Experts call for enhanced PPPs on Africa’s infrastructure gap

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By Temitope Ponle
Abuja, Nov. 10, 2020 Experts have called for stronger public-private partnerships (PPPs) to close Africa’s infrastructure gap and speed up intra-continental and world trade.

The experts made the call at the IMC Indo-Africa Summit, which took place virtually from Nov. 4 to Nov. 6, according to a statement from the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Tuesday.

The three-day event drew lessons from India’s public-private partnership experience which some of the panelists described as a good model for Africa.

Sanjeev Gupta, Africa Finance Corporation’s Executive Director for Financial Services, said there was the need to develop bankable projects to attract the private sector.

“African governments cannot be expected and are indeed in no position to take early-stage project risks, although they should be.

“This risk arguably resides better with the private sector to better realise commercial aspirations,” Gupta said.

Also, Solomon Quaynor, AfDB’s Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, said the bank had created Africa50 as a key leader for private sector-led project preparation in Africa.

“In partnership with Africa50, we continue to innovate, including on infrastructure asset recycling opportunities in order to attract later-stage private infrastructure investors into brownfield projects.”

Quaynor added that the partnership would thereby release capital for governments to invest in new infrastructure PPPs in their infrastructure development plans.

He also said COVID-19 recovery plans should incorporate the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Speaking earlier, Dinesh Joshi, Chairman of the India-based IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, observed that India had shown the world how a successful PPP could be carried out in various sectors.

“India has paved the path for success,” Joshi said.

Furthermore, Shailesh, Chief Executive Officer, Pathak Larsen & Toubro Infrastructure Development, also proposed the model for Africa.

He told the panel that India had made strong progress with digital infrastructure and narrowing the digital divide.

Nonetheless, Darshan Hiranandani , moderator of the panel and Chief Executive Officer of H-Energy Global Limited, expressed optimism in the growth leadership of India and Africa in the coming years.

Hiranandani added that “there has never been a better time.”

The panelists identified the demand for power, road and rail transport (in the African economy) while they noted that information and communications technology was on a better footing.

“For the Indian economy, the infrastructure sector is also a key driver, responsible for propelling the country’s overall development – including power, bridges, dams, roads, and urban infrastructure development,” the statement noted.

The Indo-Africa Summit 2020 was organised by ABN, Owners of CNBC Africa, and the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and explored bilateral economic and business opportunities between sub-Saharan Africa and India.

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