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Landmark Bridge Linking Kinshasa, Brazzaville to Stimulate Trade

The curtain fell on Africa Investment Forum with transactions worth billions of dollars sealed, Chimp Africa Business reports.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura highlighted $6 billion worth of South African deals signed, and the $ 2.6 billion MOU signing with Ghana for a Skytrain project in Accra.

The Accra Ai Skytrain is an elevated light rail project that uses air propulsion technology to drive lightweight, high passenger volume vehicles.

Another important moment of the Forum was the signing of a landmark bridge construction project linking Kinshasa and Brazzaville.

The project is a priority project that would help advance the infrastructure and transport agendas of the two nations.

The bridge will also help diversify the countries’ economies through increased trade and investment.

The deal will see African Development Bank and Africa50 construct a crossing to link the two closest capitals in the world.

Kinshasa and Brazzaville are currently only connected by ferries.

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Once the bridge is built, the existing traffic of an estimated 750,000 people and 340,000t of freight a year, is expected to increase to over three million people and two million tonnes of freight by 2025.

The landmark project, part of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), involves a 1,575m-long toll bridge over the Congo River. The cost estimate in 2017 was US$550m.

Under the terms of the framework agreement, the two governments have mandated Africa50 and the African Development Bank to develop the project as a public private partnership.

The bank will act as the debt provider under the aegis of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC). As the main developer, Africa50 will lead the project development, help select a strategic partner, and provide equity for construction.

“Upgrading the infrastructure of the Republic of Congo is one of our foremost priorities, in particularly transport, which can help us diversify our economy through increased trade and investment,” said Jean-Jacques Bouya, minister of large construction works of the Republic of Congo.

“The positive socio-economic impacts from this project will be significant, stimulating trade and economic growth and creating jobs in the Republic of Congo and beyond.”

Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, senior minister of planning for the Democratic Republic of Congo added: “The construction of this bridge will not only link to the cities, but will speed up regional integration beyond our borders.”

The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, said: “The idea to connect the two capitals dates back to the mid-19th century. This project is just the beginning, more will follow.”

Success

The three-day marathon investment marketplace ended on a high note with the closing panel comprising heads of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) unanimously lauding the unique initiative, calling it an exceptional gathering that “exceeded all expectations.”

Adesina told the more than 1,000 delegates that the needle is shifting, pointing to the right direction, pointing to Africa.

“Africa is not going to be developed by aid. It will be developed by investment and I think you are beginning to see it,” he said.

Participants from DFIs, institutional investors, sovereign wealth, equity and private sector CEOs from across the continent congregated in Johannesburg, South Africa to attend the first ever transaction-based Forum on the continent.

At midday Friday, of 61 transactions valued at US$40.4 billion tabled for discussions in boardroom sessions, 45 deals worth over US$32 billion secured investment interest.

President Adesina described the outcome of $32 billion worth of transactions as a big success.

“I could not be happier…but we don’t want to congratulate ourselves. The responsibility that lies on our shoulders is so huge. This is just the beginning.”

Officials said the presence of seven African heads of state and heads of governments also sent a strong signal to global investors that Africa’s leadership is committed to creating a conducive business environment for investment to land on a smooth runway.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, President Alpha Conde of Guinea; President Macky Sall of Senegal; President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana made the trip to South Africa for the Forum.

Other officials included the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo; the Prime Ministers of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente and Cameroon, Philémon Yang, as well as ministers representing the Kingdom of Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Niger, and Gabon.

In attendance also were Governors and Board members of the African Development Bank.

Ethiopia’s President Sahlework Zewde, first woman President to hold that position in the country said looking at Africa only through the lens of peace and security “is not getting us anywhere. We have to address perceived risk (on the continent) and have to change this mindset.”

Energy, infrastructure, food and agribusiness opportunities and transactions attracted high-level from global and African investors, positioning the Forum as the next big investment frontier, and on Global and African investors’ radars.

The next edition of the Africa Investment Forum is scheduled for November 2019.

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