The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved an equity investment of $40m in African economies.
The $40m would be ploughed in the African Infrastructure Investment Fund, with a focus on acquiring positions of significant influence in roads, airports, rail links, bridges, ports, logistics, power generation, utility distribution, as well as telecommunications assets, the AfDB said in a statement on Friday.
It said the proposal represented the bank’s third equity investment, following a 1996 investment in South Africa Infrastructure Fund and a 2010 investment in AIIF2.
It added that the AfDB aimed to have a positive additional role through the equity investment, provided that the fundraising market continued to be very challenging, leaving an important role to be played by DFIs.
The statement read in part, “Commercial and institutional investors are likely to view the bank’s investment as a positive demonstration effect. The bank’s investment will also ensure the highest environmental and social standards are applied to AIIF3.
“In terms of development outcomes, AIIF3 will create a quantifiable and measurable social and environmental impact by supporting energy and transport infrastructure access across sub-Saharan Africa. The fund will support the creation of over 1,500 jobs at the project level and enhance capacity building and skill transfer”
The Group Director, Infrastructure and Urban Development, AfDB, Amadou Oumarou, stated that private equity in Africa remained a nascent sector.
Oumarou said, “The recent downturn in global commodity prices and a reorientation away from private equity in Africa by a few DFIs have lowered fundraising expectations across the board. This is negatively affecting the availability of equity capital for Africa’s infrastructure space. In this sense, the bank will play a counter-cyclical role through this investment.”
He noted that AIIF featured in five regional offices in Nigeria, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, and Kenya, adding that the equity investment was fully aligned with the bank’s operational priorities.
“The investment is also particularly aligned with the ‘Industrialise Africa’, ‘Light up and Power Africa’, and ‘Integrate Africa’ operational priorities of the bank; it will sustain the development of Africa’s infrastructure market,” Oumarou added.