• Sunday, December 03, 2023
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AfDB secures biggest investment commitment since 2019 for Africa projects

AFDB: Adesina’s bumpy journey to second term re-election

…Tanzania shines with $5.9bn railway project deal

Marrakesh|| The African Development Bank (AfDB) secured $34.82 billion in investment commitments for projects in Africa, the bank’s president, Akinwunmi Adesina, said at the end of the three-day Africa Investment Forum 2023 in Marrakesh, Friday.

That’s the highest investment interest since 2019 when $40.1 billion was achieved and an 18 percent jump compared to the $31 billion worth of investment commitments made in 2022.

If the $3 billion in investment commitment by the AfDB, Afreximbank, Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms, the Islamic Development Bank and others for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) in Africa is factored, it takes the total investment to $37.8 billion. This was not included in the amount announced because it did not happen in a deal room, according to Adesina.

Some of the biggest projects that got investment commitment include a $5.9 billion railway project in Tanzania that will help to unlock the mining value chain in the East African country.

Samia Hassan, Tanzania’s president, was physically present at the Forum in Morocco to secure the investment commitment.

Another is a first-of-its-kind Public Private Partnership (PPP) power transmission project worth $300 million in Kenya.

The project revolves around the development, financing, construction, and operation of two power transmission lines in East Africa which include a 165km 400kV transmission line and associated substations, and a 72km 220kV transmission line and associated substations.

It is expected to be the first transmission PPP on the continent and is expected to act as a landmark transaction for Africa.

Read also: AfDB, Afrexim, others pledge $3 billion to fuel Africa’s agro-industrial growth

“The boardrooms were packed and in several cases, heads of state and government chaired discussions of projects from their countries,” Adesina said.

“They were truly there as Chief Executive Officers of their countries, fielding questions and providing assurances and reassurances to investors,” Adesina said.

Project developers and investors looked at investment opportunities in several areas, including food and agriculture, renewable energy, mining, transport corridors, aviation, deep-water seaports and railways, ICT, digital infrastructure, artificial intelligence, creative industries and health.

Also captured in the 2023 deal rooms was an electric vehicle project in Zambia, a gas pipeline in Morocco, a soda ash plant in Egypt and a hydropower plant in Mozambique.

Adesina also revealed that the board of the AIF 2023 formally approved the establishment of a Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank for Liberia and six other countries.

The Liberian bank is to be capitalised with US$16 million, while the six other banks will be commissioned when feasibility studies on them are concluded.

Adesina said part of the initiative for setting up the bank was to curb joblessness among Africa’s estimated 477 million youths, many of whom have suffered needless deaths crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life in Europe.

Read also: Nigeria, others to tap AfDB’s $20bn power projects across Sahel

“We must set up financial institutions fully dedicated to youths and women if we must grow the African economy,” he said.

Since its first edition, the AIF has had a reputation for mobilizing vast sums of capital for big infrastructure projects across the continent.

The $24 bn Liquified Natural Gas Project of Mozambique, the $15.6 bn Lagos-Abidjan Highway, or the $2.6bn Ai SkyTrain in Accra, are all deals that came out of the ‘invitation-only’ boardrooms settled alongside the event.

Four years ago, the AIF helped secure 52 deals worth $40bn in investment. Since then, Adesina and his colleagues – Africa50, Afreximbank, African Finance Corporation, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Trade and Development Bank, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa – are on a mission to market the continent’s untapped financial potential to African and international investors.

This year, the AIF’s mission took place in a tense business climate. Growth in sub-Saharan Africa in 2023 is expected to fall for the second year in a row to 3.3 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s latest figures.

Still emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, countries in sub-Saharan Africa have been hit by a sluggish global economy, worldwide inflation, high borrowing costs, and a cost-of-living crisis. In many cases, inflation is still too high, borrowing costs are still elevated, exchange-rate pressures persist, and political instability is an ongoing concern.

Earlier, the Senior Director of the AIF, Chinelo Anohu said “the AIF is fully transactional and focused on letting Africans know that no one can solve our problems but ourselves. We have seen from the words of His majesty King Mohammed VI that Africans must trust Africans to solve their problems.”