BusinessDay

Businesses seal $31bn deals at Africa Investment Forum

...$63.8bn of investment interest mobilised in 2022 – Adesina

Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, has said the just-concluded Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2022 drew about $31 billion in investment interest from African and global investors.

Adesina, who disclosed this in his closing remarks at the event, also announced that “combined with $32.8 billion from the rescheduled 2021 Africa Investment Forum Market Days, which took place as virtual boardrooms in March this year, the forum has mobilised a total of $63.8 billion of investment interest this year.”

The three-day event, held in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, attracted the participation of several African heads of state and government.

The leaders chaired boardrooms and led transactions with potential investors. They included Vice President Tiémoko Meyliet Koné of Côte d’Ivoire, who represented President Alassane Ouattara.

Others were President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor of Liberia, Vice President Philip Mpango of Tanzania, Prime Minister José Ulisses Correia e Silva of Cabo Verde, and Prime Minister Patrick Achi of Côte d’Ivoire.

This year’s event, third since 2018, took place under the theme: ‘Building Economic Resilience through Sustainable Investments.’ It was held amid global economic challenges that have been compounded by the impacts of climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war.

The event showcased the Africa Investment Forum’s founding partners’ joint resolve to help unleash Africa’s investment potential in such critical sectors as infrastructure, agriculture, energy, education, the creative industries, sports, and transactions that champion women entrepreneurs.

The forum’s founding partners are the African Development Bank, Africa50, Afreximbank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Trade and Development Bank.

The partners said: “The results this year have exceeded expectations, given that the world is currently grappling with so many unprecedented economic challenges.”

In his closing remarks, Adesina also commended the forum’s outcomes and the partners’ commitment.

He said: “Despite the challenges, we are not afraid, and neither have we despaired nor lost hope. We are excited and committed to a collective goal… accelerating the closure of deals to transform Africa and its investment landscape.”

Adesina said that the Africa Investment Forum’s focus was to attract more foreign direct investment to Africa and ensure the private sector remains the driving force of that transformation.

“The private sector is Africa’s growth accelerator. We must mitigate real and perceived risks and persuade the private sector that investing in Africa is safe,” he emphasised.

Muhammed Sulaiman Al Jasser, president of Islamic Development Bank, said in a message that his organisation was hopeful that “our commitment and dedication to the AIF will translate into tangible and measurable outcomes for the benefit of our member countries across Africa.”

Al Jasser restated the Islamic Development Bank Group’s commitment to support transformative African projects, especially those promoting resilience, financial, economic, and social sustainability.

Admassu Tadesse, president and chief executive of Trade and Development Bank Group, underscored the value of the “AIF spirit” in doing more to advance and close investments.

Tadesse said: “Notwithstanding ongoing global crises, we have to keep our eye on the ball. We must continue to encourage and enable investment in agriculture and industry, as well as infrastructure. Growing our own food and manufacturing more will enable us to trade more. It will lead to less overall greenhouse gas emissions linked to imports from far away, in the process also generating more employment and opportunities for our peoples.”

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Werner Hoyer, European Investment Bank president, said: “At the European Investment Bank, we are excited to see how the creativity and vision of African innovators are making an impact, particularly in the area of technology which holds such great potential for Africa’s future.”

Mohan Vivekanandan, group executive origination and coverage, Development Bank of Southern Africa, noted that a unique feature of this year’s forum was that it focused on transactions.

“It’s about the project sponsors, the project developers and how we as development financiers help them get their vision implemented to improve the quality of life of Africans, and how we promote economic growth, job creation and industrialisation,” Vivekanandan said.

Samaila Zubairu, Africa Finance Corporation President and CEO, said: “The current global economic challenges indicate the critical need to build Africa’s self-sufficiency by investing in resilient infrastructure. Such critical investment is needed to drive Africa’s industrialisation and economic prosperity.”

Africa50 CEO, Alain Ebobisse said the Africa Investment Forum presented a timely platform to help scale up and speed up investments into Africa, especially as partners strive to build the continent’s resilience to economic shocks and climate change.

Ebobisse said: “Attracting new pools of capital into infrastructure will be critical. More specifically, Africa’s institutional investors, such as pension funds and sovereign wealth funds must play a critical role and will be the game changers for Africa’s infrastructure development.”

Benedict Oramah, Afreximbank president, said: “This year’s Africa Investment Forum reflects, in the number, attitudes and diversity of its attendees, the interest and optimism of global investors towards the continent and its opportunities. We close, knowing that the AIF, Africa’s largest transactional investment marketplace, continues to be a huge success. Moreover, the event serves as a measure of international confidence in Africa’s economic and political development, and the unmatched investment opportunities this is creating.”

Chinelo Anohu, Africa Investment Forum Senior Director, said: “A lot of the successes recorded by the Africa Investment Forum are domiciled in the spirit of the partnership. It’s up to us to ensure the continent is what it ought to be.”

Since its inception in 2018, the Africa Investment Forum platform has mobilised over $100 billion in investment interests.