Hussain Al Nowais
Chairman, AMEA Power
We spoke to Hussain Al Nowais in London, where he is transiting following visits to Senegal and Togo, Al Nowais is the trusted, go-to person in the United Arab Emirates when it comes to African affairs. His family holding company, Al Nowais Investment controls many businesses such as the Rotana Group, one of the country's leading hospitality groups, along with DANWAY, and AMEA Power.
With activities in both East and West Africa and more projects in the pipeline, Al Nowais explains how the African energy landscape compares with other markets, the key determinants behind AMEA Power's investments and why those calling for Africa to slow down energy production are endangering its development.
You've visited Senegal and Togo, and have a presence in other African markets. How do you determine the investments you're going to make?
In assessing the African energy market we've identified countries where there is a huge shortage of energy, and therefore a need. They may have a shortage in terms of resources or in terms of their ability to fund [these projects], while some countries lack the regulatory framework for an independent power producer (IPP) or build-operate-transfer (BOT) kind of investment. We like to work with development finance institutions (DFIs), which are very good when it comes to governance, structuring projects and ensuring everything is done in the right way.
I believe in the potential of Africa. My government has been active in meeting many of the leaders on the continent and we have the allocated funds to support them and their various initiatives.
Is there a checklist that you take before entering a market?
First, we look at stability and security. We look at leadership. We look at the regulatory framework. We look at the resources available: mining, agriculture and the population. We look at a country's histoiy--does it respect its obligations? Has it been defaulting on its dues? We look at what experience a country has with BOTs and IPPs. All these kinds of things give us an indication. If we feel the potential is there but the risk is higher than the potential, which can happen in some cases, we try to insure that risk by going to the likes of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency,
You said you have privileged access to capital. What do you mean by that?
I didn't say privileged access. We have our own capital, but we have an excellent relationship with DFIs. The DFIs have the...