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Nigeria’s first privately financed Independent Power Project, the Azura-Edo Power Plant, is getting new funding from Africa50, a pan-African investment group. This was confirmed in a press release put out by management at the IPP earlier this week.

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Located near Benin City, the Azura-Edo thermal power plant is one of several power projects developed by the Azura group across the continent. It currently has a power generation capacity of about 461MW and is situated in space that managers say is large enough to accommodate any future expansions.

In its press briefing, Africa50 explained that the investment in the Nigeria power plant was part of a broader move to finance similar plants in West Africa; it had recently staked sums in Senegal’s Tobene plant, a recent addition to Azura’s energy properties.

Speaking about the deal, Hassan Rasani, Head of Infrastructure Investment at Africa50, said that the firm was “looking forward to creating value as a shareholder of the Azura-Edo IPP.” He described the project as “a mission-critical asset within the Nigerian power market.”

On his part, Edu Okeke, Managing Director at Azura-Edo, expressed his delight at the interest shown by Africa50 in the IPP.

“To have the governments of 28 sovereign African states invest in one’s business is a fantastic endorsement and an incentive for us to keep doing better.”

Nigeria struggles to generate enough power for its residents and industries. It currently has the potential to put out about 12,500MW of power, but it seldom produces more than 4,000MW. Projects like the Azura-Edo IPP have been initiated to help plug the resulting gap in the power supply.

There has also been a proliferation of off-grid power solution providers in the past few years, as the country’s vibrant startup community and energy-entrepreneurs seek alternatives to Nigeria’s perennially weak grid.  

The Azura-Edo power plant began operating in May 2018, two years after its construction began. It is currently in its first phase, with expansion expected over the next few years.

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Investors will be eager to get the Edo State-based IPP to the 1,500MW output that its designers intend it to attain. Projects like these may yield significant returns for parties bold enough to venture into the country’s turbulent but opportunity-filled energy sector.

Africa50 was established in 2014 by the African Development Bank. It functions as an investment vehicle through which bankable projects in Africa’s energy and transportation projects can be financed. 

Featured image source: Azuraedo

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This article was first published on 21st December 2019


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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