European Investment Bank pledges extensive support for Kenyan energy and transport projects
During an official visit to Kenya, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has pledged new support for projects in the power and transport sectors. Also, at a press conference In Nairobi with Cabinet Secretary for the Treasury Henry K. Rotich, the signature of a connectivity project was announced. The EIB’s three-day programme will include a site visit to the Lake Turkana Wind Park, the largest windfarm in sub-Saharan Africa developed by the private sector, which the EIB helped finance in 2014.
At the Treasury the EIB signed the “Last Mile Connectivity” project, which will connect nearly 300,000 Kenyan households (equalling up to 1.5 million Kenyans) to the national electricity grid. The EUR 60 million (Kshs 6.7 billion) EIB loan concerns a multiple scheme electrification project, targeting universal access to electricity for the Kenyan population by 2020. It is part of a European “blended” financing package comprising a EUR 90 million (Kshs 10 billion) loan from the Agence Française de Développement and a EUR 30 million (Kshs 3.3 billion) grant from the European Union.
EIB Vice President Pim van Ballekom, responsible for operations in East Africa, commented, “Kenya is increasingly becoming a hub for the region on many levels. We as a bank must look at this from a very basic point of view, namely that there is a young and growing population with enormous potential, and that you need investments to support that momentum, both directly and indirectly. Thanks to today’s signature over 300.000 Kenyan households – up to 1,5 million people – will soon be connected to the electricity grid, a basic condition for further economic growth. Two further projects that we have committed to will improve access to Mombasa harbour and support geothermal energy at Olkaria. Contributing to key infrastructure is one of the ways in which the EIB supports basic services, entrepreneurship and competitiveness in Kenya and we are happy to be able to partner up with local and European partners to achieve this.”
Letters of intent were signed for two further very advanced projects, one being an extension of the existing Olkaria I geothermal plant. Here, the financing – for a total amount of EUR 113 million – will support the addition of a 70MWe turbine, as well as the construction of the necessary wells, steam gathering system and interconnection facilities. Next to that, the EIB pledged to finance an upgrade and widening of the Port of Mombasa access road, regarding the section of 42kms between Mombasa and Mariakani. The project aims to improve the safety situation on the road as well as alleviate congestion which causes delays for goods travelling through Mombasa. The project is co-financed by a concessional loan of EUR 50 million approved by the German Government and to be provided by KfW Development Bank, as well as a EU grant contribution and a loan from African Development Bank.
Just last week, the EIB signed a USD 17.5 million commitment into Catalyst Fund II, a Nairobi based growth equity fund supporting SMEs and Mid-Caps in East Africa. Priority target countries for this fund include Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda, with several others also under consideration. The fund has a target size of USD 175 million with which Catalyst intends to invest in up to 12 companies, with the goal of generating social and developmental impact benefits.
The European Investment Bank has supported transformational investment across Africa for more than 50 years and operates in Kenya since 1977. Over the last decade the EIB has provided more than EUR 22 billion for long-term investment across Africa.