Delegation of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA

Opening Remarks by Gianluca Azzoni, Head of Cooperation, at the official launch of ElectriFI – Zambia, 28/05/2019

Lusaka, 29/05/2019 - 16:22, UNIQUE ID: 190529_14
Speeches of the Ambassador

The European Union External Investment Plan Outreach Opening remarks at the official launch of ElectriFI – Zambia Head of Development Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Zambia and COMESA Gianluca Azzoni Lusaka, 28 May 2019

The Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Fredson Yamba

Senior officials from the Ministry of Energy,

Officials from other Ministries and Agencies,

Colleagues from EU Member States, Cooperating Partners accredited in Zambia,

Participants from the Private Sector,

Representatives of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure and honour to witness and officiate at the official launch of the EU Electrification Financing Initiative, or "ElectriFI Zambia" in short, and to see so many participants present here today.

This moment concludes a long preparatory phase conducted for over three years and marks the start of operations of ElectriFI Zambia. The journey started back in 2016 when the EU first approached the Zambian government with a proposal to establish a dedicated country facility within the EU global ElectriFi initiative, to be financed under the European Development Fund.

This was prompted by very good response from Zambia-based developers to the first global call of ElectriFI and was followed by market assessments and a number of consultations and outreach events to bring this innovative investment facility to the attention of developers wanting to invest in the energy sector in Zambia.  The last step in this process was the formulation of a country investment strategy by the Management Company established by the European Development Finance Institutions, strategy which was endorsed by the Government of Zambia earlier this year. I will not dwell on the strategy as the EDFI-MC will present it in a short while.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Electrifi Zambia aims at filling critical gaps in the financing of sustainable energy projects. This is to be achieved through a range of financing instruments, all refundable in principle, tailored to the actual needs of project developers. To this effect the EU is making available 40 million euros which are expected to leverage commercial and private investment of at least 240 million euros.

ElectriFi Zambia reflects a paradigm shift to financing rural electrification and responds to the policy objective, also enshrined in the 7th National Development Plan, to encourage private initiatives in filling the investment gap, promoting diversification of the country’s energy mix and increasing access to clean, modern, reliable and affordable energy services.

We all recognise that the domestic resources and traditional aid alone cannot meet the huge investment needs required to bring sustainable and affordable electricity to all citizens, along with enhanced opportunities for businesses, new jobs, women empowerment and overall economic growth.

We have recently seen that more and more investor friendly finance is being mobilized to support energy projects and start-ups worldwide and this is leading to positive market developments. More accessible finance continues to be required to achieve universal access and harness opportunities associated with it. We believe that ElectriFi Zambia can play a catalytic role in mobilising additional finance and that the investment strategy adopted for Zambia represents a good opportunity to address some of the key challenges that prospective investors face.

Indeed we see ElectriFi as one of the blending instruments contributing to the European External Investment Plan to unlock investments for inclusive and sustainable growth and is the first among the more innovative instruments to come on stream here in Zambia. Hence the decision to present ElectriFI as part of this meeting today.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are pleased to see two landmark initiatives on which we have been working hard over the last few years becoming effective in a way that we believe is complementary and mutually reinforcing. Only a few weeks ago a call for proposals was launched under the EU Increased Access to Electricity and Renewable Energy Production programme to provide early stage seed grant finance to viable and replicable business models engaging public and private partners in improved service delivery and enhanced renewable energy generation.

Next to ElectriFi this is the second pillar of our "Energising Zambia" partnership that is bringing the private sector on board through a combination of grant finance and innovative financing instruments for both on grid and off grid investments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the fact that Zambia is in the first group of four African countries to benefit from a dedicated facility and is therefore pioneering, the ElectriFi Zambia window will be able to benefit from the experience already acquired through the ElectriFi global calls. Indeed ElectriFi will remain a flexible instrument capable of integrating lessons learnt and replicating most workable approaches adjusted to specific country and investor needs.

In conclusion I would like to thank all our partners from the government, the EDF NAO support team in the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Energy and other sector institutions who have contributed to the shaping of the country investment strategy for Zambia for their commitment and readiness to engage. I would also like to thank our counterparts in the EDFI-MC, the fund manager and implementer of the ElectriFi - Zambia for all their efforts to date to pave the way for innovative project financing in Zambia.

I wish them all the best in the implementation of the facility. We look forward to receiving regular updates on progress being made toward intended goals and stand ready to support as and when required.  Ladies and gentlemen, ElectriFi Zambia is open for business.

Thank you very much for your attention, Zikomo Kwambiri

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