Browsing: Africa’s infrastructure deficit

USTDA and AIF Feature Women as Investment Champions www.theexchange.africa

During the forum, USTDA and AIF demonstrated how the relationship between the two organisations helps improve women’s leadership in developing sustainable infrastructure in Africa.

Additionally, it also backed the U.S. government’s Prosper Africa effort to enhance commerce and investment between African states and the United States.

At the closed-door meeting, participants included:

Female business executives from Africa’s private sector,
Representatives from the United States government, and
Representatives from international development funding agencies.

“It is of the utmost importance to get women together to discuss the opportunities that may be found in the development of infrastructure and in gaining access to financing. Bringing together women to talk about infrastructure development opportunities and access to capital, said  Enoh T. Ebong, the Director of USTDA.

While American businesses handle the USTDA-funded feasibility studies, African partners focus on business development “may acquire funding from any of the parties available. We do not have any requirements about the source of the financing for that initiative; nevertheless, we would prefer that they work with other government agencies in the United States, “Ebong added.

According to Ebong, the return on investment for feasibility studies is approximately $117 for every dollar spent, which converts into jobs in the United States.

She went on to say that infrastructure is “essential to commerce”, that “we are totally competitive,” and that “This is evidenced by the fact that many partners are choosing American companies over Chinese ones when they are in direct rivalry with one another.”

Most African countries lag behind the rest of the world in the coverage of key infrastructure classes including energy, road and rail transportation, together with water infrastructure. Development of Africa’s infrastructure has been met by colossal roadblocks, which have largely stemmed from the endemic systemic corruption that continues to ail the continent, making it one of the biggest hurdles to development. Consequently, this has made attracting foreign investment a nightmare.

This further affirms the description by McKinsey and Company that the continent faces an infrastructure paradox whereby Africa’s track record in moving projects to financial close is poor. Despite the high demand for projects, sufficient supply of capital and investors, coupled with voluminous potential projects there is insufficient investment in infrastructure projects within the region. 

Presently, more than two-thirds of the global population without access to electricity is in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is an equivalence of 600 million people. For instance, in Mali, the average person uses less electricity in a year overall, than a Londoner uses to just power their tea kettle. In addition, with the population bulge, forecasts reveal that Africa’s demand for electricity will quadruple between 2010 and 2040.