The development and growth of any modern economy is inextricably linked to the state of its infrastructure. Well-developed infrastructure is usually a catalyst for industrialisation, capacity building, economic growth and better standards of living.
Sub-Saharan Africa has however lagged far behind other developing regions in terms of infrastructure development. The lack of reliable infrastructure continues to hinder socio- economic progress on the continent – one result of which is that the strong economic growth witnessed on the African continent over the last few years has not translated into improved socio- economic development.
Therefore infrastructure development is the sine qua non in terms of the continent’s economic growth – which is also linked to social and political stability.
Among the first to rise to the challenge of filling the infrastructure gap was the continent’s leading public-private sector infrastructure finance institution, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
AFC was way ahead of the race when it was set up in 2007 as a unique pan-African PPP institution dedicated to infrastructure investment with the Nigerian Central Bank, Institutional investors and private individuals as shareholders. It was launched with an equity capital base of $1.1bn.
The Corporation has focused on the major pillars of infrastructure: power, natural resources, transport, heavy industry and telecommunications; as well as on ‘soft infrastructure’ such as capacity building.
As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, AFC is bringing together many of the top international players in this sector for high level discussions during the Infrastructure Revolution Summit in Abuja.
As this is the only conference on African infrastructure being organised by an active and key player in the sector, the focus will be on finding practical, business-oriented solutions to Africa’s infrastructure challenges.
The theme of the Summit, Building Tomorrow’s Africa Today, is a call to the public and private sectors African as well as foreign – to intensify efforts and work out practical solutions, such as how to scale up and fast-track investment, reduce lead times and ensure healthy returns on investment in order to build the Africa we want.
The summit takes place on 15-16 May at Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria.