The British High Commission in conjuction with Barclays bank of Kenya today held an event in Nairobi bringing together over 100 investors from the united Kingdom with local players in the renewable energy sector.
The event dubbed the UK-Kenya Renewable Energy Conference (REC 100) is aimed at securing investment in the renewable energy sector in Kenya as well as provide a platform for networking as the East African nation strives towards getting national wide electricity access and cheaper power.
The event which was opened by Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Engineer Joseph Njoroge hosted a number of other key speakers including British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey, UK Prime Minister’s envoy for trade to Kenya and Tanzania Lord Clive Hollick and Barclays Bank Kenya CEO Jeremy Awori.
The event also follows a partnership signed between the UK and Kenya with the fore committing Kshs.70.5 to support strategic development in the Kenyan renewable sector.
According to principal secretary Eng Njoroge Kenya provides many opportunities for investors in this sector with just over 55 percent of the population having access to electricity and with the government offering various incentives to investors.
“The original plan was to have the entire country having access to electricity by 2030 in line with our goal for industrialization, however we realized that electricity must be the precursor of industrialization and we have moved the goals closer to 2020. The government favors renewable energy mainly because it is abundant within our borders but also because it is cheap and clean,” Njoroge said.
He noted that the government was setting up a number of industrial parks all over the country that would increase the current demand.
Speaking in the same occasion Hailey told the two business groups that Kenya and UK could collaborate in a mutually beneficial partnership given Kenya’s leadership in renewable energy especially geothermal and the latter’s strengths especially in supply of various products needed in these sectors.
“We are excited by this growing UK-Kenya partnership in renewables, working together to bring clean, sustainable energy to the Kenyan people and accelerate Kenya’s development and economic growth,” he said.
Barclays bank the main sponsor of the event holds a leading position in the financing and advisory fields in Kenya’s energy sectors.
“We are currently working on a partnership with Eiser Infrastructure an independent equity fund headquartered in London that will link local developers with international investors,” Awori commented.
Among energy projects that have seen Uk funding and expertise as well as those in the pipeline include the Lake Turkana Wind project, Naivasha Biogas project, the Kisumu biomas project still at the initial stages, Thika Power and the Rabai Power project.
The event comes barely a week after the French embassy hosted investors in the renewable sector in Nairobi to expose them to opportunities in the country.
Other highlights of the conference include a £500 million facility for energy projects in Kenya by United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF).