As Malawi grapples with its worst electricity black-out crisis in history, a window of opportunity has opened for the country to tap into a US$300 million power and infrastructure fund to be managed in Africa by Standard Bank group, currently one of Malawi’s largest banks.
Backed by U.S Government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Wells Fargo Bank, the fund will see Standard Bank providing US$33 million from its balance sheet to support transactions financed by the facility.
In a recent statement released in New York, the fund is a 12-year finance program and was signed on the sidelines of the recent US-Africa Business Forum.
The statement says about $150 million of the facility will support power transactions as part of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, with up to $100 million available for other strategic infrastructure projects beyond the power sector.
Says Sim Tshabalala, Standard Bank Group Chief Executive: “Power and infrastructure play a crucial role in the economic development of Africa. We are delighted to be part of such an important initiative and look forward to working with OPIC and Wells Fargo to promote sustainable economic growth and to make a real difference to the lives of the people of Africa.
“Standard Bank has the experience, knowledge and presence in Africa to make this project a resounding success.”
For her part, OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield said her organisation is excited to collaborate on an initiative that will have a long-lasting impact on the lives of millions throughout Africa.
“By supporting both infrastructure and power projects, this forward-thinking loan facility brings badly-needed capital to the table and will pave the way for future development in Africa to take root and grow,” she said.
Wells Fargo Executive Vice President Chuck Silverman said the fund will target low-income and IDA-eligible countries in Africa to finance renewable energy projects.
“Wells Fargo is pleased to sponsor this landmark facility for The Standard Bank of South Africa. We are proud to have worked in close partnership with OPIC to arrange and co-lend in support of this project”, he said.