Finance organisation, the Private Infrastructure Development Group’s Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), last year garnered $242-million worth of new loan commitments towards projects in Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire.
The EAIF’s loan portfolio grew by 16% last year, while it expects its portfolio value to reach $1-billion by the end of this year.
Of the eight projects the fund signed last year, six have reached financial close.
The EAIF supported efficient, low-carbon technology infrastructure projects in renewable and conventional energy and in port, rail and affordable housing developments.
The fund estimates that more than 370 new direct permanent jobs will result from the projects it has backed, with 7 500 people employed in building the infrastructure.
Asset manager Investec EAIF team director Martijn Proos said 2019 was a notable year for the fund.
“We successfully entered the affordable housing sector and grew our presence in the renewable energy sector. All our investments contribute to greater economic resilience and positive impacts on communities.”
During 2019, the EAIF added affordable housing to the range of sectors it operates in. It concluded its first transaction in October 2019 when it invested KES1.3-billion, or $12.7-million, to finance the construction of up to six green-certified student properties in Nairobi, Kenya, developed by Acorn Holdings, creating clean, safe and affordable accommodation for 5 000 students.
The EAIF anchored the issue as the largest single investor in a note issue in Kenya that raised a total of KES4.3-billion. It was the fund’s first transaction denominated in local currency.
Additionally, the EAIF helped enable the financing of the 14 MW Kikagati hydropower station through a $26.8-million loan. The project is now being built on the border of Uganda and Tanzania.
When operational, the energy generated from the project will be supplied equally to both countries.
Kikagati is the EAIF’s first cross-border renewable energy investment and the tenth renewable energy development the fund has backed in Uganda.
One of the most strategically important economic development projects of recent times in Gabon is the Gabon Special Economic Zone Port (GSEZP). The EAIF was the sole mandated lead arranger of a €305-million debt package financing the expansion of port facilities, making GSEZP more competitive for exporters and shippers.
The allied Enterprise Zone adjacent to the port has already attracted 123 businesses from 18 countries.
The EAIF’s first project in Guinea saw it commit $40-million of a $750-million debt package raised by the Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC).
The project is forecast to add up to 3% to Guinea’s gross domestic product. The majority of the capital is being deployed to build port and marine facilities, upgrade and extend an existing railway and provide associated infrastructure.
GAC is a global supplier of bauxite. Its new site in Guinea will see over 1 000 new permanent jobs created.
In total, the EAIF will have contributed to 458 MW of cost efficient combined cycle gas turbine capacity being added to African energy networks.