It is a first-rate institution, pushing the frontiers of development on infrastructure in Africa, preparing projects, taking them to commercial viability, and financing them.
MARRAKESH, Morocco: African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) President and Chairman of the Africa50 (https://www.Africa50.com) Board of Directors, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has highlighted the crucial role that Africa50 is playing to help bridge Africa’s infrastructure financing gap.
Adesina was speaking at the opening session of Africa50’s general shareholders meeting in Marrakech on Tuesday. He told delegates that Africa50 had invested $5 billion in 16 private-sector focused investments in six years.
Adesina said: “I am proud of Africa50. It is a first-rate institution, pushing the frontiers of development on infrastructure in Africa, preparing projects, taking them to commercial viability, and financing them.”
Africa50’s CEO Alain Ebobissé said: “Africa50 is a catalyst and plays a critical role. Private investment is key to meeting our objective to equip African countries with sustainable infrastructure.”
Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance Nadia Fettah Alaoui said the Africa50 general shareholders meeting was taking place at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic had shown Africa’s vulnerability. She outlined the role Morocco intends to play in the recovery.
“Morocco’s vision is to build a better future. There can only be a prosperous world with a prosperous Africa. Together, we are stronger and can go further with funds like Africa50 as a catalyst for financial integration, Alaoui said.
The African Development Bank, Africa50 and the African Sovereign Investors Forum—chaired by Morocco’s strategic investment fund Ithmar Capital—signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the development of green and climate resilient infrastructure projects across Africa. The partnership expects to mobilize significant funding from African institutional investors towards sustainable infrastructure.
According to Adesina, Africa’s growth and development depended on its ability to massively attract investments into infrastructure across energy, transport, ICT, health care and water and sanitation. He added that the African Development Bank had already invested more than $44 billion in these sectors.
Adesina told the delegates there was still much to do to meet Africa’s infrastructure needs.
“We must tap all possible funding sources,” he stressed. “That is why the African Development Bank helped to establish Africa50 to bring together key stakeholders, including private sector investors, development finance institutions and infrastructure developers. Its project finance arm provides long-term finance, while its project development arm adds value by generating a pipeline of viable projects.”
The Bank Group head highlighted Africa50’s investment in the Kinshasa-Brazzaville bridge project, and the Kigali Innovation City digital infrastructure project, which will create over 50,000 jobs. Africa50 is supporting Africa’s green transition to cleaner renewable electricity from solar, thermal and hydropower in partnership with the African Development Bank and other institutions through the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa (https://bit.ly/3yUlR2l).
Africa50’s general shareholders meeting took place on the eve of a four-day US-Africa business summit in Morocco. Speaking in Marrakech, US Corporate Council on Africa President Florizelle Liser stressed the importance of US investor engagement with the African continent. She said: “International investors are worth $100 trillion and 45% of that total comes from US investors. They can be a little bit timid about investing in Africa, but our role is to build trust between them and African institutions. That’s why we’re linking them with regional banks and institutions such as the African Development Bank and Africa50. Together I’m confident we can deliver.”
Echoing Liser’s aspirations. Adesina told delegates at the Africa50 general shareholders meeting: “We are investing in Africa because we believe in Africa, and because our people deserve to live better lives. With its vast natural and human resources, Africa is teeming with investment opportunities, with huge returns. Africa’s future is bright.”
At a press conference, Adesina and Ebobisse briefed media on asset recycling as a resource mobilization solution. They explained that this would help African governments develop their respective infrastructure programs, including toll roads, power plants, airports, and fiber optic networks.
Africa50 management announced that Cabo Verde joined the fund as a new shareholder.
About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group 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). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.