Africa Investment Forum 2023 Spurs $34.82 Billion in Investments

Alliance for Agro-Industrial Development Unveiled

Marrakech, November 14, 2023 – The recently concluded Africa Investment Forum (AIF) 2023, held in Marrakech, Morocco, marked a significant milestone by securing an impressive $34.82 billion in investment commitments for diverse projects across the continent. The three-day event, from November 8-10, brought together project developers, investors, and stakeholders from various sectors to explore opportunities and advance projects crucial for Africa’s sustainable development.

The AIF, a multi-stakeholder platform, focuses on advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating deals to financial closure. Its overarching vision aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals, the African Development Bank’s High 5s, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Diverse Investment Interests:
Investors and developers at the forum explored opportunities in key sectors such as food and agriculture, renewable energy, mining, transport corridors, aviation, deep-water seaports and railways, ICT, digital infrastructure, artificial intelligence, creative industries, and health.

Alliance for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ):
One of the highlights of the AIF 2023 was the launch of the Alliance for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones. This alliance, backed by an initial commitment of $3 billion, aims to transform underdeveloped rural areas into agro-industrial corridors of prosperity. Partners in this initiative include the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms.

The SAPZs are designed to stimulate structural transformation in agriculture by connecting rural and urban development, integrating smallholder farmers into value chains through logistics and infrastructure. The alliance received commitments totaling $3 billion, with contributions from the African Development Bank Group ($1.1 billion), Afreximbank ($1 billion), Islamic Development Bank Group ($300 million), and Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms and its partners ($600 million).

“The Alliance will raise funds through various investment windows for project preparation, project development and construction, and financing for tenant companies,” stated Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank. He emphasized the Alliance’s role in bridging the critical financing gap and mobilizing resources to enhance agricultural value addition in Africa.

Promotional artwork for Africa Investment Forum 2023. Photo courtesy: AIF

Strategic Minerals and Global Prosperity:
A panel session titled “Strategic Minerals: Financing a New Era of Global Prosperity” addressed the significance of Africa’s strategic minerals, including rare earths, lithium, graphite, bauxite, manganese, and cobalt. Experts stressed the need to process these minerals locally before export to unlock their full potential and create value chains and jobs for local populations.

Georgette Sakyi Barnes Addo, President of the Ghana Women in Mining Association, emphasized the importance of creating conditions for prosperity from natural resources. Amina Benkhadra, CEO of Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), and Swazi Tshabalala, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank Group, highlighted examples from Tanzania and Indonesia, where restrictions on non-value-added mineral exports were implemented.

The panelists called for increased collaboration, sharing of experiences, and strengthening regional integration to attract private sector investments in Africa’s strategic minerals sector.

Urbanization Challenges and Finance Needs:
In parallel, a report from the African Development Bank highlighted the urgent need for investments in African cities as their populations are expected to nearly triple in the next 25 years. The report underscores the critical role of cities in economic growth and calls for smart investments in infrastructure, quality service delivery, and job creation.

The African Development Bank currently disburses $2 billion annually to projects impacting urban areas, covering housing, transportation, water access, and sanitation. A new Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF) will direct $50 million for urban project preparation, planning, and municipal access to financial support ecosystems.

Saudi Arabia’s Commitment to African Development:
Saudi Arabia showcased its commitment to African development during the Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference in Riyadh. Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan announced significant loans and investments, emphasizing the diplomatic and economic importance of Africa. The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) will sign agreements worth 2 billion Saudi riyals ($533 million) with African countries, particularly supporting nations in debt distress.

Commitment to Cities and Municipalities:
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, reiterated the bank’s commitment to the development of cities and urban areas. He emphasized the need for increased private investment in cities and outlined four strategies, including providing greater autonomy to cities, using debt securities, developing better mortgage financing, and creating regulatory space for municipal and green bonds.

The Mayoral Forum held on the sidelines of the Africa Investment Forum brought together mayors and governors from major African cities to discuss leveraging cities for national development. The forum aimed to foster collaboration between financial institutions, cities, states, and municipalities to accelerate growth and development.

The Africa Investment Forum 2023 concluded with tangible commitments and initiatives that address the continent’s diverse challenges and opportunities. From agro-industrial development to urbanization and strategic minerals, the forum showcased the potential for transformative impact through collaboration, innovation, and sustainable investments across various sectors. Africa’s economic trajectory continues to attract global attention, with key players committing resources and expertise to drive the continent’s growth and development.

Note: The information presented is based on the provided text as of November 14, 2023.


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