Avesh Padayachee

Founder, Fibon Energy

Having qualified and practiced as an attorney specializing in the fast-paced mergers and acquisitions environment, Avesh Padayachee wanted to find a way to make an impact on the daily lives of African people, participating in the growth of the African continent. After completing his MBA in the US, he saw an opportunity to start a renewable energy venture and returned to South Africa. He reached out to friends from university, former colleagues and industry experts, and launched Fibon Energy.

The company now boasts a multidisciplinary team of legal, financial and environmental services experts who are all passionate about the potential that renewable energy offers.

“At a time when even large companies are reluctant to enter the African market, we see renewable energy as a practical solution to the power shortages currently faced by many countries in Africa,” Padayachee says. “The challenge however is the long lead time from inception to reach financial close, typically two to three years in order to close a project.

“Building from scratch is not easy either, and many projects will be the first of their kind, which involves educating the market, and equally, the Fibon Energy team learning as they go.

“The differences in operating in the different countries are striking, too,” says Padayachee. “Using financing and security structures which are commonplace in South Africa and other developed economies [is] not always appropriate for countries across our borders. We are developing a blueprint as we go along to overcome these challenges though, which is exciting in itself.”

The company is already involved in two photovoltaic power plants in the Western Cape, and has completed a transaction as lead sponsor to develop the first photovoltaic power plant in Swaziland. It is also actively developing projects in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“I am inspired by the economic participation and development by Africans in Africa,” says Padayachee. “Renewable energy is the first step in our infrastructure portfolio, and our vision is to develop and participate in different asset classes which will contribute to the economy. In 10 years’ time, we want to be building and creating infrastructure: roads, rail, ports and refineries on the continent. I want to create a legacy on the continent of dreams.”

In his spare time, Padayachee loves a good game of golf — most special when he tees off just before sunrise — and loves to travel South Africa in search of good runs and hikes. — Kerry Haggard

Twitter: @AveshZA Website: fibonenergy.com