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G7 Commits To Major Infrastructure Projects Across Africa

AT the recent G7 summit in Puglia, Italy, leaders reaffirmed their commitment to advancing multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects across Africa, aimed at unlocking the continent’s economic potential. This support was underscored in a special meeting co-chaired by US President Joseph Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is the current G7 President.

The meeting reviewed the accomplishments of the G7’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) since its 2022 launch and discussed its alignment with Italy’s recently unveiled Mattei Plan for Africa. Attendees included high-level representatives from the financial, energy, and digital sectors of Italy and the US, focusing on their extensive portfolios in Africa.

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Italy announced its collaboration with US and EU efforts to promote sustainable development along the Lobito Corridor, committing an additional $320 million to strengthen core rail infrastructure and related projects. The Lobito Corridor, a vital rail network through Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia, exemplifies the transformative projects supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina highlighted the bank’s investment of over $50bn in quality infrastructure in Africa over the past eight years. However, he emphasised the need to address Africa’s annual infrastructure financing gap of $68-108bn to achieve its ambitions of becoming a global economic powerhouse.

In line with the PGII’s goal of mobilising $600bn in infrastructure investment in emerging economies, US investors have committed billions of dollars to scaled infrastructure projects in emerging markets, aligning with PGII priorities.

The co-chairs welcomed Italy’s commitment to deepen partnerships with African nations through its Mattei Plan, aiming to increase coordination with PGII and the EU’s Global Gateway to maximise collective impact in developing transformative economic corridors in Africa.

The Italian private sector echoed the call for greater investment in Africa. In collaboration with the AfDB, the Mattei Plan for Africa has launched new financial instruments open to international partners’ contributions.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized the significance of the PGII initiative, launched in response to the pandemic and the food crisis caused by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The EU has pledged EUR 300bn through Global Gateway, with the Mattei Plan now joining this effort.

The meeting underscored the commitment to launching and scaling investments around PGII economic corridors globally, including in Asia and the Middle East. Participants highlighted the importance of private investment in strategic sectors such as green energy and digitalization.

The co-chairs also acknowledged the Africa Green Industrialisation Initiative (AGII) as a key platform for infrastructure investment in Africa. The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) committed up to $100 million in catalytic investment to unlock an additional $1bn in private finance, focusing on renewable energy generation, battery storage, and e-mobility projects.

Dr. Adesina listed several other projects supported by the AfDB, including:

  • Financing $1bn for the 1,110 km transport corridor linking Ethiopia, Nairobi, and Mombasa, boosting trade by 400 percent.
  • Partnering with the US and EU Global Gateway to finance the Lobito corridor with $500 million for Zambia’s section.
  • Financing the $3.2bn central rail corridor linking Tanzania, DRC, and Burundi.
  • Financing $213 million for the energy transmission line linking Mauritania and Mali and the Rosso bridge linking Senegal and Mauritania.

Dr. Adesina noted the challenge of a ‘lack of bankable projects’ due to insufficient project preparation facilities. The AfDB established the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa (AGIA) with $500 million for project preparation, aiming to mobilize $10bn in private investments into green infrastructure to support Africa’s net-zero transition.

Italy and the US are also collaborating on clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and e-mobility projects, starting with potential projects in Kenya.

Lastly, G7 leaders welcomed Italy’s efforts to promote effective implementation of PGII and enhance investment coordination through a new Secretariat, reinforcing their commitment to Africa’s economic transformation.

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