The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has tasked African nations to utilize the $1.8 trillion pension and sovereign wealth assets in their combined treasuries to help bridge the continent’s infrastructure gap.
This is in line with the position the Nigerian government has taken, as it considers deploying its N9.5 trillion domestic pension funds for infrastructure development.
The President of AfDB, Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina, threw up the challenge on Tuesday in a chat with State House correspondents shortly after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa.
Adesina pointed out that the $1.8 trillion pension and sovereign wealth assets held by African countries would conveniently cover the $66-$108 billion infrastructure deficit.
Stressing that “charity begins at home”, the AfDB chief said it was advisable that such funds were invested in building the continent’s infrastructure rather than investing such monies abroad, only to turn around to go borrowing same funds from western nations the monies have been sent to.
He added that the AfDB was also exploring the option of using the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to shore up revenue to build investments on the continent.
Adesina noted that the 2019 AIF generated over $40 billion, and that the rate of return on investments in Africa remains the highest in the world.
While lending his support to the adoption of Eco as the unit of currency for the West Africa sub-region, the AfDB boss said that the Africa Continental Trade Area (AFCTA) was “the biggest thing thing to happen to Africa”.
The AfDB bank would also continue to lend a hand in tackling insecurity in the sub-region, especially around the Lake Chad, Adesina added.