Panel: Power Africa: Partnerships as a Source of Power

Monduli District, Tanzania [Music] The beauty of the Maasai culture is our love for one another. The greatest challenge we faced in our boma was the darkness in our homes. You can’t see at night. 70 percent of Tanzanians live in rural areas Just 1 out of 10 have access to electricity My name is Elizabeth Moringe I am 20 years old. I live in Esilafei Village, Lobolu boma. My husband has three wives. I am his third wife. I have a son. My husband has eight other children, so we are a family of 13. It was in September last year that I heard that electricity was going to come to my boma. I was very happy the day the computer came and I started computer school. I was excited to get a chance to study again. We use electricity for almost everything now. For example, at night we can go anywhere in the boma because of the light. The electricity is helping us solve some problems. Like when my cell phone runs out of charge. I just plug it in (instead of traveling hours into the nearest village and paying) to charge it If we have milk we want to keep fresh for later, we can keep it in the fridge. In the future, I’m expecting my kids to go to school, and when they come home they will be able to do homework because they have light to study by at night. My dream is to have a good life with no stress in it so that I can be happy and my kids can go to school Power Africa is bringing light, hope, and opportunity to off-grid communities like Elizabeth’s Power Africa: President Obama’s flagship energy initiative aims to double access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen,
please welcome Power Africa Partnerships as a Source of
Power panel to the stage, moderated by Lee Zak,
Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. LEOCADIA ZAK: Thank
you very much. Wow. What an amazing day. And I have to say, I’m so
excited about this panel. Because I think it is one
of the most important, one of the most innovative
and one of the most exciting initiative of this
administration, Power Africa. Being able to moderate the panel
today is very meaningful to me, because I was with President
Obama when he launched the initiative on the continent
and when he launched that initiative, he asked us to focus
on something that was very important and that was to
encourage economic growth in Africa through bringing
access to power, because only two out of three
people on the continent had access to power. So what’s does that mean? What’s does that look like? Often times when people talk
about what it means to have access to power in Africa, they
show a diagram of the continent and they show the light
pollution and the fact that there isn’t a lot of light
pollution in Africa and sometimes they talk about how
dark it is when one flies over the continent. But I would like us to just stop
for a minute and not think about when it means from the air, but
what does it mean on the ground. From my travels in Africa
and from what I’ve seen, access to power in Africa means
that a girl in Ghana cannot complete her homework
after sunset. It means that a doctor in Rwanda
can barely keep the lights on, never mind use sophisticated
medical equipment. It means that an entrepreneur in
Mali is unable to grow her small business. What it means is that engines
of growth such as education, healthcare and business, can’t
quite get started in the way that they should in Africa. So access to power in Africa
affects real people and that’s why President Obama has asked
us to deliver real outcomes and that’s what we are here to talk
about today and that’s what Power Africa is about. Power Africa with its partners
and actually it numbers almost 120 partners today,
are working to add 30,000 megawatts of power and to
provide 60 million connections by 2023. Okay, so the real question
everybody has is: How are we going to do that? Well there are three things
we’re focusing on to be able to do that. The first, is one that you’ve
heard a lot about throughout today and that’s partnership and
that’s a very important part of Power Africa. As I mentioned, already there
are over 120 partners for Power Africa. And this ranges along
a range of parties. First of all, the U.S. Government is a significant
partner and frankly, partnership begins at home. It was mentioned this
morning that the U.S. Government is working hand
in hand and I have to say, I’ve about been in
the private sector, I have been in public sector
and I have never seen people collaborating and working
together the way they are for Power Africa. And I don’t mean people are just
putting in their notes for a report, but I mean is, when
there is a project needs to go forward, we are picking up the
phone we are calling each other, we are trying to figure
out what needs to be done. This is something that
is extremely important, this level of collaboration
among the U.S. Government. But clearly we know that is not
the answer alone and there are very other important
partners as well. Clearly our African partners
are key and working with them, we have been able to change
how businesses is being done. It is focusing on specific
policies and opening up markets. Also, as we heard this
