AfDB pledges to assist Nigeria bridge infrastructure financing gap

African Development Bank
African Development Bank

The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Tuesday pledged to work with multilateral institutions and private sector operators to assist Nigeria bridge the infrastructure gap in the country.

Nigeria’s cumulative infrastructure financing needs estimated at about $100 billion annually are projected to reach $3 trillion by 2044.

The Senior Director, AfDB Nigeria, Ebrima Faal, said during the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) Roadshow in Abuja the bank would help the country develop investment-ready projects for investors, fund managers and others.

The roadshow is a fore-runner to the Africa Investment Forum the bank is planning for November 7 to 9 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The AIF is an investment market place to showcase key projects currently under development and assess how those projects would be financed, operated and delivered successfully to maximise efficiency and project success.

Mr Faal said the forum has been designed to meet the needs of African stakeholders looking to capitalise on the increasing potential of multi-stakeholder partners and the growing investment appetite in Africa by investors.

Mr Faal said the idea for the investment forum was informed by the reality that government alone cannot finance the infrastructure in the country.

He said the widening infrastructure gap was limiting the country’s effort to attain sustainable development.

The director said apart from the development of effective public private partnerships, the AfDB was committed to providing new innovative financing programmes, instruments and partnerships for the country.

Besides, he said the AfDB plans to assist Nigeria in putting together a pipeline of bankable projects ahead of the Africa Investment Forum to facilitate the financing and construction of critical infrastructure in the continent.

“Despite impressive growth rates in most part of the continent, Africa’s infrastructure needs remain formidable, with annual financing gap of between $130 and $107 billion annually.

“This is all happening at a time when public sector finances are extremely under pressure.

“There is therefore a critical need to change the current funding mix and create partnerships to finance infrastructure and other projects in Africa,” Mr Faal said.

Senior Director at the AfDB in charge of the African Investment Forum, Stella Kilonzo, said the bank aims to use the forum to de-risk investments in Africa.

Ms Kilonzo said that at the moment, Nigeria and Africa at large were struggling to attract significant capital due to poor preparation and packaging of project proposals, limited availability of tools for credit enhancement and risk coverage among others.

She said in Nigeria, AfDB seeks to fast track the sustainable development goals through the development of bankable projects in the agricultural, energy and infrastructure sector, among others.

In his remarks, the Co-ordinator, Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), Folarin Alayande, said the federal government identified key priority projects that would spur sustainable growth in the country.

To deliver fast results on mobilising private investments and job creation, he said the country’s investment focus was in the areas of agriculture and transportation, manufacturing and processing, power and gas supply.

To this end, he said Nigeria was seeking about $22.5 billion of investment commitments by year 2020 covering 164 projects, spreading over six geo-political zones.

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