President Donald Kaberuka of the African Development Bank (AfDB) participated on 15 June 2014 in Dakar, Senegal, in a summit on financing infrastructure in Africa. Entitled "Unleashing Africa's infrastructure potential," the Dakar Financing Summit (DFS) aimed to mobilize stakeholders around efforts made by the African Union (AU) and its New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) programme to accelerate the implementation of priority regional infrastructure projects.
Kaberuka took the opportunity to present the Africa50 Fund, an innovative financing mechanism with the goal of mobilizing domestic and external resources to finance African infrastructure development. "We need to leverage our limited reserves," he said.
The summit issued "The Dakar Agenda for Action (DAA)", according to which infrastructure development remains a key driver and a critical enabler for sustainable growth in Africa. And the current favorable economic landscape in the continent provides unique opportunity to collectively address the infrastructure deficit by financing critical national and regional high impacts projects.
Addressing Africa's infrastructure gaps will help in creating the economic pre-conditions needed for longer-term growth enshrined in the goals of African Union and NEPAD as well as to foster poverty alleviation.
Participants focused on the best means to promote enabling legal, policy and regulatory environment to enhance infrastructure project bankability and investment, as well as solutions to unblocking the challenges associated with project preparation. They equally explored the de-risking mechanisms to advance project financing for transport and energy development, and the expansion of regional ports to promote trade competiveness.
"Africa needs to first rely on internal investment if it is to achieve the infrastructure developments it urgently needs", said Senegal President, Macky Sall. He also called for greater integration of the economies and infrastructures of African countries, and a "paradigm shift" in the way the resources of the continent are used.
The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is the basis for the implementation of priority projects to transform Africa and the inspiration for the financing of the construction of modern infrastructure based on the PIDA Priority Action Plan (PAP) projects. PAP require an estimated amount of US$ 68 billion for implementation till 2020, whilst an additional US$ 300 billion is needed for the project's implementation through to 2040.
Therefore, the AfDB's initiative to establish Africa50 as an infrastructure investment platform designed to significantly narrow the infrastructure finance gap was welcomed. The AfDB's progress in the implementation of Africa50, and in particular its proposed initial investment in Africa50's Project Finance Business Line for an estimated amount of US$500 million and a contribution of up to US$100 million to Africa50's Project Development Business Line was highly welcomed.
The delegates called on African governments to support the African Development Bank efforts in making this vehicle from Africa to Africa successful. Concrete actions towards financing for Africa's infrastructure development were recommended at the Summit.