The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Tuesday launched its Africa Investment Forum (AIF), which will seek to attract investment and public–private partnerships aimed at transformative development on the continent.
“The AfDB is championing the AIF as a platform to actively engage the private sector and to facilitate projects that have the capacity to transform the continent,” AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina said at the launch in Johannesburg.
He added that the AIF, which would take place in November, would provide a much-needed global platform that would help catalyse private-sector investments in Africa, by bringing in developers, strategic investors, venture capital funds, pension funds, global sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies.
Adesina added that the forum was a unique path for investment and that it would be a “genuine African market place” for closing deals and accelerating development of the continent.
“Africa is growing economically resilient. We are swimming with a fast-moving current of global finance, trade and economic growth…but we must go faster. We have much ground to cover,” he said.
Adesina highlighted that the forum would focus on five key aspects including pipeline development, project preparation, policy environment, project bankability and investment promotion.
“This is not a talk shop. There will be no political speeches. The AIF will provide an open platform to organise efforts among multilateral institutions, governments and the private sector to improve a pipeline of projects capable of transforming the continent,” he added.
Adesina noted that the AIF would also harmonise processes among the bank and its partners, reduce intermediation costs, improve quality of project information and documentation, and increase action-oriented engagements between African governments and the private sector.
Also speaking at the launch, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said that the province was pleased to have won the bid to host the forum.
“This is the biggest investment platform on the African continent. We put a strong bid in to host the AIF and we are very pleased to have won, especially because Gauteng is a major component of African economic intervention and a key driver of Africa’s industrialisation and trade,” he said.
Makhura added that Gauteng contributes 35% to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) and between 8% and 10% of the total GDP of the continent.
“We are the industrial hub and manufacturing workshop of sub-Saharan Africa. There is no better time to align our development priorities than now,” he said.