Akinwumi Adesina, center with trademark bow tie, with the African Development Bank Board of Directors at his investiture ceremony, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Sept. 1, 2015 (Photo courtesy Office of the AfDB President)
By Sunny Lewis
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, October 25, 2016 (Maximpact.com News) – The African Development Bank has launched the Africa Investment Forum as a meeting place for social impact investors who wish to transact business and deploy funds in Africa. The Forum will showcase bankable projects, attract financing, and provide platforms for investing across multiple countries.
Approved by the Board of Directors of the regional multilateral development financial institution on October 7, the Africa Investment Forum’s initial outing just 10 days later was a juicy one – a featured spot at GITEX Technology Week in Dubai.
GITEX, the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition, is a fast-growing annual consumer computer and electronics trade show, exhibition, and conference held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
African attendees at GITEX Technology Week 2016, Dubai, UAE (Photo courtesy Government of Nigeria)
GITEX 2016 hosted 600 exhibiting companies from 60 countries at the largest technology exchange and marketplace for the Middle East and Africa.
On October 17, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) of Nigeria co-managed the Africa Investment Forum with the Dubai World Trade Centre as one of the conference highlights.
The Forum focused on technology investments and how African countries could increase the value ICT to help develop their economies, particularly in the fields of business startups, education, cybersecurity, retail, energy, healthcare, and finance.
Dr. Vincent Olatunji, acting director-general of Dubai’s National Information Technology Development Agency, said, “The ICT sector is no longer marginal in Nigeria and many African countries. Investment in ICT has in the last decade become profound in both social and economic terms.”
“In the context of the ‘information economy,’ Africa has gained significantly as ICT virtually drives a huge portion of national economies,” Dr. Olatunji said.
The Africa Investment Forum gathered major economic and technology influencers, business leaders and political decision makers to help put in achievable context what’s next for the continent’s ICT sector.
“In Nigeria,” said Olatunji, “this sector is already deemed the most viable non-oil sector and the Nigerian government is further energizing this sector to bring more benefits.”
The Board of the African Development Bank views the Forum as a broad avenue for connecting investors with both public and private sector projects throughout the continent.
President Akinwumi Adesina, Chairman of the AfDB Board said, “I commend the immense support and encouragement by Board members. The new structures are well thought out and will enable the Bank to achieve its transformation objectives.“
Adesina, formerly Nigeria’s minister of agriculture and rural development, said, “The African Investment Forum is a transformational instrument that will make it possible to crowd in investments to garner the huge financing required in critical areas, with the private sector playing a crucial role.“
Senior Vice President Dr. Frannie Leautier said, “The AIF will coordinate with other Africa investment fora and work to strengthen collaborative efforts to crowd-in necessary investment, and attract social impact financing to Africa.“
She said, “It will support AfDB regional member countries and potential investors through the provision of rigorous, authoritative and robust, business intelligence and analytical work on African’s competitiveness.“
At the same October 7 meeting, the Board created two new environmentally-related departments within the African Development Bank.
They established a Water, Human and Social Development Department as well as an Infrastructure, Cities, and Urban Development Department.
These are refinements to the institution’s new Development and Business Delivery Model, approved by the AfDB Board of Directors on Earth Day, April 22, 2016.
The Development and Business Delivery Model aims to streamline business processes to improve efficiency, enhance financial performance; increase development impact, and move the bank’s operations closer to its clients to improve delivery of services.
The new structure, which will be rolled out in phases over the 2016-2018 time period, is designed to ensure the successful implementation of the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy and its five scaled-up core development priorities for the continent, nicknamed the High 5s:
African development is no longer just about agriculture, although food production is still key to most African economies. The African Development Bank is moving forward on the industrial side with its most recent appointment. On October 24, Amadou Hott of Senegal was named vice-president, power, energy, climate and green growth.
Hott was the founder and chief executive officer of the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Senegal, where he spearheaded major infrastructure investments and integrated energy solutions for clients, including structured financing for power and utilities, oil and gas, metals and mining, as well as renewable energy projects.
The AfDB was founded following an agreement signed by member states on August 14, 1963, in Khartoum, Sudan, which became effective on September 10, 1964. The AfDB includes three entities: the African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund.