Econet Wireless, through subsidiary Econet Solar International has joined other investors in an initiative led by Danish wind energy group Vestas to build small wind power generators across Africa. The programme, called Wind For Prosperity, aims to provide power to millions of people living in rural areas and small towns beyond the reach of the grid.
The “social impact venture” first roll out is earmarked for Kenya and will see 13 wind generators power up 250,000 people. Vestas says Wind for Prosperity aims to install the hybrid power generation systems in 100 communities reaching at least 1 million people in the next three years.
Speaking about the initiative, Econet Wireless founder, Strive Masiyiwa, who is also a member of the UN Secretary General’s high level advisory board for sustainable energy, said: “Wind-for-Prosperity is exactly the kind of ambitious and bold initiative that needs pursuing if we are to combat energy poverty. I am a firm believer that we need to think differently and be more creative with technology in order to deliver sustainable sources of power to the millions of people across the world, living beyond the reach of the grid. I am particularly interested in the potential of affordable electricity to boost agricultural productivity and create jobs. I am therefore very pleased that our energy division, which works on renewable energy solutions for Africa, is part of the consortium of investors, who are partnering with Vestas, to create Wind-for-Prosperity, to bring solutions to remote communities in several African countries.”
The Wind for Prosperity initiative is targeting remote communities the world over but it appears that Econet’s investment is pan-African (focusing on Africa). Other companies involved in the initiative are Abu Dhabi renewable energy company Masdar and Frontier Investment Management, a Danish private equity firm.
Over the past year or so, Econet has increased its footprint in energy related ventures. Could energy be the next frontier for the telecoms gaint?