The European Business Council for Africa

The construction of the 1,081-kilometer Abidjan-Lagos highway will have a significant impact on the economies of five West African countries - Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Valued at $15.6 billion and led by the Economic Commission of West African States, this transformative public-private partnership project was the largest investment opportunity showcased at the Africa Investment Forum(link is external) virtual boardrooms held from 15 to 17 March 2022.

The Africa Investment Forum is a transactional, multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary platform that raises capital for large-scale investments in Africa. In advance of the Market Days event planned for November 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, the African Development Bank and the seven founding partners of the Africa Investment Forum hosted virtual boardroom sessions over three days to discuss and advance deals in the pipeline for the 2021 Market Days. This flagship, in-person meeting, was postponed due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The Africa Investment Forum boardrooms have drawn $32.8 billion in investment interest in bankable projects.

Unveiling the results of the Forum’s virtual boardroom sessions on Thursday, African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina told the 500 project sponsors, investors, deal brokers and government representatives from around the world who took part in them: “In 72 hours, you all connected, you struck deals and you created success.”

The three-day virtual boardroom meetings showcased 40 projects across several sectors. Adesina said Africa was clearly back for investments as the Covid-19 pandemic gradually receded.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted Africa’s urgent need for better healthcare. Unequal access to vaccines , along with disruptions to supply chains caused by worldwide economic shutdowns have underscored the continent’s overreliance on medical and pharmaceutical imports.

Investment opportunities in healthcare and pharmaceuticals sector are some of the areas being discussed at the Africa Investment Forum virtual boardroom sessions taking place this week. The Africa Investment Forum is a multi-stakeholder platform that advances private and public-private-partnership projects to bankability, raises capital, and accelerates deals to financial closure.

Under its Covid-19 response, the Africa Investment Forum is prioritizing sectors that can drive Africa’s resilience and accelerate the continent’s economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. "The Covid-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to both the necessity and the urgency with which we must create investment on the Africa Investment Forum platform," says Chinelo Anohu, its Senior Director.

On Wednesday in Abidjan, the African Development Bank Group approved funding of $127.8 million to Niger. The funds approved by the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, the Group's concessional arm, will be used for a project to open up access to farming and pastoral lands in the east of the country, along its border with Nigeria.

The approved package comprises a loan of $71 million and a grant of $56.8 million. African Development Bank Director General for West Africa, Marie Laure Akin-Olugbade, said: "This is one of the priority projects within the national transport strategy. It is intended to maximize the benefits gained from the wealth of resources and opportunities offered by this region, which will amplify its impact on development, improve the resilience of those living there, and contribute, through the growth it generates, to the transformation of the rural setting."

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a new policy that aims to strengthen debt sustainability among low-income African countries. The Board approved the Sustainable Borrowing Policy on 23 February 2022.

The new policy primarily targets recipients of the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the Bank Group. The Fund caters to low-income and transitional countries on the continent.

The Sustainable Borrowing Policy responds to a changing debt landscape in Africa, especially among the abovementioned countries. In recent years, low-income countries have gained access to new sources of finance, including private creditors and creditors outside the Paris Club. Although this access has allowed them to finance important development needs, it has also increased their public debt.

China is increasingly focused on African mines to provide the minerals used in the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries, but can the continent maximise the historic opportunity?

Three Chinese energy companies have snapped up controlling shareholdings in Zimbabwean lithium mines during the past four months, as China, the world’s biggest EV market, increasingly gravitates towards Africa to diversify the supply of lithium, one of the most sought after minerals used in the booming manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs).

Chengxin Lithium Group opened up the spate of acquisitions last November with the attainment of a 51% interest in Max Mind Investments’s Sabi Star Lithium mine in eastern Zimbabwe at a cost of $77m.

The Africa Investment Forum will host virtual boardroom sessions, a key component of the Africa Investment Forum market days, next month, following a postponement late last year, representatives of the initiative announced on Thursday.

The boardrooms will be held virtually from 15th to 17th March this year to discuss and advance deals in the 2021 pipeline. The third edition of the Africa Investment Forum was due to be held in hybrid format in Abidjan in December 2021 but was postponed owing to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus. Forty-five deals worth $57.4 billion have been curated for the boardroom discussions.

The announcement of the March event followed a meeting of the founding partners of the Africa Investment Forum, a multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary platform that advances private and public-private-partnership projects to bankability, raises capital, and accelerates deals to financial closure.

The coalition for a sustainable and inclusive recovery of the private sector(link is external), an international group of 20 development finance institutions that came together in 2020, today announced commitments of over $5.55 billion of financing to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa between mid-2020 and end of 2021, beating their set target of $4 billion over the period.

The coalition said it had exceeded its initial target by 40 percent, while development finance institutions jointly committed over $5.55 billion of financing of micro, small and medium enterprises in Africa over the period.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved the Desert to Power G5 Sahel Financing Facility, covering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. The Bank envisages to commit up to $379.6 million in financing and technical assistance for the facility over the next seven years.

The Desert to Power G5 Financing Facility aims to assist the G5 Sahel countries to adopt a low-emission power generation pathway by making use of the region’s abundant solar potential. The facility will focus on utility-scale solar generation through independent power producers and energy storage solutions. These investments will be backed by a technical assistance component to enhance implementation capacity, strengthen the enabling environment for private sector investments, and ensure gender and climate mainstreaming.

The Alliance will:

  • Catalyze bankable, greener infrastructure projects at scale and speed
  • Raise up to $500 million of early-stage project development and project preparation capital which aims to generate up to $10 billion in investment opportunities
  • Support the continent’s transition to Net Zero emissions with investments in greener, climate-resilient and sustainable infrastructure

The African Development Bank Group and Africa50, in partnership with the African Union Commission and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), are exploring collaboration with global partners to create an Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa.