Guest of the Day: Stella Kilonzo, Senior Director of the Africa Investment Forum
Through the Africa Investment Forum, the African Development Bank is taking a new approach by offering a multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary platform that promotes collaborative leadership for Africa’s social and economic development. Stella Kilonzo, Senior Director of the Forum, talks about the innovative nature of the Forum, the development challenges facing the continent and a strong turnout at the inaugural meeting in November, 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
What is the objective of the Africa Investment Forum?
The Africa Investment Forum is a multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary platform dedicated to advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals.
The goal is to enable African economies to effectively leverage the opportunities created by economic growth on the continent by bridging the gap between available capital and bankable projects, and leveraging strategic alliances and partnerships. The Initiative will help remove common obstacles to finance, especially those created by the false perception that investment in Africa is somehow more risky than comparable investments elsewhere.
The Africa Investment Forum is Africa’s investment marketplace. The Bank and its many partners are sourcing, screening and credit-enhancing deals through it, attracting co-investors, and facilitating transactions to close Africa’s investment gaps.
This investment marketplace will reduce intermediation costs, improve the quality of project information and documentation, and increase active, productive engagements between African governments and the private sector. Essentially, the African Investment Forum offers investors access to a structured platform offering a suite of bankable, de-risked projects within an enabling environment.
Who are the key partners?
Our partners are development finance institutions, regional development banks, commercial banks, institutional investors, project sponsors, financial intermediaries such as fund managers, investment banks, foundations, family offices, and governments that want to see a prosperous Africa.
Africa-based development finance institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation, African Export-Import Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Trade and Development Bank, and Africa50, have endorsed the marketplace. We are in advanced talks with the International Finance Corporation, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Investment Partnership and the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub to partner with them around pipeline development, project preparation, and the development of a digital platform for connecting investors and projects.
Select private sector captains of industry continentally and globally are resoundingly supportive of this flagship initiative. We are working closely with business associations such as Initiative for Global Development and Corporate Council for Africa that are helping to promote the African Investment Forum.
What makes the Forum unique?
The Africa Investment Forum provides the best opportunity to date to change the rules of the game to encourage accelerated economic transformation in Africa. There will be no unnecessary speeches at the event sessions will primarily be organized around boardroom style discussions focusing on specific transactions. The Africa Investment Forum primarily aims to actively engage the private sector and facilitate investments in transformative projects across key sectors of strategic interest within Africa.
It will be all about transactions and getting them nearer to financial closure. An important aspect will be the follow-up mechanism put in place by the team and the implementation of an investment tracker to follow all deals that are going to be on the platform. To develop this digital platform, the Africa Investment Forum is partnering with other institutions to connect investors with deals on the continent.
The key distinguishing feature of this unique African marketplace platform will be its ability to mobilize private sector and policy interests to crowd-in identified curated investments in and into Africa. It will be a demonstration that will boost the confidence of African and international investors alike by profiling and closing transformational projects in strategic sectors in several African countries.
How much investment is the Bank targeting to attract to Africa via the Forum?
To put an exact number on this requires an estimation of capital available in areas of surplus and also the constraints to moving this capital to areas of need and impact within Africa. The Africa Investment Forum’s aims are to tilt the balance of globally available capital towards Africa’s critical sectors and attract a fraction of the USD 500 billion in net assets from African institutional investors and the USD 84.9 trillion in global assets under management.
For more information: www.africainvestmentforum.com