Infrastructure fund for Africa


Nigerian oil magnate Kola Aluko and Ghanaian-born British fashion designer Ozwald Boateng have launched Africa50, a US$500 million African infrastructure project development fund.

Oscar-winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx joined the two African businessmen to officially launch the fund last week in New York.Africa50, a US$500m Pan-African Infrastructure Fund, is a joint venture between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF), a UK non-profit organisation founded by Aluko and Boateng to facilitate development in Africa by funding large-ticket infrastructure projects across Sub-Saharan Africa.

So far, Africa50 has raised about US$250m. Aluko and the African Development Bank have committed US$50m each to the fund.

Together with AfDB, MIAF plans to attract investments from development finance institutions, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and governments to the fund. Capri Global Capital, a US-based investment advisory founded by African-American fund manager Quintin E Primo III, will work with AfDB and MIAF in raising the additional capital.

The alliance between MIAF and AfDB aims to raise US$500m for Africa50’s project development arm by the first half of 2014. The money will be used to fund feasibility studies of large-scale infrastructure projects.

MIAF is also planning to raise a US$10 billion project finance fund. Aluko, a successful Nigerian oilman, has said in the past that the solution to Africa’s problems is not charity in terms of building schools or hospitals, which sometimes are not sustainable.

“These projects happen and then they are left in incapable hands and they are not commercially driven. As a consequence, most of them will go on for as long as the money has been given lasts and beyond that they slowly dilapidate and slowly die,” he said on an online broadcast.

Aluko and Boateng set out to provide a catalyst for African development and growth by focusing on commercially viable infrastructure projects in Africa. “Infrastructure drives growth. If we focus on the big infrastructure projects- power, good roads, railways – then we will be creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs in other areas of endeavour which are non-infrastructure,” Aluko said in the online broadcast.

Re-emphasising the need for such an investment, Ozwald Boateng, a co-founder of MIAF, reiterated that Africa could not properly compete without the infrastructure that would drive trade. “Clearly as Africans to compete we need the roads and rail, telecommunications and urban environments that stimulate and ensure trade,” Boateng said in a statement. – Forbes

October 2013
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