Nigeria and other African countries need between $130 billion and $170 billion a year to fund their critical development needs, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said at the weekend.
The bank said due to tightening budgets, traditional funding sources such as national governments and development institutions such as the bank alone are unable to meet Africa’s capital needs.
Its President, Akinwumi Adesina, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the “Africa Investment Forum” in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the weekend urged investors to join the partnership platform offered by the Forum and “grab the chance to fast track the continent’s investment and development agenda.”
The Forum recognised that African businesses are rapidly growing in number and sophistication, presenting excellent investment opportunities with relatively high returns.
However, the challenge of positioning themselves for consideration in front of institutional investors and global corporates remains.
The Forum was, therefore, part of a much bigger drive by the AfDB to tap into the vast pool of global capital to fund its ambitious plan to transform Africa.
The inaugural Africa Investment Forum curetted a total pipeline of 230 projects worth over $208 billion spanning several sectors – energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation and health and education.
It also included a co-guarantee platform that will develop and deploy innovative instruments to de-risk private sector investments at scale, thus boosting investor confidence.
Adesina’s message on the first day of the Forum titled: “Delivering as One for Africa” was a clarion call to regional and global investors, financial sector leaders and prominent government officials. “We must fast-track Agenda 2063,” he urged, adding, “We are impatient to get there.”
The Bank’s partners acknowledged that with all the multilateral institutions in the Africa Room auditorium of the Sandton Convention Centre, venue of the conference, they had the capital needed to tilt the investment balance and channel much needed investments into Africa.
The Africa Investment Forum was the first ever transaction-based Forum. “This is not an event. It is a platform where governments, private sector, investors, and project promoters come together. We develop quality bankable projects, de-risk them and actually make sure it happens,” Adesina said.
He stated that the Bank was committed to fast-track development. “We know countries do not develop from aid, but by the discipline of investment. We require broad-based partnerships and collective effort with the private sector and institutional investors,” Adesina noted.