African governments must explore innovative technologies to drive transformation on the continent, board members at Africa50’s General Shareholders Meeting, held in Kigali heard on Wednesday.
Prime Minister of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente made the call at the opening of the shareholders meeting.
“Let’s explore these digital opportunities to move our continent forward,” the prime minister said.
Africa50 is an innovative fund for developing and financing African infrastructure, funded by the African Development Bank, African governments and private and institutional investors.
In his opening speech, African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, who is Board chair of Africa50, urged more African countries to join the institution, which he described as “the continent’s main investment vehicle.”
“Africa 50 is on track to launch a private sector third party fund to leverage $1 billion from private sector institutional investors. I encourage countries that have not yet joined Africa50 to do so. Join us as we move towards a future of great promise for Africa. Join us as we lay the foundations for a more prosperous Africa,” Adesina urged.
Chief Executive Officer of Africa 50, Alain Ebobissé, noted that the organization had made significant progress over the years, and built an effective partnership with several African countries.
Africa50’s current membership now stands at 28 African countries and the firm will launch a private sector third party fund that will be used to leverage $1 billion into infrastructure from private sector institutional investors.
“A game changer in the infrastructure space in Africa will occur when enough decision makers acknowledge that the opportunity cost of delayed projects implementation is very high. Doing nothing or slowing down projects costs money and deprives citizens of services and economic opportunity,” Ebobissé said.
Adesina also made an appeal to investors to attend the Bank’s 2019 Africa Investment Forum, stressing that Africa is ready for massive investments – and offers an attractive investment destination. The Forum’s lead partners include: Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), African Export Import Bank (AfreximBank), Trade and Development Bank (TDB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Africa50, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), and European Investment Bank (EIB).
“If you are an investor, do not miss Africa Investment Forum 2019. Africa is ready for massive investments – and the environment is getting more attractive for investors,” Adesina said.
“One such investment is the construction of the bridge that will connect the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, a $550 million transaction being led by Africa50 in partnership with the African Development Bank.”
The recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area has opened possibilities for the world’s largest free trade area and an integrated single market for Africa, the attendees heard.
To enjoy the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, Adesina said the continent needed to be connected through roads, rail, ports, airports, ICT backbones and energy corridors, “This will be crucial for spurring future economic growth in Africa,” Adesina stressed.