Africa Investment Forum Showcases $15.6 Billion Abidjan-Lagos Highway

On the margins of the African Development Bank Group’s 2022 Annual Meetings, the Africa Investment Forum convened investors to promote the power of the platform to draw critical investment to the continent. The investor roundtable on 25 May 2022 came at a time when capital flows are in flux in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Such discussions are integral to the Africa Investment Forum, connecting project sponsors, investors, and financiers, as well as the public and the private sector.

Within the context of this year’s Annual Meetings theme: Achieving Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition for Africa, the interactive dialogue highlighted several flagship projects that define the AIF platform’s unrivaled convening capacity. The drawcard of the Annual Meetings added to the appeal of the event. The Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group usually draw around 3,000 government leaders, policymakers, and other decision-makers.

The investment roundtable, held at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, Ghana, included AIF’s founding partners, development finance institutions, commercial banks, high net worth individuals, family businesses, representatives from venture capital, and private equity firms. There was a strong showing by the host country, including the Ghana Investment and Promotion Center (GIPC), the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund, Ghana EXIM, and several leaders in the banking industry.

Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s finance minister, and outgoing chair of the African Development Bank Group’s board of governors applauded the AIF’s efforts to close Africa’s infrastructure gap, particularly as the continent absorbs the shocks from Covid-19. Ofori-Atta thanked the AIF’s senior director, Chinelo Anohu, for shining a light on Ghana’s portfolio on the AIF platform and he congratulated President Adesina for his foresight in establishing the platform in 2018.

Presentations featured AIF’s active deal pipeline transactions that cut across 26 countries and nine sectors. 2021 Boardroom deals are expected to result in the creation of 3.8 million jobs, both direct and indirect, with a million of these jobs targeting women and women entrepreneurs, and another million jobs for the youth. Among the transactions presented were four transport infrastructure deals and four transactions focused on energy and power. AIF also showcased two Ghanaian deals in transport services and health.

On transport infrastructure, the $15.6 billion Abidjan-Lagos Highway project, led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission took center stage.  This is the largest investment opportunity that was discussed – and oversubscribed – at the 2021 AIF Boardrooms. This project, part of the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), is a critical public-private partnership that will link Abidjan to Lagos, via Accra, Lomé, and Cotonou along the West African coast.

Also highlighted was the $4.5 billion 1,500 MW Mphanda Nkuwa Hydro Power Project in Mozambique. The African Development Bank and Gabinete de Implementação do Projecto Hidroeléctrico de Mphanda Nkuwa, an implementing entity, signed an agreement to provide advisory services for the development of the project on the sidelines of the Bank’s Annual Meetings. President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique and African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina witnessed the signing.

A spirited exchange followed the project presentations, with many participants focusing on the imbalance of perception in the risk premium that investors put on Africa, and the need for the continent to take control of its narrative, in the media and with rating houses. The interactive session amplified AIF’s voice as a leader in private sector development, boosting the platform’s thought leadership on investment opportunities in Africa and contributing to business development.

Investment interest in AIF Boardroom deals continues to grow from strength to strength. The two previous editions of the AIF in 2018 and 2019 secured investment interest across several important transactions of close to $78.8 billion. The AIF2021 virtual boardrooms, held in March 2022, drew $32.8 billion in investment interest in 31 bankable projects, which included eight that are women-led or women-centered, with a potential value of nearly $5 billion.

The AIF Market Days, to be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in November 2022, will accelerate these boardroom deals to closure. Championed by the African Development Bank and its founding partners (Africa 50, Africa Finance Corporation, AfreximBank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and Trade and Development Bank), the AIF is Africa’s investment marketplace to accelerate transactions to close Africa’s investment gaps.

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Written by Mercy ANURIKA

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