The Islamic Development Bank, a multilateral development finance institution focused on Islamic finance, has at the Africa Investment Forum in Marrakech, committed $300 million to boost agriculture and food production in Africa under a new private sector-focused alliance that seeks to bridge the critical financing gap in agriculture.
The Saudi-based DFI made the commitment alongside the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank as well as the Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms (Arise IIP) and its partners, with total commitments at $3 billion.
The Alliance, proposed by the African Development Bank Group, is set to transform Africa’s underdeveloped rural areas into agro-industrial corridors of prosperity.
“Financing alone has never been enough to develop,” said Hani Sonbol, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation and acting CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, who represented the IsDB President, Muhammad Al Jasser.
“Strengthening food sovereignty in Africa will require us to think differently in terms of investment. We look for self-sufficiency, climate change and adaptation, and how to attract private sector involvement”, he said.
In an interview with BusinessDay, Sonbol said this year’s Africa Investment Forum (AIF) is in line with the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chain”, as “the projects are indeed focused on harnessing value from the inherent strengths of the continent.”
“Projects like the energy pipeline from Morocco and Nigeria will make positive contributions to all the relevant countries in the continent,” Sonbol said.
On his expectation from this year’s AIF, Sonbol said he was looking forward to having as many bankable projects as possible.
“End of this year’s AIF does not mean that the work will be done concerning the potential projects,” Sonbol said.
“Following the AIF event, the investors and lenders will be working closely with the project developers with a view to achieving successful financing and project implementation in an expeditious manner,” he added.
As a founding partner of the AIF, the IsDB is actively contributing to tackling the main challenges in Africa with the aim of raising Africa’s food production and productivity.
IsDB, through its flagship programs such as the Regional Rice value chain and cassava value chain, is financing projects with strong local supply links across Africa.
The IsDB’s programs are not only aimed at deepening food processing and value addition, but also achieving true industrialization in Africa as well as contributing to achieving zero hunger on the continent.
ICD, the private sector financing arm of the IsDB Group, actively supports the continent through its financing to clients in the financial sector as well as those in the infrastructure, manufacturing and services sectors.