Dubai-based Access Power MEA has partnered with French renewable firm Eren Development to launch a new financing vehicle focusing on African energy projects emerging in the next five years.

The companies will build a minimal finance portfolio of $500m on a principle investment basis, with the vehicle risking 7-10%, or $40-50m, on the development aspect of projects.

In exchange for a 20% equity stake in Access and a seat on the board Eren Development will put up 70% of the costs necessary to set up the finance vehicles African portfolio target with the remaining 30% coming from Access.

The privately-funded structure will tackle “early-stage development” — an area of the energy sector otherwise given little focus, according to Reda El Chaar, chairman of Access, who added that there is more money available for projects in Africa than there are projects.

Referring to schemes like US president Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative, El Chaar highlighted the 350MW capacity due to be built “over the next three to five years, predominantly in renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt and across North Africa.”

The partnership will help increase renewable projects in developing countries where “renewable energy represents a competitive answer” to local needs, explained David Corchia, Eren CEO.

“Our portfolio will definitely be more weighted to renewables than conventional power but there is nothing by mandate that prevents us from doing conventional power,” said El Chaar.

Last month, Access won a contract to build a $17m solar park in Uganda, and it has also been pre-qualified by Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy to develop wind and solar plants.

Dubai’s Access MEA signs $17m Uganda solar plant