Lusophone Africa sets sights on US$5bn to accelerate economic growth

adeolu eletu 38649 unsplashLusophone (Portuguese speaking) countries have identified a pipeline of more than US$5bn in private sector and private-public partnership (PPP) projects to accelerate growth in their economies

The projects are part of a development finance compact between African Development Bank (AfDB), the government of Portugal, and the six Portuguese speaking countries of Africa-Angola, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea- Bissau, Mozambique, and Sáo Tomé and Principe, also known as PALOPs.

The compact, signed at the African Investment Forum in Johannesburg, is the result of AfDB's efforts to increase the focus on the private sector in the PALOPs.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of AfDB, started the process almost a year ago during an official visit to Portugal.

"Today is a day of delight when we shine the light on a part of Africa that doesn't always get the attention it deserves," Adesina said at the signing ceremony, attended by representatives from Angola, Cabo Verde, Mozambique and Sao Tomé and Principe.

He added, “Lusophone countries, home to 267mn people worldwide, possess a wealth of natural assets. Lusophone countries in Africa have huge resources like oil and gas, yet human development is low, and infrastructure development is low."

Adesina said while the compact focuses on private sector investment, government support is vital.

"Of course, nothing gets done without political leadership. I was very delighted when we had a meeting in Cabo Verde and the heads of state all supported that this compact should go ahead," he further added.

Adesina stated that the AfDB would provide guarantees and financing to support projects that are also supported by Portugal.

At the session, SOFID-the Portuguese Development Finance Institution pledged an additional envelope of US$22mn on credit lines for these projects.

The objectives of the compact include accelerating inclusive sustainable and diversified private sector growth in PALOPs and also leveraging the tools the AfDB, Portugal and the PALOPs have at their disposal.

These tools are risk mitigation for the private sector and PPP investments, direct financing for investments, and technical assistance to enhance private sector development.

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