November 14, 2018/AfDB
Projects from Egypt’s private sector showed strongly at the just concluded Africa Investment Forum during which transactions close to US$50 billion were promoted by sponsors in three days of Boardroom sessions.
Basil El-Baz, Chairman of Carbon holdings and promoter of US$10.8 billion Tahir Petrochemicals project, one of the largest projects on the continent stated, ‘Without a doubt the Forum is the catalyst to promote private sector industrial initiatives on the continent. For Africa to industrialize and achieve its potential, it shall need the dynamic platform of the Forum to achieve its long-term objectives.”
The Africa Investment Forum, hosted by the African Development Bank, is an innovative marketplace dedicated to advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals. The meeting brought together pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, capital markets, project sponsors and institutional and financial investors seeking to invest in Africa.
A project by CIAF Leasing promoting aircraft leasing and services for the continent, led by Chairman Mohamed Hassan, was among the transactions showcased during the Egypt Boardroom sessions. Also on the table was the US$200 million Enara Captive solar power project, promoted by its founder and CEO Sherif El Gabaly.
Both El-Gabaly and Mohamed Haaza, a Partner at Sharkawy Lawyers, shared their experiences structuring private sector investments for the world’s largest solar park – Benban, in Egypt, under the Egyptian Government’s flagship Feed-in tariff programme, which brought an unprecedented number of international and local developers, contractors and international financial institutions together to build the solar park. They said an improved business environment has been key to attracting investments.
‘As a home grown investment and development platform, we shall always be grateful to the Egyptian Government and the international financial institutions. Enara Group is exponentially growing today from 180MW closed under the programme with a target to reach 1GW by 2020 across the region,” said El-Gabaly.
In Egypt, the private sector is a key contributor to national development. The Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), one of the success stories featured at the Forum drew considerable attention from audiences. The project would not have been possible without the support of key development financial institutions, the speakers said.
“You cannot have this size of a project without partners and bankers that are available and understanding,” said ERC Chairman Ahmed Heikal.
Mohamed El Azizi, North Africa Regional Director at the African Development Bank said he was in complete agreement.
“Egypt is the continent’s leader in FDI and this successful event has generated a lot of interest amongst financiers. The transactions presented are expected to contribute to the government enabled, private sector-led growth the continent seeks, “El Azizi said.
Malinne Blomberg, the Bank’s Egypt Country Manager also expressed optimism about the Forum, adding that the Bank is looking forward to working with Egyptian companies to close deals promoted at the Forum and to build a pipeline for next year’s meeting.
The next Africa Investment Forum will take place in November 2019.