JOHANNESBURG - The African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Monday that it wanted to facilitate investment drives to plug the urgent need to bridge the gap between Africa's available capital and bankable projects.
Victor Oladokun, director of communications at AfDB, said that the bank was working with other multi-lateral development partners and stakeholders to ensure that the inaugural Africa Investment Forum becomes Africa's key springboard for investment and for meeting the continent's massive infrastructure and development needs.
Oladokun said financing Africa's development needs will require an estimated $600 billion to $700 billion per annum, as the AfDB's recent African Economic Outlook 2018 report showed.
"We believe the Africa Investment Forum is a game-changer for the continent's investment. It must not be business unusual because we cannot continue to do things the same," Oladokun said.
"The focus is on structuring deals, screening and enhancing projects, attracting co-investors, and facilitating transactions to unlock Africa's multi-billion dollar investment opportunities. The conference will be a game changer for financing Africa’s infrastructure development and that it will be 100 percent transaction-based."
The inaugural Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in Johannesburg is scheduled for Wednesday to Friday. The AIF will bring together project sponsors, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, private investors, policy makers, private equity firms, and heads of government to raise capital to advance Africa’s economic transformation agenda.
AfDB is partnering with the Gauteng government and National Treasury to make the forum a success.
Muzi Mathema, acting chief executive of Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, said the he 2018 AIF will curate from a pipeline of 230 projects worth over $208 billion, and they were hoping the deal struck during the AIF will result in downstream economy for small businesses.
"You can't trade unless you produce and you can't produce unless you have the capacity to do so. The Africa Investment Forum will be looking at that however the continent has made gains regarding that," Mathema said.
"As key drivers of economic growth, SMMEs are often left out of the conversation about regional development, that needs to change. The Gauteng province agenda has focused on township and rural economies,integrating supply chains towards growth."