The organisers of Africa Investment Forum will hold a closing ceremony on Friday where they will explain what deals have been signed in Sandton.

The forum had identified 61 bankable African projects valued at $40 billion. South Africa has about R5,5 billion worth of projects with the African Development Bank mostly on energy.

The bank announced earlier this week that it plans to further lend South Africa an additional R10 billion  for power utility Eskom for the 2019/2020 financial period.

Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) countries have also identified a pipeline project of more than $5 billion in private sector and private-public partnership projects to accelerate growth in their economies.

The projects form part of a development finance compact between the Bank, the government of Portugal, and the six Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa.

AIF to create an African youth funding body 

The Africa Investment Forum says is looking to create a funding umbrella body to represent youth and small medium enterprise on the continent.

The Bank currently does not have a one-stop-shop entity for young entrepreneurs – but works through various partners to provide funding for young people who want to do business.

The African Development Bank says it will be working with various stakeholder’s to increase funding for small and medium enterprises- especially for the youth.

The bank says it is looking to create an umbrella body that will provide network and additional funding for young African entrepreneurs.

The continent currently has more than 500 million young people and this population is expected to increase to almost 50% by 2030.

Nigerian philanthropist and entrepreneur Tony Elumelu says the continent must invest in young people. He says the youth are ready to lead in business.

His foundation saw more than 1000 trainees from 54 African countries graduate at the 2018 Entrepreneurship Forum.

Strong youth presence in future forums

Director at the African Development Bank, Victor Oladokun says, “What we will need as part of collision that we are building definitely are young voices – men and women – whose voices can also be heard on the platform to provide guidance. We are not speaking to them they are speaking to the platform. No system is perfect we could have looked back and said we could have do this we could have done that. I can tell you there could be a 100 things that we could have done better, but what I can tell you is the successes, just bringing the different voices of presidents of heads of state leading global financiers and investors, this is truly unprecedented and this was our first outing and first objective but moving forward we are going to do things a whole lot differently.”

The bank says it will have a strong youth in business focus in its future forums.

“Already as a bank we are doing an incredible lot investing in SMMEs and programs and mentoring a lot of young people across the continent, so at the end of the day. We are over-subscribed as a forum. It was not anticipated to be this big at this point. But I’ll tell you this we had to jump through a lot of huddles on a policy level on a planning level but your going to see more sessions with younger entrepreneur’s, with younger voices.”

A young entrepreneur attending the Africa Investment Forum, Moses Acquah says an African youth funding body would be very helpful to the young people of the continent. Especially for those who want capital for start- up businesses.

” I represent young innovators young entrepreneur’s on the continent. I’m here for the passion to make sure that the youth is recognised. The future economy is the youth and we cannot just talk about investment, investment, investment without highlighting the core machinery that will make it happen. And someone came to me and said why don’t we have a youth parliament? We have started the motion, we want more people on board. It cannot just be Moses, it cannot just be a few youth represented and we need to do our part to make it work. And it cannot just happen when banks say ten million, 15 million. How do we mobilise ourselves to have one voice.  Unfortunately we don’t have it and this is why we need to have our voices heard.”

Group Executive at the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) Muzi Mathema says, “Some of the initiative that this process has come up with is identify key issues that will unlock value to the youth. For example the education Africa program, but the chair and I did attend the successful programs which had to do with education infrastructure and so forth. We did have a youth and SMME process which was fully youth and fully SMME. And we have over nine hundred delegates. And there were no politicians there and no elderly people there. And it was a good representation of Africa.”

Chairman of the board of Directors at the GGDA, Ernest Mahlaule says they are working with Development Finance Institutions to breach the gap for the African youth when it comes to access to finance.

“We decided to do it in a way that its structured in a way that its sustainable and there is an agreement that will be out together by the SMME’s and the financing of the Africa Investment Forum to make sure there is sustainability going forward. The DFI’s don’t fund directly. They work through partners, so we brought in other partners, the private sector. There are partners that are working with the DFI so that they can reach the small man on the street. For them to go and fund a 1,1 million fund won’t make economic sense. They raise their funding internationally and their expectations is very high and it’s dollar based.”