The Africa Investment Forum will this week focus on the urgent need to bridge the gap between available capital and bankable projects as African countries move to open their borders for free trade. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA).
JOHANNESBURG - The Africa Investment Forum will this week focus on the urgent need to bridge the gap between available capital and bankable projects as African countries move to open their borders for free trade.

The second edition of the Africa Investment Forum, kicking off in Johannesburg today, brings together project sponsors, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, private investors, policy makers, private equity firms and heads of government to advance Africa's economic transformation.

Organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and its partners, the forum is a multi-stakeholder marketplace aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to bankable stage and accelerating financial closure of deals.

According to the AfDB, financing Africa’s development needs will require between $200billion (R3trillion) and $1.2trln yearly, of which $130bn to $170bn a year is needed for infrastructure.

Last week, South Africa was able to raise R363bn in investment commitments, and indications of a further R8bn in planned investments that are subject to either regulatory or company board approvals, at the second South Africa Investment Conference.

AfDB vice-president for finance and chief finance officer Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala said new investments made possible through the forum have the potential to spur an explosion in trade, contribute to Africa’s re-industrialisation and promote cross-border regional economic integration.

Tshabalala said the timing of the forum was fortuitous, coming on the heels of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and the Single African Air Transport Market, ratified by the majority of African Union members.

“Some of the key projects for which the Forum is expected to play an invaluable role, include the Desert to Power initiative - which aims to provide 10000MW of solar-generated electricity to 250 million people across the Sahel,” Tshabalala said.

“Projects like the Inga Hydro-electric scheme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other major cross-border infrastructure projects in road and rail, are all highly transformative projects with important social and economic impacts.”

The inaugural edition of the forum held in November last year broke the mould for investment in Africa as it featured some 63projects from across 24 countries and seven sectors valued at $46.9bn.

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