AfDB approves $20 million investment in private equity fund targeting infrastructure sector in Africa

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved an equity investment of $20 million in the Africa 50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund l in support of its target to mobilise private capital for infrastructure across the continent.

The Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I is a pan-African infrastructure private equity fund that is mobilising up to $500 million for investment and value creation in strategic infrastructure sectors.

A statement issued in Accra said the sectors include power, energy, digital and social infrastructure, transportation, logistics, and water and sanitation.

The fund is sponsored by Africa 50, an infrastructure investment platform established by governments and the African Development Bank.

It said Africa 50 brought infrastructure project development and financing under one umbrella.

The statement said Africa 50 had a strong track record of investments in the private sector under a Public-Private-Partnership framework.

It said the mobilisation of private capital was critical to closing the infrastructure financing gap in Africa, especially given the limited fiscal space of African governments, which currently provided the largest source of infrastructure funding on the continent.

The Africa 50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I was established as a vehicle to help execute Africa 50’s mandate of mobilising private capital and accelerating further investment flows into African infrastructure by targeting private and institutional investors.

Mr Abdu Mukhtar, African Development Bank, Director for the Industrial and Trade Development Department, said the Bank’s investment in the Fund underlined its strategic nature and the fact that the Bank prioritised investing in strategic infrastructure sectors that contributed to closing Africa’s infrastructure financing gap (estimated at $68-108 billion annually).

‘The Bank’s investment will support Africa 50 to crowd in private capital into African infrastructure through a private equity fund vehicle that private investors better understands and are more comfortable investing in,’ Mr Mukhtar said.

Mr Wale Shonibare, African Development Bank’s Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulations, said the Bank’s support for the Africa 50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I aligned with its High Five objectives.

‘It also strengthens the Bank’s already existing partnerships with the Africa 50 Group on initiatives such as the African Sovereign Investors Forum and the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa,’ Shonibare added.

Mr Alain Ebobissé, CEO of the Africa50 Group, said: ‘We are highly appreciative of the African Development Bank’s support for the Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund I.’

He said they looked forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the African Development Bank and other investors to make a meaningful contribution to improving the infrastructure landscape on the continent.

By leveraging private capital for infrastructure investment, the Africa 50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund can help create jobs, strengthen healthcare access, improve education access through digital technologies, enhance access to financial services and financial inclusion through fintech investments, and reduce the impact of climate change.

The fund is projected to create 3,278 full-time equivalent jobs over the period 2023-2035, including 1,676 jobs for women.

In addition, the fund is expected to contribute to fostering regional integration through improvements in transport and logistics infrastructure that can lead to an increase in inter and intra-regional trade.

The African Development Bank and partners in the new fund will continue to provide growth capital and infrastructure equity to support the urgent need to accelerate private sector funding toward bridging the infrastructure financing gap in Africa.

Source: Ghana News Agency