Africa Investment Forum to accelerate continent’s economic transformation

AIFAfrica is the investment destination for international companies. (Image source: DFID/Flickr)The African Development Bank (AfDB) is providing collaborative leadership for a new 100 per cent transactional initiative, the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), to accelerate economic transformation throughout the region

The president of AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, said that AIF would be exclusively about transactions and investment deals. “It provides an open platform to organise efforts among multilateral institutions, governments and private sector to improve a pipeline of projects capable of transforming the continent,” he said.

The first AIF will be held in Johannesburg from 7-9 November 2018. It will then be held yearly to enable and facilitate interactions to broker and accelerate deals, for discussions with policy-makers to shape the business and regulatory environment, as well as to track the implementation of commitments.

Adesina noted that the cost of doing business in Africa is improving.

“If you look at what is happening in terms of foreign direct investments coming to Africa, it continues to rise. Why are they rising? This is because of the greater political stability that is found on the continent,” he said. “So there is a lot of optimism about our continent and in fact, there is a discussion among our leaders towards an Africa beyond aid.”

He highlighted Africa’s human and material resources, stressing how they could be harnessed to make Africa the powerhouse of the world. “I think that the sovereign wealth of Africa is actually not being invested in Africa. It is being invested outside of Africa. And if Africa doesn’t invest enough, then who is going to invest? One of the reasons this happens is because people have a perception of risk. But the issue is not a risk. It is about how you manage risk.”

On the AIF platform are the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, among others, who are working with the AfDB to set up a ‘mutualised co-guarantee platform’ to de-risk investments.

The Africa Investment Forum will focus on improving the ease of doing business in Africa by advancing and promoting investment-friendly regulation. It will also champion ethical business practices in Africa, Adesina further added.

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