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10 Jan 2023

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Kenya Doubling Electricity Grid, Demonstrating EESG Leadership in Africa

Word comes today Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) plans to add 3 gigawatts of renewable power to the nation's electricity grid over the next decade. When complete, the project would effectively doubling the nation's generation capacity. Two-thirds of the new power will come from geothermal and hydro resources, the company said.

Abraham Serem, KenGen's Acting CEO, also said the company “will seek to rehabilitate its existing power plants to make them more efficient for sustainable generation.”

The Rift Valley region is seen as the primary source of potentially vast new power resources, and has reached less than 10% of its potential, according to Serem. He cited two projects – one generating 280MW in Olkaria, the other 25MW in Eburru – which would begin instruction immediately, pending requisite permits.

Kenya has emerged as a leader in recent years in its development of technology and sustainability efforts. A massive deployment of mobile computing in 2016-17 propelled Kenya to the top of the Tau Index ratings, which are produced by a company I founded and which measure the relative momentum of Digital Infrastructure on a national basis among 145 countries.

Kenya Is An EESG Index Leader
Now settled into the middle range of better established, less dynamic nations in the most recent Tau Index, Kenya has emerged as a leader in the new EESG Digital Readiness Index of Nations, published by IDCA. This index balances each nation's relative economic conditions with its ESG (environmental, social, and governance) factors. Kenya sits within the Top 40 overall, while ranking fifth among 37 African nations in the index, and third among 31 Frontier Markets.

Despite its recent progress, Kenya's status as a Frontier Market is telling. The country has about 4% of the per capita (per-person) income of the EU, and its electricity grid delivers about 2.5% of the per capita power found in the EU. Its average Internet speed leads the Frontier Markets, but It still has substantial deficits in overall Internet access and server density.

Yet Kenya has appeared to be on the right track with respect to Digital Infrastructure for some years. The announcement to double its electricity grid is another positive step in this process.

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