G-7 Leaders Reaffirm Commitment To Africa’s Infrastructure Projects

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The G-7 leaders have reaffirmed support for multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects across Africa to realise the continent’s economic potential and transformation.

US President, Joseph Biden, and current G-7 President, the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, co-chaired a special ad hoc meeting on the sidelines of the meeting at their summit in Puglia, Italy to review the G7’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) and its links with Italy’s recently unveiled Mattei Plan for Africa.

The meeting, which reviewed the PGII’s accomplishments and delivery on commitments since its 2022 launch, was also attended at CEO level by Italian and US representatives from the financial, energy and digital private sector with a wide portfolio in the African continent.

A news report from African Press Organisation (APO) Group circulated on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on the summit quoted the Italian Prime Minister as telling the gathering his country is joining US and EU efforts to promote sustainable development along the Lobito Corridor—committing to strengthen collaboration and mobilize an additional aggregate contribution of up to $320 million in investment in support of the core rail infrastructure and of the related side projects, with a view to additionally creating synergies with the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa (AGIA).

The Lobito Corridor is connected by a stretch of railway infrastructure snaking through mineral- and oil-rich parts of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia. It connects Southern and Central Africa, and provides access to Eastern Africa and a pathway to the Atlantic Ocean.

It is typical of the mega infrastructure projects supported by the African Development Bank to ensure Africa attains its stated aim of complete economic transformation, sustainable development and poverty elimination.

Expressing his appreciation for the invitation extended to him to participate at the G-7 summit, the AfDB  President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, told world leaders that the bank had invested over $50 billion in quality infrastructure in Africa over the past eight years, describing the development finance institution as the  leading financier of infrastructure in Africa.

However, he cautioned that “Africa has an infrastructure financing gap of $68-108 billion annually” which needed to be addressed to realise Africa’s ambitions to become a major global economic powerhouse.”

In support of the G-7’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) goal of mobilizing $600 billion in infrastructure investment in emerging economies, a coalition of US investors highlighted and committed anew billions of dollars in private investment in scaled infrastructure in emerging markets, aligned with PGII priorities.

In a joint statement, the co-chairs welcomed Italy’s renewed commitment to boost development in Africa, including by deepening partnerships with African Nations through its Mattei Plan and stressed their commitment to increase coordination between PGII, MPA and the EU’s Global Gateway “to maximize our collective impact as we work to develop transformative economic corridors in Africa.”

The Italian Private Sector group also added its voice to the growing clamour of those urging greater investment in Africa. In the context of this engagement, the Mattei Plan for Africa has launched new financial instruments in collaboration with the African Development Bank, open to international partners’ contributions.

Welcoming the renewed commitments to Africa’s economic transformation, the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, recalled the PGII initiative was only two years old and came about as a response to the pandemic and food crisis caused by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

She explained: “At that time we joined forces and said that we needed a major investment programme for infrastructure abroad. PGII was born. The European Union is contributing EUR 300 billion through Global Gateway, and it is fantastic that we also have the Mattei Plan joining now.

“We wanted to create an alternative for infrastructure investment. It is not only the financial firepower that is impressive, but PGII is sustainable: It is good for the planet and for a country’s finances,” she added.

The meeting confirmed the commitment to launching and scaling investments around PGII economic corridors globally, including corridors in Asia, Africa, and one connecting Europe to Asia through the Middle East, noting appreciation for the wide range of current and future investment by private companies in strategic sectors, such as finance for green energy and digitalization.

The co-chairs also welcomed the Africa Green Industrialization Initiative (AGII) as a key platform for collaboration on infrastructure investment in Africa and celebrated the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) commitment of up to $100 million in philanthropic catalytic investment capital to unlock an additional $1 billion in private finance.

The participants also recognized GEAPP as one of the key partners in implementing distributed renewable energy generation, battery storage, and e-mobility projects.

Apart from the Lobito corridor, the AfDB President listed other projects the bank was supporting to change the face of Africa.

These include, financing with $1 billion the 1,110 km transport corridor that’s linked Ethiopia to Nairobi and Mombasa, expanding trade between them by 400%; and partnering with the US and EU Global Gateway to finance the Lobito corridor between Angola, Zambia and DRC of which the AfDB is providing $500 million to finance Zambia’s end of the corridor

Others are, financing the $3.2 billion central rail corridor that links Tanzania, DRC and Burundi, through securitization; and  financing with $213 million the energy transmission line linking Mauritania and Mali and the Rosso bridge linking Senegal and Mauritania.

However, the banker maintained a major challenge remained the “lack of bankable projects, which has to do with the lack of enough project preparation facilities.”

The AfDB set up the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa (AGIA), with $500 million for project preparation and development, to mobilize $10 billion in private investments into green infrastructure to fast-track Africa’s net zero transition.

Adesina concluded: “AGIA has received global support and was profiled by Italy at the G7 finance ministers and central governors meeting. I wish to thank the G7 for providing $150 million of support towards AGIA.”

Italy and the United States are further collaborating on clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and e-mobility projects, starting with potential projects in Kenya.

The G-7 leaders welcomed Italy’s G7 Presidency’s efforts to promote effective implementation of PGII and enhance investment coordination with partners through the establishment of a new Secretariat.

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