(AfDB) - In just a few weeks, the second edition of the annual Africa Investment Forum will kick off in Johannesburg, South Africa, with development finance institutions determined to tackle the continent’s infrastructure investment challenges and advance Africa’s economic transformation agenda.
Africa Investment Forum 2018 broke the mold for regional investments and offered lessons about what can be done when multilateral development and finance institutions decide to pull their resources together to deliver as one.
“When we laid out our vision to tilt the flow of capital into Africa by convening the first transaction-based investment forum, many thought it would all amount to building castles in the air. One year down the road, the verdict is undisputed. Africa’s investment opportunities are proving to be seriously attractive,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, convener of the Forum.
The inaugural forum powerfully demonstrated the Bank’s convening power and ability to rally key development institutions, global and regional investors around the common objective of fast-tracking Africa’s economic transformation. The collective resolve to tackle head-on Africa’s annual infrastructure investment gap, estimated at between US$130 billion and US$170 billion, was on full display during the opening ceremony.
“The inaugural Africa Investment Forum witnessed an extraordinary level of engagement. The conversation moved from talking about investment to advancing deals towards financial closure. 2019 will validate and redefine the perception of investor confidence regarding the African Continent,” said David Makhura, Premier of Gauteng province in South Africa.
Heads of key partner institutions include Patrick Dlamini, CEO, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Professor Benedict Oramah, President, the Africa Export-Import Bank, Dr. Bandar M. H. Hajjar, President, Islamic Development Bank; Admassu Tadesse, President, Trade and Development Bank. The Forum’s founding partners also include Alain Ebobisse, CEO, Africa 50; Mallam Samaila Zubairu, CEO, Africa Finance Corporation.
For Alain Ebobisse, CEO of Africa50, the continent is brimming with opportunities that are waiting to be seized. “The Africa Investment Forum not only brings together investors and stakeholders to initiate deals but can help close transactions that would otherwise take months or years. In infrastructure, this makes a significant difference since the financial and opportunity costs of project delays are high.”
Africa’s development challenges need a swift, bold, and robust response. Of the world’s 20 countries with the least access to electricity, 13 are in Africa. Investment in the region of $43-55 billion per year is needed until 2030-2040 to meet demand and provide universal access to power.
“The audacity showed in South Africa last year, and the results in terms of investment and deals closed will live long in the investor community’s memory,” Adesina tells global investors on the hunt for yields and opportunities.
“We will be reaching for new heights. Already, a robust pipeline of deals valued at billions of US dollars, in energy, cross-border infrastructure, agriculture will be tabled for discussed in the boardroom sessions,” he said.
Last year’s Forum attracted 1,943 participants representing 87 countries and brought together 400 investors from 52 countries. The innovative investment marketplace, brings together heads of state, project sponsors, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and other institutional investors. Policymakers, private equity firms, and other key senior government officials will also be present.
Africa Investment Forum 2019 will run from 11-13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.