The Africa Investment Forum (AIF) 2023 Market Days is less than three weeks away.
From 8-10 November, serious investors will gather at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakech, Morocco to participate in Africa’s premier investment marketplace. The focus this year will be on “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains.”
The Africa Investment Forum is pivotal for attracting domestic and foreign direct investment to Africa. This multi-stakeholder, multidisciplinary platform advances projects to bankable stages, raises capital and accelerates the financial closure of investment transactions.
President Emeritus and Group Managing Director of the Trade and Development Bank Admassu Tadesse describes the Africa Investment Forum Market Days as an action-oriented gathering that focuses on getting things done.
At the 2022 event in Abidjan, Tadesse said that before AIF’s inception in 2018, “we were almost at a level of paralysis by analysis” in terms of talk about Africa’s investment needs and challenges.” He added: “But when Dr Adesina [the African Development Bank president] talked about the Africa Investment Forum focusing on business networking, deal processing, and transactions, I said, finally, we have a conference that is less talk and more action with ground-breaking transactional projects; more prospecting to get things to move on the ground.”
“I found the scale and the depth of the participation much, much larger than I expected,” said Ken Shibusawa, CEO of Shibusawa and Co, during the 2022 Market Days (https://apo-opa.info/3ol3sdy). Mr. Shibusawa described his trip to the Africa Investment Forum as well worth the long journey and a good match in terms of interests. “Our mission is to provide impact investment in Africa…we are building on this cooperation,” he said.
He expressed hope the 2023 edition would provide more opportunities for interaction with younger entrepreneurs, “with Africa, with Japan and other countries.”
Mr. Shibusawa, who is also the Vice Chairperson of the Africa Project Team at Keizai Doyukai, announced earlier this year (https://apo-opa.info/46HGC0Y) that a new company, &Capital Inc., was formed in January 2023 to promote Japanese investments in Africa. Keizai Doyukai is a private, non-profit and nonpartisan organization that brings together nearly 1,400 top executives of some 1,000 Japanese corporations.
“I’m here just searching for new investors for our business because we want to develop into Africa and we think that this is the best place to do that, for networking, for new ideas,” said Jacqueline Furtado Carvalho, manager of Cabo Verdean company M&J Tech, who also attended Market Days 2022.
This year’s event will build on earlier successes to foster productive engagements between the public and private sectors.
In addition to prioritising three key focus sectors—renewable energy, agribusiness, and manufacturing—the Africa Investment Forum Market Days boardrooms will feature deals from other sectors, including “disrupters” such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things, women as investment champions; and the creative and sports industries.
Masai Ujiri, president of the National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise team Toronto Raptors, has made several appearances at the Africa Investment Forum and has urged African governments to invest in sports. At Market Days 2022, he spoke passionately about the success and growth of sports on the African continent. “We should be supporting teams here in Africa. That should be our vision. Sports is the next big thing in Africa,” Ujiri told investors.
The continent has many characteristics of a powerhouse sports market. Its athletes are world famous across football, basketball, and track-and-field competition. And a growing and increasingly middle-class population offers a potential untapped audience for domestic sport leagues. The Africa Investment Forum’s Sports as a Business Catalyst initiative is working to make this a reality.
During the Market Days in 2022, one of the projects that attracted strong investor interest was the Abidjan-Lagos Highway project. The planned 1081-km long corridor—projected to cost $15.6 billion—will link the two cities via Accra, Lomé and Cotonou, spanning an area that generates 75% of commercial activity in the West Africa region.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is leading the project. To accelerate the mobilisation of financing and other support for the Abidjan-Lagos highway, the ECOWAS Commission held a roundtable (https://apo-opa.info/46HRL1M) with international development finance institutions on 26 September 2023, at the African Development Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.
The Africa Investment Forum’s founding partners are standing in solidarity with the government and the people of Morocco following the devastating earthquake in early September. The partners are the African Development Bank, Africa50, the Africa Finance Corporation, the Africa Export-Import Bank, the Development Bank for Southern Africa, The European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Trade and Development Bank.
Previous editions of the Africa Investment Forum Market Days have secured cumulative investment interest of $142.6 billion.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 34 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states. For more information: www.AfDB.org