By Gifty Arthur
Africa’s private sector, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), will have the opportunity to benefit from a 45 million programme, initiated by the World Bank Group.
The programme, initiated by the group, to end extreme poverty on the continent, serves as a window of opportunity against the many barriers that hamper access to funds for the sector, which employs a greater number of the continent’s population.
It will critically aid job creation and address challenges in the sector, including infrastructural deficit, access to energy and so on.
This was made known at a two-day forum organized in Accra, which brought together public and private sector leaders, from around the world to explore innovative approaches to radically increase private sector investment in Africa’s private sector.
Dubbed, “2017 Development Finance Forum” the proramme was first of its kind in Africa and according to the World Bank Group’s Vice President for Development Finance, Axel van Trotenbury, it was important the forum featured on the continent because it needs “financial innovation and private sector involvement” adding “ The best place to organize is Africa itself”.
According to Mr. Trotenbury, the Group chose Africa and for that matter Ghana, because “we don’t want to have financial forum where we only talk.
We have a lot of many talks, but what is actually the good news is that, we are coming here to present completely new value package.
The amount is part of a negotiated $75 billion replenishment package for the International Development Association (IDA18).
“We have recently negotiated the IDA replenishment and we mobilized $75billion, $45billion will be going to Africa in the next three years”, he said.
The World Bank Group Vice President said, during their negotiation period, it was identified that private sector development was inhibited by a lot of risks environment and also public funds were not sufficient for important initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) declaration to stimulate development growth, hence the $45 billion package.
The event was organized by the Group in partnership with a Ghanaian think tank, African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) assembled more than 300 participants.
It focused on addressing the policy and institutional barriers that hamper Sustainable economic growth in Africa – aims to identify constraints to developing a vibrant private sector and opportunities for attracting investments that can make a positive impact on the people’s lives.
It is also aims to contributing to the development of pipeline of project and programmes by offering a pre-investment platform for the public and private sector to explore market building alliances and opportunities.
Attention was put on critical sector for Africa including infrastructure, agric business, manufacturing and technology.
In December 2016 the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) completed a record of $75 billion replenishment, a pivoted step in the movement to end extreme poverty and $45 billion of this is target to Africa.
The “2017 Development Finance Forum” in Ghana is one of three events taking place in West Africa to explore the Group’s instrument to unlock opportunities for private sector investment. Two other sessions took place on May 29 in Sierra Leone and Cote d’Iviore.
The president, Nana Akufo-Addo, outlined measures and policies his government was putting in place to place the country on physical consolidation, debt sustainability and growth.
He said, government was readying itself to issue a $2,5billion energy sector bond to retire the legacy debt of the sector.
Nana Addo told the gathering “My government has also moved quickly to address the energy supply constrains by tackling the financial challenges of the sector as well as defining a policy framework that will encourage private sector investment.
We will very soon issue a $2.5 billion energy sector bond to retire the legacy debt in the sector and create space for increase investment of the sector”.