International project developer eleQtra Limited, Zambian hydropower expert Mr Katai Kachasa, newly-established development facility Climate Investor One and the long-standing multilateral development institution Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) have signed a four-way agreement for the development and construction of a combined 75MW hydropower facility and 20MW solar PV facility in Zambia, to be financed on an all equity basis.
At a ceremony at the annual Africa Energy Forum in London, the partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out the schedule for the development and construction of the Mwambwa Hydro and Solar Project near Chinsali in the north of the country. This is expected to require an investment of approximately $250 million, which will be funded on an all-equity basis with a re-financing after commercial operation. This innovative financing structure is expected to expedite the development timeline and provide an optimal financing solution for the project. This should lead to an expedited development schedule which will enable Zambia’s citizens to benefit from increased electricity generating capacity that the project will provide with the shortest possible delay.
The Mwambwa project comes at a time when Zambia faces major power shortages, and also has ambitious plans for enhancing generation capacity, increasing electrification rates and harnessing export opportunities to its neighbours in both the Southern Africa and East Africa Power Pools. This project’s location in the Muchinga Province in the north of Zambia is close to the Tanzanian border, where a transmission interconnector is under development. This means that the project will be well-placed to serve both local and regional needs, and help with stabilisation of the Zambian national grid, since the region is currently served primarily by generation sources in the south of the country.
The project was launched by eleQtra Limited and Katai Kachasa, who have worked together on other hydro power projects in Zambia. Initial early stage studies for the Mwambwa project have already been undertaken to identify its key features and establish its viability to a prefeasibility level. Together eleQtra and Mr Kachasa have agreed the terms for a Development and Cooperation Agreement with Climate Investor One for the development of the Mwambwa project through to financial close and construction. Should the next phase of studies demonstrate the project to be feasible, then in accordance with the MOU the Africa Finance Corporation will also participate in the development of the project. While Climate Investor One is new to the market, eleQtra and AFC have previously had successful partnerships for the development and financing of the 28MW Cabeolica wind farm in operation in Cape Verde and the flagship 350MW Cenpower combined cycle gas plant in Ghana which is under construction.
This four-way partnership will bring the experience, local knowledge and funding required to develop and construct the Mwambwa Hydro and Solar Project, and all parties look forward to working together to bring the project to fruition.
eleQtra director Richard Parry said:
“eleQtra are delighted to be working together with Mr Kachasa and Climate Investor One on what we believe to be the first combined hydro and solar PV project in Zambia, and we look forward to African Finance Corporation joining the partnership for the next phase of the development in order to bring the project into operation in the shortest possible time through these innovative financing structures.”
Katai Kachasa said:
“The signing of this agreement is a significant milestone in addressing the energy deficit that Zambia faces. I look forward to working closely with these eminent agreement partners in an accelerated implementation of these projects, whose power generation will go a long way in facilitating development in Zambia and the region. It is only through the realisation of projects such as these ones that we will meaningfully deliver development to our people and ultimately eradicate poverty.”
Climate Investor One fund manager Andrew Johnstone said:
“We’re very proud to be associated with eleQtra and AFC on this initiative, with AFC’s eminent position as an African financial institution, and also this reflects an evolution of eleQtra’s business model as a well-established and progressive developer in the market. Climate Investor One, as an innovative financing solution, sits well with these two partners and bodes very well for a very successful project.”
Andrew Alli, CEO of AFC, also commented on the announcement:
“A lack of basic infrastructure in Africa is leading to dire power shortages. Bridging this power divide is crucial to the development of many other sectors, including transportation and heavy industries, and ultimately to driving economic growth on the continent.
“The future of Africa’s energy lies in its abundance of natural resources and its ability to make the most of both renewable and non-renewable sources. The Mwambwa hydro and Chinsali solar project in Zambia will significantly benefit the local population and add valuable clean electricity to Zambia’s grid. As the first of its kind to be built in the country, it will provide the model for future developments to follow.”
eleQtra is a leading player in the development, investment, management and operation of private infrastructure in emerging economies with a particular expertise in power generation. eleQtra has a solid track record of delivering greenfield infrastructure projects in multiple sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa and managing them through the full development cycle. Completed projects include the award-winning ‘Cabeolica’ wind farm in Cape Verde, the first large scale PPP for wind power production in Sub-Saharan Africa which became fully operational in 2011, and the ‘Cenpower’ gas plant in Ghana which completed its $900m project financing in 2014 and was awarded the ‘PFI African Power Deal Of The Year’. For more information visit www.eleQtra.com.
About Katai Kachasa:
Katai E Kachasa was the founding CEO of Lunsemfwa Hydro Power Company Limited (LHPC), the first private power producer in Zambia, a role from which he has recently stood down. He was named in 2014 as one of the “ESI Africa 50 most influential figures in Southern Africa power”. Before starting up LHPC in 2002, Mr Kachasa had a 26-year career in the Zambian copper mining industry where he worked in operating divisions and corporate centres of ZCCM Limited. He was for several years the Manager (Engineering) for Mufulira Division, an integrated division comprising mining operation through to refining. Following the privatization of the Zambian mining industry in 2000, Katai worked as the Consulting Electrical Engineer for Mopani Copper Mines PLC until 2002. Mr Kachasa holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Zambia.
About Climate Investor One:
Climate Investor One is a new facility launched at the COP21 climate talks in Paris in December 2015 and is managed by Climate Fund Managers, a joint venture between FMO and Phoenix Infraworks. It has been established by the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (“FMO”) in partnership with Phoenix InfraWorks, to encourage private sector investment into renewable energy projects in developing countries. Climate Investor One is a new approach to the funding of infrastructure, through which environmental impact, economic returns and operating infrastructure will be delivered in a faster and simpler manner. The facility is unique in the way it combines three investment funds into one facility to finance renewable energy projects at specific stages of the project lifecycle: the development stage, the construction stage, and the operational stage. For more information visit www.climatefundmanagers.com.
AFC, an international investment grade multilateral finance institution, was established in 2007 with an equity capital base of US$1 billion, to be the catalyst for private sector infrastructure investment across Africa. With a current balance sheet size of approximately US$3.2 billion, AFC is now the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. In May 2015, AFC successfully concluded a debut US$750 million Eurobond issue which was 7 times oversubscribed and attracted investors from Asia, Europe and the USA. AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth. AFC invests in high quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. For more information visit www.africafc.org.