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Abidjan-Lagos Highway Corridor Has Generated $15.5bn Investment Interest, Says AfDB President Adesina

He said $3.6bn has been secured for the East Africa railway corridor linking Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

The President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has stated that the Abidjan-Lagos highway corridor was able to secure $15.5 billion investment interest in 2022.

According to him, the infrastructure would transform the entire West African region and speed up regional integration and trade when completed.

He also disclosed that last year, investment interests were secured for $3.6 billion for the East Africa railway corridor, linking Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

Adesina, who stated this on Wednesday, in Marrakech, Morocco, during the opening of 2023 Africa Investment Forum (AIF) Market Days organised by AfDB with the theme: ‘Unlocking African Value Chains,’ said African economies witnessed real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.8 percent in 2022, higher than the world average of 3.5 percent.

He noted that five of the six pre-pandemic top performing African countries were projected to be back in the league of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies for 2023–2024.

He hinted that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents a consolidated market size of $3.4 trillion.

He further explained that the future of electric vehicles in the world depends on Africa, stating that the size of the electric vehicles value chain was estimated to increase from the current $7 trillion to $57 trillion by 2050. Therefore, he stressed that the future depends on Africa because she accounts for the largest source of the green metals for the development of electric vehicles, including platinum (70 percent), cobalt (52 percent), manganese (46 percent), bauxite (25 percent), and graphite (21 percent).

He disclosed that the AfDB and its partners were developing the $20 billion Desert-to-Power project across 11 countries that share the Sahel zone, which when completed would be the largest solar zone in the world.

The AfDB president remarked that Africa’s default rate was the lowest in the world as 2.1 per cent compared to Eastern Europe which he put at over 10 per cent and Asia at over eight per cent.

Speaking on the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones, Adesina said the size of Africa’s food and agriculture market would be worth $1 trillion by 2030. He lamented that despite significant progress and successes being recorded recently in agriculture, Africa still has 283 million people that go hungry each year.

He espoused that in January 2023, the AfDB and the Government of Senegal, in partnership with the African Union, organised the Feed Africa Summit.

He revealed that the Summit, attended by 34 Heads of State and Government, took the decision to decisively feed Africa, adding that they have collectively mobilised $72 billion towards implementing food and agriculture delivery compacts from the summit.

He asserted that Africa must end the export of raw agricultural commodities, stating that governments of countries must recognise that the fastest way to poverty was through the export of raw commodities, while the highway to wealth is from export of value-added products.

He maintained that Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) were important because they provide critical infrastructure to support agro-industrial development in Africa, to unleash the power of its agricultural potentials, with the establishment of food processing and manufacturing companies within the zones.

Adesina, said to support the establishment of SAPZs, the AfDB has provided financing of $853 million and mobilised over $661 million from other development partners.

In his words: “The zones will support the transformation of the agricultural sector, raise productivity, scale economies and efficiencies of food and agricultural value chains.

“Today, the AfDB is pleased to announce the launch of the Alliance for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones together with founding partners Afreximbank, Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, and Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms.

“The Alliance has the goal of mobilising at least $2 billion in financing and investment commitments from Alliance members and partners over the next five years. Meeting this financing goal will deliver an additional 15 to 20 SAPZ projects in various countries across the continent.

“They will open new income earning opportunities from the processing of beef instead of African cows emigrating on hoofs, while the rest of the world exports processed beef. The SAPZs offer the infrastructure enabled platforms for Africa to turn its massive agricultural lands into real sources of wealth.

“Our valued partners include the Islamic Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development, the European Union, and the Korean Export-Import Bank. We are also working with the African Union to support the Common Africa Agro-Parks programme.

“Our collective effort has mobilised $1.5 billion in support of the establishment of 25 SAPZs in 11 African countries.”

Earlier in his remarks, the King of the Morocco, Mohammed VI, said in keeping with its in keeping with its commitment to regional integration in Africa, Morocco has been consistently working with its African partners to implement transformative projects that could considerably improve the quality of life of millions of Africans.

He added: “Morocco-Nigeria Gas Pipeline project is part of that endeavour. It reflects his resolve to lay the groundwork for genuine regional cooperation. The project will enable all countries along the pipeline route to have access to reliable energy supplies and to be more resilient to exogenous energy price shocks.”

Speaking during a panel session, the President of African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), Dr. Benedict Oramah, called for a comprehensive idea and proposal for project financing, adding that as a result of political instability in Africa, it was a challenge to finance major projects.

He revealed that budget financing was a major threat to enabling financing and project implementation, adding that allocation of resources is very important in the most efficient ways.

In his words: “There should be continental regulations that countries should respect and justice for anything that is good for business. It is important to sign constitutionals agreement and concessions. It is also important to support product with high profitability.”

Ugo Aliogo

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