EISER Infrastructure Partners, the London-based fund manager, has opened a new Johannesburg office – an intended development that was flagged by Infrastructure Investor in July.
The firm’s new head of South Africa is Richard Onyango, who has been hired from Standard Bank where he helped establish an East Africa-based infrastructure finance team dedicated to deals in the region which developed a pipeline of renewable energy projects.
Prior to Standard Bank, Onyango had worked as an investment banker in the UK and New York as well as at Globeleq, the emerging market power company, where he was responsible for developing African power projects.
The new office will be used to support EISER’s mandate as investment adviser to Green Africa Power (GAP), a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) initiative to offer mezzanine finance and contingent lines of credit to privately-owned renewable power generation projects in Africa’s most under-developed countries.
Leading EISER’s team in the region, Onyango will work with its London office to originate and execute renewable energy transactions on behalf of GAP.
“Richard’s background in the African renewables sector and his international banking experience means he is ideally placed to work with the London-based team in meeting the goals of GAP and its donors,” said Vivian Nicoli, a partner at EISER, in a statement.
GAP has £98 million (€124 million; $168 million) of initial funding from the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC). It is hoping to attract further funding from other development finance institutions.
In an interview with Infrastructure Investor following EISER’s appointment as adviser to GAP, Nicoli said the Africa move was opportunistic and not directly related to EISER’s decision earlier in the year to adopt a managed account focus – rather than traditional fundraising focus – in Europe.
“Africa is very interesting but it’s a different opportunity and a different model to Europe, which remains our home market,” she pointed out.