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Econet and RBH announce agreement to develop solar in African countries

Massive solar project on the cards in Africa

Econet and RBH yesterday announced a partnership to develop up to 175MW of solar energy assets in selected African countries. Royal Bafokeng Holdings will invest up to US$20 million through Distributed Power Africa, Econet’s solar energy subsidiary.  RBH is a long-term African community investment holding company, with a legacy of partnering successfully with leading organisations to achieve real broad-based transformation.   

The investment will provide funding to boost DPA commercial and industrial solar projects in South Africa, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia.  For RBH, this project is another step in its journey towards portfolio diversification and provides a long-term investment opportunity in making affordable, efficient energy widely accessible to businesses so that they can, in turn, empower communities. The partnership comes at an opportune time when the South African Government is encouraging investment in renewable energy and will accelerate the much-needed 6.8GW energy capacity, as outlined in the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019.

According to Norman Moyo, CEO of DPA Africa, the company has sought ways to ease the burden of deploying solar by ensuring its customers engage in a capex free model where they sign power lease agreements of up to 15 years.  Moyo said: “We are excited to partner with a like-minded African investor, RBH, to unlock access to sustainable energy for commercial and industrial customers in Africa.  Access to energy is a key driver of Econet’s vision of a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind”.

Albertina Kekana, RBH CEO, highlighted that a key focus for RBH is investment in infrastructure with a focus that includes wind and solar in the energy space.  Kekana commented:  “We are particularly pleased about this opportunity as it enhances energy as a key enabler for the growth of sustainable data centres – now a major investment focus in our portfolio – as the demand for connectivity has been greatly increased by the pandemic.  We have partnered with a very dynamic business with a strong record of execution on the African continent who are backed by a very successful Group, Econet”, she said.  

About DPA

Distributed Power Africa (DPA) is Econet’s subsidiary focused on developing and operating renewable energy assets across Africa. DPA works with commercial and industrial businesses to adopt hybrid clean energy solutions using lithium battery technology to improve energy security, reduce costs and improve their carbon footprint.  DPA has a development portfolio of 85 MW across various African countries covering data centres, telecom towers.

About Royal Bafokeng Holdings

Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH) is an African community investment holding company with a unique responsibility of preserving and growing the financial capital of the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN). RBH is a long-term investor with a legacy of acquiring significant stakes in high growth, defensive sectors and high-quality companies with established track-records.  We actively manage a diverse portfolio with a net asset value of approximately R30 billion (as at December 2019) consisting of listed and unlisted assets in a range of geographies and sectors, including telecoms, infrastructure, property, financial services, resources and industrials.   

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende