"We want investments in Africa to land on a smooth investment runway. No bumps,"
- Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank, at the 2018 Africa Investment Forum.
When Adesina laid out his vision to "tilt the flow" of capital towards Africa's critical sectors through the Africa Investment Forum, the notion of convening a purely transaction-based forum, seemed more of an aspiration than a reality.
One year down the road, the verdict is undisputed: Africa's investment opportunities are attracting investments in a big way, as highlighted by the five outcomes below.
1. The Africa Investment Forum platform offers a solid pathway for investments in the continent.
The inaugural Africa Investment Forum "Market Days" secured record levels of investment interest in deals worth billions of dollars in just under 72 hours.
63 projects valued at $46.9 billion from 24 countries and across 7 sectors were discussed during closed boardroom sessions involving investors, project sponsors and government representatives. Investment interest was secured for 49 projects worth $38.7 billion.
A further $51.2 billion worth of deals were featured in the Africa Investment Forum Marketplace Project Gallery (a showcase of key projects for investors, but not discussed during boardroom sessions).
2. Multilateral partners delivering as one.
Africa's economic transformation is being achieved through collaborative leadership and strategic partnerships. Beyond the African Development Bank, the Forum's founding partners include: Africa 50, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), African Export Import Bank (AfreximBank), Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), European Investment Bank (EIB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and Trade and Development Bank (TDB).
Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), multilaterals and global investors are keen to work together in ways never done before. This was demonstrated in the US$800 million deal agreement signed between Africa50, African Development Bank and the Governments of Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. This project which seeks to develop and finance the first road-rail bridge linking the two capital cities - Kinshasa and Brazzaville, was chaired in the Boardroom by Africa50.
3. Key multi-billion dollar signings.
4. The Africa Investment Forum's convening power
The Africa Investment Forum has positioned itself as an honest broker between governments and private sector stakeholders including project sponsors, investors and transaction facilitators.
A much heralded feature of the inaugural Africa Investment Forum "Market Days" was the presence of seven African Heads of State, who reiterated their commitment to providing an enabling environment for investors, with some of them further participating in several boardroom sessions of their respective countries.
The Lusophone development finance compact signed between the African Development Bank, the Government of Portugal and six Portuguese speaking countries of Africa (PALOPs) is another strong demonstration of the Forum's convening power. A pipeline of private sector and private-public partnership (PPP) projects in excess of US5 billion have been identified in these countries.
5. The Africa Investment Forum's Digital Platform
Following the 2018 edition, the African Investment Forum has launched a new digital platform, https://platform.africainvestmentforum.com/ to connect investors with investment opportunities in Africa, and vastly improve the quality of project information and documentation.
The Platform, as it is known, provides a live database of private/PPP projects and a repository of information on investors and technical assistance providers on the continent. The Platform currently hosts a community of over 500 users and 110 companies with more than 30% outside of Africa.
The Africa Investment Forum is dedicated to advancing projects throughout Africa to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals.
Preparations for the 2019 edition are well underway. Roadshows have been held across the continent and further roadshows are scheduled for investors in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
The Africa Investment Forum, Africa's Investment Marketplace is a game changer, and promises to provide the continent's finest opportunity for accelerated economic transformation.
The 2019 Market Days will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 11 to 13 November 2019.