Akinwumi Adesina. Picture: REUTERS
Akinwumi Adesina. Picture: REUTERS

The African Development Bank (AfDB) will discuss 59 projects valued at $67bn (about R990bn) with deal makers at its flagship investment conference this week.

The deals, which span 29 countries, range from regional infrastructure development to investments in energy, financial services, urban housing and small business support, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina said in an interview in Johannesburg.

“The focus is really on the projects that are going to significantly transform the lives of Africans,” Adesina said.

He spoke before the start of the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg on Monday. The forum is part of the Abidjan-based lender’s efforts to narrow Africa’s infrastructure gap of as much as $170bn a year.

Inadequate power, railways, ports and roads in Africa curb productivity by as much as 40% and reduce per capita economic growth by about 2.2 percentage points, according to World Bank data.

While the global economy is showing signs of weakness, investors are increasingly paying attention to Africa as it has some of the world’s fastest-growing economies in Ghana, Rwanda and Ethiopia, Adesina said.

More than 100 countries will be represented at the conference, with 1,600 delegates from outside of Africa seeking opportunities on the continent, he said.

The first investment forum, held in 2018, secured interest in deals valued at almost $40bn.