The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has admitted the West African country of Benin as its seventeenth member country. Mr Romuald Wadagni, Benin’s Minister of Economy and Finance, formally acceded to AFC membership by signing the Letter of Adherence on 7 November, 2017. The Republic of Benin joins a growing list of Francophone African countries are members of the AFC. The others are Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea-Conakry.
This development augurs well for the peaceful coastal nation, which serves as an economic gateway to several other West African economies. Benin is economically stable, maintaining an average GDP growth rate of 5% over the past five years. Such fundamentals create a natural support system for viable infrastructure investment.
Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC said: “We are happy to welcome the Republic of Benin to the membership of AFC. Benin is strategically located. Through this partnership, we believe that Benin will be able to realise its full potential as an important corridor for economic activities in West Africa. With the right infrastructure; taking into consideration regional economic flows, the country is well positioned to significantly service all its neighbouring countries. As a member of AFC, Benin will have access to AFC’s technical expertise and financial resources in the development, financing and execution of infrastructure projects in the transportation, power, telecommunications, natural resources, and heavy industries sectors.”
Romuald Wadagni said: “We are excited at the prospects of partnering with AFC to drive infrastructure development in Benin and across West Africa. As is well known, investments in infrastructure are directly linked to economic development. Our membership in AFC bodes well for the country and the entire West African region.”
The AFC is an investment grade multilateral finance institution, which was established in 2007 with an equity capital base of US$1 billion. It aims to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa. With a current balance sheet size of approximately US$3.5 billion, AFC is the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. AFC successfully raised US$750 million in 2015 and US$500 million in 2017; out of its Board-approved US$3 Billion Global Medium Term Note (MTN) Programme. Both Eurobond issues were oversubscribed and attracted investors from Asia, Europe and the USA.
The AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth. The AFC invests in high quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. To date, the Corporation has invested approximately US$4 billion in projects within 28 countries across North, East, West and Southern Africa.