Six Zimbabwean companies have shown interest in participating at the second edition of the African Investment Forum (AIF) as they hunt for investors.
AIF is a transactional platform for investments in Africa, a multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary forum organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to advance projects to bankable stages.
This year’s edition will run from November 11 to 13 in Johannesburg.
Damoni Kitabire, AfDB country manager for Zimbabwe, said while the bank was yet to receive confirmation of registration from the AIF organising team for companies to register for this year’s event, six companies from Zimbabwe have confirmed participation.
“We remain hopeful that some of them, if not all of them, will be registered to showcase their potential project to investors,” Kitabire said. “However, an event of this high repute attracts many potential projects from all over Africa and competition is very high.”
He disclosed that three of the six Zimbabwean firms were looking for capital to invest into infrastructure (transport and solar energy), while one firm intended to raise capital to establish an agriculture commodity exchange facility to improve the bankability of agriculture in the country.
The remaining two were into corporate advisory services and were looking for potential financiers to invest in diverse companies and projects with good returns.
No local firm participated at the inaugural forum. Kitabire said AIF had gained respect as a fully transactional platform and a marketplace for pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and other institutional investors looking to invest in Africa, and this was presenting opportunities for local firms to advertise their projects. He said the forum was “focused on raising capital and accelerating the financial closure of deals”.
“So Zimbabwe firms that might participate are more likely to bring visibility of their project to diverse potential investors and accelerate project implementation. This will be good for the Zimbabwe economy to attract much needed patient capital, to improve productivity, create employment, and reduce poverty,” he added.
According to the AfDB, there is urgent need to bridge the gap between Africa’s available capital and bankable projects. It is estimated that financing Africa’s development needs will require between US$200bn and US$1.2 trillion yearly. Of this, about US$130bn to US$170bn a year is needed for infrastructure, according to data by the AfDB.
The inaugural AIF edition broke the mould for investment in Africa, featuring some 63 projects from across 24 countries and seven sectors valued at US$46.9bn.