morning on the finance panel, working with the international
finance institutions like World Bank, the FDD. So these are important
players as well. We are working with
foreign governments, we are not only with the United
States, but with Sweden, we are working with the UK,
we are working with Canada, and we’re also working with
multilateral institutions. Such as See for All, and I’m
very excited to have Rachel with us today, and she is going to
be telling us more about the exciting work that
they are doing. The other thing we’re doing
differently in Power Africa, is that we’re focusing on
transactions and this is very important because
through the transactions, we’re able to gain focus and see
what changes need to be made to be made so that we
can focus on policy, we are able to drive results. I think a discussion that is
going to come up a little later, is when you drive those results,
you also drive more people to come and so that’s why the
transaction focus has been so important and I very much look
forward to Neb’s discussion as we continue
throughout the panel, because he is the lead
transaction advisor in Ethiopia and he has been doing
tremendous things in this area. And we are going to hear
more about that shortly. The last piece and frankly
those of you who know, it’s one near and
dear to my heart, is the way we have been focusing
on the private sector and bringing the private sector
as a solution, as a partner, as a change agent
for Power Africa. We heard earlier today in the
discussion with respect to finance, how important the
private sector is to catalyzing capital. But the private sector is also
extremely important as a partner for the development. And that is why I’m so delighted
that we have Joe here today, who is going to be talking about
his projects and what he has been doing with Contour Global. So the next 30 minutes or so,
we’re going to have a discussion about what’s happening with
respect to Power Africa. We are going to be talking about
what it has meant to people, what the challenges are and
where we think we are going in the future. To begin that discussion, I’m
going to turn to Rachel and Rachel Kyte is the CEO of UN
Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which
focuses on affordable, reliable and sustainable energy
as a key to combatting both poverty and climate change. We had a chance to have a little
discussion before we came on the stage, Rachel has an amazing
background and she is really well suited to talk to us about
the concept of partnership. What is so important about
partnership and why it is making such a difference
in Power Africa? RACHEL KYTE: Thank you very much
and I’m delighted to be here. In preparing for this panel,
and as a British citizen, which where we
understate things, I was encouraged to pay you full
complement as United States of America for your leadership. So, coming from me, you can
relax and know that it’s for real. Secretary Clinton said when
she was Secretary of State, that the United States
was the necessary nation. That’s true when it comes
to sustainable development, you don’t get a deal in Paris on
global climate change without United States and
without its leadership. You don’t get deals on
sustainable development goals in the United Nations without the
United States preparing to show your leadership. And when the President threw
down a challenge to the world, which is what power Africa was,
it was a necessary piece of leadership. Now the good news is that, the
rest of the world agrees and I think on the supply side of the
support necessary to African leaders and to African people,
to get the continent powered and electrified and working, there
is a coordination and an agreement now that wouldn’t have
been possible perhaps with Power Africa urging people on. So, United Kingdom,
European Union, the French, all of the other development
partners for African nations lined up and points
in the same direction. That was not true
five, ten years ago. At the same time, Africa led in
the acceptance and the agreement of the sustainable
development goals, one of which is basically taking
Power Africa and even adding something to do it – the idea
that every African can have access to cheap
affordable power by 2030, that we all have a revolution
in efficiency and that we will completely change the mix of
energy in the energy system with much more renewables. But that wasn’t possible
without African leadership, and African leadership was
important in getting the climate deal as well. And then of course civil
society, new business models, the drop in the price of
technology and renewables, suddenly those goals
are not far out there, this is deliverable and this is
executable and it is possible within the next 10 to 15 years. So I think what is important
about this partnership is having the vision and having the guts
to put a line down and say that’s what we’re going to, and
then being able to galvanize from the bottom-up
and the top down, the kind of coordination
that is necessary. The challenge now
is choreography, there is money out there. It is not in the right place at
the right time and under the right terms. There is incredible innovation
