Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank (AfDB), has encouraged Canadian businesses to look more towards Africa.
He is quoted in a press statement issued by the Bank as telling them to “be part of the action and seize investment opportunities on the continent”.
“Canada must not be missing at Africa’s investment table. It is time to change the lens through which Africa is perceived and to make clear distinctions between perceived and real risks.”
This was at a meeting held with 80 leading representatives of the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business in Toronto.
It comes ahead of the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum (AIF), scheduled for November 07 to 09, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The AIF would bring together global private capital and investment funds, sovereign wealth funds and the private sector, for what is primarily billed as a transactional marketplace to bridge Africa’s US$68 – US$170 billion infrastructure gap.
Stella Kilonzo, Senior Director of the Africa Investment Forum, Timothy Turner, African Development Bank Group Chief Risk Officer, Garreth Bloor, Managing Director, Glenheim Venture Capital, Chris Clubb, Managing Director, Convergence Blended Finance, and Hakan Gunay, Senior Director of Finance, Skypower Global, took part in the meeting with Chamber.
The discussion, according to the statement, centred on investment and finance options in Africa.
They looked critically at synergies for supporting youth employment and access to finance by women entrepreneurs in Africa.
Dr. Adesina, had earlier, announced a US$1 billion synthetic securitization transaction at Canada’s National Press Theatre.
Although securitization is routine for commercial banks, it is a cutting-edge for development finance institutions and AfDB is the first Multi-Lateral Development Bank (MDB) to use this game-changing financing mechanism.
“Africa has the most promise, the greatest natural resources, and the world’s youngest population. But we also have the world’s most persistent infrastructure deficits.
The African Development Bank has the strategy to address these infrastructure finance gaps,” Dr Adesina said.
In a keynote address at the Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa on Africa’s economic situation, he said, “Some ask the question whether the Africa rising story is over. Well I don’t think Africa was ever down.”
“The continent is not different from other parts of the world that pass through episodes of growth spurts and dips.
The narrative on Africa should not be determined outside of Africa. Africa must control its own narrative.”