As the covid-19 pandemic gradually recedes across the continent of Africa, the president of the African Development Bank or AFDB, Akinwumi Adesina, has said that with $3.2 billion raised in investment interest in bankable projects, Africa is ready for business.
The funds were raised at the Africa Investment Forum boardroom, a multi-stakeholder investment platform of the AFDB alongside seven other partners, during the forum's virtual session hosted by the bank's president, who commended stakeholders for their participation.
The forum's boardroom meeting was held for the first time in two years after it was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the spread of the initial variants of Covid-19 in 2020 and the Omicron variant last year. The forum met and showcased 40 projects across several sectors, hinting at post-pandemic economic recovery.
Top stakeholders at the meeting also affirmed the positive investment climate arising from the forum.
"There were real and exciting deals that were transacted during this forum. We're seeing a lot of interest from the private sector in various sectors, including power – particularly renewables, the ICT and telecom sector, and healthcare," said Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50. "We need to make sure we speed up the implementation of that so that success will generate more success."
Other key sectors that received attention during boardroom sessions include transport, gas and energy, healthcare, agriculture, information and communication technology, creative industries, and women-led business.
Adesina also revealed that the Lagos-Abidjan highway corridor project valued at $15.6 billion and led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission was the largest investment opportunity in the boardroom sessions. The project would open up the ECOWAS sub-region to link Abidjan to Lagos via Accra, Lomé and Cotonou along the West African coast.
"The highway will reduce travel times by 50%. It will give landlocked countries access to ports and "make a meaningful impact on the lives of over 500 million people in West Africa," Adesina said, noting that $50 million Makbel Dairy Farm in Angola also drew interest from more than 20 prospective investors.
"The agriculture project in Angola has the potential to create over 2,000 direct and indirect jobs and transform Angola into a net exporter of milk products. Two prospective equity partners expressed interest in taking a combined 45% shareholding in the project," he said.
The forum also saw the bank committing to supporting women entrepreneurs across the continent. Adesina said that the bank had established a $1 million women's advisory facility, the "Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA)" program to support women-led businesses with advisory services.
"Women-led businesses must grow and dominate across Africa," he said.