(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Azura Power is a developer, financier, acquirer and operator of Independent Power Plants (IPPs) across Africa. The company’s ambition is to build the continent’s leading power generation platform. Azura utilizes its our project development, industry expertise and financing skills to develop, acquire and finance power projects.
As at January 2020, Azura’s operating plants had a total generating capacity of 576MW and its portfolio included a further 804MW of generating capacity that was either in-development or under acquisition.
To further expand and diversify its portfolio, the company is also building a pipeline of development and acquisition opportunities in other African countries The Azura-Edo IPP is a 461MW Open Cycle Gas Turbine power station, the first project initiated by Azura Power. It is Phase 1 of a 1,500MW IPP facility being developed near Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria and is located on a 100 hectare site, large enough to accommodate future expansion of the power plant. After over six years in development, financial close for Phase 1 was reached on 28 December 2015, construction started on 5 January 2016 and the plant started operating in May 2018, eight months ahead of schedule. Siemens and Julius Berger were the joint EPC contractors.
Believe In Better: The Believe in Better programme is Azura’s commitment – from all its employees – to help the less fortunate find a better way of living. Background Azura is committed to finding practical, and long lasting, solutions for social causes that are close to the heart of the communities in which its personnel live and work; to Azura as a company; and to its employees.
Pogramme Objective: The overall objective of the Believe in Better (“BiB”) program is to support important social causes that make a tangible, positive and long term difference to the lives of ordinary people.
The key principles upon which the company supports such projects or initiatives are:
(i) The projects are in areas which Azura has selected as a priority and where we believe that we can make a positive difference to the lives of ordinary people.
(ii) Initiatives must (eventually) provide a tangible and sustainable benefit on their own; ideally without long term funding or support from Azura or other parties.
(iii) Wherever possible, Azura looks at how it can best leverage off other projects that are run by people/institutions it trusts and/or by working closely with its stakeholders who might have similar ambitions with it.
(iv)Whilst projects that are local to Edo State and areas in which its employees live and work will be important, Azura is a Nigerian enterprise selling power to people across the country and hence its support should extend to national causes.
(v) Each project must be ”sponsored” by an Azura ”champion”, who is an employee of the company, and will help ensure that the project achieves its objectives. Azura everyone in its fold to make an effort to get involved and make a contribution towards improving the lives of the less fortunate. Hence, the BiB programme is managed and directed by Azura’s employees.
Projects Supported By Azura
A Believe in Better Committee (“BiBC”), consisting of a cross section of people from Azura, has been set up to to identify, assess and monitor the progress of selected projects in the following areas: health, education, basic infrastructure and environment, pro-bono support for start ups and SMEs, and arts, sports and culture. Several projects are already underway; and we are conducting feasibility studies on other possible projects.
PROVIDING FREE EYE SURGERIES TO LOW INCOME CITIZENS
Azura is supporting The Tulsi Chanrai Foundation (“TCF”) in its ambition to help reduce the number of cases of “avoidable blindness” in Nigeria. Not only does blindness hinder the quality of life but also impacts the socio-economic conditions of the family, community and the nation. TCF aims to reduce avoidable blindness, predominantly cataract, among the rural poor of Nigeria by providing high quality free surgeries, and increase local capacities to contribute for reduced blindness in Nigeria. Since inception, TCF has restored eye sight of more than 120,000+ blind eyes and is performing more than 5,000 surgeries per annum through three eye centers established in partnership with three state governments (Kebbi, Cross Rivers and IMO) as well as the Eye Hospital in Abuja, which was opened by President Buhari in July 2019.
Azura is sponsoring 1,000 free eye surgeries a year (by August 2019, over 700 successful surgeries had been performed) and in 2020, will be working with TCF to extend our Believe in Better eye program to Edo State residents and hope to set up an eye camp in or near Benin City. Azura is very excited about this program and is looking at other ways that t can work with TCF in their mission to improve healthcare and drinking water across Nigeria.
PROVIDING SOLAR POWER FOR AN ORPHANAGE IN BORNO STATE
The North East Children’s Trust (“NECT”) was formed in December 2016 to establish at least ten Integrated Learning Centres that would provide comprehensive support to orphans in the North East of Nigeria. The Learning Centres are no ordinary buildings – they are homes of hope; to heal, to educate, to empower, and to refine the next generation of leaders from the region and for the region. Azura is supporting NECT’s first learning centre facility in Maiduguri which will help educate and support, over time, more than 1,000 orphans who have been displaced from the troubles in Borno State. The 8.6kWp solar panels and equipment, funded by Azura, are already providing electricity to a vocational centre and administration block, and are saving the facility substantial money in fuel costs … and of course providing consistent and reliable power so that the children can benefit from having access to light and power at all times.
HELPING DEVELOP UNDER-PRIVILEGED CHILDREN THROUGH SPORT
Azura is providing support to under-privileged children through a football-for-developmental programme, managed by YEDI (“Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative”), that was developed more than 10 years ago in Southern Africa to reduce HIV prevalence rates and stigma. YEDI has reached 127,000 children across four states and in over 500 schools and community sites in Nigeria, with evidence-based programs designed to facilitate young people’s access to health services and promote their adherence towards healthier behaviours. Azura is currently undertaking a feasibility study to launch the program in Edo State and are very excited about the prospect of working with YEDI on this initiative.
SUPPORTING THE PROTECTION OF THE GASHAKA NATIONAL PARK
Azura is supporting Africa Nature Investors, a non-profit foundation set up and led by African professionals committed to bringing best-practice nature conservation to Africa. ANI’s major flagship project aims to protect the Gashaka Gumti National Park, located in Taraba and Adamawa States. Gashaka is the largest national park in West Africa with the tallest mountain in Nigeria, spectacular montane rainforests, the largest populations of chimpanzees in West Africa, and the source of the river Benue supporting the livelihoods of over 10 million people.
AZURA’S funds will contribute towards educating and training the rangers, providing basic infrastructure to the park (road and logistics base) and conducting livelihood restoration programmes with the local communities. Through these and other activities led by ANI, we intend to preserve the integrity of this watershed which is fundamental to the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians who depend directly on the health of the Benue river for their livelihoods.
PARTNERING WITH ITS NEIGHBOURS – COMPLETION OF A NEW BLOCK OF CLASSROOMS FOR THE IDUNMWOWINA COMMUNITY, AND HANDOVER OF AMBULANCE AND OPTICAL EQUIPMENT TO STELLA OBASANJO HOSPITAL, EDO STATE
Azura recently completed the construction of a new block of classrooms and a library in Edo State. The facilities were handed over to the pupils and their teachers at a heart-warming ceremony in May 2019. Azura is looking at other educational projects in the area to help the children of the next generation! The company was also delighted to donate a much needed ambulance and some important optical equipment for the Stella Obasanjo Hospital in Benin City.