July 23, 2024
Mobilising capital for Africa’s prosperity: Second Annual Meeting of Africa Sovereign Investors Forum highlights importance of strategic partnerships
– By Godswill Odiong

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African Development Bank (http://www.AfDB.org) Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure, and Industrialisation Solomon Quaynor has called for unity to unlock the potential of African sovereign wealth funds, strategic investment funds, pensions, and life insurance assets, estimated at $2.3 trillion.

Speaking at the Second Annual Meeting of the Africa Sovereign Investors Forum (ASIF) in Kigali last week, Quaynor said the African Development Bank was committed to supporting the establishment and operations of the African Sovereign Wealth Funds secretariat, while working with ASIF members to develop and finance transformative strategic projects across the continent. He said that with a determined focus on Africa’s development needs, the African Development Bank would mobilise billions to trillions of dollars, cementing its role as a key catalyst for economic growth and prosperity in Africa.

The meeting ran from the 6th to 7th of July under the theme, “Strategic Partnerships: driving Africa’s resilience and sustainable development.”

ASIF was launched in the Moroccan capital Rabat in June 2022 by a group of ten African sovereign wealth funds. Its goal is to facilitate the mobilisation of long-term capital to develop Africa. During the inaugural event, the African Development Bank, Africa50, and ASIF jointly signed a letter of intent to foster cooperation in the development of green and climate-resilient infrastructure projects across Africa. This partnership will strengthen the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa (AGIA).

ASIF founding members include prominent sovereign wealth funds like the Agaciro Development Fund (https://www.Agaciro.rw/) from Rwanda, Fonds Souverain de Djibouti, Fonds Gabonais d’Investissements Stratégiques (https://FGIS-Gabon.com/fr/), Fonds Souverain d’Investissements Stratégiques (https://www.FonSIS.org/fr) from Senegal, Fundo Soberano de Angola (https://apo-opa.info/3JQzO7B), the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (https://apo-opa.info/3JVMnP0), Ithmar Capital (https://apo-opa.info/3NWCGBs) in Morocco, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (https://NSIA.com.ng/), and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (https://TSFE.com/).

Last week’s meeting, hosted by the Agaciro Development Fund, offered a platform for dialogue and collaboration among African sovereign wealth funds, strategic investment funds, pension funds, life insurance companies, asset managers, governments, regulators, and investment professionals. The forum helped bolster strategic partnerships to facilitate the pooling of financial and technical resources to drive investment in sectors critical to Africa’s development such as climate-resilient energy, infrastructure, healthcare, technology, and agriculture. Discussions centred on showcasing Africa’s vast investment opportunities, understanding the risk landscape, and fostering partnerships to mobilise substantial capital and investment to support Africa’s economic transformation.

Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said he expected African sovereign wealth funds to play a key role in developing an efficient and diversified economy through equitable diversification and generation of wealth for future generations.

“To achieve this, we must ensure that these funds are well-managed,” Ngirente said. Minister of Public Investments and Privatisation of Rwanda Eric Rwigamba underscored the challenges that Africa faced. He emphasised the importance of seizing the opportunity presented by ASIF’s second annual meeting.

Rwigamba acknowledged the value of creating a platform that unites key stakeholders and global experts to engage in dialogue and deliberations, “whose outcomes will contribute to shape our strategic focus on our shared vision of Africa and its development aspirations in an increasingly competitive global economic environment.”

Ithmar Capital CEO and ASIF Chairperson Obaïd Amrane outlined Ithmar Capital’s goal of fostering investments and crowd-in international capital. Amrane said it was “time for Africa to be considered and perceived as an investment destination and not only an aid for development one.” He added: “It is nowadays more than possible to deploy capital on the continent on international standards. It is our role as sovereign funds and Africans to set the example and act to transform these opportunities into projects and investment.”

Two sovereign wealth funds, Ethiopia Investment Holdings and Mauritius Investment Corporation, have joined ASIF, further expanding the forum’s membership. Participants agreed on the criticality of mobilising African institutional investments into transformative projects in Africa, noting that this would attract global private and institutional investors to the African continent.

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