East African states will jointly benefit from at least $8.77 billion worth of investments in transport, healthcare, energy, and agriculture among other sectors, from deals made at the 2021 African Investment Forum concluded on Thursday.
The three-day event was organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in partnership with other finance organisations including Africa Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank and African Finance Corporation, and it yielded at least of $36.2 billion from 43 investment deals for the entire continent.
For East Africa, one of the largest deals inked during the forum is the $3.3 billion railway corridor that will connect the railway network in Tanzania from Isaka to Dar es Salaam via Dodoma, and then from Tanzania to Kigali in Rwanda, which will be done as a public-private partnership project.
“There is a lot of political support and goodwill for this, I can’t wait to see this railway,” said Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the AfDB president and chair of the forum.
“This is all part of improving the regional integration, and also accelerating the Africa Free Trade Area. It is going to drive down the cost of moving things.”
Other deals closed during the forum are a $103 million wire rod manufacturing plant in Kenya, a $237 million innovation hub in Rwanda, a $413 million combined gas cycle power plant in Tanzania, $220 million for a geothermal power plant in Ethiopia, and $4.5 billion for an oil refinery project in East Africa.
In West Africa, a four to six lane highway corridor connecting four countries, which is estimated to cost $15.6 billion, got the largest share of all the investment deals.
The highway will run from Lagos in Nigeria, through Lorne in Togo and Accra in Ghana, to Abidjan in Cote d’Ivore.
It is expected to “support 75 percent of the trade in the west African region, reduce transport cost by 48 percent, increase inter- and intra-regional trade volume by 15 to 25 percent, and impact the lives of over 500 million people,” Dr Adesina said.
In total, West Africa will get $16.59 billion investment expenditure, 47 percent of the total amount of deals inked at the forum.
Central African countries will get $773 million, Southern Africa ($5.44 billion), and North Africa ($804 million).
Across the continent, the energy sector will get the largest share of investments, worth $9.81 billion. This includes the expansion of renewable energy sources, development of liquefied natural gas infrastructure, and development of electric vehicles manufacturing infrastructure.
The agriculture sector benefited from $5.77 billion worth of investment, healthcare got $452 million, and creative industries got $1.5 billion, which includes a $5 million film academy to be set up in Nigeria.
Women-led businesses will receive a boost of $4.94 billion in investments from the forum, and AfDB will invest an additional $1 billion in setting up a women’s advisory facility.
“We will remove obstacles in the ways of businesses of women, because women businesses should never remain small,” said Dr Adesina.