After almost 10 years of pioneering the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) dream of enhancing economic development of nations on the continent, Andrew Alli, its President and Chief Executive Officer, is billed to bow out this year.
In his final new year message on Friday, he said that over the years, the corporation, established by the then Prof. Chukwuma Soludo Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2007, with current a balance sheet size of about US$3.5bn, “has evolved from a start-up to an institution that is a powerful force on the continent; it currently has a membership of 17 countries, an A3 Credit Rating by Moody’s (the second highest rated African lending institution), and has grown from about US$1bn in total assets to about US$4bn, while investing in various capacities in the landmark African projects.
These include: “the US$240m MainOne Cable Company which provides innovative telecommunications services, network solutions and wholesale internet services for people and businesses in West Africa. Main One provides direct connectivity to over 10m users, with several more millions benefitting indirectly; (as well as) the 1,786MW power joint venture with Harith General Partners called Anergi Holdings, which provides electricity to 30m people across five countries in Africa.”
In each of the 10 years, he said the corporation successfully in delivered a profit, “despite the backdrop of the global financial crisis, slow-growth, and the crash of commodity prices that affected many African economies.”
AFC’s activities over these years, he continued, “reflect a strategic and passionate desire to meet the desperate need for a private sector led infrastructure financing institution in the world’s second largest continent, for all its people.”
Looking back at the challenges faced by the corporation over the last decade, he particularly noted the high scale of African demand for financing infrastructure investment and maintenance, describing it as worrisome, given that “traditional sources of public financing and weakened economic conditions in many regions of the world have magnified the need for private capital.”
The AFC, he recalled, was established to meet this resource imbalance by investing in infrastructure assets on a pan-African basis, a task he believes has been achieved “through stable leadership and consistent delivery, as well as a continued commitment to the Corporation’s core mission: to address Africa’s infrastructure needs, whilst delivering a competitive return for shareholders.
“What I find most encouraging as I contemplate AFC’s future after my departure, is how the transformational impact that AFC has delivered so far in developing African infrastructure remains dwarfed by the scale of the tremendous opportunities across the continent,” he said, expressing confidence confidence that the corporation is ready to seize these opportunities.
“Simply put, the core of my time as President and CEO of the Corporation has been a relentless emphasis on sustainable development, people and innovation, both within AFC as well as in the communities in which we have invested. To this end, AFC has spent the last decade focusing on projects in areas that otherwise would be, and have been in the past, overlooked by traditional investors.
“Looking back at AFC’s achievements in the last decade, what I am most proud of are the successes of the Corporation that aren’t just informed by the returns made, or indeed the size of our investments, but the direct impact they have had on people.”
The institution, he noted, has become highly respected both within Africa and outside, with its many achievements made possible by its “strong, effective and motivated team, fully committed to the Corporation’s mission.”
At the heart of AFC’s mandate for development, he continued, “is knowing that the people of Africa will benefit. Be it access to electricity through the Anergi Holdings energy platform, or improved transport accessibility via the Henri Konan Bédié Bridge in Côte d’Ivoire.
“AFC also seeks to drive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives that deliver immediate and beneficial results to communities across Africa. We were therefore thrilled to announce in 2017, the Clean Water Campaign which aims to increase access to clean water and improve health and sanitation in communities across Africa, in particular schools and orphanages, and I am extremely proud of the AFC team for their efforts, from conception to delivery.”
He expressed confidence that adequate human capital has been developed to drive the corporation in the next phase, as “the business is in a formidable position for further growth and expansion. We were very pleased to have welcomed the three new country members over the course of the year, and as we continue to seek out and execute the most promising projects across the continent, and ambitious capital raises across the globe, the Corporation remains in exceptionally capable hands. The success of AFC is built upon the dedication and expertise of its staff and our team is in every dimension our strongest asset. I wish my successor well and leave proud in the secure knowledge that he has a world class team supporting him through his work at AFC.”
Investdata News notes that the corporation has already began the process of shopping for “African candidates” as Mr. Alli’s replacement. It has retained the services of global executive search advisor Egon Zehnder to assist in this search.