in the marketplace, but perhaps not understood or
known by those who are sitting in the Ministry of Energy. It is the ability to be able to
imagine what success will look like. We can talk about what
isn’t there today, but can you imagine what it will
mean in 15 years if you are in a small town in Central West
Africa and the lights are on and you can have an operation and
you could have gone to the capital city and trained to be a
nurse and you came back and have a job in your community and you
are successful and save people’s lives because there’s power? Could you imagine all the
businesses your family members will be running
because there’s power? Businesses that they perhaps
imagined but never thought that they could run or own? That’s what is transforming. Now the challenge is
to get African leaders. parliamentarians,
judges, elected leaders, business leaders, to know that
this is actually possible in 10 to 25 years. The final challenge for the
United States of America is that these are not short term things. This is making a commitment to
the continent for ten years, 15 years, 20 years. This is a generational thing. So the consistency of policy
and commitment is absolutely necessary, but I think with the
sustainable development goals, we have a 15-year agenda
and we need the U.S. leadership for the
next 15 years as well. [Applause] LEOCADIA ZAK: This is a perfect
segue into the types of things that you are doing, and we are
delighted to have Neb Girma here with us, who is the lead
transaction advisory for Power Africa in Ethiopia. And this concept of being on the
ground is so important to the reforms that are
being talked about, getting people to understand
what is important to make changes – exactly
what you are doing. Can you tell us more about it? NEBIYOU GIRMA: Absolutely. First, I want to thank everyone
for the opportunity that we are given to speak about what
we are doing on the ground, as you said. When I arrived in Ethiopia,
this was sometime in 2013, right after the President
announced the Power Africa initiative in Tanzania. There was not a single
transaction that has been performed or conducted in
Ethiopia or in the history of Ethiopia, so one of the things
that the government had decided is that because that region is
in turmoil and they had a lot of issues with their hydro because
Ethiopia in particular is a drought prone region, and the
economies really built on hydro, they really suffering from
rainfall and what have you, they were not meeting
expectations not only on the food side, but even
on the energy side. They had this initiative that
they wanted to develop the other resource enormous resource
that they had which is [unintelligible]. But the challenge was that there
was no proclamation or law or legal framework to do that. But they wanted to interact or
to engage in a bilateral deal with an Islandic firm, but the
discussions took very long. Just for the fact that they were
– they don’t know about this deal. So there was, a lot of times
in when we call the discussion sessions and what have you, I
happened to speak a lot more than I wanted to speak,
rather than them speaking and initiating, and the thing is
that naturally Ethiopians are also a little bit shy in
expressing themselves. They wanted to gauge you first
in what your motives are and what have you. Even myself, I am an
Ethiopian-American, but I have been a way for such
a long time and coming back and trying to tell them, I think
this way is better than this way, like, hold on,
who are you to tell us? We moved away from the hurdle
and I think the trust started building at that moment and
they knew that I had their best interest at heart in
trying to help them. So from that aspect of it, there
was a lot of hand holding that needed to be done. And eventually you will find
bright people in there, one or two, and these
[unintelligible] that they have, which is need to be
supported significantly. And we found someone in the
Ministry of Finance that really understood this, but didn’t
have the power background. Did not take long for us to
actually bring him here and brought him up to speed. They were resistant
to new ideas. A small example is, some of the
risk mitigation facilities that we are proposing to
them, it was like, no, no we’re not interested in this. We would rather do some other
mechanism and things of that sort. But eventually they warmed up. What we did is through
our bilateral engagement, we sent them out here for a
crash course in how it will help them in actually developing this
resources and other resources and as such, when
they came back, actually they became the
advocate of these instruments. Which is very transforming. So what we have done so far is
really with the help of United States Energy Association, we
were able to put together a document, which is in front
of the Council of Ministries, to be signed in
the next few weeks. And then while we are doing that
and collaborating with the IFC, we are actually developing
the legal framework so the developments will go on and
that’s in the final stages also. Which possibly will be ratified
within a couple of months. We also looked at the energy
proclamation that they had – 2013-18, that’s
