US investors visit SA with eye on renewable energy

The US is trying to deepen its ties with Africa and counter China’s influence, the continent’s largest trading partner and bilateral creditor.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

US investors with more than $1 trillion of assets under management are in South Africa to look for investment opportunities.

The visit being facilitated by USAID and Prosper Africa, the US government’s initiative to increase trade and investment between African nations and America, started Tuesday and will coincide with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip. Blinken arrives in the country Sunday — his second official trip to Africa. He will also visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

South Africa, the world’s 13th-biggest source of greenhouse gases, will need to spend $250 billion over the next three decades to fund the closing down of coal-fired plants and development of replacement green energy such as wind and solar, according to a report released in May. The world’s richest nations at COP26 in Glasgow in November pledged just $8.5 billion in climate grants and concessional loans to the nation.

“There’s not enough public resources in donor budgets and in local budgets, for example, in South Africa to solve the climate crisis,” Cameron Khosrowshahi, senior investment adviser for Prosper Africa, said in an interview Thursday. “There’s going to need to be a scaling up of private capital alongside public capital in order to meet the challenge. And that’s part of the reason why we’re here.”

The delegation comprising of pension funds, financial institutions and asset managers including Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Kansas City Public School Retirement System and the NYC Board of Education Retirement System will meet with fund managers and discuss blended finance opportunities for South Africa’s transition to renewable energy and women’s economic empowerment, a statement from Prosper Africa and USAID said.

The US is trying to deepen its ties with Africa and counter China’s influence, the continent’s largest trading partner and bilateral creditor.

Blinken will be hosted by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor and will also engage on a strategic dialog.

US investors also visited Senegal and Kenya in April.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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