Incredible, but true! At the 4th Africa Investment Forum organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) from 8 to 10 November 2023 in Marrakech, the President of Tanzania said that she had once had to "fly via Paris in France" to be able to land in Senegal. An anecdote that reveals the problems of air connectivity between African countries, but beyond that, the lack of synergy in tackling the continent's economic and climate challenges together, as a number of leading figures have lamented.
The Africa Investment Forum (AIF) came to a close on 10 November in Marrakech, Morocco. This fourth edition was attended by some of the continent’s leading figures, including Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, and Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of the Comoros and head of the African Union (AU). They all agreed that it was time to “unleash Africa’s value chains” in view of the multiple economic and climatic crises that are heightening the vulnerability of the 55 African countries.
“The continent is facing complex economic challenges, exacerbated by geopolitical tensions that extend beyond our borders and are compounded by the effects of climate change. Recourse to debt as the main source of funding for national policies is also undermining our room for manoeuvre. Given this situation and the scale of development financing needs, the role of the private sector is becoming increasingly important in supporting public action through sustainable and necessary investments”, explained Mohammed VI, in particular to regional and international financial institutions.
Africa wakes up
The Moroccan monarch did not fail to point out some notable advances in Morocco, in particular the “4.1 GW of installed renewable energy capacity” across the country. Pan-African Akinwumi Adesina hailed this diversification of the electricity mix. According to the AfDB President, the energy transition is the key to countering the growth lag. He suggested, for example, that the size of the electric vehicle value chain would grow from the current $7,000 billion to $57,000 billion by 2050.
This market should not escape Africa, as “the continent represents the largest source of green metals for this industry, notably platinum (70%), cobalt (52%) and manganese (46%)….”. This is a vibrant appeal to investors, just a few years before the demographic explosion (2.5 billion Africans by 2050, according to the United Nations). For his part, the President of Comoros emphasised the importance of free inter-regional trade and the circular economy at the AIF2023 conference, despite the fact that “African manufactured exports account for just 1% of global exports”, he lamented.