As Eskom power cuts continue, investor Actis is keen to shine more light on Africa

With the lowest electricty access in the world, Africa is calling, says UK private equity firm Actis. Already holding a portfolio of 25 power projects worth $1 billion on the continent, Actis is eyeing more opportunities in East, West and South Africa. – by Derek Alberts

Actis eyes Africa power projects after $1 billion of investments

By Monique Vanek

London-based private-equity firm Actis LLP is looking at African energy projects to add to the $1 billion it has already invested in the sector on the continent.

“We’re seeing some new opportunities that we have not yet approved,” Neil Brown, a partner and head of the Investor Development Group at Actis, said in an interview. Investments will probably be spread across East and North Africa and also in South Africa, although no commitments have been made, he said.

Africa, which has a population of 1.3 billion people, has an electricity-access rate of just over 40%, the lowest in the world, according to the African Development Bank. South Africa, the continent’s most-industrialized economy, has battled power shortages since 2008 after the government failed to invest in new plants in time to replace aging equipment and infrastructure.

The emerging-markets investor now plans to bid for the nation’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme, Brown said. The government wants 2,000 megawatts of capacity from independent power producers after a record year of power outages.

Actis also plans to participate in the fifth round of bidding for the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme, he said. This could either be through new plants, such as solar and wind farms, or the firm could buy existing operating facilities that can be improved, according to Brown.

Actis has investments in about 25 power projects in countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique and Cameroon.

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