This past Tuesday, the Africa Finance Corporation held its inaugural Investment Summit at the Eko Hotel Convention Centre in Lagos. Themed “Bridging The Infrastructure Investment Divide,” the summit attracted more than 500 business leaders across the continent. The summit featured a number of respected thinkers and industrialists as well as internationally renowned economists. Among them were Jim O’ Neill, the economist who coined the BRICS and MINT acronyms, Tony Elumelu, CEO Heirs Holdings, Diana Layfield, CEO- Africa, Standard Chartered and Ashish Thakkar, CEO, Mara Group.
According to Jim O’ Neill, Africa’s infrastructural divide is “both a defining challenge and a standout investment opportunity.” At the summit, he stressed “that Africa’s future depends on the policy makers doing the right thing.” Jim O’Neill, who had earlier posited that Nigeria could become one of the next global economic powerhouses, said the Nigerian government needs to lead from the top to make doing business more efficient.
“What is clear is that [Nigeria] needs to be better,” he said. “I think it’s incumbent on all of Nigeria’s 168 million people that the leadership of this country in terms of policy makers start to set themselves higher standards for the maintenance of their weekly business lives. “Start penalising yourselves if you don’t turn up for meetings on time. Don’t blame it on Lagos traffic or Abuja traffic. Africa and Nigeria are not the only places in the world with infrastructure challenges.”
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan through his representative, Professor Tamuno Preye Jones reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to achieving infrastructural development emphasizing his administration’s efforts to overhaul the country’s power sector .
The AFC has set high standards for itself to help Africa achieve its full developmental potentials. The organization has so far committed over $1.91 billion in investments across Africa and is looking to invest an additional $10 billion in capital over the next few years.
Infrastructural challenges is undoubtedly one of Africa’s biggest issues. The continent is said to have an infrastructure deficit of about $93 billion.
About the African Finance Corporation
Established in 2007, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is a private sector-led investment bank and development finance institution created to help mobilize and channel required capital towards driving Africa’s economic development. AFC’s mission is to address Africa’s development needs in a profitable way, creating benefits for both investors and societies in the region