9 September 2015
4:00 - 8:00 PM
Posted by Felix Ewane Ntube at Wednesday, September 09, 2015
8 September 2015
5:47PM BST 06 Sep 2015
Veteran investor Jerome Booth, who has long extolled the virtues of emerging markets, is to launch a new investment fund that will focus on renewable and conventional energy projects in Africa.
New Sparta Asset Management plans to invest in at least three power stations, each of which will need at least £50m of equity. The group, which has a number of economists on its board, including Sunday Telegraphcolumnist Liam Halligan, is about to launch a fundraising round for investors.
"There is a huge amount of untapped opportunity in emerging markets, particularly with companies in the private, pre-IPO stage,” said Dr Booth. “Our strategy is not only to bring the funds, but also find areas where we can add value by using our expertise to help companies, and nations, grow rapidly but sustainably.”
Only a small percentage of sub-Saharan Africa has access to energy, while South Africa, one of the major economies in Africa, regularly suffers from electricity blackouts.
Many foreign investors have recently taken an interest in the continent, following years of underinvestment into Africa’s power infrastructure. Last month, Dubai-based investment firm Abraaj Group raised $375m for a fund focusing on North Africa.
4 September 2015A South African initiative, Project Solaris, received the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) certification this week for producing a crop that can be used as feedstock for bio jet fuel. The energy-rich tobacco crop has been named "Solaris" and it is grown in South Africa's Limpopo province. It is a nicotine-free and GMO-free plant that yields significant amounts of sustainable oil, which could be converted into bio jet fuel. "Project Solaris has demonstrated that it can deliver sustainability on the ground in line with the RSBs global standard," said RSB's executive director, Rolf Hogan. "This is the result of a serious commitment to working with local stakeholders, rural development and reducing greenhouse gases while safeguarding the Limpopo's unique natural environment." Project Solaris got RSB involved from the start to make sure the correct standards were applied from the beginning. The programme was developed and patented by Sunchem Holding, a research and development company based in Italy.
BenefitsProject Solaris has brought economic and rural development to Limpopo. "Developing a biofuel crop in South Africa's 'breadbasket' province has, of course, drawn us into the centre of the food vs fuel debate," said Joost van Lier, the managing director of Sunchem South Africa. "Having to undergo a systematic process of evaluating the social and environmental ramifications of this development as prescribed by the RSB has allowed us to feel confident in promoting Solaris, not only as a financially viable crop for farmers in the region, but also one that will not affect food security or lead to environmental degradation." Sergio Tommasini, the chief executive of Sunchem Holding, added: "Thanks to all partner efforts, we earned this important certificate. RSB believed in our technology and gave us the right advice to improve it during our scale up programme."
By Carol Musyoka on September 7, 2015