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Gridworks and the government of Uganda have signed an agreement at the Africa Energy Forum (AEF) and Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali to develop a first-of-its-kind project to use private investment to support the development of Uganda’s transmission sector
Gridworks is a development and investment platform founded and wholly-owned by British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor. Created in 2019, BII established the platform with a mandate to provide patient capital to develop on-grid and off-grid electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure across Africa. A partner to governments, utilities and companies in the energy sector, Gridworks aims to connect Africa's people and its businesses to reliable, affordable power.
Uganda has a well organised energy sector with a strong track record. The country has taken significant steps over the years to ensure security of supply and to set it on a path towards delivering least cost electricity to end users to drive industrialisation and economic growth. This project will be the first of its kind in Uganda. It demonstrates the growing interest in private participation in the sector as governments look for complementary and alternative means to fund critical infrastructure.
Ruth Nankabirwa, Uganda’s minister of energy and mineral development, welcomed the agreement and said, “It is a pleasure to announce our pilot project with Gridworks that will bring new, private investment to Uganda’s transmission sector.
“The government of Uganda wants to promote safe, reliable and sustainable electricity supply and facilitate stable regional electricity trade. By increasing investment in our electricity grid, we will be able to unlock suppressed demand; boost industrialisation and power our export sector,” continued Nankabirwa.
Simon Hodson, CEO of Gridworks added, “I’m proud of our work with the forward-thinking Ugandan government to deliver the country’s first privately financed transmission project. Transmission infrastructure is essential for economic growth, electricity access, sustainable power networks and a green energy transition.
“Our pilot project has taken several years to develop and will demonstrate that this model can be used to unlock critical projects. It will benefit households and businesses in Uganda and ensure that high quality renewable power is available to drive economic development.
“There is a huge need for funding of Africa’s electricity networks. That need will be met more quickly if we create sustainable business models that attract private sector capital and expertise,” stated Hodson.
Kate Airey, UK high commissioner to Uganda, commented, “Today’s agreement signals an important strengthening of the already close partnership between the UK and Uganda. Transmission infrastructure plays a vital role inn boosting economic growth and enabling Africa’s clean energy potential.
Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of British Investment International, said, “I am thrilled by the progress achieved on this project through the partnership between Gridworks and the Government of Uganda. This collaboration reflects the spirit of our ambition when we established Gridworks in 2019, as a platform that will work alongside governments and stakeholders to improve access to reliable least-cost energy in order to drive economic development.