The Africa Investment Forum kicked off on Monday with a media briefing in the South African capital. The game changing event, aimed at attracting multi-billion-dollar deals across the continent, is set to usher in a new era for Africa's investment landscape.
Regional and global investors and institutional investors, private sector leaders, prominent government officials, and representatives of State are converging in South Africa, for what is billed as an unprecedented gathering to mobilize and crowd in global investment capital for the continent's ambitious development agenda.
Dubbed by the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina as the "collective deal of the century for investment in and the development of Africa," the forum will focus on advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital and accelerating the financial closure of deals.
"This is the beginning of a new conversation, a new way of doing things," Victor Oladokun, the African Development Bank Director of Communications told reporters, a day before the Forum, which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
South African Deputy Director of the National Treasury Vuyelwa Vumendlini said the Africa Investment Forum provides a continental complement to the country's recent investment forum which successfully attracted more than 200 billion Rand in investments.
The Government of South Africa, the African Development Bank and several multi-lateral development partners are hosting the Forum expected to become a key springboard for investment and an annual event.
Global financial institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa, Africa 50, Afreximbank, European Investment Bank, Trade and Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, have come together to form solid strategic alliances around this new venture.
The Africa Investment Forum, is a unique platform where already curated projects, advanced and de-risked and are brought in front of investors. This innovative partnership of key global and continental players will focus on transactions and deals, Oladokun said.
Between US $130-170 billion a year is needed to finance infrastructure for Africa's growing population, according to the African Development Bank's Economic Outlook 2018. While global assets under management amount to an estimated US$131 trillion dollars, most of that is not invested in Africa; even one percent of that could provide the investment gap Africa needs.
"There is an urgent need to close the gap and for that to happen 'it has to be business unusual. This is the first and biggest African investment market place, nothing like this has even been done before," Oladokun, told reporters.
Guateng Province officials and government representatives in attendance included Muzi Mathema, of Guateng Growth and Development Agency, Ms Vuli Vumendlini, Deputy Director of the Nationa Treasury and Ayanda Holo, Director of Media engagement for the South African government. African Development Bank Executive Director Mmakgoshi Lekhethe was also in attendance.
Ronnie Ntuli, Executive Chairman Thelo, described the Forum as "a unique opportunity for Africans to partner with global capacity and the private sector. "It is an investor market...where all these partners converge to take advantage of tremendous opportunities," he said.
Africa Investment Forum moving Africa's investment agenda forward
African businesses are rapidly growing in number and sophistication, presenting excellent investment opportunities with relatively high returns, but the challenge of positioning themselves for consideration in front of institutional investors and global corporates remains.
The Forum has curated a total pipeline of 230 projects worth over US$208 billion spanning several sectors – energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation and health and education.
Twenty-eight boardroom sessions will curate, screen and ensure the projects are bankable and reach financial close. A total of 61 deals estimated at more than US$40 billion will feature in Boardroom Sessions, while another US$28 billion worth of deals will be showcased to investors at a marketplace Gallery Walk.
The Forum also includes a co-guarantee platform that will develop and deploy innovative instruments to de-risk private sector investments at scale, thus boosting investor confidence.
Discussions will focus on specific projects, sectors, investors, and themes. Others will have country or regional focus. Co-financing and collaborations between investors will also be a key focus area at this event.
The inaugural Africa Investment Forum will feature a session on Championing Investments− an investment conversation with African Heads of State to highlight concrete and transformative actions for a new business landscape in Africa, including collective efforts to facilitate private investments.
The Africa Investment Forum takes place from November 7 to 9, 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.