May 19, 2020

City Focus: Nairobi

Leah Netabai
4 min
City Focus: Nairobi

Clean energy and investment industries in Nairobi and Europe take part in the biggest wind farm project in Africa.

Having been founded by colonial authorities in 1899 as a railway settlement, Nairobi is a fast-growing city and currently has a population of 4,556,381 (2019).

This young city is situated 300 miles from North West Mombasa (Kenya’s major port on the Indian Ocean) and covers a total of 696km2 of land that has been transformed, from the uninhabitable swampland it was prior to 1899, into a modern hub of Kenya's rail freight, commerce and manufacturing industries.

Having developed at a considerable rate, Nairobi continues to make strides in the renewable energy sector. In July 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the Lake Turkana Wind Power project — Africa's largest facility of its kind, with offices based in Nairobi. The farm consists of 365 wind turbines with a capacity of 850KW and is situated within a valley that serves as an effective wind tunnel for the site that covers 40,000 acres.

The project will also include the upgrade of an existing road, approximately 204km long, to the wind farm site, as well as access road networks. Meanwhile, The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (Ketraco) is constructing a double circuit 400kv, transmission line covering 428km, in order to deliver electricity from Lake Turkana Wind Power or any other future plants to Nairobi and the rest of Kenya.

The Lake Turkana Wind Power project aims to boost Kenya’s electricity supply, move away from depending on fossil fuels and provide “reliable, low cost energy to Kenya’s national grid” in the hope of achieving Kenya’s goal of 100% green energy by 2020. According to CNBC, Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, is “pleased to note that Kenya is without doubt on course to be a global leader in renewable energy.”

To ensure that professional behaviour and activities reflect their philosophy, the project upholds core values that include being “collaborative”, “accessible” and “respectful”, as well as “always working to a high standard of excellence in a manner that is safe.”  

Alongside the aim to boost Kenya’s electricity supply, the farm has been keen to ensure that the surrounding community benefits from the project, which has caused Lake Turkana Wind Power to establish “The Winds of Change” foundation to help enhance the livelihoods of the communities surrounding the project area. Key focuses for the foundation include enhancing employability via educational and vocational support, enhancing access to health services by supporting health education and facilities, and providing water.

The Lake Turkana Wind Power project has been funded by an assortment of African and European companies such as; KP&P Africa B.V, Aldwych International, Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Vestas Eastern Africa Limited, Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd, KLP Norfund Investments AS and Sandpiper Ltd.


KP&P Africa B.V – Netherlands

Established in 2006, the objective of this Dutch company is to invest in renewable energy projects in Africa. KP&P Africa B.V is one of two companies involved with the co-development of Lake Turkana Wind Power.

Aldwych International – Nairobi

Aldwych International (formed in 2004) develop, own and oversee the generation, transmission and distribution of power in Africa. Aldwych International is the second company involved with the co-development of Lake Turkana Wind Power.

Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) – Nairobi

IFU are commercial investors that offer advice and risk capital to companies doing business in developing countries. The Norwegian company invests in 143 countries, has 203 active projects to date and has 1083 completed projects, all of which have contributed to economic and social development. To date, IFU has invested approximately $3.5mn in the Lake Turkana Wind Power project.

Vestas Eastern Africa Limited – South Africa

Vestas is a global company that was established in 1898. The firm works to delivery sustainable energy solutions by designing, manufacturing, installing and servicing wind turbines across the world.

Currently, Vestas has “101GW of wind turbines in 80 countries”, one of which being Africa, North of Nairobi. For the Lake Turkana Wind Power project Vestas transported “parts for 365 wind turbines across 1,200km of road in a country that has never undertaken an energy project of this magnitude.”

Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd (Finnfund) - Finland

Finnfund is a development financing company that strives to build a sustainable world by investing in responsible and profitable businesses in developing countries. The company was formed in 1980 with Finnfund generating 6,065 GWh of clean energy for developing countries.

KLP Norfund Investments AS – West Africa

Established in 1998, Norfund has five regional offices, one of which is located in Nairobi. Norfund aims to invest in countries where it can achieve the greatest possible impact through the development of sustainable businesses. Norfund has currently invested around $1.4mn into the Lake Turkana Wind Power project.


For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.

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Jun 11, 2021

G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve

3 min
Business Chief delves into what the G7 is and represents and what its 2021 summit hopes to achieve, in terms of sustainability and global trade

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration. 


Who are the G7?

The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like. 

The merry band comprises:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.


Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda. 


When was the ‘G’ formed?

Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s. 


Why does the G7 exist?

At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted. 


The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability. 


It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations. 


Where is the 2021 G7 summit?

This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall. 

What will be discussed this year? 

After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”


The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values. 


According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.” 


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