Ecobank’s Akinwuntan Says There is High Investor Appetite for African Infrastructure
Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has advocated for increased synergy between financial institutions and private investors to address the infrastructure deficit in the country.
This was disclosed by Akinwuntan in a recent presentation titled ‘Transportation Infrastructure Development Financing In Nigeria’ delivered at the Nigerian Institute For Transport Technology (NITT) 2021 Transport Technology Conference in Abuja.
Akinwuntan noted that due to linkages across a typical infrastructure project in Nigeria, there is a need for a synergy between the private sector who are major project sponsors and financial institutions in harnessing the desired value across the ecosystem.
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The Ecobank Nigeria Managing Director noted that though Nigeria has made moderate progress in terms of infrastructure development regarding improved access to finance, strong telecom penetration and power production, there is limited productivity in the transport sector when compared to other sectors and regions.
He lamented that private sector involvement in infrastructure development is constrained by selection of low-impact projects; weak feasibility study and business plan; delays in obtaining licenses, approvals and permits, and inability to secure guarantees.
Mr. Akinwuntan of Ecobank submitted that the attractiveness of the transport sector must be compelling to attract the required funding, noting that there is high investors’ appetite for Africa as 72 per cent of available funds for African infrastructure investment are from the private sector.
According to him, “The government in partnership with the private sector recently launched Infra-co, an infrastructure company with initial seed capital of USD2.4 billion (NGN1trillion and is expected to grow its capital and assets to USD36 billion (NGN15 trillion) over time to fund public projects like roads, rails, and power.
The start-up funding will come from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, and the Africa Finance Corporation. Governance, operations, returns and valuation will be driven by global best practice.
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Akinwuntan shared selected Ecobank infrastructure participation success stories across the continent such as Asky Airlines, the multinational passenger airline serving west and central Africa; road infrastructure in Cote d’ Ivoire; port infrastructure in Ghana; telecommunications Infrastructure in Senegal and power infrastructure in Cameroun, among others.