The 2019 Africa Investment Forum opened on Monday in Johannesburg, living up to its promise to move from commitment to action.
The inaugural Africa Investment Forum in 2018 secured investment interests for deals valued at $38.7 billion in less than 72 hours, African Development Bank President Akinwuni Adesina said.
This year $67 Billion worth of bankable deals are being discussed in the forum’s boardrooms, awaiting closures. The investments relate to 59 projects across 29 African countries.
The largest announced deal, a $24.6 Billion investment in the Mozambiqian gas industry signed at the opening day of the forum, will see the country become a major global energy exporter.
The opening ceremony was attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa; President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario of Mozambique.
“The time is now to move with speed to ensure that we unlock our potential…Indeed our continent is ripe for investments, but more importantly, it is also brimming with enormous profitable opportunities,” President Ramaphosa said in his address, as he urged investors to move beyond pledges.
“As the investor community, your presence here shows your unwavering will to help us and support us to succeed. I invite you, therefore, to join us as we pass the flickering torch of progress across every border of this great continent until the light of development and economic prosperity illuminates every African village, every African town, every African city, in every African household,” President Ramaphosa said, addressing an audience of investors from over 100 countries.
A $500 million equity deal presented by the Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund last year, to speed up investments in agriculture, and a $175 million equity transaction from the Africa Guarantee Fund for investors to support Small and Medium Size Enterprises, are among the transactions that found financial closing over the past year.
Another transaction tabled last year – a $600 million transaction for COCOBOD to help improve processing and value addition for cocoa - has also reached financial agreement, and will be signed during this edition of the Forum. Similarly, South Africa’s $350 beef agro-processing project has reached financial closure.
“Promises made, promises kept,” said Adesina. He noted that Mara Phones CEO Ashish Takkhar, producer of South-African made smartphones with an ambition to compete with Huawei and Samsung globally, made a commitment during the 2018 Forum. “In 2019, he delivered.” Pointing to the opening of the newly opened factory in Kigali, Rwanda, earlier this year.
“It is a new, more confident Africa. A continent now aware of its place in the world and determined to be a global investment haven. And Africa is harnessing investors’ interests and investments.” he said.
The Africa Investment Forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals.
The inaugural edition was launched in 2018 in partnership with Africa50, Afrexim Bank, the Trade Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, and the European Investment Bank.
The Brussels Times