what they called it. And we found there were some
clauses within that that energy proclamation was not private
sector and investment conducive, so we went ahead and tried to
mitigate those things and we asked if we can amend
that proclamation, which the government
was willing to do that. Again, all of things happened
because we were able to win the trust of the government through
the work that we are doing. So a lot of things are being
done and things are changing in the right direction,
and as I said, I’m cautiously optimistic
about what is coming forward. LEOCADIA ZAK: That’s great. I had the chance to talk to Joe
before we came on the panel and he seems to be extremely
optimistic and has done a phenomenal job and we’re
delighted to have with us Joe Brandt who is the CEO and
President of Contour Global, and has not only been optimistic
but very successful in Africa, and Joe, I’m curious, I mean,
we’ve had a good discussion about partnerships, building
trust, having reform. How does that all fit in to
you as a business person? What does that mean and can you
tell us about this phenomenal project you have in Senegal? JOSEPH BRANDT: Well, we have
been doing Power Africa in Sub-Saharan Africa before
capital letters PA and after capital letters PA and the
landscape has been transformed in terms of policy, in terms
of enabling investment, in terms of mobilizing capital,
which is ultimately a critical constraint when we talk about
bringing electricity to Africa, because these are highly
capital intensive industries. And the Power Africa
initiative was a bold one, it was foundational, and I think
about projects that we did before Power Africa and after
Power Africa that had a lot of similarities. We did one in Togo with OPIC
as our financier back in 2010. We took about 4.5 years to get
that project moving forward and it was tough to bring equity
investors into the project to get them comfortable that
this was a good idea. It was tough to get OPIC to
think that being the first big power project in a West African
State was a good risk profile for them even though they’re in
an enabling institution as a development finance institution. And then, I think, I
fast-forwarded to 2014, when we signed with the
government of Senegal, sub-Saharan African State,
West African sub region, same technology we used in Togo
and same lender that we used in Togo, same equipment and
providers that we used in Togo. And that project took 16 months
to go from an idea to power onto the grid. And I looked at the way that we
were able to generate support from particularly U.S. government agencies
and the embassies. The embassies have always
been helpful in the past. The embassy was
always there to help. Helping a power developer bring
a power project into an African country wasn’t on the
top of the agenda. It wasn’t the top three. After Power Africa, the
symbolism and the symbolic communication of Power
Africa, you got a very large administrative function that
was suddenly very interested in what’s a megawatt and how do I
bring megawatts into the country where I serve, and if someone
is walking into my office and talking about electricity in
Africa I’m going to try to figure out a way to
get the project done. We had tremendous assistance
from the embassy in Senegal and we brought our partners, OPIC
and the IFC and it was a — it was a project that was able to
move with that type of speed in large part because we had a new
landscape for developing power infrastructure in sub-Saharan
Africa and that’s Power Africa. It’s certainly the President’s
embrace of a new way of doing business and governing in that
important country in West Africa. But watching these two
things come together, it was not coincidental that we
signed the agreement in August 14′ just before or just during
the U.S./ Africa Leader Summit. Right? The President of Senegal made it
clear to his team that he wanted this to be signed,
during that week. And he paid attention to that
project from the beginning. He was with us when we
inaugurated just a month ago. And as a follow
onto that project, we’re going to bring another
33 megawatts so we’re talking 100,000 people will
benefit from this project, $150 million Euro project, 100
million Euro financing from OPIC and that project will come
on line in nine months, it’s unheard of in our field to
bring power, to bring energy, electricity onto
grids this quickly. And it’s changed
a lot since 2013, and the announcement when the
President announced the Power Africa initiative. LEOCADIO ZAK: What I’m hearing
is that sort of creating this landscape has really
made a difference, it’s really bringing new
partners to the table, and it’s bringing
comfort for business. And it’s bringing speed,
and I have to say, I say that very cautiously,
because I know how long it takes for power projects
to move forward, but what I’m hearing is, it’s
taking less time than it did in the past. We were talking earlier about
the fact that we all love transaction, we love power,
we can get a little geeky, but this is all about
the people, as well. And I’m going to stay with
you for a minute, Joe, because you are doing a
really innovative project. And it has a really significant
impact on people as well. So I’m wondering if you could
