‘Accelerated private sector investment needed for Africa’s growth’

AdesinaAkinwumi Adesina is the president of African Development Bank (AfDB). (Image source: Africa Progress Panel/Flickr)President Uhuru Kenyatta has discussed the necessity to develop and fund bankable infrastructure projects to drive Africa’s growth agenda

In his keynote address at the Africa50 General Shareholders Meeting held in Nairobi, Kenyatta said that support for bankable projects in energy, transport, ICT, water and sanitation provide unprecedented opportunities for private sector participation.

“The private sector must step up and help us close the infrastructure gap on the African continent. Public funding is limited, and there are competing priorities,” he said.

Kenyatta announced that Kenya would double its current shareholding investment in Africa50 to US$100mn. “We must have the confidence to trust and invest in our own infrastructure. Let us grow our partnership and make Africa50 a success.”

Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank (AfDB), emphasised the importance of tackling factors that inhibit private sector infrastructure investments, including high costs of financing, weak regulations, lack of cost-reflective tariffs, low profitability, and weak regulatory frameworks for public-private partnerships.

Adesina said, “We must work smart to attract greater levels of investment financing for infrastructure development in Africa. Globally, there is approximately a US$120 trillion pool of savings and private equity. Africa must creatively attract some of this into the continent.”

Adesina commended President Kenyatta for the country’s bold commitment to and investments in infrastructure development over the last five years. Infrastructure accounts for 77 per cent of the Bank’s Kenya portfolio.

He urged countries that have not yet become shareholders of Africa50 to do so. Africa50 currently has a shareholding base of 25 African states.

Africa50 has become a major player in driving infrastructure investments, with commercial rates of return in Africa. It has mobilised more than US$850mn in infrastructure investments and expects to mobilise up to US$3bn through its private sector window. Africa50 has made major investments in a number of shareholder countries, including Egypt (400 MW solar power plants), Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya, among others.

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