The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has announced an equity investment of up to $25 million in ARCH Africa Renewable Power Fund (ARPF), a $250 million private equity fund that focuses on renewable energy projects across Sub-Saharan Africa, ARPF’s anchor investing entity is ARCH Emerging Markets Partners Ltd, a London-based emerging market investment joint venture.
ARPF is expected to provide equity financing for the development of 10 to 15 greenfield renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding approximately 533 MW of installed energy generation capacity from renewable sources in the region. This will provide both base load and peak load power in underserved markets. The project construction and operation is estimated to create at least 272 full time jobs and 5,320 part time jobs.
According to AfDB, ARPF projects will concentrate on mature technologies including wind, solar PV, small to medium hydro, geothermal and biomass. These would include grid-connected independent power producers, and decentralized energy projects (commercial & industrial solar, mini-grids and solar home systems companies). APRF’s strategy is to prioritize projects with a clear timeline to financial close, with emphasis on de-risking early stage greenfield projects. In addition, AfDB believes that this financing will encourage other investors to commit a further $60-75 million equity from non-DFI sources.
“Energy investments in Africa are constrained by limited well-structured, bankable projects, as well as by unavailability of risk capital. Renewable technologies require additional support to be fully competitive over fossil fuel-based energy generation,” said Amadou Hott, the AfDB’s vice-president for power, energy, climate change and green growth.
“ARPF will expand the pipeline of bankable energy projects in Africa, and complement and deepen the work of the Bank in this critical area. This is vital for economic growth, and to foster transition to low carbon across the continent,” Hott added.
The project is in line with the bank’s strategy, which aims to achieve universal electricity access by 2025. ARPF will also assist governments in meeting their renewable energy objectives through on-and off-grid renewable energy technologies.
The AfDB has been one of the frontrunners in promoting renewable energy projects in Africa. In December 2018, Mercom reported on the news of AfDB approving a senior loan of $18.17 million for the development of a 50 MW solar power project in Nandi County, Kenya. In November 2018, the African Development Bank approved a senior loan of ~$220.3 million to the 100 MW Redstone concentrated solar power project located in the Humansrus Solar Park in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.