12 March 2018

Africa: AfDB Mulls Plans for Africa's $170 Billion Infrastructure Fund

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said it is in talks with its Governors to unravel strategies that are effective and efficient in closing Africa's $170 billion infrastructure investment gap.

The bank also canvassed for support among its East and North African Governors on the need for urgent measures to match the continent's growing population and youth unemployment, which it likened to a "ticking time bomb."

At a two-day consultation at the bank's headquarters in Abidjan, CÕte d'Ivoire, they however, described the continent's growing young population as a potential growth engine for the world, when harnessed.

AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, said the good news is that the solution is within our reach and will require investments.

Already, to bridge the investment gap, ensure inclusive growth, and create employment for the continent's population, the meeting endorsed the African Development Bank-led African Investment Forum and described it as a timely opportunity to catalyse investments into projects and attract social impact financing to Africa.

Tanzania's Minister for Finance and Planning, Isdor Mpango, called for closer involvement of the private sector in financing development on the continent.

"The African Development Bank is well positioned to advise and assist governments and the private sector to come up with bankable projects," Mpango said, calling for "direct resources to provide budget support and investment opportunities."

Through the AIF scheduled for November 7 to 9, 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa, the region's development bank and its partners intend to showcase bankable projects, attract financing, and provide platforms for investing across Africa.

The forum will also bring together the AfDB and other global multilateral financial institutions to de-risk investments at scale.

"A uniqueness of the African Investment Forum is that there will be no speeches. The only speeches will be transactions," Adesina noted.

Rwanda's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete, said: "The African Development Bank has already discussed the concept of the African Investment Forum with us. The Rwandan Government takes this very seriously."

"Jobs will come from industrialization. The new approach using the African Investment Forum to de-risk the sector and attract investors is the way to go," Kenya's Finance Minister, Kiplagat Rotich, said.

About 13 per cent of the world's population is estimated to live in sub-Saharan Africa today, and projected to more than double by 2050, while four billion (or 36 per cent of the world's population) could live in the region by 2100, according to the UN Population Division.

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