Top global and African Chief Executive Officers last Thursday, launched a Continental Business Network (CBN) to fast-track high-level private sector investment into Africa’s regional infrastructure.
The launch of the CBN on the side-lines of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, is the mandated follow-up and implementation of recommendations emanating from the Dakar Financing Summit (DFS), hosted by Senegal’s President Macky Sall.
CEO of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, said that the CBN was endorsed by the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) in June 2014 and is a direct response to facilitate private sector advice and leadership in essential NEPAD and African infrastructure projects. Dr Mayaki urged the private sector to take ownership of the future of regional infrastructure development. “We are making a transition from a public-centred to a combination of public and private sector approach for the implementation of Africa’s regional infrastructure. This new culture will be framed through the instruments that CBN will offer,” he said.
The DFS identified the lack of capacity and funds in project preparation combined with a weak involvement of the private sector as the main issues that constitute the bottlenecks to the implementation of African regional infrastructure. The CBN is the missing cornerstone to address these issues, Senegal’s Ambassador accredited to South Africa, Dr Momar Diop said.
“Africa will only succeed when all public and private sector stakeholders will join their efforts”, was also highlighted by Dr Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy.
This inaugural CBN event, hosted by the NEPAD Agency was convened and led by a cross-section of private sector leaders who have provided recommendations to African Heads of State on approaches and practical steps to improve Africa’s infrastructure investment climate for cross-border and other infrastructure investment projects in Africa.
The CBN is an exclusive Infrastructure Investment Advisory platform for African Heads of State, providing thought leadership and engagement on a range of strategic issues like policy, investment risk rating(s), project structuring and specifically the existing constraints to the implementation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). The Network comprises leading African and global business and finance bodies as well as regional and international organisations.