Saturday, September 18, 2021

Ecobank Nigeria MD Canvasses Financial Institutions to Bridge Infrastructure Gap

Monday, August 30, 2021 / 11:30AM / Ecobank Nigeria / Image Header
Credit: 
Ecobank Nigeria

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Managing Director, Ecobank
Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has advocated a synergy between financial
institutions and private investors to address the infrastructure deficit in the
country.  Akinwuntan in a presentation titled ‘Transportation Infrastructure
Development Financing In Nigeria’ delivered at the Nigerian Institute For
Transport Technology (NITT) 2021 Transport Technology Conference in Abuja,
noted that given the bulk of activities across the infrastructure project
lifecycle in Nigeria, there is a need for a synergy between the private sector
who are major project sponsors and financial institutions in harnessing the
desired value across the ecosystem.

 

The Ecobank Nigeria
Managing Director noted that though Nigeria has made moderate progress in terms
of infrastructure development regarding improved access to finance, strong
telecom penetration, and moderating power production, there is limited
productivity in the transport sector when compared to other sectors and
regions. He lamented that private sector involvement in infrastructure
development is constrained by a selection of low-impact projects; weak
feasibility study and business plan; delays in obtaining licenses, approvals,
and permits, and inability to secure guarantees.

 

Mr. Akinwuntan submitted
that the attractiveness of the transport sector must be compelling to attract
the required funding, noting that there is high investors appetite for Africa
as 72 percent of available funds for African infrastructure investment are from
the private sector.

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According to him, “The
government in partnership with the private sector recently launched Infra-co,
an infrastructure company with an initial seed capital of $2.4 billion
(N1trillion and is expected to grow its capital and assets to $36 billion (N15
trillion) overtime to fund public projects like roads, rails, and power. The
start-up funding will come from the CBN, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment
Authority, and the Africa Finance Corporation. Governance, operations, returns,
and valuation to be driven by global best practices. This is the right step in
the right direction. Also, the Nigerian Banking industry has been showing
consistent support for the Transport and Construction sector, evidenced by
continuous growth in credit allocation. There are major sources for
transportation infrastructure funds such as Green bond pools, Diaspora
Naijaworld Infrastructure Bonds, Technology, and telecoms through the right of
way. International chains/brands funds can also be accessed via private sector
financing.” He stated.

 

He
shared selected Ecobank infrastructure participation success stories across the
continent such as 
Asky Airlines, the multinational passenger airline
serving west and central Africa; road infrastructure in Cote d’Ivoire; port
infrastructure in Ghana; telecommunications Infrastructure in Senegal and power
infrastructure in Cameroun, among others.

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