AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwunmi Adesina has challenged the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to recalibrate trade between the UK and Africa by investing heavily in the continent’s infrastructure.
Mr Adesina, who is currently in London for the UK-Africa Investment Summit, visited the stock exchange yesterday, which he praised for being the third largest in the world with a market capitalisation of about $4.6trn. During the visit, Mr Adesina, noted that in 2019, Africa had 110 companies listed on the LSE, with a market capitalisation of $197bn but added that more needs to be done.
He said: “Last year 17 African countries grew by between 3% and 5% and 20 countries grew by 5% and above. Indeed, six of the fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa and foreign direct investments to Africa grew at 11% last year, far exceeding the 4% growth in Asia.
“The Africa Continental Free Trade Area is worth $3.3trn, making it the largest free trade zone in the world. That’s why I am excited about the UK-Africa Investment Summit but it’s time to recalibrate UK-Africa trade and investment and a good place to start on investments is on infrastructure.
“Africa’s unmet infrastructure demand is worth $68bn to 108bn a year, offering huge opportunities for global investors. The Africa Development Bank has been a close partner of the LSE and we participate on the board of the London Stock Exchange Africa Advisory Group and are delighted with our partnership on the companies that inspire Africa Report.
“The Africa Investment Forum, launched by the African Development Bank, helped to attract investment interests worth $40.1bn last year, in less than 72 hours. With institutional investors holding £8trn of assets under management in the UK and only 1% of that going to Africa, it is time to change the trend.
“The African Development Bank looks forward to working with the London Stock Exchange to deepen the development of capital markets in Africa and to attract UK institutional investors to Africa. The synthetic securitisation of $1bn issued by the bank has attracted global institutional investors to infrastructure in Africa and the bank is also working on improving African capital markets access to domestic and international markets passive investment flows.
“The bank will be working with the London Stock Exchange Africa Advisory Group to attract a greater portion of the $5trn in global exchange traded fund assets under management into African capital markets. We also look forward to developing green bond markets with you in Africa.”
Mr Adesina added that the AfDB hopes to partner with the LSE on its planned initiative to unlock dormant capital from existing fixed assets across Africa, with an estimated value of $4trn to $5trn. He said: “My ringing of the bell here today marks the beginning of a new, exciting, strategic and impactful engagement between the African Development Bank and the London Stock Exchange to jointly expand wealth creation in Africa and the UK.”