Akufo-Addo to capital markets: Stop undermining Africa

The president was speaking during a panel discussion at the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

President Akufo-Addo has made a passionate appeal to the global investment community to as a matter of urgency, remove the risk premium tag it has placed on Africa in order to give the continent equal access to the capital markets as is the case with other economic blocks in the world.

The perception that it is too risky to invest in Africa according to President Akufo-Addo, is no longer tenable because Africa’s debt servicing and returns on investment records are outstanding.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) under the theme; “Building Economic Resilience Through Sustainable Investments” at the Sofitel Hotel Ivoire, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, President Akufo-Addo, said inspite of the prevailing challenges confronting the African continent, it remains the best place for investors to put their money.

“At the heart of it is this perception that investing in our continent is a risk and yet, the continent has an excellent record as far as default on loans are concerned. It has an excellent record in terms of return on investment.

“My appeal to the investor community that is sitting here is yes, there are problems, there are difficulties, there are major challenges, but look beyond the challenges to what the future holds,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Demographic advantage

“You are dealing with a continent that in less than 25 years time, is going to account for one in every four people in the universe. That is a huge demographic dividend that needs to be taken advantage of.

“75% of the population that I am referring to are going to be people that are below the age of 35. So you have got dynamism, you have opportunity, you have longevity in investments which is guaranteed by this population” Akufo-Addo added.

To this end, President Akufo-Addo said “I think that if [the investment community] puts all of these things together and of course the very significant efforts that is being made by African governments to create a proper legal and regulatory environment to incentivize investments as well as protect investments on the continent, we have a mix that potentially could be very dynamic for people who are prepared to take the risk”.

The president observed that out of “the US$3 to US$4 trillion of investable capital in the private sector floating in the world”, adding that if “1% to 2% of that money comes into the African continent, it will completely transform the African economy.”

USD$15 million project

President Akufo-Addo, as part of his schedule, attended a boardroom meeting on the proposed construction of the Lagos – Abidjan motorway.

The road corridor, which will mainly be between Abidjan and Lagos via Accra (Ghana), Lome, (Togo) and Cotonou (Benin), will have 62 km in Côte d’Ivoire, 521km in Ghana (the largest stretch), 90 km in Togo, 127 km in Benin and 82 km in Nigeria.

Attendees of the board meeting, which included President Akufo-Addo, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, among others, agreed that the secretariat of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project, should be stationed in Abidjan since it is the host city of the financier (African Development Bank (AfDB) of the project.

Economic potential of A-LM

The yet to be constructed Abidjan-Lagos motorway (A-LM) is estimated to cost about US$15.59 million. The project will have six lanes from Abidjan through to the Legos end.

The corridor is located on the coastal axis of the West Africa region and crosses the economic centres and most densely populated cities of five countries in the region – Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire.

The population along this axis is estimated at 70 million and they will be the direct beneficiaries when the project is implemented. The AfDB funded highway will boost trade and transportation in West Africa.

Bi-lateral talks

The President as part of his visit also paid a courtesy call on Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. The two leaders held bi-lateral talks on the production of cocoa and the security and stability situation in West Africa.

According to President Akufo-Addo, he and his Ivorian counterpart have agreed to strengthen the tires of cooperation between their respective countries for the mutual benefit of their two peoples.

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