Development bank joins Africa energy project pilot program

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) agreed June 13 to join three world utility companies in a program to develop pilot energy projects to provide basic electricity to African citizens.

Meeting at Cape Town during the World Economic Forum on Africa, DBSA joined the forum’s Energy Poverty Alliance (EPA). Bank officials agreed to serve as host to the Energy Poverty Action Management Unit (EPAMU) at their offices in Midrand, South Africa.

The Energy Poverty Alliance is a private sector initiative that delivers business expertise and best practices to reduce energy poverty. The three initiating partners, BC Hydro of Canada, Eskom of South Africa, and Vattenfall of Sweden, already have committed to develop pilot projects in Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo, initially providing power to more than 70,000 people.

�The joint solution of using alternative sources of renewable energy, expanding the national and regional grids, and using innovative cost-effective technologies will contribute to more individuals, industries, and businesses gaining access to electricity,� Steve Lennon, Eskom’s managing director for resources and strategy, said. �This is what EPA offers. And Eskom confidently supports EPAMU and its goals of increasing energy access in Africa.�

Lennon said the key element is local empowerment and local economic sustainability in which power systems are operated and maintained without the need for subsidies from outside the community.

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