General Electric, the Mara Group and Atlas Merchant Capital are leading an initiative to create a joint venture dedicated to investing in the highly underdeveloped African infrastructure sector.
The joint venture will seek to invest in infrastructure equity projects in selected countries throughout Africa, Mara Group said in an emailed statement.
According to the statement, with the African population set to rise to 1.5bn by 2025, the continent’s economic growth potential is significant. Africa presents high growth prospects in power generation, transport, oil and gas and other infrastructure areas including mining.
“The hurdles to address are rapid urbanisation, and a growing middle class devoid of infrastructure. More than 50 per cent of our African nations including Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and the DRC, don’t have access to electricity and an infrastructure investment of $360bn in power production, power transmission, water storage, modern railways, port capacity and modern highways will be required until 2040.”
The President and Chief Executive Officer, GE Africa, Jay Ireland, was quoted as saying, “This joint venture unifies three businesses with a strong commitment and expertise in infrastructure in Africa. The joint venture is our response to an integrated infrastructure approach in Africa.
“We are proud to partner with the expertise and talent of Atlas Merchant Capital and Mara Group, who have an extensive footprint in Africa, to address the necessities of the African continent.”
He said the GE had been significantly involved in social enterprises to date and would seek to further enhance and promote social and community development in the region to complement their expertise, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit.
The Founder, Mara Group, Ashish Thakkar, said, “Africa is a continent of 54 countries, but there is very low connectivity between them. Intra-African trade, a key driver for economic growth, represents only a fraction of Africa’s total trade over the past decade and this is largely due to a growing shortfall in infrastructure development.
“Through our joint venture with the GE and Atlas Merchant Capital, we hope to tackle the funding deficit by creating a platform that has the power to truly change the lives of those living on the continent.”
The President, African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, said, “We are delighted to see this partnership between three world-class players who, together, can have a real impact on infrastructure development in Africa.
“We all know painfully well the imperative to fill Africa’s annual $50bn infrastructure funding gap. Partnerships like this are a crucial part of the development agenda as we seek to promote social and economic development and fight poverty in Africa.”