By Bayo Â Akinloye
Despite increasingly stronger regional economic growth and investment, Nigeria and other African countries’ investment needs remain formidable, says the World Bank.Â
“The World Bank estimates that more than $9 billion is needed annually to build the infrastructure Africa needs to sustain its growth. Only about half of that level is achieved each year. The gap is too great for governments to bear alone and underscores the importance of partnerships for development,” the global financial organisation said in a statement made available to THISDAY on Friday.
This was just as its sister organisation, the International Finance Corporation, and the China-World Bank Partnership Facility announced efforts to increase cross-border alliances that would bring global financing and expertise to Nigeria and other parts of Africa, to help the continent build its infrastructure, create jobs, and accelerate economic growth.
As part of those efforts, the IFC and the partnership facility hosted, on Monday, a meeting of senior business leaders from Africa and Asia to discuss private sector development opportunities in Africaâ€™s infrastructure, transport, health, education, and other sectors.
The meeting was part of the 2018 Africa CEO Forum, an annual gathering of influential African and international CEOs, bankers, and investors.
Concerning that strategic alliance, Bola Bamidele, Africa Lead, Corporate Finance Services, IFC, said, â€œCross-border partnerships allow African businesses to gain access to global capital and technical expertise, creating synergies for successful, long-term private sector projects that also deliver substantial development impact.Â Over nearly six decades, IFC itself has invested more than $25 billion in African businesses and financial institutions, and our current portfolio exceeds $5 billion.â€
Similarly, Dr. Benson Ayodele Cole, the CEO of Echo Scan Services Limited, an IFC client, testifying on the role that IFCâ€™s financial advisory team played in achieving his vision for the medical diagnostics service he is developing in Nigeria, noted, â€œIFC was key in structuring the cross-border partnership with my company Echo-Scan Diagnostic. Through this partnership two Egyptian power houses now share in my vision and invested in Echo-Scan, setting the ground for delivering much needed medical diagnostic services in my countryâ€. Â
“IFC plays a critical role in forging such partnerships, providing advisory support to global clients to help them better understand and navigate African markets, and to African businesses to help them identify viable partners and worthy projects. IFC engages throughout the breadth of a project.
Â from helping assess and select potential markets, to identifying investors and partners, supporting valuation, negotiations, and transactions through to closure,” the statement added.
The China World Bank Partnership Facility (CWPF) is a trust fund that aims to enhance cooperation between China and the World Bank Group, and leverages financial and knowledge-based resources to help developing countries achieve inclusive and sustainable development. Â
A component of the CPWF focuses on mobilising Chinese private sector investment as a driver of economic development in Africa and may be used for project scoping and development; technical assistance, and advising on structuring of projects. Â