African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, on Thursday unveiled results of the Africa Investment Forum’s virtual boardroom sessions, which showed that bankable projects across the continent attracted investments interest worth $32.8bn.
At the end of the three-day virtual boardroom meetings which showcased 40 projects in several sectors, Adesina told the 500 project sponsors, investors, deal brokers and government representatives from around the world who took part in them: “In 72 hours, you all connected, you struck deals and you created success.”
This, he noted, showed that Africa was clearly back for investments as the Covid-19 pandemic gradually receded.
The largest investment opportunity in the boardroom sessions, according to a statement by the AfDB, was the Lagos Abidjan highway corridor project valued at $15.6bn and led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission.
Once completed, this public private partnership project will link Abidjan to Lagos via Accra, Lomé and Cotonou along the West African coast, reducing travel times by 50%, offering landlocked countries access to ports.
The project, Adesina said, will equally “make a meaningful impact on the lives of over 500 million people in West Africa. The African Development Bank Group has provided more than $40m for feasibility studies to prepare the project for investment.”
There is also the $50 million Makbel Dairy Farm in Angola, which drew interest from more than 20 prospective investors, has the potential to create over 2,000 direct and indirect jobs and make the country a net exporter of milk products. Two prospective equity partners expressed interest in taking a combined 45% shareholding in the project.
Adesina stressed the importance of growing women businesses and affirmed the AfDB Group’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs, and had established a $1m women’s advisory facility, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme. It is supporting women-led businesses with advisory services to enhance their growth and dominance across Africa, he said.
A healthcare sector project, the $67 million Mobihealth Telemedicine initiative, is an innovative digital health transaction, also led by women and involves the setting up of a fully integrated proprietary telemedicine platform and construction of telehealth clinics. Healthcare, the statement stressed, has emerged as a key priority of Africa Investment Forum partners since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, recalling that in February 2022, the bank produced a healthcare infrastructure strategy as part of its plan to mount a health care defence system for Africa.
Energy projects also drew interest, with a $232m liquefied natural gas project in Guinea for the construction of a large-scale LNG receiving terminal and distribution network to transport natural gas to end-users.
Speaking about boardroom projects and Africa’s economic recovery, after unveiling the results, as a part of the Africa Investment Forum partner organizations, Admassu Tadesse, President Emeritus and Group Managing Director/CEO of the Trade and Development Bank noted the return of the momentum.
According to him, “the rebound has happened and of course now we need to sustain it by ensuring that these key projects start to happen,” citing a “green share” instrument that his bank had worked on that will drive the climate finance agenda.
Representing Development Bank of Southern Africa’s Chief Executive, Patrick Dlamini, Group Executive, Mohan Vivekanandan said “a lot of the capital that we need is here on our continent. It is about us creating the opportunities for that capital to flow, because once that happens it will create investment opportunities, jobs and sustained economic growth.”
For Denys Denya, Executive Vice President, Finance, Administration and Banking Services at the Africa Export-Import Bank, who represented the President, Professor Benedict Oramah, “we are excited by the fact that government ministers and policymakers participated in the Africa Investment Forum boardroom sessions, because we need the public sector and the private sector to work together to deliver on these projects that are urgent for our continent. The Lagos-Abidjan highway is very critical for us because we are a trade finance bank.”
Speaking for the President and CEO of the Africa Finance Corporation, Samaila Zubairu, Senior Director, Taiwo Adeniji said: “As a founding partner, the Africa Finance Corporation remains committed to the Africa Investment Forum, which continues to play a key role in catalyzing projects on the continent. Given the acute infrastructure deficit in Africa, support for the Forum is critical in unlocking the substantial investments required to address the deficit.”
Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, who represented the President, Werner Hoyer, said he was impressed but not surprised by the outcomes from the boardroom deliberations. The EIB, he announced, had launched a new arm, EIB Global, which is poised “to do more investment projects in Africa. It will strengthen engagement, partnerships and new investment across Africa, and we are very pleased to do that with the optimism I heard tonight.”
Appreciating the partners and participants, Adesina said the “Africa Investment Forum virtual investment boardrooms delivered for Africa. Now let’s turn our eyes to the Africa Investment Forum 2022 Market Days which will take place physically in Abidjan from the 2nd to the 4th of November 2022. As we build up to this event, let us keep the deals coming.”
Describing the mood in the boardroom sessions, Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50, one of the partners, said: “There were real and exciting deals that were transacted during this forum. We’re seeing a lot of interest from the private sector in various sectors, including power – particularly renewables, the ICT and telecom sector, and healthcare. We need to make sure we speed up the implementation of that so that success will generate more success.”
The outstanding results from the virtual boardrooms, AfDB said, confirmed robust interest in a range of economic sectors that offer a high return on investment as well as high social impact for Africans. Key sectors included transport, gas and energy, healthcare, agriculture, information and communication technology. Specific boardroom sessions focused on Africa’s creative industries and women led businesses.