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Adesina Hails Africa50’s Support For Infrastructure Financing In Africa

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – African Development Bank Group President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has applauded Africa50 for its crucial role in helping to bridge Africa’s infrastructure financing gap.

Dr. Adesina gave the commendation while speaking at the opening session of Africa50’s General Shareholders Meeting in Marrakech on Tuesday. The meeting took place on the eve of a four-day US-Africa business summit in Morocco.

The bank chief, who is also the Chairman of the Africa50 Board of Directors told delegates that Africa50 had invested $5 billion in 16 private-sector focused investments in six years.

“I am proud of Africa50. It is a first-rate institution, pushing the frontiers of development on infrastructure in Africa, preparing projects, taking them to commercial viability, and financing them”, he said.

He noted that Africa50’s investment in the Kinshasa-Brazzaville bridge project, and the Kigali Innovation City digital infrastructure project, which will create over 50,000 jobs.

He added that Africa50 is supporting Africa’s green transition to cleaner renewable electricity from solar, thermal and hydropower in partnership with the African Development Bank and other institutions through the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa.

Dr. Adesina observed that Africa’s growth and development depended on its ability to massively attract investments into infrastructure across energy, transport, ICT, health care and water and sanitation.

The Bank Group Head also disclosed that the African Development Bank had already invested more than $44 billion in these sectors. He however, told the delegates there was still much to do to meet Africa’s infrastructure needs.

“We must tap all possible funding sources,” he stressed. “That is why the African Development Bank helped to establish Africa50 to bring together key stakeholders, including private sector investors, development finance institutions and infrastructure developers. Its project finance arm provides long-term finance, while its project development arm adds value by generating a pipeline of viable projects”, he stressed.

Africa50’s CEO Alain Ebobissé said his organisation is a catalyst that is playing a critical role, adding that the private investment is key to meeting Africa50’s objective to equip African countries with sustainable infrastructure.

Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance Nadia Fettah Alaoui said the Africa50 general shareholders meeting was taking place at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic had shown Africa’s vulnerability. She outlined the role Morocco intends to play in the recovery.

“Morocco’s vision is to build a better future. There can only be a prosperous world with a prosperous Africa. Together, we are stronger and can go further with funds like Africa50 as a catalyst for financial integration”, she added.

In her remarks at the event, the President of US Corporate Council on Africa, Florizelle Liser stressed the importance of US investor engagement with the African continent.

“International investors are worth $100 trillion and 45 percent of that total comes from US investors. They can be a little bit timid about investing in Africa, but our role is to build trust between them and African institutions. That’s why we’re linking them with regional banks and institutions such as the African Development Bank and Africa50. Together I’m confident we can deliver”, she further explained.

Echoing Liser’s aspirations, Adesina said: “We are investing in Africa because we believe in Africa, and because our people deserve to live better lives. With its vast natural and human resources, Africa is teeming with investment opportunities, with huge returns. Africa’s future is bright.”

At a press conference, Adesina and Ebobisse briefed media on asset recycling as a resource mobilization solution. They explained that this would help African governments develop their respective infrastructure programs, including toll roads, power plants, airports, and fiber optic networks.

Africa50 management announced at the meeting that Cabo Verde joined the fund as a new shareholder.

The African Development Bank, Africa50 and the African Sovereign Investors Forum, chaired by Morocco’s strategic investment fund Ithmar Capital, also signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the development of green and climate resilient infrastructure projects across Africa.

The partnership expects to mobilize significant funding from African institutional investors towards sustainable infrastructure.

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