Lagos-Abidjan highway attracted $15.6bn investment interest – Adesina

Akinwunmi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has said that the bank secured $15.6 billion in investment interest for the construction of the Lagos-Abidjan Highway at the virtual Africa Investment Forum held in March this year.

Adesina, who made the disclosure Wednesday at the ongoing Africa Investment Forum 2022, in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, said the highway, which carries 75 percent of trade in the West Africa region, would help unleash greater growth, trade, and investment across the region.

He said the forum was delivering amazing investments for Africa, adding that in four years since its commencement in 2018, it has helped to mobilise $110 billion in investment interests to Africa.

He said the $600 million securitised finance to support the cocoa board of Ghana has helped Ghana to grow its cocoa production by one million metric tonnes, with infrastructure for warehousing and cocoa processing.

The AfDB president said foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa declined from $47 billion in 2019 to $40 billion in 2020 because of COVID-19, noting that Africa however, recovered in 2021, as FDI rose to $83 billion, doubling the flows in 2020.

He said: “By 2050, Africa will account for over one quarter of the world’s population. Africa has the largest sources of renewable energy in the world. Africa has 65percent of the uncultivated arable land left to feed the world.

“The future of electric cars in the world depends on Africa because it has the largest sources of cobalt in the world, with massive sources of lithium in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ghana, Mali, and Democratic Republic of Congo.”

According to him, the African Continental Free Trade Area is the largest free-trade zone in the world connecting economies worth $3.3 trillion, and so Africa cannot be ignored.

Adesina said: “If you are not investing in Africa, think again! Africa is the investment frontier in the world – today and in the future. Invest in Africa today, benefit from its great future.

“The Africa Investment Forum is Africa’s premier investment marketplace which helps to connect investors to Africa. Four years ago, we began a journey together with the African Development Bank, the Africa Import-Export Bank, the Trade and Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the Development Bank of South Africa, the European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and Africa 50, when we established the Africa Investment Forum.”

He added: “The landmark $24 billion liquefied natural gas project of Mozambique, which was structured and closed at the Africa Investment Forum, is the largest ever foreign direct investment in Africa. It will turn Mozambique into the third-largest exporter of natural gas in the world and add $66 billion to its economy.

“In the next 72 hours, we will have curated several investment ready projects for you as investors. These range from renewable energy hydropower, gas infrastructure, railways, roads, and water transport. They include agriculture, health, mining, fertilizer manufacturing, port infrastructure, and urban green transport. They include sports, urban housing, and private equity feeder funds.”

Speaking with BusinessDay on the sidelines of the event, Oscar Onyema, group chief executive officer of Nigerian Exchange Group, said the capital market has done very well considering activities on the equity side of business, which he described as being very active.

“In fact, we have had record equity trading. As you know, we have had the MTN Initial Public Offering,” he said.

Read also: The role of technology and digital innovation in trade and development in Africa

He said the market has had capital raising from a number of other companies in terms of rights issues, special placements and others.

Onyema said that on the fixed income side, the market has seen a lot of activity in terms of issuances such as federal government, corporates, and states.

He emphasised that the capital market was a very viable and credible alternative for capital raising.

He said: “There are some challenges around requirements to be expected given that you are now in the public market, and there is a lot of retail, not just institutional, but you also have retail participation.

“Given what we are seeing especially development around blended financing, there is now complementarity between capital markets, private markets, and even all the way to philanthropy, catalytic finance and the rest of it. So there is a whole range of financing alternatives that are designed to solve wicked problems, and those are the big problems that affect society, and so they have social impacts.

“The Nigeria fintech space is very active, and received a lot of investments, most of them are in the private sector. Yes. And so certainly we are very keen to crowd in those types of investments into the public markets as well. At the exchange, I am aware that NGX is working on the technology board, which is designed to really be attracted to fintech companies, and other high tech companies that already exist in an ecosystem. The Nigeria Startup bill is also a good one because it gives you that legal framework under which these types of activities can be supported with the necessary institutional frameworks.”

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