Meet the members

Jens Thomassen, Director, Denham Capital


May 2017

How did you come to be in the investor industry?

I run our power investments primarily in Africa. What that means is finding new investments, running them and then selling them.

What made you want to work within the sector?

Two things: One is the tremendous opportunities because it is the most underserved power market or power region in the world. If you look at Sub-Saharan Africa where I think the average power consumption per capita equates to a 60w light bulb. The second is that I think there are high material barriers to entry, primarily around human capital. So I enjoy working with, and building teams that can overcome those hurdles and succeed in ground-breaking projects.

What do you think has been the impact of the Oil price drop on power development?

I think there have been a couple of impacts some positive and some negative. One is that there is simply less export revenues which impact GDP growth and also FX reserve availability in a number of countries. I think when you think about opportunities and the opportunity cost of existing power generation. It is an opportunity to build cheaper electricity projects. Simply because there is cheaper fuel, whether that is lower oil prices or lower gas prices. 

Do you think investment focus is tilting towards East Africa since the oil price drop?

We have not seen that. Most of our activity is still in West Africa. That is not by preference that is just where the opportunities have been so far. Having said that we are looking at opportunities in East Africa, they just have not progressed as those in West Africa. 

What is your proudest achievement/investment during your time at Denham Capital?

I think working as part of the team to build and develop the Endeavour Energy team. Which we pretty much set up from scrath three years ago, who have now broken ground on the Amandi project and hopefully will break ground on a couple of other projects this year.

What are your key focuses for the next 12 to 18 months?

One of the key focuses is making sure the Amandi project is getting it built on time and on schedule with no HSE issues. The other big achievement or objective for this year is bringing Ghana bridge into construction.

During the Africa Assembly you are speaking on the session that discuss investment into power.
What do you think are the main inhibitors to investment into power infrastucture?

I think ultimately, there is the obvious one, there is a limitation on credit where the offtake is. What is different between power compared to oil and gas there is only a local market.


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