London-based, private-equity firm Actis LLP has said that it is looking at African energy projects to add to the $1 billion it has already invested in the sector on the continent.

Actis is a global emerging markets investment firm focused on the private equity, energy, infrastructure, and real estate asset classes. It has a growing portfolio of investments across Asia, Africa, and Latin America and US$12 billion in assets under management.

“We are seeing some new opportunities that we’ve not yet approved,” Bloomberg quotes Neil Brown, a partner and head of the Investor Development Group at Actis, in an interview.

Investments will probably be spread across East and North Africa and also in South Africa, although no commitments have been made.

Africa, which has a population of 1.3 billion people, has an electricity-access rate of just over 40 per cent, the lowest in the world, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

South Africa, the continent’s most-industrialized economy, has battled power shortages since 2008 after the government failed to invest in new plants in time to replace aging equipment and infrastructure.

The emerging-markets investor now plans to bid for the nation’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme, Brown said. Bloomberg said the government wants 2,000 megawatts of capacity from independent power producers after a record year of power outages.

Actis also plans to participate in the fifth round of bidding for the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme, he said.

This could either be through new plants, such as solar or wind farms, or the firm could buy existing operating facilities that can be improved, said Brown.

Actis has investments in about 25 power projects in countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique and Cameroon.

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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