IFC, Scatec in African renewables push

Through an unusual tie-up between a multilateral organisation and a private company, the International Finance Corporation and Norway’s Scatec Solar are seeking to develop solar power projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Washington DC-based World Bank Group member, has signed an agreement with Scatec Solar, a Norwegian private company specialising in the solar photovoltaic sector, to develop solar power projects in West and Central Africa.

The agreement will see IFC Infraventures, the Global Infrastructure Project Development Fund and Scatec Solar develop, finance, construct and operate solar photovoltaic plants with generation capacity of at least 10 megawatts each. Initial target countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Niger and Togo. 

A press release said the tie-up would combine Scatec Solar’s “world-class technical expertise” with the “local knowledge, networks and funding capacity” of the World Bank. “We believe that this partnership will be of great value to the countries we work in by reducing the time required from project development to power generation,” said Raymond Carlsen, chief executive officer of Scatec Solar.

Africa is experiencing the fastest economic growth of any region globally, but is strongly reliant on expensive and environmentally-unfriendly fuel-based power generation due to a lack of infrastructure. However, Africa has a favourable climate for solar power, which can be installed quickly and thus assist electricity access in remote rural areas.

In developing African solar energy, Scatec Solar says it will put to use the experience gained when it helped pioneer solar village electrification in India in 2009.