By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA –
STANDARD Chartered Bank has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide a loan worth US$60 million to support Zambia’s electricity company, Zesco.
This makes it one of the largest facilities USAID has delivered within President Barack Obama’s Power Africa partnership since the campaign was launched in 2013.
The loan will finance capital expenditure for Zesco’s Lusaka transmission and distribution rehabilitation project (LTDRP), as well as to provide bridge financing to facilitate new connections to the grid.
Zesco managing director Victor Mundende said part of Zesco’s strategic plan was to improve the quality of electricity and enhance connections to the national grid.
“USAID and Standard Chartered Bank’s support has already delivered more than 15,000 new power connections. Furthermore, some of the funds provided will be used for other scheduled power system upgrades, contributing to new and existing connections to homes and businesses across the country,” Mr Mundende said.
Zesco remains committed to meeting its aspirations of electrifying 60 per cent of Zambia by 2030.
This is contained in a statement issued yesterday and made available to the Times in Lusaka yesterday.
USAID-Zambia mission director Michael Yates said power Africa was a broad partnership which aimed to boost economic development by providing access to electricity to homes and businesses across Africa.
“This is one of our largest commitments in Africa to date and will enable us to meet a critical need for a quarter of a million Zambians and the economy as a whole,” Mr Yates said.
This facility is Standard Chartered Zambia’s longest tenor and largest facility provided to a Zambian parastatal entity to date.
Standard Chartered Bank Zambia chief executive officer Andrew Okai said this was the bank’s second Power Africa partnership to benefit Zambia, the first being the bank’s private equity investment in Zambian energy corporation.
“By using our strengths in structuring financial solutions which promote economically enhancing partnerships and improve the lives of individuals, Standard Chartered can demonstrate our promise to be here for good,” Mr Okai said.
This transaction correlates directly with ‘Energy and Climate Change’, the central theme for African Development Bank (AfDB)’s annual meetings hosted in Lusaka last week.
The group’s corporate and institutional banking division chief executive officer, Simon Cooper, said Africa accounts for around a sixth of the world’s population, but only generates four per cent of its electricity.
“Through our commitment to Power Africa partnerships such as the one we have officiated with Zesco, Standard Chartered will continue to support infrastructure development which provides a solid platform for long-term economic growth.
For this Zesco/USAID partnership, Standard Chartered acted as the global coordinator, structuring bank, bookrunner, mandated lead arranger, facility agent and account bank.
The international bank demonstrated its commitment to President Obama’s Power Africa campaign by more than doubling its original commitment to $5billion.