• The General Electric logo is visible on a facility in Lynn, Massachusetts, in this March 6, 2009 photo.

The General Electric logo is visible on a facility in Lynn, Massachusetts, in this March 6, 2009 photo. (Photo : Reuters)

State-owned enterprise China National Machinery Industry Corp. (Sinomach) and U.S.-based conglomerate General Electric Co. (GE) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Tuesday to improve access to clean energy in Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than two-thirds of the population is without electricity.

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The agreement marks a milestone of partnership between GE and Sinomach, as the two parties have previously collaborated in infrastructure projects in Latin America, Asia and Africa, including $3 billion in investments to the energy sector, according to PR Newswire.

Under the MOU, GE and Sinomach agree to jointly develop, invest and finance clean energy projects and build a 102-megawatt power facility in Kenya as a pilot project for future cooperation. The two companies have already indentified a wind power farm in Kipeto, a city 50 km south of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi as the location of the pilot program.

The project will be run as part of the Power Africa initiative, a U.S. government-led campaign that brings together public and private organizations worldwide to work in partnership to improve power supply across the African continent.

Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), an independent U.S. government agency that mobilized development capital for private firms, will also provide most of the $210 million in investments to the Kipeto project.

Approximately 80 percent of Kenya's population is without regular electricity, and to fill the gap the nation's government has set a target of producing 2,036 megawatts of wind power by 2030. The Kipeto project, once completed, will add 102 megawatts of capacity to the Kenyan national power grid with the installation of 63 GE wind turbines.

Sinomach chairman Ren Hongbin said that the company's partnership with GE is strategically valuable in achieving sustainable success in Africa.

"It clearly outlines a new formula for U.S.-China collaboration in third country markets," Hongbin said. "It is our hope that we can bring the mutually beneficial partnership to a new level and inspire more successful collaborations between our peers from U.S. and China."

Rachel Duan, president and CEO of GE Greater China, said that GE aims to forge a collaboration model to secure long-term success in the global market.

"The GE-Sinomach collaboration will cover broad spectrum of domains to allow our partner to truly benefit from GE's technology, global outreach, and execution insights. In a big picture, we hope the joint effort bring closer the globalization roadmaps of business in two countries, "she said.

Founded in 1997, Sinomach is based in Beijing and is mainly involved in machinery equipment research and development. It will be the main contractor for the joint project, while GE will provide generators, machine parts, and technological support and training.