Africa’s power deficit is a major constraint on economic growth and social development, The Global African Investment Summit (‘TGAIS’) in London will bring together African governments and the international finance community to tackle this critical issue. With government delegations presenting bankable investment projects to global investors, TGAIS will help secure funding needed to transform Africa’s economies from some of the world’s largest financial institutions and investment funds.
Excluding South Africa, per capita consumption of electricity in sub-Saharan Africa is 10 KWh (kilowatt hours) per month, in high income countries this figure is almost 1000 KWh. In some countries in Africa, backup generators supply up to half total generation capacity, explaining, in part, why electricity is more expensive on the continent than anywhere else in the world; up to three times as much as those in the United States or Europe. This is a social disaster, reducing Africa’s ability to create jobs or industrialise its economies. At a basic livelihoods level, there are 600 million people on the continent with no regular access to power, relying solely on charcoal, wood and biomass for cooking.
To achieve the target of universal access to electricity in Africa by 2030, the International Energy Agency states that sub-Saharan Africa will need more than $300 billion in investment. For international investors, this demand is well recognised, but identifying specific projects that have the right legal, regulatory and political support and will bring returns on investment is not straightforward. All these aspects are critical for financiers to see a project as investable.
TGAIS is working with African governments to bring those bankable projects to the international market. Organised by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and led by the Presidents of Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania and Togo. TGAIS will present major power projects from across the continent including greenfield gas, solar and wind plants as well as national distribution networks and privatisation opportunities.
One such project is the Grand Inga Dam, a project that – if realised – will revolutionise the supply of power to Africa by providing as much as 40,000 megawatts to southern Africa. The electricity will be far cheaper than current supply and, critically, comes from a renewable source. The energy produced by just this one dam could power homes and businesses in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and possible other countries in the region. The dam already has World Bank support through technical assistance funds to help make the project bankable for investors.
Claver Gatete, Rwandan Minister of Finance and Economic Planning was keen to highlight the significance of being able to meet international investors at TGAIS; “It’s great that our government gets to go to events like The Global African Investment Summit in London to profile investment opportunities in Rwanda. What we want investors to know is that we need their investment and that we provide the right incentives and have created one of the best business environments that can be found anywhere in the world.”
Amama Mbabazi, Ugandan Prime Minister highlighted the significance of finding the right investors for his country; “we have a number of important projects that will help the Ugandan economy grow substantially. Finding the best investors for those projects is crucial to knowing that they will be undertaken in a way that creates shared value and promotes long-term sustainability.”
TGAIS also receives strong support from the UK’s government, with Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds hosting a gala reception at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for all participants. Senior African government delegates will also be invited to Buckingham Palace for a VIP luncheon on the opening day.