Distributed Power Africa (DPA), a subsidiary of Econet Wireless Global, and Électicité De France (EDF), a leading electricity company, have signed a partnership cooperation agreement to jointly develop commercial, industrial and hybrid energy solutions to the African market.
The collaboration is expected to focus on the development of distributed-energy solutions based on solar panels associated with energy back-up systems such as batteries. Both companies plan to deploy their solutions in sub-Saharan Africa, which initially includes South Africa, Ivory Coast and Nigeria, with the intention to expand into other key markets.
The partnership deal is meant to address the frequent power-cuts and a lack of basic access to electricity grids, which are current obstacles to business growth in many African countries, Nigeria inclusive, on both a micro and macro level.
The partnership will help to reduce the high cost of doing business across different industries, especially manufacturing across the continent, both companies said in a statement after signing the partnership agreement.
“In fact, some sub-Saharan African countries experience load shedding from up to 4600 hours annually. The cost of running back-up power can be as much as 53 cents per Kw/h versus 6 cents per Kw/h via grid,” the statement further said.
Econet Wireless, a pan African company believes that energy is the next biggest infrastructure opportunity in the journey to transform the continent’s fortune. Founder and Chairman of Econet Wireless, Mr. Strive Masiyiwa, said: “Enabling reliable and stable energy to businesses will help meet the continent’s economic growth goals. In the telecoms industry, for every 10 per cent increase in teledensity, we observed a one per cent increase in GDP, but in the energy sector we expect a tenfold increase in GDP by addressing the continental power challenge.”
Masiyiwa said that partnering a global player such as EDF, which possess vast technological expertise and access to energy markets, will accelerate the rollout of energy on the continent and significantly impact the continent’s economies.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, EDF Vice President International, Marianne Laigneau, echoed Masiyiwa’s sentiments saying: “ For EDF, this partnership represents an opportunity to expand our services into the burgeoning distributed energy sector. Already active in renewables, grid and energy-efficiency services in 15 African countries, EDF has the necessary expertise to deliver comprehensive energy solutions perfectly suitable for African commercial and industrial applications.”
She further added that Econet’s extensive experience and track record in operating in Africa’s most challenging environments would add great value to both companies’ endeavors.