Distributed Power Africa (DPA), a subsidiary of Econet Wireless Global, and a global leading electricity company, Électicité De France (EDF), at the weekend, signed power deal. They will jointly develop commercial and industrial (C&I), and hybrid energy solutions for Nigeria and other African markets.
Frequent power-outages and a lack of basic access to electricity grids are on-going obstacles to business growth in many African countries on both micro and macro levels. “This means that the cost of doing business across different industries, especially manufacturing on the continent, is extremely high. In fact, some sub-Saharan countries experience load shedding from up to 4600 hours annually.” According to Quartz Africa 2018, the cost of running back-up power can be as much as 53 cents per Kw/h versus six cents per Kw/h via grid.
Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder, Econet Wireless, Mr Strive Masiyiwa, said energy is the next biggest infrastructure opportunity in the journey to transform the continent’s fortune.
He said: “Enabling reliable and stable energy to businesses will help meet the continent’s economic growth goals. In the telecoms industry, for every 10 per cent increase in teledensity we observed a one per cent increase in gross domestic product (GDP). In the energy sector, we expect a tenfold increase in GDP by addressing the continental power challenge.”
Partnering a global player such as EDF, which possess vast technological expertise and access to energy markets, he said, will accelerate energy rollout on the continent and significantly impact the continent’s economies.
The deal is expected to focus on the development of distributed-energy solutions based on solar panels associated with energy back-up systems such as batteries. Both firms plan to deploy their solutions in sub-Saharan Africa, which initially include Nigeria, South Africa and Ivory Coast with plan to expand into other key markets.
EDF Senior Executive, Vice President International – Marianne Laignea, who spoke at the signing ceremony, said: “For EDF, this partnership represents an opportunity to expand our services into the burgeoning distributed energy sector. Already active in renewables, grid and energy-efficiency services in 15 African countries, EDF has the necessary expertise to deliver comprehensive energy solutions perfectly suitable for African C&I applications.”
She added that Econet’s extensive experience and track record in operating in Africa’s most challenging environments would add great value to both companies’ endeavours.
DPA Group CEO, Mr Norman Moyo, emphasised the importance of adopting fast, efficient and long-term cost saving technologies for advanced power penetration and development in Africa.
He said: “Businesses in Africa are increasingly interested in affordable and reliable energy security, and the replacement of generators with solar technology is a growing trend due to the associated financial savings and environmental dividend. DPA forecasts increased growth from the C &I sector for reliable and clean renewable energy solutions, including solar power and battery back-up technology.”
DPA and EDF plan to set up power businesses in various African countries with countries such as Nigeria and Ivory Coast high on priority list. They intend to accelerate the deployment and roll-out of Green energy across Africa, with EDF acting as a technology partner for DPA projects in Africa. EDF has vast experience in renewable energy. Distributed Power Africa will leverage EDF’s capabilities and utilize these solutions in developing and growing their pipeline in Africa.