A Nigerian oil firm is collaborating with African designer Ozwald Boateng to set up a Foundation that will focus on first-stage funding of infrastructure projects in Africa, the local media reported Thursday.
Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited (Atlantic Energy) and the international designer are setting up the multi-million-dollar charitable organisation tagged ”Made In Africa Foundation”.
The Foundation will start-off with a grant of US$7 million from the oil firm and will provide “first mile” finance to Africans and African businesses involved in the development of major infrastructure projects in the region.
Finance will be awarded for the drafting of feasibility studies and business plans ahead of seeking project finance from sources such as private equity, development finance institutions and commercial banks.
The Executive Director of Atlantic Energy, Mr. Dayo Okusami, was quoted as saying that “Atlantic Energy’s philosophy is based on the pillar of Enduring Commitment, an abiding promise towards corporate responsibility for the sustainable development of infrastructure projects in Nigeria and other parts of Africa”.
According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the estimated financing requirement to close Africa’s infrastructure deficit is US$93 billion yearly until 2020.
Infrastructure development is the key factor in the transformation of sovereign economies from developing to emerging market status.
Much of this money is available, but it cannot be applied until the requisite business plans and feasibility studies have been developed to enable capable sponsors and funding to come together.
A lack of capital to get to this stage has meant that many opportunities have not been pursued and few projects have been undertaken by Africans or African businesses.
Mr. Okusanya said his company ”is pleased to be a founding donor and supporter of this exceptional charity and we look forward to fostering a continent-wide push for sustainable infrastructure development”.
On his part, Boateng said: ”It’s a well-known statistic that US$400 million of funding for feasibility studies and master plans across sub-Saharan Africa would develop over US$100 billion of infrastructure projects, which in turn would create US$1 trillion value across Africa.
”The first step is often the hardest and we have created this Foundation with Atlantic Energy to make that step easier for Africans,” he said