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Africa Investment Forum 2019: African Development Bank signs $250-million risk participation agreement with ABSA, to address Africa’s trade financing gap
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Bank’s trade finance operations aim to facilitate inter and intra Africa trade by reducing the trade financing gap on the continent
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 18, 2019/ — The African Development Bank (https://AfDB.org/en) has signed an unfunded $250-million Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) facility with ABSA – a pan-Africa financial institution with a solid presence in 12 African countries.

The 3-year RPA facility was signed November 12, on the sidelines of the Africa Investment Form through its trade finance operations. Under this 3-year RPA facility, the Bank and ABSA will share default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African Issuing Banks (IBs) and confirmed by ABSA.

Leveraging the Bank’s  AAA rating, ABSA will underwrite trade transactions issued by African issuing banks across key sectors like agriculture, energy, and light-manufacturing with a special focus on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME’s)  in fragile and low-income African countries. The Bank’s commitment under the RPA is to assume up to 50% (and 75% in special cases) of every underlying transaction issued by the IBs, while ABSA will confirm such a transaction and bear not less than 50% of its underlying risk.

Working with strategic partners like ABSA, the Bank’s  trade finance operations aim to facilitate inter and intra Africa trade by reducing the trade financing gap on the continent. Since 2013, the Bank’s RPA program has supported over 16 issuing banks with about US$650 million  limits in Southern Africa alone, with special focus on SMEs and local corporates in manufacturing, agribusiness, import/export and energy sectors.

In the same period, the program supported over $4billion in trade volumes across Africa, with $938 million of that being intra-Africa trade. Other trade finance instruments employed by the Bank include: (i) Trade Finance Line of Credit (TFLoC)  (https://bit.ly/2CRVxcv) – funded line provided to banks for the financing of exclusively trade-related transactions in Africa; and (ii) Soft Commodity Finance Facility (SCFF) (https://bit.ly/2CRVxcv) – funded instrument meant to support the financing of exports of soft commodities across the continent.

“The RPA facility is one of the tools employed by the African Development Bank to alleviate poverty and achieve robust economic growth and sustainable development on the continent through: increased trade facilitation of import-export activities of African local corporates and SME’s; enhanced inter and intra-Africa trade; and regional integration,” said Pierre Guislain, Bank Vice President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Industrialization, “This is consistent with the Bank’s High 5s focus to Industrialize Africa, Light up Africa, Integrate Africa, Feed Africa and improve the living standards of Africans,” he added.

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Africa Investment Forum 2019: Masai Ujiri urges African leaders to invest in sports, commissions two new “players”
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

We need to invest in sports; African talent is like gold and diamonds – Masai Ujiri
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 18, 2019/ — Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors, made his second appearance at the Africa Investment Forum, renewing his call for African governments to invest in sports.

Ujiri, the only President of National Basketball Association (NBA) of African origin in franchise history, has worked hard over the past year to scout talent and raise awareness about the success and growth of sports on the continent.

“We should be supporting teams here in Africa, that should be our vision. Sports is the next big thing in Africa,” Ujiri said, calling on investors to pay “close attention.” With all the talent in sports, there is no way it should be ignored, he said, reeling off a list of players from Africa on the Raptors team.

The sports ecosystem should be the biggest thing on our continent and has the potential to create jobs and improve livelihoods. African players are in top leagues worldwide and a former footballer is even president of an African state, Ujiri stated.

Ujiri, joined Ashish Thakkar, CEO and founder of Mara phones, and Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder of Aliethiea IDF for a panel session dubbed “Promises made, Promises kept.”

Ishmael and Thakkar were on stage to share their testimonies, while Ujiri urged investors to look at sports and showed off the NBA championship trophy which at the 2018 Forum he had promised to secure.

Ujiri said President Paul Kagame of Rwanda had heeded his call and was providing support and a “push” for sports.  In one year only, Kagame had built an incredible arena in the capital Kigali.

“We need to invest in sports, it should be the greatest ecosystem in the planet,” Ujiri said.

Responding to a question about how to get more women involved and whether women stood to benefit, Ujiri answered that putting women in leadership roles only made sense.

When he took over the Toronto Raptors in 2013 as executive vice president and general manager, there were no women at all, except for one secretary.

“And it really offended me…Women run our homes, they are incredible but when it comes to the workplace, we don’t want to give them that power to show their abilities, ‘Ujiri said.

“Now I have hired 15 women with my organization, and I think it’s important, they give us success. They make us make better decisions,” Ujiri said.

As a parting surprise, Ujiri announced that he had scouted two new players for the Raptors. Welcoming President Kagame and African Development Bank (AfDB.org) Akinwumi Adesina to the stage, he handed them red team gear with their names emblazoned on the back along with the number 19.

“They are going to be playing for the Raptors, I’m taking them back to Toronto with me,” Ujiri announced.

In earlier remarks, Ujiri thanked Kagame and Adesina for their support.

“We should be supporting teams in Africa…The talent in Africa is incredible, it’s like gold and diamond…we have to represent and believe in it.”

The Africa Investment Forum is a marketplace for project developers, investors, borrowers, lenders, policy makers and public- and private-sector investors to encourage investment in Africa. The 2019 edition, which ran from 11-13 November, closed Wednesday in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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2019 Africa Investment Forum: historic signing of high-speed railway construction concession agreement for Ghana, with the support of the African Development Bank
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank has thrown its weight behind a concession agreement for the construction of a high-speed railway in Accra, Ghana’s capital.

The signing took place on the opening day of the second Africa Investment Forum, running from Monday to Wednesday in Johannesburg.

“It’s a great day for Ghana!” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. “I was here last year and I’m back this year to make sure the project moves forward. This proves how important the Africa Investment Forum is. The signing of this agreement is on track to improve the lives of our citizens.”

The Accra Skytrain project, representing an investment of $2.6 billion, is a high-capacity public transport system that is completely automated and cost-efficient, using pneumatic propulsion technology. The system will transport more than 380,000 passengers annually and create some 5,000 jobs during its implementation phase.

“This is what Africa wants: finalized agreements,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group. “What we want is for Africa to invest in Africa! We want to see this kind of thing happening all the time. This project will modernise Ghana, providing green transport for its citizens.”

Solomon Assamoah, fund manager for infrastructure investment, believes that this project will profoundly transform Ghana’s economic capital. “This is a major contribution to infrastructure development in Ghana, and in Africa as a whole. We need mass transport. This project will help overcome traffic gridlock,” he explained.  

Joe Ghartey, Ghana’s minister for railway infrastructure, stressed the work ahead: “We have worked hard together to get to this stage of the project. We have more work to do to be able to tell the whole world, between now and next year, that the project’s financing is complete and that its operational phase has begun.”

Ghana Investment Promotion Centre CEO Yofi Grant expressed confidence that the project would reach financial close by this time next year.

The agreement was signed at a press conference during the 2019 African Investment Forum.

The Africa Investment Forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals. 

The Forum runs from 11-13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Toilets in schools matter – how African Development Bank is making a difference
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
handover of vip latrines at St Pauls primary school in Mzimba

At 14, Mercy Kamanga dropped out of school at Standard eight in St Paul’s Primary School in Mzimba, Malawi, due to a lack of suitable sanitation facilities.

“The toilets at our school were very few, small, dilapidated and didn’t have doors; only a piece of cloth covered the entrance. Our male colleagues often rushed to nearby bushes to help themselves. It was not easy for us the girls,” recalled Mercy.

It was a worse situation for girls who were in their menstrual period, and like Mercy, some other adolescent girls also dropped out of school. Others stayed away during their menstrual periods.

“It was a nightmare. After using the toilet, we were supposed to wash our hands and clean ourselves properly, but that was a big challenge. We didn’t have the washing facilities and we ended up being humiliated in class. We just had to go home,” Mercy said.

The headteacher of the school, Mr. Mwandira, confirmed Mercy’s heart-breaking experience. “We didn’t have enough toilets and this affected the learners, especially the girls.”

St Paul’s was not the only school which lacked suitable sanitation facilities. There were many others with similar challenges in Mzimba, resulting in the rampant outbreak of waterborne diseases in the area.

But the situation has now changed for the better, thanks to the intervention of the African Development Bank and its partners. St Paul’s is one of the beneficiaries of 18 newly constructed improved latrines under the $22.85 million Mzimba Integrated Urban Water and Sanitation Project in northern Malawi.

“Our enrolment has increased from around 700 learners to 900 learners with the coming of the improved toilets. It is good to note that around 60% of the learners are girls,” said Mwandira.

Other beneficiaries of the latrines programme were Mzimba LEA, Kaphuta Primary School and the district market. The improved latrines with dual seaters, are equipped with hand washing facilities to improve sanitation in the schools and in the market.

The project was jointly financed by the African Development Bank, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development, and the Malawi Government through the Northern Region Water Board.

It had three components: water infrastructure development, water resource management, and sanitation and hygiene. The sanitation and hygiene component cost $450,000 and entailed the rehabilitation of sludge ponds near the Mzimba District Hospital.

The Director of Infrastructure Development at Northern Region Water Board, Catherine Mbewe-Mwafulirwa said the Board is working in partnership with the communities to ensure that no one is left behind in the provision of potable water and sanitation for all.

The intervention has so far helped to reduce water-related diseases from around 35% to 6%, according to statistics from the Mzimba District Health Office.

For Mercy, who is now 16 and has returned to St Paul’s, there is renewed joy in learning, following the erection of the latrines at the school.

“It’s safer and better now with the improved toilets. You don’t have to worry about issues of hygiene. It’s like you are home,” she says with a smile.

Toilets in schools matter.

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Mozambique features strongly at 2019 Africa Investment Forum with $24.6 billion project, the largest deal
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Mozambique’s state oil and fuel company Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), tabled a $24.6 billion transformative project for Mozambique’s economy, the largest deal to feature at the 2019 Africa Investment Forum.

The project includes the development of the Golfinho and Atum fields and the nation’s first onshore liquefied natural gas plant.

Mozambique’s Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosário made the announcement at a media briefing session during the Forum, the continent’s premier investment marketplace, organized by the African Development Bank and its partners.

The project is an opportunity to create jobs and will revive the Mozambican economy, Agostinho do Rosário told journalists.

State oil company ENH Chief Executive Officer Omar Mitha says the country is already courting global investors to raise US$1.3 billion to fund the company’s share in the Area 1 natural gas project, in which it holds a 15% stake.

For African Development Bank President Adesina, African governments must not carry the burden of infrastructure alone; they must allow private sectors to lessen the load.

Last year’s inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interest worth $38.7 billion of dollars in just three days. For this year’s edition, the Bank and its partners are aiming to cap that figure.

In closing and addressing a question debt, Adesina said, “First and foremost, Africa is not in debt crisis, we have several countries that have challenges in terms of equity ratios tipping at the levels that raise concern. Africa is not one country, Africa is not two countries, Africa is 54 countries…There’s nothing to cause any alarm.”

The three-day Africa Investment Forum is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Africa Investment Forum 2019: Unveiling the Boardroom: $67.6 billion dollars of deals tabled, $40.1 billion investor interest secured
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa is winning…Africa is bankable- African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina

It was deals that brought participants to the 2019 Africa Investment Forum and they were not disappointed. The second Forum ended on a high note Wednesday, with 56 boardroom deals valued at $67.6 billion tabled – a 44% increase from last year.

Fifty-two deals worth $40.1 billion secured investor interest compared with $37.8 billion dollars last year.

During the 2018 edition of the Forum, 61 transactions valued at $46.9 billion were tabled for discussions in boardroom sessions and 49 deals worth $38.7 billion, secured investment interest.

Presiding over the session: “Unveiling the Boardroom Deals”, African Development President Akinwumi Adesina said that was the spirit of the Africa Investment Forum: “transactions, transactions, transactions. Deals, deals, deals!”

Over 2,221 participants attended this year’s Forum from 109 countries, 48 from Africa and 61 from outside of Africa. They came from government, the private sector, development finance institutions, commercial banks, and institutional investors.

‘The Forum is a platform that will change Africa’s investment landscape,” Chinelo Anohu, the Forum Senior Director said. “Africa is ready to engage on its own terms.”

Key moments of the Forum included:

  • a $600 million COCOBOD deal for Ghana, for cocoa processing, warehousing and processing
  • $58 million for the Alithea Identity Fund for women
  • A concession agreement for the Accra Sky Train, worth $2.6 billion

The Forum focused on projects and advancing deals spanning several sectors, including Energy, Infrastructure, Transport and Utilities, Industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms.

“Now the hard work begins to fast-track these deals to financial closure… Africa is bankable,” Adesina said.

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African Development Bank, Credit Suisse, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Ghana Cocoa Board ink $600 million loan agreement to boost cocoa production
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
  • Agreement is a turning point for scaling up the cocoa value chain – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana
  • Ghana is bankable, cocoa is bankable and of course Africa is bankable – Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank

The African Development Bank, Credit Suisse AG, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited and Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) signed a $600 million syndicated receivables-backed term loan on Tuesday, to boost cocoa productivity in Ghana – the world’s second-largest cocoa producer.

Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the African Development Bank Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, senior officials from Credit Suisse and ICBC, oversaw the signing of the facility, at a ceremony held on the second day of the 2019 Africa Investment Forum.

The multi-million dollar agreement is a milestone for the Bank-convened Africa Investment Forum, a transactional platform dedicated to transforming the continent’s investment and development agenda, which kicked off in Sandton City Johannesburg on Monday.

The COCOBOD transaction was launched at the Africa Investment Forum in 2018, and a year later, the signing is a demonstration of the Forum’s ability to raise much needed financing, including from international commercial financiers, for projects in Africa. Prior to the agreement, COCOBOD did not have access to long-term debt capital.

At a press conference following the signing, President Akufo-Addo said the agreement would help to ensure higher incomes for Ghana’s cocoa farmers.

“It was critical that we find a mechanism for scaling up the value chain for our farmers and that is where the Bank came in,” Akufo Addo said. “We see this agreement as a turning point and…to what is possible on this continent.”

The Bank, as Original DFI Lender and Initial Mandated Lead Arranger, is partnering with Credit Suisse as Original Commercial Lender, Global Commercial Coordinator, Co-Mandated Lead Arranger. Credit Suisse is also acting as Joint Commercial Underwriter and Bookrunner to structure and fund a dual-tranche facility comprising a $250 million, 7-year DFI tranche with the Bank, as well as a $350 million, 5-year commercial tranche.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited London Branch joined as an Original Commercial Lender, Co-Mandated Lead Arranger and Joint Commercial Underwriter and Bookrunner ahead of syndication.

Syndication of the facility is underway.

Making sure that Africa gets to the top of the value chain is one of the African Development’s Bank’s top priorities, President Adesina said, adding that Africa could become a global hub for cocoa and cocoa-based products.

“All cocoa producing countries will get similar support (from the Bank). Ghana is bankable, cocoa is bankable and of course Africa is bankable,” Adesina said.

COCOBOD will use the facility to raise cocoa yields per hectare and increase Ghana’s overall production. These include financial interventions to sustainably increase cocoa plant fertility, improving irrigation systems, rehabilitating aged and disease-infected farms. The funds will also help increase warehouse capacity and provide support to local cocoa-processing companies.

Signing for Credit Suisse, Madthav Patki said the “landmark” transaction would facilitate future long-term investment in the Ghanaian cocoa sector.

“This is a positive contribution to a key sector of Ghana’s economy. “It is a moment of tremendous pride…This is what the Africa Investment Forum is all about,” Patki said. He also commended the Bank’s signature expertise in financial instruments, that enabled them to leverage financing for the deal.

The Africa Investment Forum, an initiative of the African Development Bank is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace, dedicated to raising capital, advancing projects to bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals. 

Ghana’s cocoa sector employs some 800,000 rural families and produces crops worth about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually. COCOBOD is a fully state-owned company solely responsible for Ghana’s cocoa industry, controlling the purchase, marketing and export of all cocoa beans produced in the country.

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Africa Investment Forum 2019: Billion dollar boost for African female entrepreneurs
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

EIB Vice President, Ambroise Fayolle.Photo CNBC

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced a $1.1 billion lending programme to help women entrepreneurs on the continent.

EIB Vice President, Ambroise Fayolle, also revealed that the bank has signed three further agreements to boost sustainable development on the continent.

But the major deal is what the EIB has dubbed SheInvest. The EIB expects the gender-lending initiative to allow women to play a more active role in economies.

“This initiative aims to promote female entrepreneurship,” said Fayolle, noting that female entrepreneurs will also gain business skills from the initiative. He explained that the financing will promote gender investment related to climate change and is part of broader European engagement to provide targeted support for new investment that supports increased female economic participation in Africa.

The announcement was made at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, where hundreds of investors, development partners and wealth funds have gathered from 11 to 13 November for the continent’s premier marketplace.

The EIB is the lending arm of the European Union. The EIB has supported investment in Africa for more than 50 years. Last year, it provided a record €3.3 billion to African countries, with more than half the funds being pumped into the private sector.

As one of the largest providers of climate finance, the investment bank has also struck a deal with Guinea-based telecommunications provider, IPT PowerTech Group, which will see the company abandon fossil fuels for cleaner sources of power such as solar and wind.

Mohamed Al Habbal, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at IPT PowerTech Group, says the move to renewable sources of energy such as solar power will help the company reduce its carbon footprint. Habbal estimates that thousands jobs will be created as a result of this deal.

A further deal that was signed on the first day of the second Africa Investment Forum, will see African Trade Insurance increase its membership in Western and Southern Africa. This increased insurance coverage is expected to attract more investment to the continent.

In Southern Africa the EIB confirmed a new lending programme to support access to finance by entrepreneurs across Malawi and confirmed a new scheme to finance smallholders in the country to be launched early next year.

Patricia Hamisi, a Senior Manager at Malawi’s FDH Bank, says the money will help the bank enhance its long-term credit to small businesses owned by women. “The agreement comes with technical assistance which will help the bank enhance its trade financing,” said Hamisi.

The Africa Investment Forum inaugural edition was launched in 2018 in partnership with Africa50, Afrexim Bank, the Trade Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank.

The 2019 Forum runs from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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2019 Africa Investment Forum: Achieving an African economy four times bigger with only a 50% increase in energy demand
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa has the potential to expand the continental economy fourfold, with energy demands expanding by only 50 percent, according to a new report. The International Energy Agency (IEA) unveiled its report on the first day of the second African Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Africa Energy Outlook 2019 found that the continent’s future energy prospects look bright, but only if Governments can make the shift to more renewable energy sources. The report says there are three factors that will determine the continent’s future energy consumption – its growing population, the rapid increase in urbanisation and industrialisation.

Kieran McNamara, an analyst at IEA, noted that these will have “profound effects on Africa’s energy mix and how the economy develops.”
The IEA has for the first time conducted detailed modelling of the energy mix for 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, namely Angola, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria and Senegal.

The projected energy mix needed for Africa will be very different from the current one, with countries moving away from biomass and fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.

About 600-million Africans have no access to electricity, although this has improved since 2013, according to IEA’s analysis. “In order to start to address the problem, we have to realize the scale of the emergency. And that data is extremely important. You have to be able to define the problem before you can actually address it,” said Wale Shonibare, Acting Vice President of Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

Africa also needs to radically increase its investment in power generation from the current $30-billion to $120-billion by 2040, if it is to achieve universal access to electricity, according to Tae-Yoon Kim, another analyst at IEA.

If countries on the continent do not change current policies on energy use, Africa will not achieve the African Development Bank’s target of universal electricity by 2030.

But with improved policies, Africa can see the continental economy expand four times with matching energy demand that is only 50 percent greater than the current demand.

Kenya is one country where universal access to electricity could become a reality by 2022, if it continues with its current policy that has brought a large amount of renewables into the energy mix. Ethiopia could follow suit towards the end of the decade.   

The African Development Bank and the IEA, an autonomous agency aiming to improve the world’s energy markets, participated in a high-level side event during the African Investment Forum 2019. Other participants included the European Commission, the African Union Commission and the African Energy Commission.

Discussions were based on the African Development Bank’s “Light Up and Power Africa” strategy, through which the bank hopes to build knowledge of the African energy sector, and assist in achieving universal access to electricity on the continent. Governments, utilities, regulators and investors will hopefully use this knowledge to help them grow energy sectors, while reducing costs. The availability of quality data will improve African countries’ abilities to make informed energy policy decisions and to provide private investors with valuable market analysis.

Through the New Deal on Energy for Africa (NDEA), the Bank has positioned itself to lead Africa’s energy transformation. The NDEA is a partnership-driven effort launched in 2016, which aims to achieve universal access to electricity in Africa by 2025.

The Africa Investment Forum (AIF) brings together project sponsors and investors, borrowers, lenders, policy makers and public and private sector investors, to promote Africa’s investment opportunities.

The Forum runs from 11-13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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2019 Africa Visa Openness Index: African Union Commission, African Development Bank report shows wins in visa restrictions across Africa
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

  • For the first time, on average, Africans can travel to approximately 27 countries visa-free or with a visa on arrival
  • Ethiopia moves up a record 32 places on the Index, entering the top 20 most visa-open countries in Africa

For the first time, African travellers have liberal access to over half the continent, the 2019 Africa Visa Openness Index published by the African Union Commission and African Development Bank, reveals. The report was launched on Monday on the sidelines of the Africa Investment Forum, which opened in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The progress on visa openness in Africa follows growing momentum for greater integration between countries and signals that policymakers across the continent are pushing reforms, making it easier for African businessmen and women, investors, students and tourists to travel.

This fourth edition of the Index shows that 47 countries improved or maintained their visa openness scores in 2019. African visitors no longer need a visa to travel to a quarter of other African countries, whereas visa-free travel was only possible to a fifth of the continent in 2016. Currently, 21 African countries also offer eVisas to make travel more accessible, up from up from 16 in 2018, 13 in 2017, and 9 in 2016).

The 2019 top performers on visa openness rank among the top countries for foreign direct investment in Africa, and benefit from strong levels of growth, including in tourism. The Index shows that Seychelles and Benin remain the top two countries on visa openness in Africa, with their visa-free policy for all African visitors. Ethiopia moved up a record 32 places on the Index and entered the top 20 most visa-open countries in Africa.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina said, “Our work on the Africa Visa Openness Index continues to monitor how Africa is doing on free movement of people. Progress is being made but much still needs to be done. To integrate Africa, we should bring down the walls. The free movement of people, and especially labour mobility, are crucial for promoting investments.”

The Visa Openness Index has inspired reforms in more than 10 African countries including Ghana, Benin, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Kenya, unlocking tremendous potential for the promotion of intra-regional tourism, trade and investments.

Despite the gains shown in the report, there is the need to move further.  In 2019, only 26% of Africans are able to get visas on arrival in other African countries, up by only 1% compared to 2016.

Countries need to make more progress on visa regimes, including introducing visas-on-arrival. By breaking down borders, Africa will be able to capitalize on gains from regional integration initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Single African Air Transport Market, and the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons.

“It cannot be stressed enough how crucial integration is for the development of the continent and the fulfilment of its people’s aspiration to well-being. I congratulate those member states that have taken measures to ease the procedures for the entry of African nationals into their territories, and urge those that have not yet done so to join this growing momentum,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

About the Africa Visa Openness Index

The Africa Visa Openness Index measures how open African countries are when it comes to visas by looking at what they ask of citizens from other countries in Africa when they travel. The Index is tracking changes in country scores over time to show which countries are making improvements that support freer movement of people across Africa.

Download the 2019 Africa Visa Openness Index and find out more at www.visaopenness.org

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2019 Africa Investment Forum: There’s never been a better time to invest in Africa than now, infrastructure, agriculture investment opportunities abound
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

It was a presidential start on Monday to the African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dignitaries and delegates from the continent and around the world gathered to listen to Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario of Mozambique. 

They engaged in a discussion titled, Invest in Africa’s Space: Conversation with African Heads of State, moderated by Dr. Victor Oladokun, African Development Bank Group Director of External Relations and Communications.

The message from all is clear – Africa is better placed than ever for investment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa identified infrastructure, energy, manufacturing and tourism as the sectors where the most investment opportunities exist in South Africa. And as the tourism capital of the continent, the president claims when God created Africa, he spent more time on the southern tip.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagama had a positive message to share, “There has been a lot of progress and activities taking place on the continent, raising Africa to a higher level. I have always thought it was Africa’s time – but in the past we have let ourselves down.” He says his country has created a conducive investment environment through good governance systems and security, and according to the World Bank, it is the second easiest African country with which to do business. Rwanda is focusing on three main areas – creating an agribusiness hub, the planned Kigali Innovation City and the Kigali Innovation Fund.

For Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area remains a priority. He says his government is working to strengthen the country’s macro-economy, “We’ve managed to turn around rising inflation, curbed debt, and maintained discipline in the managing of public finances. In just 3 years, our economy is expanding to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies.” The country’s current priorities are infrastructure, agriculture and mineral resources.

Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario representing the President of Mozambique, says his country has changed a lot. His government is open to investment, fighting corruption and has improved transparency. It has managed to control inflation, reducing it from 27% to 13%. The country has a youthful population, which is ready to work. Mozambique has many investment opportunities, particularly in oil and gas, agriculture and mineral resources.

