(Bloomberg) -- Africa Finance Corp. will join a group of companies developing a project to produce solar and wind power in Morocco and transmit it to the UK via undersea cables, Chief Executive Officer Samaila Zubairu said.

The project includes 10.5 gigawatts of solar and wind power, and batteries to store nearly half that capacity. It will also involve laying 3,800 kilometers of cables below the ocean. The plan expected to cost more than $20 billion will be one of the biggest energy investments Africa’s yet seen.

“There has to be a clear understanding that Africa is no longer charity or an aid case,” Zubairu said in an interview last week in Washington, where he was attending the International Monetary Fund’s Spring meetings. “If we need to get to net zero, we need to focus on investments.” 

Read more: UK-Morocco Power Cable Could Be Scrapped in Favor of Germany 

Xlinks Ltd. is leading the project to export power from Morocco to the UK. The group also includes TotalEnergies SE, General Electric and Abu Dhabi’s Taqa, he said. Xlinks said in December 2022 that the project will be capable of supplying 8% of Britain’s annual electricity needs.

Africa has the potential to generate more than 110 gigawatts from wind and has massive untapped solar capacity too, Zubairu said. That’s in addition to 250 gigawatts of hydropower potential. All this offers the opportunity to export electricity, but also to generate power to produce and process Africa’s mineral endowment that’s critical to the energy transition, he said.

Last week, the IMF said Africa stands to reap nearly $2 trillion from exporting critical minerals by 2025, more than triple what it will earn from fossil fuel exports over the same period.

AFC is also the lead developer for another project that will help boost exports of these metals - the Lobito corridor rail link from Zambia’s copper heartland to an existing line that runs to Angola’s coast to the west. 

It’s appointed Ottawa-based CPCS to carry out a feasibility study on the planned new tracks, Zubairu said. The plan is to then sign a concession agreement by the end of the third quarter of this year, he said. 

(Updates with Lobito corridor feasibility study consultants in the final paragraph)

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