The Africa Infrastructure Fellowship Program (AIFP)—a joint initiative between the Global Infrastructure Hub (a G20 initiative), private investment firm Meridiam, and the World Economic Forum (WEF)—has been formally announced by Mr Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, the Secretary of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
The AIFP is a unique initiative dedicated to helping African Governments strengthen infrastructure procurement capacity by training and retaining key officials in procurement agencies, with the aim of attracting greater private sector investment into Africa.
In a show of commitment to the AIFP, Mr Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said: "Linking infrastructure and human capital is our common cause today and we will play our part in this ambitious agenda.”
The launch of the AIFP comes as two new reports were released last week by the Global Infrastructure Hub that revealed an urgent need for infrastructure investment and reform in 10 Compact with Africa countries to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for universal access to clean drinking water, sanitation and electricity by 2030.
CEO of the Global Infrastructure Hub Chris Heathcote said that despite ongoing efforts, attracting private sector investment into Africa remains a major challenge, and a barrier to achieving the UN SDGs.
“In order to meet the UN SDGs and the demands of accelerating economic and population growth in the African continent, we forecast that these countries will need to spend US$7.6 trillion to 2040. Our analysis forecasts that the continent will invest US$4.3 trillion based on current trends, exposing an investment gap of US$3.3 trillion, or 43 per cent.
“Investors will only invest in countries where market conditions are favourable, and it’s our goal through this initiative to assist in creating an environment that is conducive to private sector investment in infrastructure.”
Meridiam CEO, Thierry Déau, agreed: “As a long-term investor, we know that the key success factors to projects rely on excellent synergies between private and public sector. We chose to accompany the AIFP initiative, convinced that this agile organisation, based on strong commitments of stakeholders is the perfect tool to accelerate the deployment of sustainable infrastructure in Africa.”
Officials from African countries, including Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire, and representatives from the private sector, including EDF, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Suez, Engie, Acciona, Vinci, and Bouygues attended the event.
Diane Binder, Vice-President International Development, Suez, Member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Africa said: "This program is in line with the initiatives undertaken by the Presidential Advisory Council on Africa to promote sustainable cities. We know how essential capacity building is to accompany sustainable economic development.”
Managing Director of the Sovereign Fund for Strategic Investments of Senegal, Ibrahima Kane said: "In Senegal, we have an absorption capacity, but we lack a structuring capacity. We are ready to commit ourselves to this program, to go more and more towards project development and go beyond the project study stage."
Africa has the highest population growth globally, and a number of its countries rank highly in terms of economic growth, yet these countries also have the lowest growth in infrastructure stock.
The AIFP will be a six-month capability building program that will give participants a robust understanding of procurement, governance and the role of the private sector in infrastructure projects.
The program will provide participants with a mix of theoretical and practical training, opportunities to work within major private sector companies, and lead to the establishment of a strong network of infrastructure practitioners across Africa.
For more information, visit: https://www.gihub.org/aifp/