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African Energy Fund To Be Launched At Development Summit

DOW JONES, 26 August 2002 - An African Energy Fund will be launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development currently taking place in Johannesburg, a business delegation at the conference said Monday.

Rueul Khosa, vice chairman of Business Action for Sustainable Development, said seed capital for the fund has already been provided by South African power parastatal Eskom.

The initial focus of the fund will be on linking up electricity supplies in the western corridor of southern and central Africa involving Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and South Africa.

At a later stage, the fund will concentrate on the eastern corridor of the region focusing on Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.

"Electricity is a lead indicator of economic development and is a trigger for industrialization," said Khosa.

He said the proposed African Energy Fund will be a "legacy project" from the summit, demonstrating the business sector's commitment to adding value to proceedings.

While he gave no details of the amount of capital the fund is hoping to raise, Khosa proceeds will also go toward financing energy projects with the New Partnership for Africa's Development, or NEPAD, an initiative being championed by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki.