Powering Africa

Context – addressing the power gap in Africa

Economic growth across Africa continues to drive development and better standards of living. But now as Africa looks ahead to a post-Covid recovery, the role of critical infrastructure will be thrown into sharp focus. The Word Bank has identified the lack of power generation capacity as one of the greatest hurdles to economic development across the continent. According to analysis by McKinsey, nearly 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity – accounting for over two-thirds of the global population without power.

The role of African businessmen like Humphrey Kariuki is critical to addressing this issue and bridging the power gap that exists. With a long-term commitment to Africa, the interests of African businesses are strongly aligned with the nature of long-term infrastructure investments, such as power generation capacity.

HK has long recognised the need to increase access to power and electricity across Africa as a means to powering industry, electrifying homes and enabling sustainable growth and development. The UN and the World Bank have both cited the widening gap between power demand and supply as a crucial brake on economic development.

As an entrepreneur HK identified the opportunity to play a key role in expanding Africa’s power generation capacity eight years ago, and it has become a key driver for his business and his success. He has since invested heavily in power generation plants helping Zambia, Uganda, and now Mozambique, expand capacity.

”It is imperative that we as Africans invest into developing this capacity in order to see Africa rise up the global value chain”

Humphrey Kariuki

On the subject of developing power capacity in Africa, HK said, “Without access to reliable sources power and electricity, people cannot run businesses and we cannot compete with the rest of the world; we cannot create high value industries; and we cannot empower people economically. This is the most critical infrastructure of all – and it is imperative that we as Africans invest in developing this capacity in order to see Africa rise up the global value chain. As entrepreneurs this is the building block that underpins the future of our businesses. As people, this is the foundation upon which a better, more prosperous future is built”

HK’s investments into power generation capacity

In 2013, HK established Great Lakes Africa Energy to invest in high-quality, reliable power generation. GLAE provides energy and power in Africa. Access to electricity is essential to growing business and economic opportunities for people in Africa and is now a major part of HK’s business and investment plans for the future.

  • Through GLAE, HK has provided 105MW directly in the Zambian national grid. This is equivalent to over 2.6% of the country’s total energy output. GLAE is the first power plant in Zambia to offer an alternative to hydropower, particularly at a time when climate change is starting to affect water levels and power supply. With only 31% of Zambians having access to electricity, power generation is critical to people’s lives and economic future.
  • Through the partnership with Highview Power in Zambia, HK has led on harnessing developments in energy storage that will significantly boost the utilisation of alternative energy sources and diversify the energy mix in Africa.
  • In Uganda, HK has invested in generating 24MW from the Kabulasoke Power plant, with potential to expand this up to 100MW.

Driven by the belief that African investors are in the strongest position to develop power capacity in Africa, HK will continue to invest in large-scale power generation projects across the continent and will encourage his fellow African investors to join him in helping to build critical infrastructure, aligning their investments with the future of the African market.

The GLAE business continues to grow from strength to strength.

Experienced businessmen like HK, with a deep knowledge of the African market and extensive networks are playing a key role in helping Africa realise its potential by financing and driving high impact infrastructure projects.