The growth of the African economy relies on the continent investing in itself and this was evident as investors backed multibillion rand projects during the inaugural Africa Investment Forum.
The forum concluded on Friday with investors, government leaders and the private sector unanimous that the gathering was successful.
Closing off the conference, African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina had made one point crystal clear: Africa has the potential to invest in itself.
“This was the common theme. My big takeaway is there are many African investors, as well as sovereign wealth funds from other continents, wanting to invest in Africa. We have sovereign wealth funds putting money behind projects. Charity begins at home,” he said.
The forum saw 45 projects worth $32 billion receive funding, with South Africa clinching deals for projects worth $6.8 billion.
“That is incredible for a first forum to be held in Africa. I am thankful to the investors for the confidence they have in Africa. Africa has grown up. Africa will not be developed by aid, and we are beginning to see that.
“The fact that we came together and shared ideas and issues is far more important. Africa believes in itself. Africa has come of age, and Africa will project itself as a strong and dynamic place to invest in.
“What did we see over the past three days? We saw partnership in action. We saw participation from all across the world. We saw commitment to make deals. We saw intense discussion on the deals. We saw confidence in Africa,” Adesina said.
He thanked African Heads of State for being at the forefront of the transformation of the continent. “As our presidents put out the right policies, the right regulations, we begin to see a lot of success, and I want to thank them.”
South Africa’s Finance Minister Tito Mboweni commended the hosting of the forum.
“There have been many outside of Africa. It’s really commendable to have something like this in Africa. On the South African side, we have probably missed some of the opportunities. We can’t take advantage of all of them. We just have to work a little harder.
“We have a huge infrastructure project here in South Africa and I’m quite certain that domestic investor institutions and pension funds will also come to the table here at home, including funding from other partner countries. There is hope. There is a future.”
Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank, said the forum proved the power of such platforms.
“I’ve been barking for years but I’ve never had the opportunity to discuss $15 billion deals in two days,” he said, adding that the forum had exceeded his expectations.
Host province Gauteng Premier David Makhura expressed delight at the success of the forum, saying it further re-emphasised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s vision for the country.
The $6.8 billion in South African investment, Makhura said, will contribute to President Ramaphosa’s drive to attract $100 billion investment over the next five years.
“If there is anything we have learned from this as government is that we can do much more to ensure that our jurisdictions attract investment. I’m here and the Ministers are here to ensure that we boost our economy.”
Makhura said it was critical for intra-continental trade to thrive.
Adesina said the illustration of influence African financial institutions have on the growth of the continent and a belief in its vision was spectacular to witness.
“For me that is so important: delivering as one. We were talking with the presidents of all the banks and they were saying they want to meet twice a year to talk about the next event and the next transaction. That for me is so powerful -- the continent’s financial infrastructure sharing a vision. That means we have confidence in our countries,” said the AfDB President.
Mboweni said the forum would have been successful even if no deals had been signed.
“What you see here is very humbling because my expectations have been exceeded.” - SAnews.gov.za