Lusophone Africa eyes $5 billion business projects

Lusophone countries have identified a pipeline of more than US$5 billion in private sector and private-public partnership (PPP) projects to accelerate growth in their economies.

The projects form part of a development finance compact between the African Development Bank (AfDB), the government of Portugal and the six Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa – Angola, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Sao Tomé and Principe, also known as PALOP.

The compact, signed at the African Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa on Tuesday, stems from efforts by the African Development Bank to bring more focus on the private sector in the PALOP.

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the bank, started the process nearly a year ago during an official visit to Portugal.

“Today is a day of delight, when we shine the light on a part of Africa that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves,” Adesina said at the signing, attended by representatives from Angola, Cabo Verde, Mozambique and Sao Tomé and Principe.

He added: “Lusophone countries, home to 267 million people worldwide, possess a wealth of natural assets. Lusophone countries in Africa have huge resources like oil and gas, yet human development is low, and infrastructure development is low.”

Adesina said while the compact focusses on private sector investment, government support is vital. “Of course, nothing gets done without political leadership. I was very delighted when we had a meeting in Cabo Verde and the heads of state all supported that this compact should go ahead.”

Adesina said the AfDB would provide guarantees and financing to support Compact projects that are also supported by Portugal.

At the session, SOFID – the Portuguese Development Finance Institution, pledged an additional envelope of EUROS 20 million on credit lines for these projects.

The objectives of the compact include accelerating inclusive sustainable and diversified private sector growth in PALOP and also leveraging the tools the African Development Bank, Portugal and the PALOP have at their disposal.

These tools are: risk mitigation for private sector and PPP investments, direct financing for investments and technical assistance to enhance private sector development

African Press Organisation