President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced in Nairobi that Kenya would double its shareholding in pan-African infrastructure investment platform, Africa50, thereby increasing its current investment to US$100 million.
Speaking during his keynote address at Africa50’s Third General Shareholders Meeting, he said, “Kenya will double its investment in Africa50 to $100 million. We believe that this investment is justified.”
He also made an urgent call for developing and financing bankable infrastructure projects to promote Africa’s growth. “The private sector must step up and help us close the infrastructure gap on the African continent. Public funding is limited, and there are competing priorities,” he said.
In his opening remarks, African Development Bank Group President and Chairman of the Board of Africa50, Akinwumi Adesina stated, “We need to act with speed and urgency. Our people expect nothing else.” He emphasised the importance to enhance frameworks for public-private partnerships for infrastructure financing. “This is where Africa50’s role becomes very important”.
Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50 appreciated President Kenyatta and President Adesina for their presence and support and emphasized the urgent need to create more infrastructure projects to financial close and operation to meet Africa’s growing needs, which cannot be fulfilled by public funding alone.
“I believe that a game changer to speed up project implementation will occur when enough public and private sector stakeholders realise that the opportunity costs of delayed project implementation is too high. Doing nothing cost money,” Mr. Ebobissé said.
He explained that given Africa50’s nimble organisation and fast decision-making process, it had the ability to respond quickly to its stakeholder needs and could deploy capital from both private and public sources, throughout the life cycle of projects, to implement projects quickly
The opening ceremony gathered African finance ministers and central bank governors, as well as business leaders from across the continent and beyond.
After the opening ceremony, shareholders gathered for a closed-door session, where they reviewed Africa50’s 2017 activities, approved its financial statements and engaged the management on its long-term strategy. During the meeting, Rwanda officially joined Africa50, becoming the institution’s 26th African shareholder state.