Africa Investment Forum 2021: billions more expected in new investments for the continent

The Africa Investment Forum’s Market Days 2021, one of the biggest flagship initiatives of the African Development Bank, is poised to attract billions of dollars in investment for strategic development projects across the continent. The annual forum has come to be an invaluable platform during which the Bank successfully attracts critical investment for the continent’s infrastructure, agriculture and health care system needs among others, especially as Africa seeks to rebound from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The growing success of the Africa Investment Forum gives credence to the exhortation to investors by African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, who has said that Africa must be respected today as the world’s investment frontier.

The third edition of the Africa Investment Forum Market Days will take place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in a hybrid format from 1-3 December. Pent up investment demand is anticipated: Market Days did not take place in 2020 owing to the pandemic. The 2021 edition will take place against the backdrop of the lingering pandemic as well as recently concluded climate talks at COP26 in Glasgow. Both have sharpened the urgent need to exploit Africa’s challenges as investment opportunities.

Additionally, there is growing consensus that the private sector will be indispensable in providing the scale and speed needed to urgently address bottlenecks across many sectors.

Market Days 2021 will feature the forum’s unique boardroom sessions, where project developers and investors – including pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms will review projects, including those in the health care, energy and climate, agri-business, and ICT and telecommunication sectors.

The African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum team previewed several likely boardroom deals in investor roundtables held virtually in September, October and November. Market Days 2021 will showcase these investments. One is a potential investment in the construction of a $45 million World Health Organization-prequalified vaccine production plant in East Africa. The plant will be able to routinely produce three types of vaccine, including one for Covid-19.

Another deal – in the agribusiness sector – entails the scaling up of a dairy milk production and packaging company in Southern Africa. The project’s sponsors have secured an off-take agreement with a major international food and beverage company for the milk production. The deal, valued at $50.2 million, has strategic value for the host government in terms of job creation and skills development.

Boardroom sessions, where deals move toward closure, will also feature projects that are women-led, and which represent Africa’s creative industries.

Over the three-day event, there will also be plenary sessions featuring discussion of how to mobilize institutional finance, the role of disruptive innovations such as fintech and cryptocurrencies, and the value of women as investment champions.

Market Days 2021 will revisit the achievements and highlights from the second edition, held in Johannesburg in 2019. Then, fifty-seven deals worth roughly $68 billion were discussed, including a strategic Liquefied Natural Gas development project in Mozambique, which represents Africa’s largest single foreign direct investment.

The forum’s closing day will reveal boardroom results from Market Days 2021. The Africa Investment Forum Deal tracker monitors the progress of investor commitments made during the forum, establishing a path toward closure.

The African Development launched the Africa Investment Forum in 2018 with seven other founding partners, namely the Africa 50; the Africa Finance Corporation; the African Export-Import Bank; the Development Bank of Southern Africa; the Trade and Development Bank; the European Investment Bank; and the Islamic Development Bank.

The Africa Investment Forum has 118 deals in its pipeline from all eight founding members, with an investment value of over $110 billion.


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