By Isabella Wang
By Isabella Wang
Rabat- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has partnered with Moroccan company Gaia Energy to develop renewable energy in Africa.
The partnership will create a joint platform which will enable the development of wind power and renewable energy projects in Africa. The venture will start with a pipeline of 22 projects in 9 countries in north, west, and east Africa, which will generate more than 3 gigawatts of energy. The platform will then seek to progressively enlarge to new countries across the continent.
Gaia Energy is a Moroccan renewable energy developer, currently active in 10 counties across the continent. The company’s mission is to develop and finance large scale renewable energy projects in emerging markets. Such a mission aligns with the IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector of emerging markets.
Moundir Zniber, founder and president of Gaia Energy, said “IFC’s expertise in financial structuring and mobilization, as well as its environmental and social safeguards ideally, complements Gaia’s tailor-made approach to develop projects in new markets. Our partnership is a key step in expanding our business in the countries where we are present, and hopefully beyond.”
He continued that “IFC and Gaia share the same values and vision regarding sustainability and the importance of South/South Cooperation to build tomorrow’s Africa. Both work to power the continent through the adoption of renewable energies and sustainable development principles.”
IFC InfraVentures, a $150 million global infrastructure project development fund, will fund the joint platform, advancing the World Bank Group’s efforts to increase the pipeline of bankable projects in developing countries.
Further support will come from the €114 million Finland-IFC Blended Finance for Climate Program, which aims to encourage private sector financing for climate change solutions.
David Donaldson, IFC head of InfraVentures for Sub-Saharan Africa stated, “Wind energy and renewable energy in general are priority areas identified in the World Bank Group’s strategy to advance climate solutions led by the private sector. IFC is pleased to partner with Gaia Energy and leverage a quality project pipeline in countries with strong wind potential.”
Energy is critical to Africa’s development. Africa currently holds the largest concentration of people without electricity access: 650 million people on the continent do not have access to electricity.
Increased investment in the energy sector will spur economic growth and also help close the energy deficit, a major impediment to the continent’s development.
Particularly, renewable energy offers an opportunity accelerate Africa’s access to clean, affordable electricity, while also improving public health by reducing pollution levels. Renewable energy will also create an environment conducive for a burgeoning economy by creating value chains for development and job creation.