African leaders call for increased private sector engagement

31Aug 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
African leaders call for increased private sector engagement

The African Development Bank delegation’s packed sessions kicked off on Thursday with President Adesina addressing Plenary Session 3 on Public-Private Business Dialogue: Enhance Trade and Investment between Japan and Africa.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe officially opened the session, chaired by Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and co-chaired by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Presidents of Nigeria, Muhamadu Buhari; Namibia, Hage G. Geingob; Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou; and the continent’s top captains of industries were in attendance.

 “Our government has put in place measures, seeking to diversify our economy by developing agriculture, emphasizing manufacturing and addressing the energy and infrastructure deficit. With this we shall be placing Nigeria on the path of rapid growth and sustainable development,” Buhari said, before inviting Japanese investors to invest in power and renewable energy, petrochemicals and gas, maritime shipping, ports, agribusiness and healthcare, some priority sectors identified by his administration.

“Nigeria has very attractive investment opportunities with some of the highest returns in investment,” Buhari said.

Africa needs quality infrastructure, and presents the biggest deal of all: a market investment of $68 - $108 billion a year. There is increased foreign direct investment all across Africa.  “Think of it,” Adesina told the 2,000 delegates, “TICAD, China-Africa Forum, India-Africa Forum, US-Africa Forum the Russia-Africa Forum. What do they all see? A population of two billion people. Rapid urbanization, with increased demand and infrastructure and the world’s largest youth population.

Adesina urged Japanese companies “to be at the table and on the ground in Africa,” because “the truth is, there is no risk-free environment - not even in Japan. In reality, perceived risks in Africa are actually much higher than real risks. Africa presents a compelling return for investors,” he said.

Wrap up of Day 2 with key moments for the African Development Bank’s delegation

At the African Development Bank Side Event on Investing in Human Capital Development in Africa: A case for Education & Skills, Nutrition, Health & Jobs for Youth, delegates heard from Senegal’s President Macky Sall, the Bank’s chief Adesina and Jennifer Blanke, Vice President Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

“Education is also a societal leveler that enables the children of the poor to be on an even playing field as those of the rich. To ensure a more equal world, we must provide quality education for all,” Adesina pleaded. Link to President Adesina’s full speech.

Adesina underscored the need to rapidly end stunting at the Global Panel on Agriculture & Food Systems for Nutrition (GPAN) - Ending Malnutrition in Africa: Towards Nutrition for Growth 2020 & Beyond.

“We have a responsibility in our time to unite, to defeat the twin scourges of stunting and malnutrition,” Adesina said, while VP Jennifer Blanke offered the Bank’s approach and perspectives on combatting malnutrition. “The Bank is rolling out a nutrition lens across all its agricultural investment. I want to tell policy makers, think about all the investments in education, investing in nutrition is also a good investment,” she noted.

At the Panel discussion on “How to mobilise private sector investment for sustainable infrastructure development in Africa and the role of the financial sector” Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer of African Development Bank,  Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, shared insights on the Bank’s role in helping crowd in the private sector to bridge Africa’s infrastructure gap.

A number of Bank-led initiatives are in place to create an enabling environment for doing business. “The Bank provides concessional and non-concessional Policy Based Loans to countries focusing on governance to support their sector wide initiatives that are aimed at improving the business environment and ease of doing business in Africa,” Tshabalala said.

The Bank Group also deploys de-risking instruments, including the Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) and the Partial Credit Guarantee (PCG), to help leverage and catalyze private sector financing by covering private lenders/investors against well-defined political and commercial risks.

“With its unique position in Africa, the Bank leverages its AAA rating and its Preferred Creditor Status (PCS) to attract private financing for development by covering risks that private investors are unable or unwilling to absorb or mitigate,” Tshabalala noted.

Last month, the Bank executed a EURO 470 million partial credit guarantee (PCG) to help Senegal hedge its inherent currency risk from its 2021 and 2033 Eurobonds.  The transaction attracted interest from 13 international commercial banks including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG Bank[1]).

African heads of states and key business leaders from around the world are attending TICAD7 which provides an opportunity to explore investment opportunities and learn from Japan’s experience. The event, held every 3 years, has been convened alternately in Japan and Africa since 2016. The last TICAD was held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Source:AfDB

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