African Finance Corporation expands East African footprint

By mahlokoane percy ngwato

Rwanda and Uganda are the first East African countries to become members of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) which is a development finance institution focused on infrastructure projects across the continent.

The AFC is aligning its country membership with its operational footprint, as part of its membership expansion strategy. Rwanda and Uganda, which both signed in November bring the Corporation’s total members to 13. Other members include: Cape Verde; Chad; Côte d’Ivoire; Gabon; the Gambia; Ghana; Guinea-Bissau; Guinea; Liberia; Nigeria and Sierra-Leone.

To date the Corporation has invested $2.6 billion in projects across 24 African countries in a range of sectors including power, telecoms, transport and logistics, natural resources and heavy industries.

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Andrew Alli, the AFC’s Chief Executive Officer commented: “By improving the infrastructure of these fast-emerging East African economies we hope to facilitate closer intraregional trade links, a goal that can only be achieved if the adequate transport, telecommunications networks and power supply are in place. This is where AFC steps in, and we are excited by the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

“Lack of essential infrastructure remains a critical constraint across Africa; for example, over 620 million people do not have access to reliable electricity. AFC works closely with both public and private institutions to develop innovative financing solutions for large scale infrastructure projects in Africa and oversees the whole project cycle, from concept to completion.”

The IMF predicts that Uganda and Rwanda will maintain positive GDP growth rates over the coming years - 5.6 percent and 7 percent respectively.

The government of Uganda is planning to implement a $11 billion program over the next ten years to upgrade the country’s power and transport infrastructure, which will make use of both the public sector, as well as private sector partners.

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Matia Kasaija, Uganda’s Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development said: “Uganda is pleased to be one of the first East African countries to become members. AFC is bringing innovation to the development and financing of infrastructure on the continent. In line with the EAC’s strategy of ensuring that Partner States’ provide basic infrastructure as one of the Operational Principles of the Community, we are looking forward to stronger presence of AFC in the East African region and particularly in Uganda.

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