S.African asset manager STANLIB sets $1 billion goal for energy transition projects

By Tannur Anders

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African asset manager STANLIB on Thursday launched an energy fund which aims to attract $1 billion by the end of 2028 to finance greener energy projects across the African continent.

The launch of the Khanyisa Energy Transition Fund comes amid a global move towards more environmentally-friendly energy options.

The COP28 summit opened on Thursday with a plea to countries and fossil fuel companies to work together to meet global climate goals.

“The need and urgency for mobilising capital into some of these (climate) commitments is greater today,” said Johan Marnewick, STANLIB’s head of Credit Alternatives and Portfolio Manager.

South Africa has secured $676 million in grants from rich nations for a transition to green energy, in addition to the $8.5 billion pledged by developed nations at COP26, a figure which has since increased.

A government official said in October that South Africa could get more grants during COP28 climate talks.

The fund, which aims to fulfil four of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, is not limited to renewable energy components.

Khanyisa will also focus on energy transition assets such as green hydrogen infrastructure, investments into gas as a transition fuel and critical minerals, STANLIB said.

The Khanyisa initiative will fill the gap of government in kickstarting “long needed backlog infrastructure”, Asief Mohamed, chief investment officer at Aeon Investment Management, told Reuters.

Khanyisa – the word for “illuminate” in the isiZulu language – has received an initial seed investment of three billion rand ($159.47 million) in assets from Standard Bank and insurer Liberty Holdings, the parent company of STANLIB.

“The energy transition is at a critical junction on the continent… We have over 561 million Sub-Saharan Africans that have no access to electricity,” said Asanda Tsotsi, Standard Bank’s head of Project and Export Finance.

($1 = 18.8124 rand)

(Reporting by Tannur Anders, Editing by Bhargav Acharya and Jane Merriman)