation into energy mixes, are undermined,” said Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of RES4Africa. “Dialogue and collaboration between the public sector, financing institutions, and private players is indispensable to increasing investment in Africa’s power grid. This forum series offers a platform for such dialogue, and we look forward to more fruitful sessions to address these issues not only in transmission but also in distribution.”

Between 2010 and 2020, 99.7% of private sector investments in energy were dedicated to generation, with the remaining investment split between transmission and distribution. Transmission in particular, has seen little private participation in Africa.

“We are starting to see the first projects and frameworks developed for private sector participation in Africa’s transmission. Transmission projects in Kenya and Uganda are a positive step, but more can and needs to be done, if we are to reach our end goal of energy transition in Africa,” said Tilana de Meillon, IFC Senior Operations Officer. “PPPs and private sector involvement can improve access to services, finance, and to industry best practices.” Added Eunice Mabika, IFC Investment Officer.

Participants included Eunice Mabika, IFC Investment Officer, Ryan Ketchum, Partner at Hunton Andrews Kurths, Farid Mohamed from the Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility (RTIFF) at the South Africa Power Pool (SAPP), and Dr Eng. John Mativo, General Manager for Project Development Services KETRACO.

During the Forum on November 22, participants discussed current investment projects in Africa, lessons learned and viable ways to increase investment in future transmission projects. Farid Mohamed provided perspectives on financing regional interconnections and Dr Eng. John Mativo on how to handle right of way and payment mechanisms. Ryan Ketchum introduced the “Understanding Power Transmission Financing” handbook and the flexibility and simplicity that Independent Transmission Projects provides.

The next forum will be held in the first half of 2023.

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Africa is a continent in continuous transformation, with a sustained economic and population growth, a fast-paced urbanization and a young generation of talents who is leading its business revolution. This transformation requires energy and will require it even more in the next decades.
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