The Africa Investment Forum (AIF) is set to close on Friday where the real extent to which investors have backed African investment will be revealed.
The inaugural forum is hosted by the African Development Bank in partnership with the Gauteng government. The fully transactional forum is the first of its kind with discussions between promoters, governments and investors expected to bring in at least $40.4-billion worth of investments in closed boardroom sessions.
An additional $28-billion in investment projects, that have not yet moved to the boardroom sessions, are also being showcased at the gallery walks.
“We are doing business differently. The [AIF] platform helps to intermediate and cut back search costs for investors and create an open platform where public and private sectors interphase with investors,” Akinwumi Adesina, president of the development bank said on Thursday.
Over 1 400 people have attended the forum held at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Heads of state from across the continent, senior government officials and investors from across the globe have flocked to the conference with the intention of creating an enabling environment for businesses and investments on the continent through financing and clearing regulatory and policy barriers.
On Friday afternoon the boardroom deals, from closures, signatures and commitments, will be unveiled.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura, minister of finance Tito Mboweni, Cote d’Ivoire’s minister of planning Niale Kaba and vice-president of the European Investment Bank Ambroise Fayolle are expected to make an appearance.
Adesina told investors that Africa was the right place to be and its competitive advantage came from a growing youth population that would turn it into the workshop of the world not to mention the largest global continental free trade area rivalling the World Trade Organization.
“Yes, Africa has massive infrastructure deficits, from ports to railways, roads, energy and IT infrastructure needed to spur its competitiveness in global markets. The African development bank estimates the continent has a financing gap of $68 to $108-billion per year for infrastructure.
“But it’s all about how you see it: a glass half empty or a glass half full. Let’s see it as a glass half full. That means Africa has an investment opportunity of $68-108 billion a year for infrastructure alone!” Adesina added.