Africa Investment Forum Virtual boardrooms attract $32.8 billion in investment interest
The boards of the Africa Investment Forum have attracted $32.8 billion in investment interest in bankable projects.
Unveiling the results of the Forum’s virtual sessions on Thursday, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, told the 500 project sponsors, investors, brokers and government officials from around the world who attended: “In 72 hours, you’re all connected, you’ve made deals and you’ve created success.
The three-day virtual boardroom meetings showcased 40 projects across multiple sectors. Adesina said Africa was clearly back for investment as the Covid-19 pandemic gradually receded.
Expectations were high following the postponement of the Market Days of the Africa Investment Forum – Africa’s leading investment platform and event – last December. The event has been pushed back to March due to the emergence of the Covid-19 Omicron variant. The Covid has also caused the cancellation of the Africa Investment Forum’s Market Days 2020.
The Africa Investment Forum is a multi-stakeholder investment platform. It is an initiative of the African Development Bank Group and seven other partners, all of whom have sought potential deals from their pipelines for advisory sessions.
Describing the atmosphere of the board meetings, Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50, said: “There were real and exciting transactions that were concluded during this forum. We see great interest from the private sector in various sectors, including energy – especially renewable energy, the ICT and telecommunications sector, and health. We need to make sure we accelerate the implementation of this so that success breeds more success.
The outstanding results of the virtual boardrooms confirmed the strong interest in a range of economic sectors that offer high return on investment as well as high social impact for Africans. Key sectors included transport, gas and energy, health, agriculture, information and communication technologies. Specific conference sessions focusing on African creative industries and women-led businesses.
The biggest investment opportunity during the board sessions was the $15.6 billion Lagos-Abidjan Road Corridor Project being spearheaded by the Economic Community of East African States Commission. West (ECOWAS). Once completed, this public-private partnership project will connect Abidjan to Lagos via Accra, Lomé and Cotonou along the West African coast.
The highway will reduce travel times by 50%. It will give landlocked countries access to ports and “will have a significant impact on the lives of over 500 million people in West Africa,” Adesina said. “The African Development Bank Group provided over $40 million for feasibility studies to prepare the project for investment.”
The $50 million Makbel Dairy Farm has attracted the interest of more than 20 potential investors. The agricultural project in Angola has the potential to create more than 2,000 direct and indirect jobs and transform Angola into a net exporter of dairy products. Two potential partners have expressed interest in taking a combined 45% stake in the project.
Adesina highlighted the importance of growing women’s businesses and affirmed the African Development Bank Group’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs. He said the African Development Bank has set up a $1 million women’s advisory mechanism, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program. AFAWA supports women-led businesses with advisory services. “Women-led businesses must grow and dominate across Africa,” Adesina said.
A health sector project, a $67 million Mobihealth telemedicine initiative, is an innovative digital health transaction. It is also led by women and involves setting up a fully integrated proprietary telemedicine platform and building telehealth clinics. Health has become a key priority for Africa Investment Forum partners since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In February 2022, the African Development Bank developed a health infrastructure strategy as part of its plan to build a health care defense system for Africa.
Energy projects have also attracted interest. A $232 million liquefied natural gas project in Guinea includes the construction of a large-scale LNG receiving terminal and distribution network to transport natural gas to end users.
Following the unveiling of the results, Adesina and the heads of partner organizations of the Africa Investment Forum spoke about boardroom projects and Africa’s economic recovery.
Admassu Tadesse, Chairman Emeritus and Group Managing Director/CEO of the Trade and Development Bank, said: “The momentum has returned. The rebound has happened and of course now we need to sustain it by ensuring that these key projects start to materialize. Tadesse cited a “green share” instrument that the Trade and Development Bank had been working on that will lead to the climate finance program.
Representing the CEO of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Patrick Dlamini, Group Director Mohan Vivekanandan said, “A lot of the capital we need is here on our continent. It’s about creating opportunities for that capital to flow, because once that happens, it will create investment opportunities, jobs, and sustained economic growth.
Denys Denya, Executive Vice President, Finance, Administration and Banking at the African Export-Import Bank, representing the institution’s President, Professor Benedict Oramah, said: “We are delighted that ministers and policymakers politicians participated in the Africa Investment Forum. board meetings, because we need the public and private sectors to work together to carry out these urgent projects for our continent. The Lagos-Abidjan highway is very critical for us as we are a trade finance bank.
Speaking on behalf of Samaila Zubairu, Chief Executive Officer of Africa Finance Corporation, Senior Director Taiwo Adeniji said: “As a founding partner, Africa Finance Corporation remains committed to the Africa Investment Forum, which continues to play a key role in catalysing projects on the continent. Given the acute infrastructure deficit in Africa, support for the Forum is essential to unlock the substantial investments needed to close the gap.
Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, represented EIB President Werner Hoyer. Fayolle said he was impressed but not surprised by the results of the council chamber deliberations. He also said that the European Investment Bank has launched a new arm, EIB Global. He said, “EIB Global wants to do more investment projects in Africa. This will strengthen engagement, partnerships and new investments across Africa, and we are very pleased to do so with the optimism I have heard tonight.
Adesina thanked the partners and participants. “The Africa Investment Forum’s virtual investment boardrooms were designed for Africa. Let us now turn our gaze to the Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2022 which will take place physically in Abidjan from November 2-4, 2022. As we prepare for this event, let us continue to drive business forward.
The eight founding partners of the Africa Investment Forum are: the African Development Bank, its host; Africa 50; the African Finance Corporation; the African Export-Import Bank; the Development Bank of Southern Africa; the Trade and Development Bank; the European Investment Bank; and the Islamic Development Bank.
Distributed by APO Group for the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group.
Africa Investment Forum
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About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). Present in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and social progress of its 54 regional member states.
For more information: www.AfDB.org
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