Africa can look forward to a $28 billion investment bonanza by Friday night, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa promised delegates at the Africa Investment Forum Thursday as he made a rallying call to the economies of the continent. He also admitted that the state coffers of the continent are running short of cash.
Former mining millionaire Ramaphosa – who took the top job in South Africa in February with a pledge to be the country’s business president – spoke as the Africa Investment Forum, the biggest investment gathering the continent has ever seen. It is being led by the African Development Bank with an effort to meld private and state money to de-risk and increase investment.
Ramaphosa told delegates the Africa Investment Forum was expected to raise $28 billion by the end of the week outstripping his own South African conference that raised around $20 billion in investment last month.
“That figure is phenomenal,” says Ramaphosa, but he also cautioned: “We need to resolve problems that keep investors away must deal with policy uncertainty and regulatory uncertainty and strengthen financial institutions.”
Ramaphosa told the gathering that the state coffers of Africa could no longer foot the massive infrastructure bill that the continent faces and runs into – a shortfall in infrastructure that runs into tens of billions.
“African governments cannot do this on their own. They need to harness their partners in the private sector.”
Akinwumi Adesina, the ebullient head of the AfDB, was characteristically upbeat in his address to the conference that was his brainchild.
“People talk about who will be the next China…Africa is the next China,” says Adesina, “Äfrica is open for business.”