Gridworks appoints Patrick Crawford CB as new Chairman


Gridworks has appointed Patrick Crawford CB as its new Chairman. He takes over from Helen Tarnoy who had been in the role since Gridworks’ launch in 2019 and had helped guide the company through the first stage of its development.  

Gridworks was set up by British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution, and aims to connect Africa’s people and businesses to reliable, affordable, clean power. It provides long-term capital to the transmission, distribution and distributed renewable energy sector in Africa, both on and off-grid.

Patrick comes to Gridworks with extensive financial services and investing experience in both developing and developed markets. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of the Private Infrastructure Development Group Limited and an Independent Non-Executive Director and Senior Independent Director of FBN Bank (UK) Limited, the regulated UK subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria.

Earlier in his career, Patrick was the Chief Executive of Charity Bank, and of UK Export Finance, the UK Government’s export credit agency. Before that he was the managing director of Emerging Africa Advisers, the manager of the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund. This followed twenty-six years in international export, project and trade finance at Morgan Grenfell and Deutsche Bank where he was a managing director and the global head of export and project finance.

Welcoming his appointment, Patrick Crawford CB said:

I’m delighted to be joining Gridworks at such an exciting time for the organisation. Gridworks is playing an important, and increasingly high-profile, role in developing and investing in Africa’s electricity network infrastructure. This infrastructure is vital to helping the continent meet its economic, social and climate goals.  I look forward to supporting the Gridworks Board and management as they work with governments and investors to develop sustainable financing models that address Africa’s energy infrastructure needs.

Simon Hodson, Gridworks Chief Executive said:

Patrick is an experienced and knowledgeable leader whose insight and understanding of the world of African infrastructure make him the ideal candidate to lead our Board. He is taking over at an important time for the business, as we see growing interest in new ways of funding electricity networks in Africa.

“I also want to pay tribute to Patrick’s predecessor, Helen Tarnoy, who provided me with wise leadership from our launch in 2019 through to her retirement this year. Her dedication and commitment have helped put Gridworks on the map. My team and I are grateful for her guidance during her time with us.”

Chris Chijiutomi, MD and Head of Infrastructure Equity, Africa and Pakistan, at BII said:

“We are delighted to welcome Patrick to his new role at Gridworks at this exciting juncture. In this new chapter, Patrick’s expert leadership will strengthen Gridwork’s mission and invigorate its commitment to playing a much-needed role in addressing the quantity and quality of power in the continent.

“We would also like to thank Helen Tarnoy for her leadership of Gridworks during its formative years and wish her all the best in her retirement.”

Despite recent investment and improvements in electricity generation, the lack of progress in developing transmission and distribution infrastructure is a significant bottleneck to economic development across Africa. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investment are needed in transmission and distribution infrastructure to allow the utilisation of current and planned power generation.  Gridworks exists to play a part in tackling this challenge.

The Gridworks Portfolio:

Gridworks made its first investment in 2019. Sustainable Power Solutions is a distributed renewable energy company providing solar power and battery storage solutions to businesses across Africa.

In 2021 Gridworks launched Moyi Power, an ambitious program to build greenfield, solar-powered utilities that will provide electricity to almost a million people in three isolated cities in northern DRC.

And in 2022, alongside the Government of Uganda, Gridworks announced Amari Power Transmission, a US$90 million independent power transmission project. Amari is a first-of its-kind pilot for the introduction of private sector capital in the country’s transmission sector.

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