Development banks confirm multi million dollar backing for African Renewable Energy Fund

  • Fund headquartered in Nairobi
  • Reaches final close at its hard cap of US$200m
  • Mixture of DFI investors and private capital, including European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF)
  • Cornerstoned by African Development Bank with seed funding and active support from SEFA and concessional contributions from SEFA and GEF
  • Promoted in partnership with African Biofuel and Renewable Energy Company (ABREC)
  • Already invested and developing 4 renewable energy projects with an additional pipeline of projects

The African Renewable Energy Fund (AREF), a dedicated renewable energy fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa successfully reached its final close today at its hard cap, with USD200 million of committed capital to support small to medium scale projects, with investment at the final close from European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF), among other investors.

African Development Bank (AfDB) is the fund’s lead sponsor, bringing US$55min an equity investment package from its statutory resources as well as climate finance instruments such as Sustainable Energy for Africa (SEFA) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to leverage commercial and institutional investment. SEFA has additionally committed a US$10mProject Support Facility (PSF), which will provide resources to be deployed at an early stage to structure bankable deals.

The fund which is headquartered in Nairobi held its first close of $100m in March 2014 and since that time has been investing capital in grid-connected development stage renewable energy projects including small hydro, wind, geothermal, solar and biomass. 

AREF is the first dedicated sub-Saharan African renewable energy fund and is managed by Berkeley Energy, a fund manager focused on developing and investing in renewable energy projects in emerging markets. Berkeley Energy also manages dedicated renewable energy funds in Asia. Berkeley Energy has more than 30 staff in 5 offices globally, shortly expanding into West Africa.

The final investor group also includes West African Development Bank (BOAD), Ecowas Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), FMO, Calvert Investments, CDC Group, BIO, OeEB – the Development Bank of Austria, Wallace Global Fund, Sonen Capital, Berkeley Energy, ABREC and now the European Investment Bank, the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund, and a number of other private investors.

AfDB had originally selected Berkeley Energy as the fund manager for AREF following a global competitive procedure and with the fund having reached its hard cap as well as successfully closing a number of transactions in its initial period, Berkeley Energy has justified the AfDB’s selection. The Berkeley Energy team comprises Managing Partner TC Kundi; Partner Alastair Vere Nicoll; Chairman Andrew Reicher; Investment Director and AREF lead Luka Buljan, Project Director David Hastings; and Investment Committee members Thierno Bocar Tall, Chief Executive Officer of ABREC; and Eddie Njoroge, former Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Electricity Generating Company (Kengen).

Berkeley Energy’s Partner and Co-Founder, Alastair Vere Nicoll said: “We are very pleased to have reached our target fund raising and look forward to continuing our work focusing on the technical delivery of our projects with our project partners from concept to generating reality”.

“AfDB is pleased to see that AREF is now fully capitalised to deliver on its pan-African mandate. We are also equally excited that SEFA and GEF participation have been catalytic in mobilizing significant amounts of commercial capital into AREF over a short time-frame; this is key for accelerating deployment of modern, clean and affordable energy in the continent” said Alex Rugamba, Director of Energy and Climate Change Department.

“As one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy the European Investment Bank is committed to ensuring that new projects can be implemented around the world. This engagement is demonstrated through our support for the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund, GEEREF. Our combined backing for the African Renewable Energy Fund will provide both financial support and share technical experience essential for smaller renewable schemes being implemented for the first time,” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.