Sky-high optimism as delegates from 109 countries attend the 2019 African Investment Forum in South Africa Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 5, 2021

Delegates from 109 countries, including from 61 non African nations, are headed for Johannesburg for the African Investment Forum starting on Tuesday.

Optimism is sky-high with many predicting that boardroom transactions may surpass the $43 billion pledged in 2018. 

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The 2019 Forum runs from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The forum at the luxurious Sandton Convention Centre hope to trigger an interest amongst African nations to work together to speed up the continent’s international appeal as a lucrative investment destination.

Afreximbank President Prof. Benedict Oramah expressed concern over the fragmentation of 55 markets on the continent. 

“Until Africa forms a common platform for an economic and integrated continent, some countries will not survive. All around the world continents are working together. Multilateralism is becoming a challenge and unless the continent comes together we cannot negotiate with bigger economies,” said Oramah. 

A growing number of companies attend investment conferences around the world, looking for opportunities. The Africa Investment Forum 2019 has 29 countries that are participating in deals on the table. Last year, the African Development Bank invested $18bn in low-income countries and fragile states which many developed economies regard as too risky. The African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said the bank is not scared of going into those countries. “It is my neighbourhood and my neighbourhood cannot be risky. That’s why the Bank has a facility that is called the private sector enhancement facility, which allows us to go into risky investments. We invest in places where people think we can never go and we don’t lose money there. We are going to make sure that investment continues to go into low-income and fragile states.”

One of the success stories following last year’s conference is the agreement the Bank signed with the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB). TDB President Admassu Tadesse explains, “It helps if you find partners you can scale-up collectively. We have signed with the African Development Bank a risk participation agreement that amounts to $300m that allows us to move speedily into deals and have partners that will work alongside us.”

The TDB will also be signing an agreement with the European Union Bank.

The Africa Investment Forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals. 

The 2018 inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interests for deals valued at 38.7 billion — in less than 72 hours.

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