- 150 projects brought to successful decision
- $142.6bn investment interests since 2018
- Up to $40bn could be at play in Morocco
PHILLIP ISAKPA IN MANCHESTER, UK
Nigeria, with a troubled economy in desperate need of foreign currency investors, analysts say, is being expected to make the city of Marrakech in Morocco a stomping ground in the second week of November in search of international investors who control hundreds of billions of dollars, and who will gather there for the 2023 Africa Investment Forum (AIF) ‘Market Days’ looking for bankable deals to put their money on.
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With an economy currently in a very bad place – inflation at above 26 percent, a domestic currency that has continued to plummet in value against major international currencies, foreign reserves depleting month-on-month, and dwindling earnings from crude oil sales due to low production and theft – Nigeria is in dire need of injection of international money and its officials would likely seize the AIF opportunity to package bankable projects both public and private sector driven, and move to set up a tent in Marrakech and woo investors between November 8 and November 10 when the AIF Market Days are expected to be held.
Now in its fifth year, the Africa Finance Forum, set up by the African Development Bank along with seven other development partners, including Africa50, Africa Finance Corporation, Afreximbank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, European Investment Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and Trade and Development Bank, has had this Market Days event bring 150 projects to its boardroom and successfully attracted $142.6 billion in investment interests between 2018 and 2022.
For Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu, emerging from his recent Supreme Court confirmation of his February 25, 2023 presidential election victory and keen to secure investments into the country following efforts already made at the G-20 meeting in India, meetings on the sidelines of his United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) attendance in New York, may be packing his suitcase for another attempt at convince investors in Morocco.
Such an opportunity presents itself on the back of the way the Africa Investment Forum Market Days event is structured. For instance, were President Tinubu to attend, an aide-memoire seen by Business A.M. said Heads of State would be hosted at the event in a way that would see them making deals.
“Typically, Heads of State lead plenary discussions alongside President [Akinwumi] Adesina [of the AfDB], chairing our proprietary Boardrooms (two-hour deal focused sessions), and, more generally, representing their nations before international investors controlling hundreds of billions of dollars. The aim is for Heads of State to leverage the AIF platform to raise global interest for their country and promote Africa as a primary investment destination,” it further explained.
The AIF boosts of its ability to match deals to investors and ensure successful Boardroom outcomes and were President Tinubu to attend with investment hungry members of his government, he would find a forum that is able to attract global and regional investors such as Institutional investors, Development Finance institutions, Guarantee Providers, multilateral entities, private funds, commercial and investment banks, philanthropists’/foundations/Royal and Family Offices/High Net worth Individuals, strategic partners, Alternative investors, Debt and Equity providers, that manage hundreds of billions of dollars from global sources, who all engage actively during the AIF Market Days, it said.
AIF sources told Business A.M. at the weekend, in furtherance of the successes it has recorded in terms of deals origination and execution over the last five years, that this year’s Market Days will do more in bringing to the table, a pipeline of strong bankable deals for more impact development projects for boardroom conversations.
According to AIF sources, focus will remain on transformative deals at different stages of readiness, noting that: “High growth opportunities that play a major role in the continent’s recovery will be prioritised, along with cross border infrastructure projects that support the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
On their part, international investors who will be eager to connect to bankable projects in Marrakech, will expect the AIF Market Days event to offer a large suite of well profiled, high-quality, carefully curated and investor-ready projects across critical sectors of Africa.
The AIF said the Market Days event offers investors an opportunity to “invest in start-ups and growth-oriented SMEs who are provided with the opportunity to pitch their investment opportunities to investors suitable for their size, development stage, and sector. Hence, the B2Bs and deal gallery segments at the event.”
It noted that the platform has undeniably proven its result-oriented capacity to change the narrative of Africa’s investment landscape by attracting private investments in an unprecedented scale to accelerate the transformation of the continent.
In Morocco, African countries on the deal platform will benefit as they will gather around the boardroom table with global investors, financiers, project sponsors to actively engage, during a two-hour session, to address deal specific constraints and secure funding for multi-sectoral projects, the AIF explained.
Should Nigeria’s President Tinubu be attending the Morocco event, the AIF notes that through the boardroom, “Heads of State become Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of their own countries. In addition to strong dealmaking and potentially securing billions of dollars in investment for their countries, such active participation – at the highest level of government – translates into strong media engagement across all forms of news media (TV, print and social media).”
The Africa Investment Forum screens and structures transactions to prepare them for investment. Its annual Market Days event brings together deal sponsors, investors, government leaders and development finance institutions to assess a pipeline of transactions and advance them toward closure.
In addition to many areas of investible project pipelines, Business A.M. understands that the manufacture of green batteries will be a priority sector at this year’s Market Days under the theme, Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains; with other sectors such as renewable energy, agribusiness and other areas where African countries have a comparative advantage, also expected to feature.
Nigeria may look to the event as an opportunity to push its renewed hope to reform its solid minerals sector.