Standard Chartered is more than doubling its commitment to the US government’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative, increasing its pledge from US$2bn to US$5bn.

The bank is now the largest private partner in the campaign, which is seeking to deliver electricity to more than 20 million new households and companies in Africa by 2018.

Standard Chartered has so far been involved with 3 projects under the initiative. It is the global coordinating mandated lead arranger and structuring bank for the Azura-Edo power plant in Nigeria, investing more than US$1bn in the 450MW project in total.

It is also the mandated lead arranger and structuring bank for the 495MW Okija power project in south-eastern Nigeria, and the bank’s Private Equity Africa division has invested US$57mn in the Zambian Energy Corporation.

Commenting on the bank’s commitment, group chief executive of Standard Chartered, Peter Sands, says: “A lack of access to electricity is one of Africa’s most critical infrastructure challenges.”

“We have always strived to contribute to social and economic development in Africa, financing trade and investment across the continent. We expect that our extended commitment to the ‘Power Africa’ initiative will add more than 7,500 megawatts to the Africa’s power grid – equivalent to the electricity production capacity of Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.”

The governments of Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Liberia are all taking part in ‘Power Africa’ along with a large group of private-sector firms that includes Nedbank, Standard Bank, and Goldman Sachs.

To achieve its stated aim, participating private and public-sector partners will expand mini-grid and off-grid power generation solutions as well as build out transmission and distribution structures across the continent.