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Infrastructure Africa 2016 forum opens in Johannesburg

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The African Development Bank has welcomed the Infrastructure Africa 2016 forum, 9-10 June 2016, Johannesburg.

The event brings together key actors in the infrastructure sector including government, policy-makers, industrial leaders, academia, private sector, civil society, and potential investors.

The Bank is sponsoring the event in partnership with UK Aid. The forum has proved important over the years in addressing the continent’s infrastructure investment opportunities.

The AfDB aims for inclusive infrastructure, and encourages infrastructure investments that also pay attention to diverse groups, particularly women and the girl child, who utilise infrastructure in many parts of the continent.

Geraldine Joslyn Fraser-Moleketi, the Bank’s Special Envoy on Gender, stated infrastructure as a critical element of any African economic strategy: “It affects the competitiveness of every business in the country; it is the invisible thread that ties the continent’s prosperity together. It is how we get power to our lights, water to our taps, workers to their jobs, and food to our shops. It enables factories, offices, warehouses, workshops to function, to trade, to grow.”

“The benefits from such infrastructure are often not evenly spread to all sections of the economy or society. Many people, particularly women and girl children are acting as ‘Living Infrastructure’ in many parts of the continent due not only because of a general lack of infrastructure investment, but also because of the priorities we make around what type of infrastructure should be supported,” she added.

Similarly, Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, African Union’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, pointed out the importance of developing rural areas to facilitate lives of women and girls.

The forum agreed that the challenge for new infrastructure was to deliver growth and to contribute to delivering greater equality.

“It is important that the right choices are made technically, policy-wise and financially so that everyone benefits from the infrastructure that needs to be developed for Africa,” stated Fraser-Moleketi.

“With good partnerships, financial resources are used efficiently. And the private sector can play an important role in infrastructure development as long as the projects to be financed are attractive and bankable,” said Tas Anvaripour, a Partner in the energy infrastructure team of the Abraaj Group.

She praised Africa50 as an effective instrument for infrastructure development in Africa. A major convenor and sponsor of the Infrastructure Africa 2016 forum, the AfDB has financed 114 projects across 44 countries, amounting to US$11 billion.

Edited from press release by

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