Africa’s premier infrastructure summit known as AFCLive2017 has opened today in Abuja, Nigeria, with the promoters – Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) putting strong emphasis on partnerships to increase deal flow to unlock critical infrastructure investments in Africa.

The objectives of the Summit is to develop new solutions to increase deal flow and fast track commercial projects in Africa. A recent UN report said that of the total US$2tn raised globally for infrastructure projects, only US$59bn was received in Africa, representing three per cent.

By bringing financiers and investors alongside project developers and fund managers, AFC wants to ensure that more capital, both African and international, can be deployed towards addressing Africa’s pressing infrastructure needs.

AFC has invested approximately US$4billion in projects across Africa and showcasing on its first day of AFCLive2017 12 projects requiring US$ 13 billion investment spanning across nine African countries (Benin, Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

The projects were presented by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the German Development Agency GIZ, the strategic advisory firm Black Lion Holdings and international petroleum group Petrolin Group (gold sponsor).

The Founding Chairman of Petrolin Group,
 Samuel Dossou-Aworet said “The core of our business strategy is to use our international strength to bring on board first class international companies and, more importantly, to involve local indigenous partners and investors to associate them to the development of the sub-region”.

Petrolin’s “Backbone Project” (in French, “Epine dorsale”: a new backbone for Africa) is intended to reshape the future of Benin and the West African sub-region by rolling out infrastructure to boost regional trade that will propel growth over the next few decades. It includes a rail line building on existing networks linking Cotonou to Parakou, to Dosso and to Niamey (1,032 km). It will be the first standard-gauge rail dedicated to logistics flows in West Africa and is designed to become a catalyst for the development of mining and oil resources in Benin, Niger and Nigeria as well as other hinterland countries. The Backbone also includes a new dry port, a new deep water port, a new international airport and related infrastructure (schools, universities, health centres and tourism areas) in Benin.

The first day will end with a Gala Dinner where the founder of AFC and former Nigerian Central Bank Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, will give a keynote address recounting how the dream of AFC quickly turned into a real project thanks to vision and political will.

AFC is a dynamic, international investment grade multilateral finance institution whose mission it is to help bridge Africa’s significant infrastructure gap whilst delivering competitive financial returns, robust economic growth and positive social impact.

Established in 2007 to be the catalyst for private sector infrastructure investment across Africa, AFC is now one of the highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institutions in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. A successful borrowing programme has raised more than US$3.5 billion for AFC’s activities, including the Corporation’s debut US$750 million.

By Marc Philips