Africa Investment Forum Launches Roundtables to Enhance Project Bankability and Attract Global Capital

Africa Investment Forum’s roundtables tackle project bankability, aiming to close infrastructure investment gaps.

The Africa Investment Forum has launched a series of investment roundtables to overcome Africa’s project bankability challenges and, ultimately, bridge its infrastructure investment gap. The Roundtables will showcase key players currently focused on project development and bankability in Africa.

Held on the sidelines of the African Development Bank’s 2024 Annual Meetings in Nairobi, the first roundtable featured presentations by Cygnum Capital and the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). It was moderated by Aly-Khan Jamal, Partner at the Boston Consulting Group.

Cygnum is a leading investment banking and asset management firm that serves frontier and emerging markets. SEFA is a $500 million multi-donor fund managed by the African Development Bank that provides catalytic finance to unlock private sector investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Africa Investment Forum’s Bankability Series is a testament to our unwavering commitment to advancing the bankability of deals across Africa. By showcasing innovative approaches and fostering collaboration among key stakeholders, we aim to redirect global capital flows towards Africa’s transformative projects. Together, we can unlock the continent’s vast potential and drive sustainable economic growth.

Chinelo Anohu, Senior Director, African Development Bank

She also highlighted the Bank Group’s Transition Support Facility (TSF), which provides additional concessional resources to enhance private sector growth in eligible African Development Fund (ADF) countries, comprising the 37 most vulnerable African countries to fragility and conflict. She noted that 10 of 37 Board Room deals presented at the Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2023 benefited from the TSF.

The Africa Investment Forum, an initiative of the African Development Bank and seven founding partners, is a platform that advances projects to bankable stages, raises capital, and accelerates deals to financial closure. Since 2018, when it was created, the platform has showcased over 150 deals on the global stage through its Boardrooms approach.

The Africa Investment Forum’s annual Market Days event brings together transaction sponsors, investors and governments in Board Rooms to move deals toward bankability.

The Bankability Roundtables will showcase key players currently focused on project development and bankability in Africa.

Chris Kandie, Cygnum Capital’s Executive Director, shared insights from a private sector perspective. He cited several challenges facing project preparation and development in Africa. They include human resource capacity, lack of scale, speed, accessibility, focus, and coordination among project preparation facilities.

Cygnum Capital provided advisory services for the Kenya Affordable Green Housing Fund (KGAHF), an investment opportunity presented at the 2019 Africa Investment Forum’s Market Days. The fund achieved its first close of $84.5 million in July 2021, attracting investments from local pension funds, DFIs, and the European Investment Bank.

Joao Duarte Cunha, head of Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa cited several projects that have been presented to investors through the Africa Investment Forum, including the Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI) which was Africa’s first dedicated off-grid, mini-grid, and small Independent Power Producer (IPP) debt fund. A $1 million grant provided by SEFA ultimately helped to raise over $400 million globally across two different funds.

Another project that featured at Market Days is SPARK + Africa, the world’s first impact investment fund to finance the value chains for clean cooking to expand availability to more Africans.

The Africa Investment Forum will hold follow-up roundtables focusing on the role of technology in enhancing project bankability and development.  

The event drew about 100 attendees including African Development Bank Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation Solomon Quaynor, the Bank Group president’s Special representative for the Africa Investment Forum Yacine Fal. Representatives of the platform’s Founding Partners, Deutsche Bank, African Risk Capacity Group, Japan International Cooperation Agency, KfW, the German state-owned investment and development bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, IFC, Swiss Re Group, and the Confederation of Chinese investors among others, were also present.

The Africa Investment Forum’s Founding Partners are the African Development Bank Group, Africa50, Afreximbank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the Trade and Development Bank.

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