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Finance Minister bemoans Africa’s share of private infrastructure investment

Sep 26, 2012, 9:31 AM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

Even though governance and macroeconomic conditions have improved across much of Africa in recent years, the region’s share of global private infrastructure investment has remained relatively small, Abdou Kolley, minister of Finance and Economic Affairs said Monday.

Finance minister Kolley, who was speaking at the National Assembly in Banjul, said despite the substantial demand for infrastructure assets throughout the African continent and the attractive returns on investment in infrastructure in African relative to more developed markets, there have been few successful infrastructure projects.

In moving the motion for the consideration and ratification of the charter of the agreement between the African Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Government of Nigeria regarding the headquarters of the AFC before deputies, Kolley said one of the reasons for this has been the lack of a specialized institution with project structuring expertise and available risk capital.

The AFC is an international organization established by treaty between sovereignty states with an authorized share capital of US$2 billion. It was established by twin legal instruments with all the rights, privileges and immunities conferred upon international entities.

The corporation has been built around four core pillars namely, markets fostering private sector solutions to Africa’s development; driving Africa’s competitiveness and industrialization; catalyzing private sector participation in Africa’s infrastructure, and facilitating Africa’s private sector access to capital.

“It was to fill this critical void that the founders of the AFC established the organization in 2007,” Kolley told deputies.

The AFC, he added, brings a wealth of projects structuring experience and risk capital to the market.

The corporation has developed key guiding corporate governance principles benchmarked against global investment banking institutions and has a right and well-controlled cost base,” he stated.

According to Finance minister Kolley, the AFC is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, and has signed a headquarters agreement with that government.

“Membership in the AFC does not require monetary contribution by the Government of The Gambia. Rather, The Gambia’s membership in AFC will enable the corporation to legally operate in the country under the mandate of the AFC Charter and be eligible for diplomatic privileges,” Kolley added.