Sweden, Power Africa and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) have launched the Power Africa: Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia which is an ambitious new market-based undertaking to bring clean energy access to one million Zambians.
The project is also aimed at accelerating private sector growth in energy generation and distribution in the country.
The Fund would “act as a catalyst for sustainable growth in this dynamic and up-and-coming economy,” said Sweden’s Ambassador to Zambia, Henrik Cederin. The announcement was made a reception at Swedish Embassy in Lusaka attended by over 60 industry and related stakeholders.
REEEP would manage the Fund, which would be capitalized with up to EUR 20m between 2016 to 2018, and begin financial operations in mid to late 2016.
Zambia faces an energy gap as it strives to serve the growing needs of its people, of whom nearly 95 per cent lack access to electricity. At the same time, the country has huge potential for rapid progress.
“Zambia has enormous energy resources from a range of renewable sources,” said Peter Storey, who is leading the Fund development team at REEEP. “Basic regulatory frameworks and policies are in place that make it possible for private companies to become involved in generating and selling power, as well as operating beyond the grid,” he added, referencing the central electricity grid network.
The Fund would hopefully grow the economy by supporting private enterprises and intends to employ impact-oriented blended financing to directly support companies entering the country’s energy markets.
The Fund is part of the Power Africa initiative, a partnership of more than 120 private sector companies, multilateral development banks, and the governments of the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the European Union and several African countries which aims to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Spearheaded by American President Barack Obama in 2013, Power Africa has mobilised partners to deliver over 25,000 megawatts of new power to Africans. “The Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia is a welcome new initiative and will support Power Africa’s goals in creating new clean power for energy-poor people and building new economic opportunities Zambia,” said U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz.