The European Business Council for Africa

On Wednesday in Abidjan, the African Development Bank Group approved funding of $127.8 million to Niger. The funds approved by the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, the Group's concessional arm, will be used for a project to open up access to farming and pastoral lands in the east of the country, along its border with Nigeria.

The approved package comprises a loan of $71 million and a grant of $56.8 million. African Development Bank Director General for West Africa, Marie Laure Akin-Olugbade, said: "This is one of the priority projects within the national transport strategy. It is intended to maximize the benefits gained from the wealth of resources and opportunities offered by this region, which will amplify its impact on development, improve the resilience of those living there, and contribute, through the growth it generates, to the transformation of the rural setting."

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a new policy that aims to strengthen debt sustainability among low-income African countries. The Board approved the Sustainable Borrowing Policy on 23 February 2022.

The new policy primarily targets recipients of the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the Bank Group. The Fund caters to low-income and transitional countries on the continent.

The Sustainable Borrowing Policy responds to a changing debt landscape in Africa, especially among the abovementioned countries. In recent years, low-income countries have gained access to new sources of finance, including private creditors and creditors outside the Paris Club. Although this access has allowed them to finance important development needs, it has also increased their public debt.

China is increasingly focused on African mines to provide the minerals used in the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries, but can the continent maximise the historic opportunity?

Three Chinese energy companies have snapped up controlling shareholdings in Zimbabwean lithium mines during the past four months, as China, the world’s biggest EV market, increasingly gravitates towards Africa to diversify the supply of lithium, one of the most sought after minerals used in the booming manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs).

Chengxin Lithium Group opened up the spate of acquisitions last November with the attainment of a 51% interest in Max Mind Investments’s Sabi Star Lithium mine in eastern Zimbabwe at a cost of $77m.

The Africa Investment Forum will host virtual boardroom sessions, a key component of the Africa Investment Forum market days, next month, following a postponement late last year, representatives of the initiative announced on Thursday.

The boardrooms will be held virtually from 15th to 17th March this year to discuss and advance deals in the 2021 pipeline. The third edition of the Africa Investment Forum was due to be held in hybrid format in Abidjan in December 2021 but was postponed owing to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus. Forty-five deals worth $57.4 billion have been curated for the boardroom discussions.

The announcement of the March event followed a meeting of the founding partners of the Africa Investment Forum, a multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary platform that advances private and public-private-partnership projects to bankability, raises capital, and accelerates deals to financial closure.

The coalition for a sustainable and inclusive recovery of the private sector(link is external), an international group of 20 development finance institutions that came together in 2020, today announced commitments of over $5.55 billion of financing to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa between mid-2020 and end of 2021, beating their set target of $4 billion over the period.

The coalition said it had exceeded its initial target by 40 percent, while development finance institutions jointly committed over $5.55 billion of financing of micro, small and medium enterprises in Africa over the period.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved the Desert to Power G5 Sahel Financing Facility, covering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. The Bank envisages to commit up to $379.6 million in financing and technical assistance for the facility over the next seven years.

The Desert to Power G5 Financing Facility aims to assist the G5 Sahel countries to adopt a low-emission power generation pathway by making use of the region’s abundant solar potential. The facility will focus on utility-scale solar generation through independent power producers and energy storage solutions. These investments will be backed by a technical assistance component to enhance implementation capacity, strengthen the enabling environment for private sector investments, and ensure gender and climate mainstreaming.

The Alliance will:

  • Catalyze bankable, greener infrastructure projects at scale and speed
  • Raise up to $500 million of early-stage project development and project preparation capital which aims to generate up to $10 billion in investment opportunities
  • Support the continent’s transition to Net Zero emissions with investments in greener, climate-resilient and sustainable infrastructure

The African Development Bank Group and Africa50, in partnership with the African Union Commission and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), are exploring collaboration with global partners to create an Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group on Wednesday approved the Leveraging Energy Access Finance Framework (LEAF), under which the Bank will commit up to $164 million to promote decentralized renewable energy in six African countries.

The $800 million program will help spur commercial and local currency investments to scale up the activities of decentralized renewable energy companies in Ghana, Guinea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

Under LEAF, some 18 decentralized renewable energy projects are expected to be financed, providing access to six million people and businesses, resulting in 28.8 million tonnes CO2 eq. in greenhouse gas emission reductions over the lifetime of the systems.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund has approved a $27.39 million grant to Ghana for the development of renewable energy investments in the mini grid and net metering space.

The project involves the development of 35 mini grids, standalone solar photovoltaic systems in 400 schools, 200 units in healthcare centers and 100 units for community energy services centers in the Volta Lake region. It will also deploy up to 12,000 units of roof-mounted net-metered solar photovoltaic systems for public institutions, small and medium-sized enterprises and selected households.

The project has leveraged co-financing from the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program, a funding window of the Climate Investment Funds, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, amounting to $28.49 million and $13.30 million, respectively.

The African Development Bank Group has taken a crucial step to further address the infrastructure gap in African countries, with the approval of its first strategic framework for the development of public-private partnerships. This follows approval by the Board of Directors of the Bank Group on 19 January 2022.

Africa’s infrastructure investment gap is estimated at more than $100 billion per year, affecting the living conditions of Africans and the continent’s global competitiveness. Bank experts say public-private partnerships offer an additional approach to increase private sector investments and higher levels of efficiency in the development and operation of infrastructure assets in Africa.