The African Finance Corporation (AFC) says it has invested at least $1.6billion in Nigeria and over $10 billion in projects across 35 African countries since its inception in 2007.
At a press conference to mark its 15th anniversary in Lagos, President/CEO of African Finance Corporation, Mr Samaila Zubairu, said the Corporation was committed to doing more in line with its mandate to catalyse private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa.
According to him, transport and energy sectors remain top priorities while telecommunication & technology among others follow among the 20 Projects invested so far. He stressed the need for Africa to invest in human capital development to challenge China and India’s dominance in that space in the near future.
“We need to invest in the future workforce, we want to see Africa build a stronger workforce than China and India combined by 2035. We are rebranding with Instrumental Infrastructure. Instrumental Africa’ as its strapline and to deliver new infrastructure potential,”
Meanwhile Zubairu has said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and commodity-driven headwinds impacting AFC’s operating environment, its annual profits increased by 26.6 per cent to $209.7 million in 2021, crossing the $200 million mark for the first time in its 15-year history, from $165.5 million in 2020, with total assets rising 16.3 per cent to a record $8.56 billion.
He explained that the increase could partly be attributed to investments in high impact assets in targeted sectors across Africa, noting that it leveraged on its investment-grade credit rating and reputation to mobilise finance from international markets to help reduce Africa’s infrastructure deficit.
“This has been a year of solid progress in our core objectives of building value to Africa’s economies through instrumental infrastructure driving growth and job creation,” Samaila Zubairu said.
He added: “As the proverb goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second-best time is today. We have proven over our 15-year history that you can successfully build a track record in infrastructure investment in Africa—and there has never been a better time to do so.”
The Corporation boss noted that -AFC’s reach on the continent was now larger than it had ever been, with investments expanding to 35 countries and cumulative disbursements rising 14 per cent to $9.9 billion (2020: $8.7 billion) and increasing Member States by five to 33, with the accession of Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Morocco and Niger.
“Africa’s strong recovery from the global pandemic, creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and AFC’s launch of new investment vehicles like the Infrastructure Climate Resilient Fund, combined to provide a compelling opportunity for institutional and private sector investors to join the Corporation in projects that offer both transformative impact across the ESG spectrum and strong risk-adjusted returns,” Zubairu said.