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EAIF’s Emilio Cattaneo speaks at Africa Energy Forum on innovative finance tools for infrastructure development

Emilio Cattaneo (second right) speaking at the Africa Energy Forum in Mauritius in June.

The annual Africa Energy Forum (AEF), now in its 20th year, attracts industry leaders active in developing energy infrastructure in Africa. This year’s AEF was held in mid-June in Mauritius and drew over 2,000 senior executives from governments, developers, equipment suppliers, public and private sector financial institutions, national energy utilities and regulators.

The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a member of PIDG Ltd, has been providing debt finance to private sector energy infrastructure developers since 2002.

Emilio Cattaneo, EAIF’s Executive Director, took part in a panel discussing innovative financing models and highlighted the role of PIDG and its companies in providing “blended finance” solutions and in promoting economic development and combating poverty. He described some of the products being developed by EAIF and sister company Guarantco to catalyse private capital investment in energy projects in Africa. He cited as examples credit guarantees and local currency bonds.  Mr Cattaneo also discussed EAIF’s recent success in raising debt from Allianz and other long-term lenders, giving private institutional investors long term exposure to the asset class.

Between 2002 and 2017, PIDG companies invested US$960 million in mainly private sector solar, hydro, wind, biomass and thermal energy generation facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. Support for renewable energy projects is now a major part of portfolios of PIDG companies working in Africa. Most of the US$152.4 million in loans or grants to renewables projects has been in the past few years.

“The objective is to remove barriers to financing fundamentally good energy projects, so that risk is reduced, and confidence in the viability of a project boosted among developers, equity investors, debt suppliers, governments, utilities and consumers” said Mr Cattaneo.