Dr. IrajWest African countries should develop more robust capital markets in order to attract the large investments needed to build infrastructure to spur economic growth in the sub-region, Dr. Iraj Abedian, Chairman, Bigen Africa, has said.

“The capital market offers a fantastic source of finance for infrastructure. There is too much capital that is looking for investment. A recent report showed that there is about US$2 trillion of savings looking for investment.

“However, our capital markets are not well-developed. If we do not develop our capital markets, our ability to source funds will be limited. Capital markets are an integral part of infrastructure development,” he said.

Dr. Abedian was speaking on the topic “Overview of African Capital Markets and Financial Instruments for Infrastructure — West Africa Perspective”, at the Bigen Africa Roundtable held in Accra yesterday.

Bigen Africa, a leading multi-national infrastructure development company, is in the country to explore investment opportunities in the infrastructure sub-sector.  

Dr. Abedian said separating the different forms of infrastructure will help decide the kind of finance needed to accomplish it.

“We should not lump our entire infrastructure requirement together. We should be able to separate urban infrastructure from energy, water and others. Only then can we decide the type of finance needed and be able to access it.”

The absence of large-scale investment in infrastructure is not because of a lack of resources, he noted, but because countries have not separated and identified the specific infrastructural projects that need financing.

Mr. Emmanuel Anesu Kere, Africa Region Executive Director, said the company will collaborate with pension funds, private equity, development finance institutions and banks to finance projects in Ghana. It will provide project-driven financing mechanisms for large infrastructure projects including roads, water, mining, and housing among others.

Government currently estimates the country’s annual gap in infrastructure funding to be about US$1.5billion.

Last year, it launched the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Policy aimed at leveraging public assets and private-sector resources and expertise from local and international markets to accelerate investment in infrastructure.

Under the national PPP policy, government is expected to deploy a range of instruments to support project preparation and financial viability of projects.

These include the establishment of a Product Development Facility (PDF) and a Viability Gap Scheme (VGS) that will support projects that fall within the national agenda.

The government is also developing the legal, institutional, and regulatory framework for the PPP programme.

Bigen Africa is a leading infrastructure development company with a solid base in southern Africa. It has a network of 14 offices across South Africa and is represented in various African countries.

The company is in the process of expanding its African footprint through its S-Vision 2016 strategy, starting in Ghana and Nigeria and progressing into Kenya.

By Dominick Andoh

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