Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says the problem with the African continent is not capital but the lack of bankable projects.
Speaking at the global infrastructure forum at the International Finance Corporation headquarters in Washington DC on Saturday, Adesina said to tackle infrastructural deficit in Africa, investments have to be made in capacity building.
“I think at the end of the day, we can get all the money we want for infrastructure, but if the wrong guys get the contract, and then you left with crummy infrastructure, you basically have actually wasted everything,” he said.
“Accountability is very very important, and the transparency with the contract, the quality of implementation and the ability of community to actually say whether there are satisfied, is actually an important part of value for money.
He said the continent needs to capacity and technical assistance to deliver needed infrastructure adding that “the problem is not capital, the problem is that we don’t have enough bankable projects”.
Adesina said the AfDB would be leveraging on private sector funds to deliver power in Africa.
“When you take a look at the infrastructure deficit on the continent today, it’s actually a little bit more than $50 billion, it about $60, $70 billion in terms of infrastructure.
“If we don’t fix that gap, essentially we going to shave off at least five percent of GDP growth in Africa, which we can’t afford.
“When you talk about infrastructure, for me, the most important one is actually electricity. Today Africa has over 650 million people, who don’t have access to electricity.
“We at the Africa Development Bank have priotise the light-up and power Africa. I told Jim Kim, if there’s anything we really need to agree on, to work on in Africa, is to light-up and power Africa and of course to feed Africa, which also requires power.
“For us at the bank, we are going to put in $12 billion over the next five years to the energy sector, but we are also hoping to leverage $45 to $50 billion from the private sector.”