Africa50's fast-track approach to infrastructure finance

Africa50 General Director Tas Anvaripour explains how the fund creates business opportunities for companies, consulting firms, NGOs and others.

Africa is on the move — literally. But as economies grow, infrastructure investments lag behind needs. A massive new multilateral fund has set out to close the funding gap and speed up project design and preparation, boosting development across the continent and saving money in the process.

The Africa50 Infrastructure Fund’s goals are ambitious: to mobilize up to $100 billion, mostly from the private sector, for game-changing investments in roads, bridges, ports, dams, power plants and other infrastructure. By the time it launched last year, the Casablanca-based fund had hoped to raise up to $3 billion from the African Development Bank and other angel investors.

Africa50 engages government agencies, commercial banks and private companies in two areas: project development and project finance. Its goal is to take projects from preparation to bankability and offer a variety of financing services, from bridge finance to senior loans and credit enhancements, as well as refinancing, exit opportunities and, eventually, bonds. Africa50 may provide gap financing or negotiate with governments that do.

Anvaripour explains why investing in Africa50 is a win-win-win situation.

The fund targets a single-A credit rating, which would allow it to leverage two to three times its initial investment through corporate partners, central banks, sovereign wealth and pension funds and other private sector players in Africa and beyond looking for long-term, stable investments.

All in all, Africa50 hopes to attract $9 in private funding for every dollar invested, delivering triple-bottom-line results: financial returns for investors, infrastructure to boost development and business opportunities for everyone, suggests Tas Anvaripour, the fund’s general manager.

The goal, according to Anvaripour, is to reduce the project development cycle to three or four years, from normally seven to 10, and reduce its cost from today’s customary 10-12 percent of the total cost of a project to 5-7 percent. Business opportunities should arise throughout the project cycle for consultancies, engineering firms and other institutions.

Watch the clips above to know more about how your development business can benefit from the Africa50 Infrastructure Fund. See these videos to know learn why Africa needs greater infrastructure investment, how Africa50 can be a one-stop-shop for infrastructure project support, and what makes the fund innovative.

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About the author

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    Rolf Rosenkranz

    Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.