tell us a little bit about that one. JOSEPH BRADT: Well, this
is a unique one, you know, rarely do you have the
alignment of the science, the industry or the
private interest, the state and civil society
around an extractive project. I’ve never seen it in my career
and I’m unlikely to see it again, but that Lake Kivu, which
is on the border of Rwanda and Congo, sometimes is
termed a killer lake, but it’s at a very unusual lake,
because it contains within the waters, not beneath the
surface of the lake, dissolved methane gas in
solution and this methane gas continues to replenish itself
through the decomposition of organic material in
this deep water lake. It’s about 500 meters deep, and
it provides the benefit of, if you can extract it and
separate the gas out of the water, you can use it for
— for power production, which is desperately needed
in Rwanda which has an electrification
rate of about 15%, but it’s also a toxic menace,
because the release of the associated carbon dioxide,
methane and hydrogen sulfide will kill millions of people in
this densely inhabited part of Central Africa on the lake in
the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, and there’s been a
release from a similar lake in Cameroon that killed virtually
everyone living on the lake in a sparsely inhabited
part of Cameroon. We, over a very long period
of time, about 8.5 years, successfully figured out a
way to tap that methane gas, to extract it and bring it
ashore and is now generating for the government and
the people of Rwanda, electricity and are adding to
that extractive capability, so that we’re generating at
the same time electricity and reducing the buildup of the
gas and the gases in the lake. It’s a very, very
unusual project. It’s a tribute to the company
that I run and also the leadership of their President
who saw this project as something that could do well
at a time when a lot of people thought, let’s
just flair the gas, because you can at least reduce
the toxic gas risk to the people living on shore, but, of course,
it would be a complete waste of a very productive energy
resource in a country that desperately needs it. And it will — that project is
now transforming the country, and the President was with us
for the inauguration just two months ago, and there will be
more and more of this energy, a very unique form of renewable
energy that will be made available to the country. And it’s a success
story by any measure. LEOCADIO ZAK: It’s just amazing
to see something that was a potential hazard that is now
being transformed through unbelievable technology and
innovation into energy, and basically doing good. Another area where I think there
has been transformation is in the off-grid space. And Rachel, I was wondering if
you could talk — tell us a little bit about what SE for All
has been doing in the off space, and sort of how you see that
as part of the Power Africa partnership and leadership. RACHEL KYTE: Perhaps we could
stay in the same part of the world. I have actually been up for
the test of this project, more than 8, 9 years ago, at a
time when people thought this was crazy, but, you know,
that’s the length of time. JOSEPH BRANDT: It was crazy. RACHEL KYTE: That’s the length
of time it takes to see these projects to come into fruition
and I was at IFC at the time and certainly the management of
IFC thought it was crazy, but the point is
that for East Africa, there was going to be methane,
there was going to be efficient hydro evacuated out of Ethiopia
into an East African power grid. There was geothermal, there
was going to be off shore gas, there was going to be wind
and solar, grid connected. And then there is
in the short-run, an opportunity by embracing
Distributed Energy, mini-grids, micro-grids,
home-based solutions. There is an opportunity not to
wait for the grid to finally arrive at that distant
rural community, or for the people living in the
informal settlements of the large and growing cities to be
the last to have to sort of jury-rig their way
into the supply. There is a way now by embracing
the new business models, to actually bring that access
forward in the next 3, 4, 5 years, not waiting 13, 15,
and the economic – the economic rationale for doing that, the
economic empowerment that comes from having access
to cheap, affordable, reliable electricity
sooner rather than later, is a number that we hope that
in partnership with the U.S. and everybody else, you put that
number in front of ministers and perhaps you get their attention. So the distributed solutions
alongside the grid can bring the social transformation that
leave no one behind that we all committed to in the
United Nations last year, make that a reality. And what you see are
these new business models, pay as you go on
your cell phone, allowing you to use a
home-based solar solution, access to mini grids in Tanzania
and what Power Africa is doing together with all of
the other partners, is helping ministers and helping
government realize that by embracing something
which is new, there’s no trodden path for
embracing distributed energy the way that Africa
will have to do it. That you can actually bring
the solutions forward. And that this is
