PHILLIP ISAKPA, MANCHESTER, UK
The 2023 Africa Investment Forum’s (AIF) Market Days opens on Wednesday in the city of Marrakech, Morocco bringing under one roof the cream of global investors who control hundreds of billions of dollars in assets under management and sponsors of Africa-wide country and private sector promoted bankable projects, both groups aiming to strike and close deals in the three days the forum will last.
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The AIF which has become Africa’s leading investment marketplace is expected to attract at least 2000 participants from over 50 countries, comprising institutional investors and senior government officials, including heads of state.
Investors will have the opportunity of access to a structured platform of curated projects across the African continent, the African Development Bank (AfDB), which set up the AIF along with seven other development partners, said in a statement made available to Business a.m. ahead of Wednesday’s opening.
Now in its fifth year, the AIF Market Days has seen previous editions secure $142.6 billion in cumulative investment interest, data from the AIF and AfDB shows. In Marrakech, participants made up of investors, transaction sponsors, heads of government and development finance institutions will be exploring the theme, “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains”, with a view to advancing investment-ready deals toward market close.
According to an explanatory note on the event, “Market Days” is expected to feature transactions in a range of sectors where Africa has a comparative advantage, including agriculture, with a focus on Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones; renewable energy, to include such initiatives as ‘Desert to Power’; and manufacturing, notably the production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
It further stated that transactions will be sourced from the investment pipelines of the Africa Investment Forum’s partners, comprising African Development Bank, Africa50, Africa Finance Corporation, Afreximbank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and Trade and Development Bank.
Ahead of the gathering, the Africa Investment Forum held investor roundtables to drum up interest in bankable deals in the selected sectors to be highlighted in Marrakech. During roundtables in Switzerland and the United States the AIF showcased billions of dollars in Africa-wide business opportunities before global investors.
In Geneva, Switzerland, the Africa Investment Forum made a presentation to the Arab-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Dubai Multi Commodities Center, with investors as well as transport, healthcare and energy experts in attendance.
Chinelo Anohu, senior director of AIF, emphasised to the audience the forum’s focus on public-private partnership projects and on investments that sustain development; and stressed that Africa represents 54 distinct markets offering differing investment opportunities and rapidly evolving challenges.
“The roundtable presents an ideal opportunity to familiarise this important audience on the transactional nature of the Africa Investment Forum and the credible pathway it provides for investment on the continent,” Anohu said at a roundtable held on the side-lines of the Black Economic Forum’s Summer Executive Workshop in Martha’s Vineyard Island in Massachusetts, United States.
She added: “Investments cannot come from a unilateral source and that our presence here has shown how much capital can be raised from non-traditional investors present in the Vineyard for this event.”
The Africa Investment Forum currently has a pipeline, comprising 90 deals valued at $62.9 billion and classified as either in the capital raise phase or the bankability phase. In Marrakech, investors will likely be presented with, among others, four renewable energy and sustainability projects worth nearly $1.5 billion.
The curated projects, which are presented to investors, are drawn from all of Africa’s regions, and sourced from the Africa Investment Forum’s pipeline.
Also likely to be presented to investors are projects from hydropower to plastic recycling green projects, all of which showcase the opportunities in Africa. For instance, there is the hybrid hydrogen feedstock/ ammonia project in North Africa that will source 400 MW of renewable energy to produce — without Co2 emissions —183 tonnes of hydrogen feedstock daily to generate 1,000 tonnes a day of green ammonia via electrolysis, which earlier this year was said to require additional investment of $27 million to move the project towards bankability.
Other projects include a 27 MW hydropower project located in West Africa, that has successfully undergone feasibility assessments; a $73 million plastic recycling and sustainability company’s expansion drive into seven African countries across West, Central and Southern Africa; and a $440 million Southern Africa hydropower independent power producer that will generate 544,000 MWh/year of energy, for which the transaction sponsors are said to be seeking $12.5 million to finalise the project’s development phase.