The UK government’s development finance institution British International Investment (BII) plans to invest $200 million in a joint project with Norway’s Norfund to construct at least three hydroelectric power projects in Africa, BII said on Thursday.
The two institutions will equally split a 49% shareholding in a joint venture with Norway’s Scatec ASA SCATC.OL for the projects, BII said in a emailed statement.
These will include the planned 205 megawatt (MW) Ruzizi III hydroelectric plant to supply electricity to Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo, the 120 MW Volobe hydropower plant in Madagascar, and Malawi’s 350 MW Mpatamanga project, BII said.
Norfund plans to put in an additional $100 million into the projects over coming years, according to the statement. BII and Norfund hold 49% stake in Scatec’s African hydropower projects.
The joint venture’s pipeline of projects includes the proposed 205 megawatt Ruzizi III plant, which will provide power to Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the 120 megawatt Volobe plant in Madagascar and a 350 megawatt Mpatamanga project in southern Malawi.
“Hydro-power is critical for providing clean base-load and peaking power, especially in landlocked countries in Africa, as the continent’s countries transition away from fossil fuels toward a net-zero future,” said Chris Chijiutomi, BII’s head of infrastructure equity for Africa and Pakistan.
Africa’s electricity access is estimated at 40%, according to the African Development Bank. Providing the continent with power is key to unlocking Africa’s vast economic potential by growing manufacturing capacity and boosting cross-country trade.