Expertise, risk capital and regulation critical to power Africa

Responding to the substantial growing demand for infrastructure assets throughout Africa, global law firm Dentons and African development finance institution Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) joined forces to host the Powering Africa's Future Forum.

The event explored both the benefits and opportunities available to investors in infrastructure development and financing in Africa.

A statement issued by AFC reads, "With its abundance of natural resources and recent discoveries of minerals and oil and gas reserves, as well as continued strong growth despite a challenging economic environment, Africa presents unrivalled opportunities for infrastructure investment. However the availability of project structuring expertise as well as risk capital and robust regulatory frameworks is crucial to making projects commercially viable, in particular in the beginning stages of a project."

Delegates examined case studies of key projects such as the Kpone Independent Power Plant project in Ghana, which was the single biggest IPP in Africa and the first project to receive the majority of its debt finance from African financial institutions.

"Insights such as this are invaluable - lessons learned from previous projects can be used to better shape risk allocation and improve the structuring of bankable projects." commented Neil Cuthbert, senior partner at Dentons.

Discussions also focused on project development and on managing a workable investment process.

"Increasing private sector interest in African infrastructure investment, stronger project-preparation skills as well as the availability of early stage funding are key to turning prospects into bankable projects," explained Sanjeev Gupta, Head of Financial Services at AFC.

Speakers at the forum included AFC's CEO Andrew Alli, Chief Investment Officer Oliver Andrews and COO and General Counsel, Dr. Adesegun Akin-Olugbade, in addition to Cenpower Director and CFO, Kenichi Okemoto and Dentons senior partner, Neil Cuthbert.