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Access, EREN launch Africa-focused renewables firm

Access Infra Africa is being billed as ‘the largest privately funded vehicle of its kind’, targeting a $500m project pipeline.


Developers Access Power and EREN have joined forces to launch Access Infra Africa, “the largest privately-funded vehicle” targeting early-stage development of renewable power projects in Africa, according to the partners.

Access Infra Africa will target a portfolio of projects across Africa, which may also include some conventional power assets, worth over $500 million. The partners will end up investing some $150 million in equity through Access Infra Africa, with the remainder debt-financed. The majority of the funds in the joint venture will come from EREN, which has bought a strategic stake in Access and will also get a seat on Access’ board.

Speaking to Infrastructure Investor sister publication Low Carbon Energy Investor, Access chairman Reda El Chaar said: “We aim to deploy capital over a three-to-five year period, depending on how quickly projects become available. We are working across 15 different countries today, including Uganda, Egypt and Rwanda, and in West Africa. In Benin, for example, we are developing a 50MW photo-voltaic project through a memorandum of understanding with the government.”

He added: “We only invest in countries with a proven power track record and a liberalised power market. Regarding renewables, we are happy to get involved even in countries that don’t have a framework in place and assist the government in developing such frameworks.”

According to a statement from the partners, Access Infra Africa has also been prequalified by the Egyptian government to develop large scale wind and solar power plants as part of the first round of Egypt’s renewable energy procurement programme.

Last December, Access Power announced it will develop Uganda’s first-ever solar plant, in the northeast of the country. The 10MW, $17 million project – the largest independent power project in sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa – will generate enough energy to power 40,000 Ugandan households. It will receive a feed-in tariff from a European-funded programme called the GET FiT Solar Facility, managed by German development bank KfW.