a good investment. There are impact
investors in this country, there are equity
investors in this country, West Coast and East Coast. Philanthropists in this country,
West Coast and East Coast. In Europe, interested in and
beginning to buy into not only aggregators who can then work
with very small business across the towns near Kenya, et cetera,
but actually produce the evidence of the demand and show
that the returns are there and introduce a whole
new pool of capital, to a very real impressive need
and show that those business models are actually succeeding. So who would have thought
that you could, in 2016, be a West Coast investor, equity
investor and be able to invest in an aggregator with a small
office in Raetia that has got 100 small enterprises providing
solar solutions for families and small businesses and that you
could make a return on that. But that’s happening today. And that only happens when
everybody has the patience in partnership that helps
government see that that is a vision that they should embrace
and helps the businesses in the finance find each other. LEOCADIO ZAK: Now,
patience and partnership. (Applause) Those are important things and
things you face every day, because one of the things you
do or you bring all the tools together to make this a reality. Much of what Rachel
is talking about. Tell us about some of the
tools, some of the U.S. Government tools, other tools,
that are now being applied to Power Africa. NEBIYOU GIRMA: So you know when
we actually looked at wanting to have the government of
Ethiopia executing their first transaction, which is the
[unintelligible] terminal transaction, what we looked
at is what is it, you know, as Power Africa that we can do,
primarily technical assistance and what have you,
under that umbrella. So one of the things that we
did is we went and actually communicated with the African
Legal Support facility which is a partner in the Power Africa
initiative and requested for legal assistance, which when I
first asked if they have any legal advisors within the
country that actually had done this kind of a deal, they give
me the legal advisor from the utility. And the guy is very junior, he
doesn’t even know how the deals are done. So what we had done is actually
interacted with African Legal Support facility and we were
able to actually capture and get a premiere, you
know, legal firm. So that actually helped the
government to be in equal footing with the sponsors to
be able to negotiate in this. So that’s one of the
tools that we have. I can name a number of tools. What I would like to actually
add is like the transaction advisor tool that
you have on your app, it’s an application that
you can actually download. There’s a lot of challenge
in getting information from, you know, the governments
of East Africa, particularly Ethiopia. So if you go there and
downloading the transactions that you see in there, in real
time really what we are doing in those transactions, that
information would not have been done, you know, a few years ago. But now you have it on the palms
of your hand and things that are really transforming. So there’s a huge change, a lot
of application technologies that we’re using, a lot of tools
that we have with the 14 U.S. Government agencies that we
have, USAID, your organization, one of the ones that we are
very grateful about, you know, providing a $400,000 grant and
getting a procurement advisor for the utility. These are things that
they never had before. Now that they see that these are
available through Power Africa, I mean, the government is really
opening their minds to really get as much assistance as they
can to transform their sector. JOE BRANDT: This type
of support is critical, given how finance intensive
and document intensive these transactions are. I mean, you sometimes feel as if
you are imposing a tremendous burden on the capacity of the
Ministries of Energy and the local utilities, because these
things get done after 17,000 pages of fine print are
negotiated and in many African countries, particularly
West Africa, the tradition of immunity from
government decisions doesn’t exist. And there’s actually criminal
liability that associates with making a bad business judgment. And so there’s a hesitancy to
really embrace something that is so foreign as call it the
Anglo-American way of financing power projects. And what USAID is doing now with
this legal support facility is critical because a lot of times
what stops that first step is a government or a minister or his
team thinking this is going to be an extremely complex,
extremely difficult transaction to undertake legally in a law
that we’re not familiar with, because these transactions tend
all to be done in foreign law, and how are we going to go about
orienting ourselves to what it really means to do a
transaction like this? Power Africa, through this USAID
Legal Support Facility seems esoteric, but it actually solves
a very practical problem which is how do you get a minister
and a government that will have liability for decisions they
make comfortable doing something they’ve never done before. RACHEL KYTE: Just
linked to that, we were talking backstage that
