UK-listed private equity firm Actis, has established a joint venture which will aim to provide between 700 – 900 megawatts through various wind and solar projects across the African continent by 2018.

The new venture, Lekela Power, has two primary equity partners; Actis and Mainstream who have a 60%/40%  holding respectively.

With an existing track record of cooperation, Mainstream and Actis have already worked together on a project in Chile and are now extending this partnership in order to meet the increasing demand for electricity throughout Africa.

With rolling blackouts affecting almost all economies within Africa, figures from the African Development Bank suggest it could be costing the continent as much as 4% GDP.

Speaking on behalf of Actis, head of renewable energy Lucy Heintz said; “At the moment, commercial bank interest in the rest of Africa [outside South Africa] is more patchy, so we will work with multilaterals and development finance institutions.

In the past, banks have invested in Egyptian energy before, but HSBC and others have less appetite for Egypt at the moment.”

Miss Heintz continued to say; “We’ll be looking at east Africa. There is a lot going on in solar in Kenya, some in Uganda, and Ethiopia is an interesting market that we are watching – it has been very active on the state-procurement side in energy. We’ll see whether that market evolves towards more private sector participation.”

Actis, who already has a presence in Africa through one of its subsidiaries, Globaleq Africa, has operations in five countries including Cameroon and Tanzania.