Pamir Energy has implemented over 30 projects, including the full rehabilitation of 11 hydropower plants, totalling a little more than 44 MW in generation capacity. Its success proves that small-scale hydropower plants can provide reliable, clean and affordable electricity - 24 hours a day - over the long term.
AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
Pamir Energy has implemented over 30 projects, including the full rehabilitation of 11 hydropower plants, tota...
AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer
The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) works with governments, international corporations, international financial institutions and donors to create solutions to pressing infrastructure needs, including power generation and telecommunications. AKFED has invested in, and manages, over 40 industrial project companies in Africa and Asia.
In the early 1960s, AKDN set up a group of companies under the corporate name Industrial Promotion Services (IPS). Each company was created to provide venture capital, technical assistance and management support to encourage and expand private enterprise in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Following growth, privatisation and a re-orientation away from import substitution and towards export promotion, we adjusted our approach.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, IPS expanded into areas such as agribusiness, packaging, pharmaceuticals and infrastructure. We made new investments in the emerging economies of Central Asia in the 1990s and 2000s, particularly in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Today, IPS companies play a vital role in local and regional economies.
One of IPS’s core operational sectors, agro-processing, includes companies that supply goods for the local, regional and export markets and also play a significant role in supporting the rural economy. In Kenya, for example, Frigoken Limited engages thousands of small scale farmers in its value chain. It provides them with a guaranteed market for their produce, primarily green beans; farming inputs on a credit-interest free basis; and ongoing agricultural extension services. The beans are processed and exported to European markets.
In West Africa, we supply agricultural extension services to more than 75,000 cotton farmers, operate cotton ginneries and export finished products. Our social programmes offer microfinance, education, health and sanitation to the farmers. In addition to promoting the employment of women, these IPS project companies have become national role models in matters of employee welfare, including the provision of childcare and healthcare services for staff.
The AKDN project company Frigoken, Kenya's largest exporter of processed green beans, endeavours to forge a better future for the country's small-scale farmers. The company employs over 3,000 people, most of whom are women.
AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura
AKFED’s first investment, led by IPS, was the US$ 225 million Azito Energie project in Côte d'Ivoire in 1999. This was the largest private sector power plant in Sub-Saharan Africa. It currently provides 30 percent of the electricity generation needs for the country.
Our long-term vision for electrification is to create a regional footprint in Central Asia to provide coverage to the remotest parts using renewable energy. In 2002, we formed Pamir Energy after signing a 25-year concession agreement with the Government of Tajikistan to manage the operation of all power generation, transmission, and distribution facilities of the Viloyati Mukhtori Kuhistoni Badakhshon (VMKB) region.
To date, Pamir Energy has invested over US$ 200 million and expanded coverage from 18 percent to 96 percent of the population. It will achieve 100 percent electrification in the region by 2023. For more information, see Pamir Energy.
Pamir Energy has also supported the installation of distribution networks in the border districts of Northern Afghanistan, providing electricity to 50,000 people. This has paved the way for AKFED to replicate the Pamir Energy model to other parts of the region, such as Afghanistan. In 2019, Badakhshon Energy Company (BEC) was established through a public-private partnership. It aims to invest more than $600 million in renewable energy infrastructure and provide power to about 500,000 people in the next 10 years.
The flagship of IPS’s infrastructure investments in East Africa is the US$ 900 million Bujagali hydropower plant located on the River Nile – a run-of-river plant that reuses water used for generation in upstream power projects. The 250MW Bujagali, arguably Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest privately financed hydropower plant, was completed in mid-2012. It increased Uganda’s effective generation capacity by about 50 percent and eliminated the long-standing black-outs that had constrained the economy for many years.
Our initial involvement in building telecommunications infrastructure was in Indigo, since rebranded as "Tcell", a GSM mobile phone operation in Tajikistan. In Afghanistan, AKFED determined that building communication infrastructure was critically important to the redevelopment of the country. We were awarded the country’s second GSM mobile phone license, forming the company Roshan. Together, the companies have invested US$ 1.2 billion in infrastructure and contributed US$ 1.1 billion in government taxes. They have an active subscriber base of eight million people, directly employ over 1,000 people and indirectly employ 40,000 people.
The companies are now transitioning from mobile communications leadership to being more data-driven, digital solutions providers. They are investing in fibreoptic and 4G technology to meet rapidly-growing demand for data in the region.
AKFED, through IPS, has also invested in SEACOM, the first submarine cable operator to lay fibreoptic cable networks connecting Africa to India, the Middle East and Europe. The company has since dramatically contributed towards changing the ICT landscape in Africa, significantly increasing the availability of international bandwidth at much lower costs. SEACOM is privately funded and over three quarters African owned.