Kaberuka Emphasizes Infrastructure Financing and Maintenance at Times CEO Forum

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Participating in The Times CEO Summit Africa 2013 high-level panel on infrastructure in London on April 30, African Development Bank (AfDB) President Donald Kaberuka said that one of the major problems the sector is facing is bringing infrastructure projects to bankability. He also pointed out that if the funding gap could not be financed by African capital entirely, leveraging this capital did offer a solution.

Kaberuka made the distinction between projects which only governments can fund; projects which are specific to the needs of a particular industry, such as those to transport goods from mine to port; projects which are specifically suited to Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs); and others which are highly attractive to the private sector. For this reason, he said, it is important to ensure that capital is allocated in an efficient manner and to the right projects and that the resources are channeled effectively.

Kaberuka also stressed that in addition to investing in new infrastructure projects, enough resources should be allocated towards infrastructure maintenance, an area which doesn’t get as much publicity. In his intervention, he mentioned that African risk had in the past been overstated and governments and institutions had been paying a premium to raise capital. He said it was important to reprice risk to reflect the real risk associated with funding African infrastructure.

Other panelists included Baroness Shriti Vadera, advisor to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and expert on development issues; Andrew Ali, CEO of the Africa Finance Corporation, a multinational finance institution; Gachao Kiuna, CEO of Transcentury Group; Ozwald Boateng, British fashion designer and founder of the Made In Africa Foundation; and Kofi Adjepong-Boateng, financier specializing in infrastructure.

The conference was also attended by John Mahama, President of Ghana; Pravin Gordhan, South African Minister of Finance; Tony Hayward, former CEO of British Petroleum; among others.