Africa’s large infrastructure projects in dire need of funding/implementation capacity

Dakar, Senegal, 25 March 2017 (ACBF-AUC-ECA) - Every government and development stakeholder in Africa knows the critical role infrastructure plays in transforming the continent and its economies.

Yet focus on the right systems and capacities for planning and coordinating infrastructure development has been somewhat missing. 

This was a common position of high-level panelists and participants to an African Development Week 2017 event to reflect on how the continent can better manage and coordinate Large Scale Infrastructure Projects for Development Planning.

From the discussions, one serious setback to leveraging infrastructure for Africa’s development that was discussed, is the acute lack of capacity to raise capital to finance key projects.

“Africa continues to grapple with insufficient skills to develop bankable project proposals, the capacity to mobilize financial partners, establishing legal frameworks and allocating risk in a manner that is conducive to the prevailing macroeconomic conditions” said Emmanuel Nnadozie, head of the continent’s foremost capacity development coordinating institution – the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF –

He substantiated his point with findings of a 2016 ACBF study, which showed that Africa could only boast of a 3 per cent share of global financial credit made available for infrastructure projects. 

From a whopping US$2 trillion raised globally for financing infrastructure projects, only US$59 billion went to Africa, not because the continent was comfortable with the levels of its infrastructure but because of its lack of bankable projects to attract more funds from that global pot.

Speaking at the same event, the Director of the Capacity Development Division at the Economic Commisison for Africa (ECA), Stephen Karingi, revisited the point made on the lack of capacity to put together bankable projects but said; “it gets further complicated when dealing with complex and transboundary infrastructural projects with disparate capabilities on different sides of borders that are difficult to harness". 

He said a key formula for easing the capacity gaps on the continent is for partners such as ACBF, the African Union Commission (AUC) and ECA to channel proper support to infrastructure planning units across African States.

Two experts who led a study commissioned by ABCF, AUC and ECA on “Managing and Coordinating Large Scale Infrastructure Projects for Development Planning in Africa” impressed on the various stakeholders in attendance on the issues African countries need to resolve to leverage infrastructure for development. 

These, they said, include monitoring and evaluating, harmonizing legal frameworks, political leadership as well as knowledge generation and sharing.

Participants agreed on the need for project designers to engage parliaments on the continent in doing their work; learn lessons on what has worked elsewhere; seek better public-private partnerships; involve regional bodies more deeply into infrastructure project planning and to improve the costing of such projects.

For more information, please contact:

Abel Akara Ticha – Senior Communication Officer 
The African Capacity Building Foundation
Harare, Zimbabwe
+263 7+263-4 304663, 304622, 332002, 332014; Ext. 279