The Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, has approved an investment guaranty of up to $250 million to support construction of the Lake Turkana Wind Power project in northern Kenya.
OPIC joins several development finance institutions as well as private lenders in providing financing for the 310-megawatt project, which will be the single largest wind power project in Africa and is projected to serve more than 2.5 million Kenyan homes, boosting the country’s installed energy capacity by 20%.
OPIC is playing a key role in President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, which aims to catalyze private investors to produce 10,000 megawatts of new energy for the more than 600 million Sub-Saharan Africans currently living without power. OPIC has committed to provide $1.5 billion to develop energy projects throughout Sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years in support of the initiative.
“This is a historic project and underscores the U.S. government’s support for powering Africa,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “By joining this esteemed group of lenders for the monumental Lake Turkana wind project, OPIC solidifies our commitment to the transformative goals of Power Africa, helping to catalyze the private capital that will be the key to bringing electricity to millions of people in Africa.”
The power produced by the Lake Turkana project will be a significant contribution to both the Power Africa Initiative and to Kenya, where less than 25 percent of the population has access to power. The project is projected to create over 2,000 jobs during the construction phase and sustain nearly 200 full-time jobs when operational.
“OPIC’s power generation portfolio in Africa is quite diverse and growing rapidly. This project demonstrates the collaborative and innovative approach OPIC takes in supporting the Power Africa goal of achieving widespread energy access across Sub-Saharan Africa. The creative partnerships in the Lake Turkana project are touchstones of how Power Africa will achieve its goals, and the millions of people in Kenya that will gain new energy access are proof of our progress in this initiative,” added Littlefield.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.
Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide. To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $76 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 278,000 American jobs.