The Africa Investment Forum will host virtual boardroom sessions, a key component of the Africa Investment Forum market days, next month, following a postponement late last year, representatives of the initiative announced on Thursday.
The boardrooms will be held virtually from 15th to 17th March this year to discuss and advance deals in the 2021 pipeline. The third edition of the Africa Investment Forum was due to be held in hybrid format in Abidjan in December 2021 but was postponed owing to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus. Forty-five deals worth $57.4 billion have been curated for the boardroom discussions.
The announcement of the March event followed a meeting of the founding partners of the Africa Investment Forum, a multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary platform that advances private and public-private-partnership projects to bankability, raises capital, and accelerates deals to financial closure.
In an open session, the Africa Investment Forum provided progress updates and previewed five deals. These included: an investment to develop over 220 km of electric transmission lines under a long term public private partnership agreement; a project with a ten-year goal to roll out broadband infrastructure to over 800,000 residential and small business customers; and a project for the establishment of a biomedical and pharmaceutical hub.
The 45 boardroom deals are projected to create a total of 3.8 million jobs, both direct and indirect; of these, one million jobs will go to African women and women entrepreneurs, and another one million to youth.
Following the presentation, Africa Investment Forum Senior Director Chinelo Anohu said, “there’s an energized commitment to push the Africa Investment Forum forward.” She said that in addition to investments, the Africa Investment Forum was working to support an enabling environment across African countries. “Good policies make good investments,” she said.
The 160 participants in the meeting, representing investors and project preparation organizations, included Sarah Whitten of the United States Trade and Development Agency, Preeti Sinha, the Executive Secretary of the UN Capital Development Fund, and Omar Ezzat of the Multilateral Cooperation Center for Development Finance.
The presentation was part of a two-day meeting of the Africa Investment Forum’s founding partners. Earlier on Thursday, heads of the founding partners met to discuss developments and strategic areas of focus over the coming year. The eight founding partners are: the African Development Bank, which is also the host; 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.
African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina stressed the importance of prioritizing Africa’s health care security and health sovereignty, based on three pillars: building quality healthcare infrastructure; developing the continent’s pharmaceutical industry; and increasing the capacity of vaccine manufacturing.
Adesina said he expected many of the Africa Investment Forum founding partners to play a role in the Alliance for Green Infrastructure initiative of the African Development Bank, the African Export-Import Bank, the African Union Commission and AUDA NEPAD. The partnership , which was announced February 18 during the EU-AU Summit, will raise up to $500 million of early-stage project development and project preparation capital to catalyze bankable, greener infrastructure projects at scale and speed.
The Bank chief commended the heads of partners for coming together swiftly in 2020 to launch a unified response to Covid-19, which was announced during the last founding partners meeting.
“Going forward, we need to work more closely together to accelerate the pace of investments in infrastructure,” Adesina urged.
Alain Ebobissé, head of Africa 50, cited the acceleration of capital flight during the pandemic and reiterated the need to galvanize domestic resource mobilization.
Other topics of discussion included the role of the African Continental Free Trade Area in developing regional markets and Africa’s energy transition.
The Africa Investment Forum has brought 10 deals with a value of $3.1 billion to closure, and currently has 136 deals with a total value of $87.52 billion in its portfolio.