The four presidents also responded to questions from the audience.
There was a common theme amongst the leaders – continuing governance issues need to be addressed, such as political stability, security and conflict. President Kagama says many African states know what needs to be done, which includes improving accountability, transparency and trust, while promoting the role of women.

Answering a question about the safety of foreign nationals in South Africa, President Ramaphosa reassured the continent that his country has always welcomed people from around the world, especially its neighbors, as South Africa is home to all.

He says his government is taking action and setting up an early warning system.

On agriculture and fisheries sector in Mozambique, Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario said the industries are vital for job and income creation. He adds that only 10% of arable land in his country is being used. Modernization is needed, as well as expansion in crops like maize, cashew nuts and cotton. Mozambique’s government is also working to maintain peace in the country.

Asked about his government’s approach to the cocoa industry, Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that his country and Côte d’Ivoire produce about 65% of the world’s cocoa, worth about $100bn. Of that money, the farmers producing the product, receive about $6bn. Both countries have decided to take action by forging a common policy with a set cocoa floor price, increasing the farmers’ earnings.

The Africa Investment Forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals.

The 2018 inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interests for deals valued at $38.7 billion — in less than 72 hours.

The 2019 Forum runs from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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2019 Africa Investment Forum kicks off delivering on the promise to redefine and unpack the continent’s investment opportunities
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
  • $500 million equity closed for the Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund to speed up investments in agriculture
  • Financial close for the Africa Guarantee Fund $175 Equity transaction to support Small and Medium Size Enterprises, and $350 million for South Africa’s beef agro-processing project

The 2019 Africa Investment Forum opened on Monday living up to its promise to move from commitment to action.

A $500 million equity deal presented by the Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund last year, to speed up investments in agriculture, and a $175 million equity transaction from the Africa Guarantee Fund for investors to support Small and Medium Size Enterprises, are among the transactions that found financial close over the past year.

The opening ceremony was attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa; President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; and Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario of Mozambique. 

 “The time is now to move with speed to ensure that we unlock our potential…Indeed our continent is ripe for investments, but more importantly, it is also brimming with enormous profitable opportunities,” President Ramaphosa said in his address, as he urged investors to move beyond pledges.

The Africa Investment Forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals.

 “As the investor community, your presence here shows your unwavering will to help us and support us to succeed. I invite you, therefore, to join us as we pass the flickering torch of progress across every border of this great continent until the light of development and economic prosperity illuminates every African village, every African town, every African city, in every African household.” he said.

The inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interests for deals valued at $38.7 billion in less than 72 hours. “A lot of progress has been made on these investment interests,” with a highly dedicated team of partners working around the clock to accelerate financial closure for transactions,” African Development Bank President Akinwuni Adesina said.

Another transaction tabled last year – a $600 million transaction for COCOBOD to help improve processing and value addition for cocoa – has also reached financial close, and will be signed during this edition of the Forum. Similarly, South Africa’s $350 million beef agro-processing project has reached financial close.

“Promise made, promise kept,” said Adesina. He noted that Mara Phones Ashish Takkhar made a commitment during the 2018 Forum. “In 2019, he delivered.”

“It is a new, more confident Africa. A continent now aware of its place in the world and determined to be a global investment haven. And Africa is harnessing investors’ interests and investments. Welcome to the Africa Investment Forum, the place to be for investors,” he said.

Several leading figures were in attendance including, the Premier of Gauteng province, David Makhura; Tito Mboweni, Minister of Finance and African Development Bank’s Governor for South Africa; Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs and Ibrahim Mayaki representing the chairperson of the African Union Commission. Minister Philip Mpango from Tanzania; Minister Jean Jacques Bouya from the Republic of Congo; Mr. Vital Kamerhe from the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the high-level delegates who took part in the opening ceremony. Executive Governors from Nigeria, including Kayade Fayemi of Ekiti State; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, and Adulrahman Abdurazaq of Kwara State.

Shortly after the opening ceremony, Masai Ujuri, President of the Toronto Raptors; Ashish J. Thakkar, CEO of Mara Group and Tokunboh Ismael Managing Partner of Alitheaia IDF Fund shared their views on progress made since 2018.

The Africa Investment Forum inaugural edition was launched in 2018 in partnership with Africa50, Afrexim Bank, the Trade Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank.

The Forum runs from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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