The African Development Bank (AfDB) will play a key role in a summit on financing infrastructure in Africa, to be held in Dakar, Senegal, on June 14 and 15, 2014. Entitled "Unleashing Africa's infrastructure potential," the Dakar Financing Summit (DFS) aims to mobilise stakeholders around efforts made by the African Union (AU) and its New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) programme to accelerate the implementation of priority regional infrastructure projects.
African leaders, government agencies, business leaders, finance and development institutions, private investors, commercial banks, pension fund representatives, bond market operators and insurance companies are all slated to attend the two-day meeting.
The AfDB, represented by its President, Donald Kaberuka, will have the opportunity to speak again about the Africa50 Fund, an innovative financing mechanism with the goal of mobilising domestic and external resources to finance African infrastructure development.
"We have relied on external funding to finance our infrastructure for a long time. It is now time for the African Development Bank to mobilise African sovereign savings - currently estimated at $1,000 billion - to build the Africa of tomorrow," Kaberuka said at the closing ceremonies of the recent AfDB Annual Meetings in Kigali, Rwanda.
Given the lack of well-prepared projects to meet growing demand by investors in the infrastructure sector, the Dakar Financing Summit will to respond to the request made to define in detail a series of infrastructure projects.
A greater role in the preparation of projects
The AU implementation strategy turns on three major axes, namely:
- Intensifying collaboration with key partners to build capacity within the institutional architecture for the development of infrastructure in Africa;
- Working in close collaboration with project promoters and potential investors to understand their investment criteria and their approach to investment in the infrastructure sector; and
- Granting a greater role to the effective preparation of projects as a tool to broaden the pool of viable projects ready to be presented to potential investors.
By bringing together decision-makers from the public and private sectors, the summit will provide a space to find practical ways to improve the preparation of projects and to identify innovative funding structures involving both public and private finance.
The summit will highlight a suite of pilot projects from the PIDA Priority Action Plan. The goal will be to allow project promoters and developers, and investors, to consider the risks linked to projects, regulatory constraints and other obstacles to their projects' financial viability.
Expected outcomes of the summit include:
- Top-level political support from the African countries and regional economic communities (RECs) that will be the main project owners; and
- A commitment from the private sector to finance selected specific regional projects as a first phase, before updating the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) priority projects by 2020.
The Dakar Financing Summit has been organised under the high patronage of the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, who is also the current Chairman of NEPAD.