Pace of renewables uptake will vary across Africa: Philippe Valahu, CEO, Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG).

Author:Masie, Desne
Position:Energy: Interview
 
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In its mission to support infrastructure development, PIDG is strongly committed to sustainability. But, as its CEO tells Dr Desne Masie, not all countries have the option of going to 100% renewable energy tomorrow

The offices of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) are nestled in the heart of the City of London, overlooking the iconic Gherkin and Scalpel buildings. Here, African Business caught up with CEO Philippe Valahu to talk about the group's work facilitating private investment through public private partnerships (PPPs) and bringing infrastructure and energy projects to Africa and South East Asia.

Since 2002, PIDG has guided around 200 infrastructure projects to financial close, mobilising billions in private sector investment supported by funding from six countries--the UK, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany--and the IFC.

These state and multilateral agencies have provided equity and worked together in PPPs that have included insurer Allianz; Standard Chartered Bank; the African Development Bank; the German development finance institution, KfW; and FMO, the Dutch development bank. Remaining revenues come from interest payments and the repayment of loans towards the projects, taking PIDG's model of self-sustainability closer to reality.

PIDG has been particularly active in bringing energy, especially renewables, to the African continent, including in fragile and post-conflict states through investing in credit opportunities with its Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) managed by Investec Asset Management.

Energy investments include Nachtigal Hydro in Cameroon in 2018 and a solar power plant in Mali, Akou Kita, in 2017. The EAIF has also invested in eight energy projects in Uganda including the refinancing of the 13 MW Bugoye hydro power plant in 2017, in which it provided $14.6501 out of a total of $293m. The fund has worked in countries as diverse as Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, and Cote d'Ivoire.

"We have a number of entities that effectively cover the full life cycle of an infrastructure asset from the upstream technical assistance required; to feasibility studies; all the way down to providing equity debt and guaranteed products," says Valahu. "That is a pretty powerful toolkit because it means that we cover the full capital structure and that makes us quite unique, and that means that every single thing we do is focused on infrastructure broadly defined."

De-risking projects

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