good news doesn’t travel as fast as bad news anywhere
in the world. And building the confidence of
— so these are all the jigsaw pieces of building the
confidence to do the things that need to be done and to do
they will on Monday morning. So the legal service
is really important. Knowing that your neighboring
country or the neighboring city or another jurisdiction close by
has managed to achieve success by doing X, Y, Z, and
understanding what it took, whether it was a delivery unit
in the President’s office or whether it was a unit in
the ministry, you know, how you work into governmentally
that this is dull stuff, right? But fundamental and building the
capacity to support institutions to be built. These are not the
institutions of the past. The power system of Africa is
not going to be something that’s recognizable by driving across
the United States and looking or going to Europe and
seeing what we’ve got. Right? This is going to be a very
different system, integrated, off-grid, grid connected. It’s going to be the
woman with the cook stove. It’s going to be the state of
the art geothermal network, would. And for a minister to be able to
have the confidence to lay that vision out and then act on it
means that good news has to travel fast. That’s part of the job of Power
Africa and all of these boring bits of good government
have to be connected. LEOCADIO ZAK: Well, it’s
sounding like one of the things that is really working is
the fact that we have these partnerships, they’re
working closely together, that we’re working very closely
with our partners in the host country. We’re able to move projects and
transactions more quickly and have more innovative projects. I’m looking at our time. As you might guess, we’re
on a tight leash up here. So I’m watching our time. For our next guest. But I’m just going to
ask Joe very quickly, with all this in
your background, what would you tell another
CEO about investing in Africa? JOSEPH BRANDT: Well, the first
— I would tell them to go there. (Laughter.) (Applause.) And I would tell them to go
there because I know how much CEOs worry about raising
capital, allocating capital, and doing well by the
capital they raise. And I had an investor
once tell me: Look, you understand infrastructure
and power very well and had spent a career in investing
in infrastructure. The investor told me, look, I’d
rather lose money on a toll road in California, than make money
on a power project in Africa that’s in the headlines every
day for the wrong reasons and gets me called into my boss’s
office every day saying, what the hell are we
doing in that country? So changing that mindset is
going to be what has to happen to mobilize the capital. Infrastructure as an asset class
is extremely well-known and it’s the way governments everywhere
including in the OECD countries are financing their
infrastructure. They are doing things that
look like public/private partnerships, things that look
like private-sector tools led initiatives, and there are the
pension funds and the insurance companies of everyone in this
room are invested in power plants and toll
roads and bridges, in OECD countries and we need
to move that money and that interest into
sub-Saharan Africa. And the way to do it is to go
there and realize this is a good place to be. If you’re an American investor,
it may be one of the few places on the planet where
you’re actually welcome. It’s a place that has a very
positive orientation towards the United States. And the risk adjusted returns
for the capital are higher than they would be in a developed
country and this is what investors look for. High risk adjusted returns. And if we talk
about the successes, and we talk about the
investors, like mine, who took a chance early, when
the idea of investing in Africa Power was not an accepted idea,
and we showed the success that’s been created then I think
we start down that path of mobilizing the capital and
that’s what we need to do. LEOCADIO ZAK: So, as
we start to wrap up, what we’re hearing is the fact
that Power Africa is a success. We have many successes
under our belt. As a matter of
fact, more than 29,000 megawatts are currently
being supported by Power Africa. And 4,600 of those are
already at financial close. And this is important, not
only because of those numbers, but I think what each one of
this panel has said is that success begets success, that it
creates a momentum and we have a momentum going now. I think the other thing
that is very exciting, is the fact that in addition
to the support from the administration, there’s been
significant support from Congress as well with the
Electrify Africa Act. So this is something that will
institutionalize Power Africa and bring it into the future. And I think the final thing
is the fact that we see that through the partnership,
through the trust, through the transactions,
through business, we are powering Africa. And what that means, it means
that a girl will be able to do her homework. A doctor will be able
to treat his patient. And a small business
will become a big one. Thank you very much. And please, let’s thank
our outstanding panelists. (Applause.)

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