“In terms of funding, Africa is changing!”

LA TRIBUNE AFRIQUE Project financing in Africa has already been the subject of much analysis in recent years, as the continent has become the new frontier of the world. Why do you have a book? What does it add more?

Boris Martor- Project financing in Africa has been the subject of numerous analyses, particularly on the lack of infrastructure to promote economic and social development. However, this is the first book on the subject related to Africa and in French. It is a practical work that describes the state of the market of actors and makes it possible to understand all the stages related to the development, financing and implementation of projects once construction is completed. It is a true operational tool made by practitioners that allows to understand the topic in a global and chronological way; This book also provides keys to understanding a rich topic at the legal, technical, and financial levels. We built it for practitioners but also for all kinds of researchers and students who are more and more interested in the continent and topic.

You have long experience in this field. What are the characteristics of financing infrastructure projects on the continent?

Africa is a continent in the making and is certainly the last to prepare itself for industrialization: its demographic growth requires infrastructure equipment and can only be financed by the public sector. The private sector can provide solutions and expertise and facilitate implementation of solutions that have already been tested elsewhere. The African continent will also play a major role in sustainable development and environmental transformation, because its development can be more beneficial than the development of other regions if the projects funded there are responsible. Africa is a vast area for developing non-polluting energy projects considering its hydroelectric, solar or wind energy potential, for example. If Africa chooses to turn to conventional energy solutions in a sustainable and mainstream manner, this could have a greater impact on emissions in the long run. Therefore, Africa and future solutions in terms of project financing are at the heart of current concerns about the future of our planet.

However, finance in Africa has its own characteristics. Many financing solutions are available but the stakes are high for private investors, whether political, financial or legal. The specificity of project finance in Africa certainly lies in the ability of the actors to find ways to reduce or manage these risks and to propose arrangements that allow projects to be implemented quickly and safely and bankable for the financial institutions that finance them. Our book provides many examples of project structuring in all sectors: energy, water, transportation and communications for example.

To publish a book is to share knowledge. This book is intended, she says, for African or international bankers, academics, students, civil servants and collaborators with international groups… While finance remains the Achilles heel of development projects on the continent, how can all players be mobilized around knowledge from markets that contribute to accelerating the financial machine?

Sharing knowledge means exchanging experiences, proposing solutions, and training people on this topic. Therefore, it is a means of encouraging the emergence of new projects and facilitating their implementation. We hope that this book will interest the many local and international actors already involved or not yet involved. These can be many actors from different societies: every year there are more and more of them on the continent as many people train and seek to contribute to the development of the continent. Training, mobilization, and participation allow to enhance the continent’s interest in infrastructure projects and create more opportunities for African countries. The aim is also to respond to the great social needs for the harmonious development of each country. The continent is often associated with financial mobilization centered around development actors.

However, Africa is changing: the growing interest in funds invested in infrastructure and regional banks and the acquisition of a certain maturity period to create a favorable ecosystem for projects in some African countries, shows that financial acceleration is possible. The potential in terms of renewable energy is also a major asset to the continent and a great testing ground for innovative projects. The book strives to keep abreast of these developments and will be updated regularly to take them into account, as well as to incorporate readers’ comments.

The world is witnessing a somewhat special context. As economies roll up their sleeves to recover, they must deal with the crippling fallout from the Ukraine crisis, while not exempting state and corporate budgets from some of the pressure. How can we effectively pursue project financing despite this global context in order to finally move in the direction of the development goals?

To be sure, the current situation is worrying for African economies. The restrictions were strong and they are definitely more powerful. Food security in particular is expected to see strong tensions. It is precisely more of a necessity and urgency to dedicate efforts to finance infrastructure that promotes social development and enables the population to access basic commodities such as electricity or water, which many Africans still lack today. We must also certainly consider that infrastructure projects can contribute to a vigorous revival of activity and provide the means to produce certain goods locally in order to preserve human rights and allow for a harmonious social development that is as happy and rapid as possible on the continent.