On October 29th, Sahar Nasr , Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation signed the Financial Close of IFC Nubian suns programme. The signing finalized a $653 million debt package that will finance the construction of 13 solar power plants near the Egyptian city of Aswan.
The plants will be part of the larger Benban solar park, which once completed, will be the largest solar instantiation in the world. The ceremony was attended by Sahar Nasr, Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Dr. Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Electricity, Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC vice president and Shaolin yang, World Bank Group Chief Administrative Officer. From her side, Dr. Nasr praised the effort of the private sector in Egypt; she stressed on the importance of focusing on the energy sector, solar energy and renewable energy in Egypt. She also noted that it is the first time that the Asian infrastructure investment bank invests in non Asian countries. “ Today marks the financial close of 13 projects that will form a remarkable new solar park in Benban. This is our biggest investment ever in Egypt to date, and it demonstrates our commitment to mitigating climate change through renewable energy and to unleashing the vast economic potential of this country,” said IFC vice president.
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, went on to explain that the main aim of this project is to lower Egypt’s average cost of electricity generation and reduce the dependence on imported fossil fuels, while providing essential energy harnessed from abundant clean renewable resources. “Egypt’s reforms in its energy sector opened the door to private sector investments,” said Philippe Le Houerou, CEO of IFC. It is to be noted that the power plants will generate up to 752 megawatts of solar power, supplying Egypt with clean, renewable energy and contributing to energy security in the region. The initiative is expected to provide cost effective and eco-friendly power to over 350,000 residential customers and generate up to 6,000jobs during construction.
IFC’s financing is designed to help transform Egypt’s energy sector by helping the country meet its growing energy demand through renewables. IFC in fact, pulled together nine international banks, which are investing for the first time in Egypt’s renewable-energy sector. The 9 banks are as follows: The African development bank, the Asian infrastructure investment bank, the Arab bank of Bahrain, CDC of the United Kingdom, Europe Arab bank, Finance in Motion, FinnFund, ICBC and OeEB of Austria. Together with the IFC, their financing will support six support groups of private power companies, which together will build and operate the 13 plants.
It is to be noted that IFC an international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset-management services to encourage private-sector development in developing countries. The IFC is a member of the World Bank Group. Its total investment in Egypt between the fiscal years 2006 and 2017 reached $2,9 billion including financing mobilized from other investors.