The 2023 Africa Investment Forum ended on Friday with the exciting announcement that all other things being equal, approximately $35 billion in investment interests had been sealed between investors and various African countries to support infrastructure project finance across the continent over the next few years. This came after three days of intense boardroom negotiations and presentations at the Palais De’ Congres, Marrakesh, in the Kingdom of Morocco.
Giving a wrap-up of activities that transpired at the event that hosted over 1000 delegates from across the world, the President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, said: “The boardrooms were jampacked and in some cases, Heads of State and Government presided at discussion sessions on projects as chief executives for their countries as big-ticket deals were considered in food and agriculture, renewable energy and transportation.
According to him, other sectors captured in the deal rooms at the event include mining, creative industry, ICT, Artificial Intelligence, deep sea seaports, railways, health and special agro-industrial processing zones and industrial corridors.
Adesina also said that new alliances were formed for special agro-investment zones as participants celebrated Africa’s diversity and commitment driven by investment.
He stated that the AfDB was building a formidable powerhouse for investment in Africa through the investment forum, which began over five years ago.
Among the projects covered in the discussion was the $ 5.9 billion railway project in Tanzania, public-private partnership power transmission project in Kenya and Ghana as well as an electric vehicle factory project in Zambia.
Also captured in the 2023 deal rooms was the Morocco gas pipeline finance project, the financing of a soda ash plant in Egypt, hydropower plant in Mozambique and the strengthening of the electric transmission grid in parts of Africa.
This was even as he revealed that the board of continental institutions at the AIF 2023 formally approved the establishment of the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank for Liberia and six other countries.
The Liberian bank is to be capitalised with US$16 million, while the six other banks will be commissioned when feasibility studies on them are concluded.
Adesina said part of the initiative for setting up the bank was to curb joblessness among Africa’s estimated 477 million youths, many of who have suffered needless deaths crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life in Europe.
“We must set up financial institutions fully dedicated to youths and women if we must grow the African economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the AfDB boss took time off to commend the critical partners that facilitated the 2023 AIF forum including King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the United Kingdom Export Finance, the World Bank, Multilateral Credit Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the United States Trade and Development Agency as well as the Japan Bank for International Development.
Earlier, the Director General of AIF, Miss Chinelo Anohu said “the AIF is fully transactional and focused on letting Africans know that no one can solve our problems but ourselves. We have seen from the words of His majesty King Mohammed VI that Africans must trust Africans to solve their problems.”