On September 12 in Dakar, Africa50 held its second Annual Shareholders Meeting. The event was hosted by His Excellency Macky Sall, President of Senegal, and opened by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Chairman of Africa50.
Addressing the shareholders and assembled government officials and businessmen, Africa50 CEO, Alain Ebobissé, recalled the objective of Africa50: “With your support Africa50 will bring together the African States that created it, the public companies, the private financiers of infrastructure, the project promoters and financial institutions able to deploy resources for the long-term, as well as institutional investors, to pursue our primary goal of accelerating the development of infrastructure in Africa.”
Africa50 progressed well in 2016, he emphasized. Its success is founded on the support of the African Development Bank, whose role in infrastructure development is crucial. He also emphasized that “Africa50 would be just another infrastructure investment fund, unable to fully accomplish its mandated mission, if it did not have the strong support of its shareholder countries.” In addition, Africa50 can count on a world class team of professionals, who develop and invest in quality projects that combine development impact with commercial viability. “We have built the foundation, permitting Africa50 to operate efficiently, and we are working on numerous projects in different countries,” he told the assembled shareholders. “But it’s only a start. With your support, we will substantially increase our activities in the coming years.”
In his feature address, President Adesina stressed the catalytic role of infrastructure as a driver of economic growth and development, he emphasised how Africa50 contributes to “Light Up and Power Africa” an AfDB “High 5” development priority. Looking ahead to 2025, when there is expected to be a projected annual infrastructure funding gap of $30-40 billion, he emphasized that financing this gap will require a balance between development finance, which can fund and de-risk early stage development, and long-term institutional investment, which can quickly narrow the funding gap.
“This was why the AfDB created Africa50,” he explained, “an investment vehicle that complements AfDB’s own infrastructure development activities and that of other DFIs and investment funds.” Africa50 is designed to invest both in fully developed projects, and to support project development from the earliest stages, establishing a pipeline of bankable projects to mobilise funding.” Praising Africa50 for the progress it has made, he welcomed two new shareholder countries, the Republic of Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), bringing total shareholder countries to 25.
Hailing the addition of the Republic of Guinea and the DRC in his remarks, President Sall, encouraged "all African countries to contribute to Africa50, which is our institution, to fill our infrastructure deficit …and to strengthen this pan-African fund to ensure prosperity and happiness for the people of Africa.” Setting an example for other shareholders, the Senegalese president promised to release half of his country’s subscribed capital immediately, and not one-quarter as required. He praised the joint development agreement between Senelec, the Senegalese electricity company, and Africa50, for the construction of a 120 MW thermal power plant in Malicounda, as another symbol of the cooperation between Senegal and Africa50. He called the infrastructure challenge in Africa “immense,” but held out hope, “because Africa today is a hub of growth, where we can invest, secure investments, and make them profitable. Africa is open for business!”
Following the public opening ceremony, Africa50 and its shareholders reviewed progress and activities in 2016, including the Annual Management Report, the 2016 Audited Financial Statements, and Africa50’s updated investment strategy.