By Edward Mukaro
THE Africa Investment Forum has unveiled US$3.79 billion earmarked to help nations on the continent recover from the devastating effects of COVID- 19 that have left millions on the brink of hunger.
Most African economies, Zimbabwe included, have forecasted shrinking economies due to the negative effect of the pandemic that has accounted for the loss of over a million lives, globally.
The United Nations, in a report (The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World) released a fortnight ago, stated that Asia remains home to the greatest number of undernourished (381 million), while Africa is second with an estimated 250 million, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (48 million).
Furthermore, the report adds, “…In percentage terms, Africa is the hardest hit region and becoming more so, with 19.1 percentage (%) of its people undernourished. This is more than double the rate in Asia (8.3%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (7.4%).
“On current trends, by 2020, Africa will be home to more than half of the world’s chronically hungry.” Hence, the Forum’s rescue package will go a long way in assisting Africa rebound, as it is targeting 15 deals in its portfolio, valued at US$3.79 billion.
African Development Bank (AFDB) president Dr Akinwumi Adesina was optimistic about the continent’s rebounding from its current slumber post-COVID- 19 and hailed the AIF’s intervention, in the process.
“Africa will come out of this pandemic, tough as it is, and will build better and stronger economies. As partners of the Africa Investment Forum, the premier investment platform for Africa, our gaze must be clear; help Africa reboot its economy,” said Adesina.
The initiative by the AIF has identified five (5) sectors for priority funding consideration under its Unified COVID- 19 response.
The sectors include agriculture and agro-processing, energy, health, i.c.t and telecoms, and industrial and trade.
Collectively, these 15 deals, which from the forum’s current portfolio, amount to US$3.79b, and will increase the continent’s self-sufficiency and resilience against future shocks.
Four projects sponsors were invited to pitch their deals to over 100 investors present at the meeting. These include a Dairy-processing project in Angola, a vaccine manufacturing plant in Kenya, cotton manufacturing project in Mozambique, and a proprietary telemedicine platform in Nigeria.
Head and Senior Director of the Africa Investment Forum, Chinelo Anohu said, “The Africa Investment Forum is not a talk shop. What we are trying to do is to focus our Partner’s efforts on the platform’s bankable deals from the 2018 and 2019 portfolio, as well as some new ones in 2020.
“We are concentrating not just on the health sector, but also on other sectors that will help jumpstart recovery across the continent,” she said, adding that deals “more responsive” to the pandemic are being curated, to provide much-needed support to the private sector.
By Edward Mukaro