Norway’s development fund to double power investments in Africa

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OSLO – Norway’s -owned development fund, Norfund, plans double or even triple its investments in Sub-Saharan Africa’s power sector by 2020, its managing director said on Wednesday.

Norfund is developing hydropower in Sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with Norway’s power group Statkraft, and has teamed up with Britain’s development fund CDC invest in Globeleq Africa, a power company with an ambition add 5,000 megawatt new capacity.

“We expect double or even triple the capital invested in Africa by 2020, depending on the ,” Kjell Roland, managing director Norfund, told a conference in Oslo, which included energy ministers from Ghana and Zambia.

The fund, backed by the government the oil-rich Nordic country, has invested more than 2 billion Norwegian crowns ($248.85 ) in Africa so far, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]

The fund is seeking to develop power in partnership with private investors, like Kenya’s 310 megawatt Lake Turkana wind power park, which will be the biggest wind park in Africa.

“The project is on track to start producing power in 2016, and become a showcase for wind power in Africa,” Mugo Kibati, a chairman of the project company, told Reuters.

Lack of access to electricity is holding back economic development in many African countries.

“Power deficit is the biggest single issue for Ghana’s economy,” Ghana’s Minister of Power Kwabena Donkor told the conference.

Sub-Saharan countries will to invest $490 billion in power generation to reach 80 percent of electrification in 25 years, a by McKinsey&Company showed.

To bring investment into the power sector, African countries to have cost-reflective electricity tariffs, clear regulations and a political will, said Adam Kendall, McKinsey’s head of power and gas in Africa.

Currently only about a third of the population have access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in some countries, like Zambia, only 5 percent of and 26 percent of the urban population have electricity.

($1 = 8.0371 Norwegian crowns)(Reuters)