Supplying electricity to 6.9 m people in Africa

April 20202 min readClimate FinanceEnergy

Working from his Nairobi home during Covid-19, Joseph Nganga ensures responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding’s (rAREH) six powerplants continue to produce renewable energy for Sub-Saharan Africa.

You manage responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding (rAREH) and develop, finance and operate power plants in Sub-Sahara. How is Covid-19 impacting your business?

rAREH currently operates six power plants in Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa that jointly produce over 930,000 MWh on a yearly basis and supply electricity to the equivalent of 6.9 m people in Sub-Saharan Africa. As Damilola Ogunbiyi, Chief Executive Officer and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), has recently underlined, keeping up the electricity supply is crucial. During Covid-19, we are doing our best to overcome the challenges to procure the necessary spare parts and expert personnel to keep our power plants running. 

What happens to the rest of your business?

We have two additional power plants under construction and are working on a strong pipeline of projects. Most of this work has had to be put on hold in order to safeguard the health and safety of our people. When building power plants in Sub-Saharan Africa, big parts of the project development process like engaging communities for land acquisition happens on the ground, and all of this has had to be halted. That said, our entire team is busy working from home and getting paperwork done in order to ensure they’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as restrictions are lifted.

“Keeping up the electricity supply during Covid-19 is crucial.”

Joseph Nganga

What signals do you get from your shareholders?

rAREH is owned by a number of development finance organizations including KfW, Norfund and NDF who are closely watching the impact of Covid-19 on their projects. They are extremely supportive, assuring us that our chosen path to put health concerns first for everyone concerned is the right one. With weekly updates, we remain in very close contact and are dynamically managing the situation.