UK bank to fund further Africa power projects

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Addis Ababa, 30 July 2014 (WIC) - British bank Standard Chartered is to pledge an additional $3bn to an initiative that aims to build power projects to improve electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa.

The bank has put $2bn into the US-sponsored Power Africa initiative over the past year. It now says it will increase the amount pledged after meeting its initial financial commitment.

“We expect to add around 7500 MW to Africa’s power grid,” said Peter Sands, Standard Chartered’s CEO. This amount is equivalent to the combined power production capacity of Nigeria and Ivory Coast, he added.

Power Africa was founded in 2013 by US President Barack Obama and aims to electrify over 20m homes and businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania by 2018.

Standard Chartered’s contributions will help to fund two power projects in Nigeria: the 450 MW Azura-Edo gas-fired power plant (pictured), currently being developed, as well as the 495 MW gas-fired Okija plant, planned to come online in 2015.

Sands said Africa’s population growth has accelerated the need for more power capacity.

"It needs to accelerate, because otherwise one is simply making sure that the gap between the need for power and the supply of power just doesn't get much bigger,” he said.