African countries will next year host projects worth $67 billion in critical sectors spanning energy, agriculture, housing, rail and telecoms infrastructure among others.
President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, who disclosed this at the opening press conference of the African Investment Forum (AIF) in Johannesburg said the amount was spread across 59 boardroom transactions for private sector projects.
He described the current edition of the AIF as representing a significant improvement on the 2018 meetings in which $48billion transactions were agreed upon.
“This is about Africa’s financial institutions and European Investment Bank coming together with one collective voice,” Adesina told journalists.
“It’s not just about one institution; it’s about a platform that we put together to make sure that we can develop projects and crowd investors around those projects and close on the financial transactions on those projects and that we can continue to make sure that we can leverage institutional investments,” he said.
Twenty-nine countries are participating in the deals.
Highlights of the conference included the announcement of a EUR 1billion gender lending programme and new agriculture telecom trade insurance engagement across Africa and the signing of the $2.5 billion Accra Sky Train Project described as the largest single rail infrastructure project in Africa.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo was present during the signing of the concession agreement by Ai Sky Train Consortium Holdings and Ghana’s Ministry of Railways Development.
More than 2000 delegates from 109 countries are participating in this year’s forum, a feat Mr Adesina described as ‘’phenomenal’, going by previous records. He disclosed that 61 of the participating nations are from outside of Africa, just as 1600 of the 2,086 delegates are from outside of the continent. ‘We feel delighted that the world is here,’’ he remarked.
On the potential danger of Nigeria’s border closure to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) scheduled to take off in the third quarter of 2020, President of the African Export-Import Bank, Professor Okey Oramah said he was sure the issues would be resolved before the July 1 commencement date.
“It is under discussion and it’s a temporary measure,” he explained. “ The border closure by the Nigerian Government,” he said “seems to be a concern around West Africa. But, if I heard the authorities right, the issue is that there were some challenges they witnessed and they wanted to have a temporary period of closure to resolve them. If they are able to do this, then they are likely able to have easier flow of things once the ACFTA takes off in July.”
According to Oramah, “some of those issues touch on bilateral relations with neighbours and I know that negotiations are ongoing. Nigeria has signed the AfCTA and will not take its commitment lightly. So, I believe that by the date trading starts, the issues would have been resolved.”
The Exim Bank President, however, advised African countries to use technology to tackle issues that naturally lead to border closures and to work with the African Union (AU) to address abuse of official trade procedures and customs services.
On his part, Adesina agreed called for the need for understanding among nations. “I think that President Oramah is actually correct and I am fully convinced that the two presidents will work together to resolve whatever the issues are.”
Adesina also urged African customs to work towards achieving zero corruption along the borders as no country would open its doors to abuse from neighbouring countries.
Source: Guardian News