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Africa is resurging, AfDB tells global investors

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•Lists $108b yearly infrastructure financing gap

The African Development Bank (AfDB), yesterday, told global investors that the continent is resurging with huge investments opportunities in billions of dollars and can no longer be ignored, drawing a sharp contrast from the old war zone narrative.

AfDB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, while opening the London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group’s trading session, yesterday, told the investors that in 2019, Africa had 110 companies that listed on LSE, with market capitalisation of $197 billion.

“My ringing of the bell here today marks the beginning of a new, exciting, strategic and impactful engagement between our bank and the London Stock Exchange to jointly expand wealth creation in Africa and the UK,” he said.According to him, of the 54 economies of the region, 17 grew by 3-5 per cent and 20 countries grew by five per cent and above, while six of the fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa, last year.

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Still, foreign direct investments to Africa grew at 11 per cent last year, far exceeding four per cent growth in Asia, even as FDI declined by 13 per cent globally and by 23 per cent in developed economies.Besides, he said that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, worth $3.3 trillion, making it the largest free trade zone in the world, is another great opportunity offered by the region and harbinger of growth.

“African economies are growing strong and the prospects for greater wealth creation are compelling. And Africa is tapping into LSE. As wealth grows in Africa, it leads to wealth right here also in the United Kingdom. Africa can no longer be ignored,” he said.He said that it’s time to recalibrate UK-Africa trade and investment, adding that a good place to start on investments is on infrastructure, as the continent’s unmet infrastructure demand is worth $68-108 billion a year, offering huge opportunities for global investors.

Adesina noted that AfDB has been a close partner of LSE, participates on the Board of the London Stock Exchange Africa Advisory Group and delighted with the partnership on the Companies that inspire Africa report.He recalled that Africa Investment Forum, launched by the bank, helped to attract investment interests worth $40.1 billion last year, in less than 72 hours, expressing the desire to do more to leverage institutional investors.

“With institutional investors holding £8 trillion of assets under management in the UK, and only one per cent of that going to Africa, it is time to change the trend. We look forward to working with LSE to deepen the development of capital markets in Africa, and to attract UK institutional investors to Africa.

“The bank will be working with the LSE Africa Advisory Group to attract a greater portion of the $5 trillion in global Exchange Traded Fund assets under management into African capital markets. And we look forward to developing green bond markets with you in Africa.“We also hope to partner with LSE on our planned initiative to unlock dormant capital from existing fixed assets across Africa, with an estimated value of $4-$5 trillion,” he said.

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AFDBAkinwumi Adesina
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