Enel’s CEO, Francesco Starace, said that the Italian company will build 5,000MW of renewables capacity in Africa despite political unrest in the North and lack of electric power connections between countries, Reuters reported.

Currently, Enel has nearly 1,000MW of solar and wind under construction in South Africa and 200-300MW in operation, while an Enel-led consortium is starting to build 850MW of wind capacity in Morocco after winning a tender in early 2016. Starace added that the company is exploring a 300MW geothermal project in Ethiopia and a 50MW one in Kenya, and in June won a tender for a 34MW solar project in Zambia, informed Naija 247.

Starace explained that the big challenge in the electrification of Africa is political instability in parts of North Africa, notably Egypt, Libya and Algeria. While countries in East Africa, such as Ethiopia, Uganda, and Mozambique, were creating the right framework for power investment by establishing cross-border power interconnections. Yet, the lack of interconnections was holding back investment in West Africa. Starace concluded that Nigeria was too difficult an environment for Enel to invest in, adding that with the exception of Senegal and Ghana many West African countries were too small and isolated to attract significant investment.

Enel is a major power grid operator in several countries in Latin America, where it has installed capacity of about 17,000MW and serves more than 14 million clients. Currently, the company operates 66,500MW of capacity mainly in southern Europe.