Gabriel Negatu
Handshake of two glossy characters
The African Development Bank regional director-general, Gabriel Negatu, expands on the role that the bank will play in the $6 billion Japan-Africa energy initiative.
AfDB regional director-general, Gabriel Negatu. Credit: Gulf Africa Review

In an exclusive interview with The East African, Negatu provided in-depth information about the initiative and how it’s going to benefit the east African region.

The initiative was launched in July this year, during the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He said: “We seek to support the small and medium players who want to join the regional energy sector under Japan’s Light up and Power Africa initiative which aims to enable regional countries achieve universal access to energy by 2025, using available energy sources and the most advanced technologies.”

He further explained that these funds are a mix of concessional, non-concessional and grants.

The AfDB will take the lead in project development through consultation with regional member countries, however keeping within the initiative’s guidelines.

Negatu tables initiative’s implementation

According to the regional director-general, in addition to the provision of funds Japan will provide technical support for the implementation.

Meanwhile, the Bank’s role will include auditing, disbursing of the project funds as well supervise the projects through selected teams across the continent.

“Some of the activities to be supervised will range from project preparation to infrastructure construction and operationalisation,” he said.

Responding to a question on how much influence will Japan have over the initiative, Negatu said: “We will welcome their technology on clean coal energy since we have had serious concerns on how to handle coal plants.”

He added: “A good example is the proposed Lamu coal plant that has seen environmentalists voice concerns. If we can adopt clean technologies from our Japanese counterparts to address this, then that will be welcome.” Read more…

Public-private sector energy projects

The AfDB official said the initiative will support a full range of activities associated with public and private sector energy projects, ranging from preparation to construction and operations, through a mix of financing and technical assistance.

“We will not give any sector undue priority but will support all. The goal will be achieved, either through public or private sectors.

“Outside of nuclear projects, we will look at all projects, including the controversial coal-powered. We believe that through environmental impact assessment, some of the concerns about these projects will be addressed,” he said.

 

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