August 11, 2020

Volume X, Number 224

August 11, 2020

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August 10, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Africa’s Coming Infrastructure Boom

The World Economic Forum (WEF) African regional meetings in Nigeria this week emphasized that a major push on infrastructure is underway in Africa.  In order for Africa’s recent economic turnaround to continue, large scale investment activities including energy, transportation, housing, and telecommunications are essential.

The amounts required are staggering.  According to McKinsey CEO Barton investment of some $2.6 trillion will be needed.  At the WEF, international institutions and governments committed to invest over $68 billion with a substantial share for infrastructure and development.

Similarly, the potential rewards for private businesses are also enormous.  African leaders have recognized that there is a pivotal role for business organizations working along with governments and NGO’s.  As the President of Kenya stated, “For business, the infrastructure deficit in Africa is an opportunity to do well by doing right.”  

Private investors are quickly realizing this opportunity.  Their interest in Africa is strong and rising; infrastructure is the focal point.  For example, last month the Carlyle Group closed its maiden private equity fund targeting sub-Saharan Africa at almost $700 million—40 percent above target.  Singapore’s Temasek investment agency invested $150 million in an oil and gas group in Nigeria.  The European Investment Bank has mobilized $15 billion for Africa.

With these opportunities come considerable risks.  Many African governments recognize the need to improve their regulatory regimes and policies toward investors.  This is a step in the right direction. However, any investment in fast growing Africa requires a comprehensive approach including a careful analysis of legal, regulatory, and policy issues.

© 2020 Covington & Burling LLPNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 141


About this Author

Anne Pence, International Advisor, Covington Law Firm
Senior International Adviser

Constance Anne Pence, a non-lawyer, is a senior international advisor in Covington’s Washington, DC office. As a policy-oriented economist for over 20 years, Ms. Pence has tremendous experience advising sovereign and corporate clients, as well as coalitions in both domestic and international policy settings. Before joining Covington, she was the special advisor to the newly-created USG Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Ms. Pence also served with the U.S. State Department for 16 years.  For eight of those years she was the Department’s G8 Summit policy coordinator in the Office of the...

Witney Schneidman, Regulatory attorney, Covington
Senior Adviser

Witney Schneidman has nearly 40 years of experience working across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Drawing on his experience in the State Department, the World Bank, think tanks and his own consulting practice, Dr. Schneidman, a non-lawyer, has advised energy, technology, consumer and health companies, among others, on projects in more than 30 African countries. He has also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs, and on the Africa advisory committees in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and at the U.S. Export-Import Bank.