The African Investment Forum (AIF), a joint special investment vehicle of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and six other partners, have mobilised a total of $31 billion in fresh investment interest for projects across the continent.
The feat was achieved in 72 hours during the just-concluded AIF Market Days 2022 held in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire.
The amount brings to $63.8 billion the amount mobilised this year. Earlier in March, the platform midwived the commitment of $32.8 billion for bankable projects in the continent.
Among benefiting projects in the March meeting was the Lagos-Lome-Accra-Abidjan Highway, which is expected to transform the economy of West Africa.
At the closing ceremony yesterday, the President of AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said the interest cut across agribusinesses, technology, startup and women-led businesses.
He said this year was the first time in the history of AIF, which started in 2018, the platform would mobilise funding twice a year. The Market Day 2021 was postponed to early this year and held virtually.
He said he was “impressed by the quality and diversity” of the projects as well as the engagement of the project owners. The meetings, he said, were attended by about 1,800 delegates across the globe.
According to him, it is time to unlock and unleash the potential of the continent for economic gains, as “there is no market for potential anywhere in the world.”
The interest in the region, he said, demonstrated that Africa is bankable. With AIF, he insisted, there is no project too big to fund.
The ex-Nigeria’s Agriculture minister also laid bare the strategic development focus of AIF in the coming years. The focus, he said, is anchored on three areas – special agro-industrial processing zones across the continent, the future of electric cars and renewable energy.
The agro-processing zones, according to him, will turn Africa’s rural areas from misery to wealth centres and boost the region’s food sufficiency.
On electric cars, he noted, Africa with its huge resources in lithium and other resources should not repeat the past mistake of consigning itself to a source of raw materials but seek to be at the forefront of electric car manufacturing.
Also, Adesina argued, Africa with its huge solar resources does not have a guaranteed energy future if it does not manufacture panels and other components needed for renewable energy.
Other partners of AIF are the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), African Finance Corporation (AFC), Africa 50, Development Bank of South Africa, Trade and Development Bank Group, Trade and Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.
The Prime Minister of the host country, Patrick Achi, commended the efforts of the teams and the quality of negotiations at the boardrooms, which he said demonstrated the rising of Africa.