By Chris Bishop

The Africa Investment Forum declared it had secured $40.1 billion in investment – an increase on last year – after days of talking and intense boardroom negotiations at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Hundreds of delegates from scores of countries around the world got together in South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised country, to try to attract billions from foreign investors to boost business and fill a huge infrastructure gap. Organisers and delegates joked that it was like : “speed dating on steroids”.

“We are winning because you are here, we are winning because you have invested…we are winning together,” said Akinwumi Adesina, the head of the African Development Bank and the proponent of the investment forum.

Fifty six deals worth $67.6 billion made it to the boardroom discussions at the forum, a 44% increase on last year, of those, 52 made it to approval. The deals , from 25 countries, secured investor interest worth $40.1 billion – an increase on the $37.1 billion garnered last year in the first forum..

At the closing ceremony many of the scores of delegates shared their experience of three days of talk of investment in Africa. Most agreed the talks had been rigorous and disciplined.

“Risk is real,” said one delegate.

Ïf you are not in Africa you are not in business,” says another.

The investment secured four projects in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, including a 500 MW power plant.