Unlocking Opportunities - Swedfund, African Development Bank Advance Collaboration On Private Sector Growth, Climate Action

20 February 2024
Content from a Premium Partner
African Development Bank (Abidjan)

An African Development Bank Group team, led by Senior Vice President Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, on 15 February 2024, met with a delegation from Swedfund - the Swedish state development finance institution - led by its CEO, Maria Hakansson.

The meeting built on earlier talks to strengthen collaboration between the two institutions to accelerate private sector development and climate action across Africa. Hakaanson headed a mission to the Bank in September 2023 to explore potential synergies around increasing energy access, financial inclusion, and resilient infrastructure investment.

Previously, in 2022, SwedFund and the African Development Bank agreed to commit financing to independent power transmission line projects, using project preparation and advisory support to promote enabling environments for public-private partnerships across sub-Saharan Africa.

The Swedfund delegation, on a three-day tour of Côte d'Ivoire, comprised deputy board chair Torgny Holmgren, directors Catrina Ingelstam, Caroline AF Kleen, Anna Stellinger and Josefine Ekros Roth, and Swedfund's Chief Legal Officer Jacob Hageman and Regional Director Kitanha Toure.

Hakansson said the visit allowed Swedfund to learn more about the country and the broader West African region. "It is one way for us to show that we are really serious about making more investments and working within Africa." Swedfund's investments in West Africa have trailed those of other regions, and to expand its presence, it recently opened an Abidjan office.

Welcoming the delegation, Tshabalala said that the Bank Group was just finalizing a new 10-year strategy that remained focused on the High 5s and mainstreaming gender and climate. She stressed the importance of attracting private capital. "At the sovereign level, public investment is not sufficient. We emphasize syndications and co-financing, providing more guarantees and tools to increase private sector participation."

The Bank's CFO and Vice President for Finance Hassatou N'Sele, noted the mutual alignment in priorities such as sustainability, job creation, climate, women, and small and medium enterprises.

"We're very proud of the hybrid capital transaction that we've done, which enabled the Bank to crowd in a different segment of the private sector," she added. "We were able to attract $6 billion of interest for some $750 million transaction that we did... It was sustainable hybrid capital, so this will be leveraged 3 to 4 times, and the idea would be to invest in green and sustainable projects."

Ousmane Fall, Bank Group Director of Non-Sovereign Operations and Private Sector, expressed satisfaction with the existing Swedfund collaboration. "We've financed $400 million across 11 deals in 15 years," he said.

Touching on the support for the African Continental Free Trade Area, Fall cited integrated special agro-industrial zone initiatives, saying the Bank backs the Afreximbank's Pan-African Payment and Settlement System, adopted by 19 central banks to facilitate trade.

Hakaanson said Swedfund would welcome more syndications in partnership with the Bank. "These instruments are important for the SwedFund portfolio and meet a demand from the market." Hakaanson also expressed interest in participating in the Africa Investment Forum platform.

Aida Ngom, the Bank Group's Director of Private Sector Development, welcomed Swedfund's interest in doing more co-financing. "Twenty percent of our portfolio is in the private sector. We've collaborated with Swedfund on private equity. To scale up our private sector engagement, we offer guarantees, vanilla loans and sub loans, and we always try to develop new instruments."

"As MDBs, we are vital to private sector development to mitigate risk, " Tshabalala said.

AllAfrica publishes around 400 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.