A unique partnership has formed with $500m to spend on developing small hydro power plants along the rivers of Africa.
Africa has extensive untapped hydro power potential and small hydro power plants would be a holistic solution to Africa’s growing energy-generation capacity gaps– Jurie Swart, AIIM chief executive
Within five years the joint venture aims to have a total of 200MW of new installed capacity in countries that could include Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana (pictured) and elsewhere to meet Africa’s growing energy demand, and to make a return for investors.
"This partnership represents an attractive opportunity to support the development of a pan-African infrastructure platform," said AIIM chief executive Jurie Swart, in making the announcement on 1 September.
"Africa has extensive untapped hydro power potential and small hydro power plants would be a holistic solution to Africa’s growing energy-generation capacity gaps."
Mecamidi said that around 15% of the world’s hydro power potential is in Africa, but that only 10% of that capacity is currently exploited.
The firms believe conditions are right in Africa for investments in hydro power to be attractive.
The partnership will mostly develop run-of-river hydro power plants, which Mecamidi said have less environmental and social impact than big schemes needing large dams.
The Mecamidi subsidiary involved in the campaign is Hydroneo Afrique.
AIIM is a joint venture between Macquarie Group and Old Mutual Investment Group.
Image: Sunset on the Volta river at Sogakope, Ghana, one of the countries targeted by the new hydro power investment campaign (ZSM/Wikimedia Commons)