Zambia owned electricity distribution company, Northwestern Energy has signed a financing agreement with Zambia National Commercial Bank that will see the company expand on its electricity distribution network in the North-Western Province.
“On 19th November 2020, Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco) Plc and North Western Energy Corporation signed a power deal for expansion and continued growth of electricity supply in the North-Western Province of Zambia”, according to a LinkedIn posting shared by the Bank on 25th November 2020. “The power deal benefits the non-mine households and commercial businesses located in Lumwana, Kalumbila and Kabitaka townships and sees the company powering over 4000 households”.
Following the Ministry of Energy’s successful passing of the Energy and Electricity Acts of 2019, several energy players in Zambia have taken the initiative of progressing with power projects as the market opens up for private sector participation.
Zanaco becomes the first Zambian bank following the enactment of the new electricity acts to finance a local player in the energy market. Prior to that South African First National Bank announced a financing deal with Northwestern Energy in Q1 2020. “FIRST National Bank (FNB) Zambia has partnered with North-Western Energy Corporation (NWEC) Limited to enhance the construction and management of electricity to benefit 10,000 households and businesses in non-mining areas in the region”, read an extract from the Zambia Daily Mail published on 11th February 2020. ”The project, which is part of the US$20 million overall investment by FNB, will help to improve the operation and distribution management of electricity in Lumwana, Kalumbila and Solwezi (Kabitaka) concession and surrounding parts”.
According to the bank’s website, Zanaco was founded in 1969 by the Government of Zambia. Prior to 2007, the bank was 100 percent owned by the government. In that year, 49 percent of its shares were sold to the Rabobank Group, a banking company from the Netherlands. In 2008, the shares of Zanaco were listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LUSE), where they trade under the symbol.
The deal is a masterstroke by its CEO Andrew Kamanga who has been in the energy finance arena since the establishment of Northwestern Energy. His company which has been a locally inspired domestic and commercial power distribution seeks to consolidate its presence in the mining heartland of Zambia that has seen investments in excess of US$2 billion by First Quantum Mine.