AFCLive2017, Africa’s premier infrastructure summit opened today, Monday 15th May 2017, in Abuja, Nigeria. Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC, said: “In 2014 we held our inaugural African infrastructure summit, bringing together our expertise, knowledge and experience in infrastructure financing (…). In 2017, as we celebrate 10 years of activity, we will focus on deal-making, with a view to leveraging public-private partnerships for continental infrastructure transformation.”
The first day of AFCLive2017 presented 12 projects requiring US$ 13 billion investment spanning across 9 African countries (Benin, Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The projects were presented by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the German Development Agency GIZ, the strategic advisory firm Black Lion Holdings and international petroleum group Petrolin Group (gold sponsor).
AFC has invested approximately US$4bn in projects across Africa. One of the objectives of the Summit is to develop new solutions to increase deal flow and fast track commercial projects in Africa. A recent UN report said that of the total US$2tn raised globally for infrastructure projects, only US$59bn was received in Africa, representing 3%.
By bringing financiers and investors alongside project developers and fund managers, AFC wants to ensure that more capital, both African and international, can be deployed towards addressing Africa’s pressing infrastructure needs.
Samuel Dossou-Aworet, Founding Chairman of Petrolin Group, said “The core of our business strategy is to use our international strength to bring on board first class international companies and, more importantly, to involve local indigenous partners and investors to associate them to the development of the sub-region”.
Petrolin’s “Backbone Project” (in French, “Epine dorsale”: a new backbone for Africa) is intended to reshape the future of Benin and the West African sub-region by rolling out infrastructure to boost regional trade that will propel growth over the next few decades. It includes a rail line building on existing networks linking Cotonou to Parakou, to Dosso and to Niamey (1,032 km). It will be the first standard-gauge rail dedicated to logistics flows in West Africa and is designed to become a catalyst for the development of mining and oil resources in Benin, Niger and Nigeria as well as other hinterland countries. The Backbone also includes a new dry port, a new deep water port, a new international airport and related infrastructure (schools, universities, health centres and tourism areas) in Benin.
The first day will end with a Gala Dinner where the founder of AFC and former Nigerian Central Bank Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, will give a keynote address recounting how the dream of AFC quickly turned into a real project thanks to vision and political will.