Ravi Kumar, director of IDE, an international organisation that facilitates business meetings in the constructionindustry, told the African news Agency (ANA) on Monday: “Lack of funding is often cited as the biggest reason behind Africa’s infrastructure gap. However, African governments, European and Eastern investors as well as multilateral sources of funding have become available in order to accelerate the development of projects in Africa.”
He said Africa had seen great economic growth over recent years and was expected to continue growing at an average rate of 6 percent annually.
“However, the absence of adequate infrastructure is said to cost Africa approximately 2 percentage points off GDP growth per year,” he said, adding that what was required was a mediator and facilitator of business in this crucial area.
He referred to the World Bank’s estimate that Africa needed to spend about $93-billion annually until 2020 to bridge its infrastructure gap. As daunting as that sounds, Kumar added, “half of this amount is already being financed by African governments, multilateral and bilateral sources of financeand official development assistance”.
He said that Europe, the biggest financier in Africa, was already providing funding on the continent to the tune of more than $4-billion annually, and added that Africa had also become an attractive market for private investors.
“The answer to bridging the infrastructure gap in Africa does not, therefore, lie in identifying new sources of funding but rather in ensuring that planned projects are completed within reasonable time frames,” Kumar said. “This will ensure that projects can start to deliver returns to their investors, helping to attract further investment.”
He said three upcoming summits to be hosted by IDE sought to help alleviate these problems. He said IDE-Global would be bringing together more than 200 industry experts – including international hotel and real estate owners, operators, developers, architects, interior designers, consultants and service providers – at the summits in three African cities.
Kumar said IDE had learnt from challenges experienced on large infrastructure projects on the continent. These challenges – including a lack of policy frameworks for infrastructure projects, poor financing structures, weak contract and project management and lack of proper monitoring and evaluation – had helped to identify key areas to focus on to ensure success.
“Through its industry networks, global reach and regional African focus, IDE creates personal and businessopportunities providing our stakeholders with quality contacts, content and communities.”
EDITED BY: AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY