Standard Chartered Bank has increased its financial pledge from $2b to $5b to �Power Africa�, an initiative expected to add about 7,500 megawatts of power to Africa�s power grid.
The US$3b increase represents a 150 per cent rise from its initial pledge after reaching its initial commitment in 12 months.
The governments of Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Liberia and a group of private-sector firms are taking part in the initiative to improve access to clean, reliable power in Africa and ultimately deliver electricity to more than 20 million new households and companies by 2018.
A release issued in Accra on Wednesday by the bank said �On President Obama�s launch of Power Africa in July 2013, Standard Chartered initially committed US$2 billion. With its extended commitment, the bank remains the largest private sector contributor within the Power Africa partnership.�
The release quoted the Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered, Mr Peter Sands, as saying that �Over our 150 years of history in Africa, we have always strived to contribute to social and economic development, financing trade and investment across the continent.�
He added: �A lack of access to electricity is one of Africa�s most critical infrastructure challenges. With our extended commitment to the �Power Africa� initiative, we expect to add around 7,500 megawatts to Africa�s power grid � equivalent to the electricity production capacity of Nigeria and Cote d�Ivoire.�
The release said the projects that Standard Chartered had been involved in under its Power Africa commitment included the Azura-Edo Power Project in Nigeria, a privatelyowned and funded greenfield independent power plant (IPP), setting an industry standard in legal and regulatory frameworks for other developing power plants to follow, progressing the Nigerian government�s power sector reform.
�The Azura-Edo plant will harness the country�s domestic gas resources to generate 450MW of power as the first non-captive IPP in Nigeria in more than 10 years. Standard Chartered is the global coordinating mandated lead arranger and structuring bank. Total invested capital in the power plant and gas supply will exceed US$1 billion,� the release said.
The second project is the Okija Power Project in Nigeria, also another privately-owned and funded greenfield IPP which will be the second (after Azura-Edo) to seek long- term debt financing on a limited recourse basis.
The release said the plant of 495MW-installed capacity would also utilise domestic natural gas to generate electricity in south-eastern Nigeria.
The Zambian Energy Corporation, the release said, is Standard Chartered�s private equity Africa division which has invested US$57 million into Copperbelt Energy Corporation, which will flow into its regional operation, CEC Africa (CECA).
The release said �The CECA has acquired a power plant and distributor within Nigeria�s privatisation plans (600MW Shiroro Hydro Plant in Niger State and Abuja Electricity Distribution Company). This will support CECA�s power infrastructure expansion strategy in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan Africa countries.�
Source: Graphic Online
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