By de-risking lending, AIF is uniquely placed to help businesses mobilize financial resources to catalyze private sector development, says Nigerian Government
Over the last decade, and despite impressive growth rates in most of the continent, Africa's infrastructure needs remain huge with annual financing gap between US$ 130 and US$ 107 billion annually.
To close this gap, the African Development Bank is working with leading global development finance institutions to set up a mutualized co-guarantee platform to de-risk investments and facilitate projects that have the capacity of transforming the continent under the Africa Investment Forum (AIF).
The Bank is positioning the AIF, scheduled for South Africa, 7-9 November 2018, as a platform to improve the ease of doing business in Africa by advancing and promoting investment friendly regulations. AIF will also champion ethical business practices in Africa.
Speaking at a roadshow on the AIF held in Abuja, the Special Advisor to the Nigerian President and Coordinator of the country's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Unit, Folarin Ayalande, assured that Nigeria was ready for investment but lack of affordable and long-term finance remain a major constraint.
He described the lending de-risking component of AIF as a game changer and assured of the support of the Nigerian Government. New approaches are required to deliver on the country's development targets, with a focus on private sector-led growth, he added.
"Nigeria's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan requires billions of dollars of investment to deliver on its growth and job-creation targets. We will collaborate with the private sector and the AIF by targeting opportunity-driven entrepreneurs by upgrading skills, developing business clusters and economic corridors. These are critical factors to developing a buoyant and productive industrial sector in Nigeria," he said.
"I am particularly delighted to learn that the AIF will not be another talk show but a platform with convening power to bring different players together to explore investment opportunities for the transformation of the African continent. We have talked enough and must now start to act," he said.
Senior Director for Nigeria Country Office of the African Development Bank, Ebrima Faal, stressed the critical need to change the current funding mix and create partnerships to finance infrastructure and other projects in Africa.
"Nigeria's infrastructure cumulative financing needs are estimated to reach US$ 3 trillion by 2044 or about US$100 billion annually. This is all happening at a time when public sector finances are extremely pressured," Faal said.
"As an African optimist, therefore, I dare say that there has never been a better time to invest in Africa's infrastructure asset class, while ensuring a diverse source of resources, water-tight project preparation and a strong business case. The Africa Investment Forum has been designed to meet the needs of African stakeholders looking to capitalize on the increasing potential of multi-staker partners and the growing investment appetite in Africa."
The AIF as a marketplace will bring together the Bank and other multilateral financial institutions to de-risk investments at scale," said Stella Kilonzo, AIF Senior Director.
"AIF will work closely with investors and project sponsors to enable them increase trade and investment in local and global markets, ensuring that projects are able to secure adequate and appropriate finance."
Working with multilateral institutions, the private sector, and Governments, the Bank is helping Nigeria and other African countries to fine-tune investment-ready projects for investors, fund managers and others managing substantial assets ahead of the AIF in November.
The Abuja roadshow included a briefing session, interaction with key private players, and presentations from Nigeria's senior Government officials on the country's development priorities and project pipeline that could benefit from the AIF partnership.