• Saturday, July 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

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

AfDB inaugurates initiative to spur home-grown solutions to debt challenges

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and partners are developing a $20 billion Desert-to-Power project across 11 countries that share the Sahel zone. When completed, the power project will be the largest solar zone in the world.

Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB) Group announced this at the opening of the 2023 Africa Investment Forum which began in Marrakech, Morocco on Wednesday.

Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Eritrea, and Senegal are all Countries of the Sahel.

At the event which is currently hosting over 1,000 participants, Adesina said Africa has the largest sources of renewable energy sources in the world, both hydro and solar, including in Morocco, which has the Noor Ouarzazate, the largest concentrated solar zone globally.

Read also: FG engages governors to end delay of power projects by right-of-way

“The African Development Bank and partners are developing the $20 billion Desert-to-Power project across 11 countries that share the Sahel zone, which when completed will be the largest solar zone in the world.

“So, whether it is in oil and gas, minerals and metals, renewable energy, agriculture, or the labour force that will drive the global growth, Africa is where to be,” he noted.

Adesina urged investors to put their monies where the future is – which according to him is in Africa.

“Investors should see Africa not from what they hear, but from what the facts say,” he added.

Justifying why investing in Africa makes good business sense, he cited Moody’s analysis of default rates on infrastructure financing globally over the past 14 years which found Africa’s default rate, at 2.1% is the lowest in the world, compared to Eastern Europe: well over 10%; and Asia, at well over 8%.

Read also: Why investors are not coming with large power projects like Azura

He further argued that Africa is not as risky as widely perceived as he also referenced the S&P Global report in February 2023 which had a screaming headline “African private equity activity surges to 5-year high in 2022.; “Private equity and venture capital in Africa soared year over year to $7.70 billion.

“The number of deals increased from 211 in 2018 to 404 in 2022—an increase of 91%. The total transaction value expanded from $4.65 billion in 2018 to $7.70 billion in 2022—an increase of 66%, which was all quoted in that report.

“Invest in Africa and reap high risk-adjusted returns,” Adesina canvassed.

He also noted that the Africa Investment Forum is unique and remarkable due to its highly innovative, and 100% transactional nature.

Since the launch of the Forum in 2018, it has drawn more than 16,500 participants, and generated investment interest of nearly $143 billion.

Read also: Delivery of siemens power project has recorded notable success — FG

For instance, at the 2022 Africa Investment Forum Market Days, the Abidjan-Lagos highway corridor was able to secure $15.5 billion of investment interest.

This corridor is expected to transform the entire West African region and speed up regional integration and trade.

Also last year, investment interests were secured for $3.6 billion for the East Africa railway corridor, linking Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi.

According to the AfDB President, the Forum has so far closed on deals’ investment gaps worth $11 billion, ranging from liquified natural gas, renewable energy, agribusiness, industrial manufacturing, creative industry, housing, and transport.