Oil magnate Kola Aluko of Atlantic Energy has teamed up with internationally renowned Ghanaian-born British fashion designer Ozwald Boateng to launch Africa50, a $500 million African infrastructure project development fund. Africa50 is an alliance between the Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) with a critical objective to shorten the time between project idea and financial close –from a current average of 7 years to under 3 years. It aims to raise $500 million by the first half of 2014 so as to deliver a critical mass of infrastructure in Africa in the short-to-medium term.
The Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF), is a UK non-profit organization founded by Aluko and Boateng when they realized that a few hundred million dollars of investment in project development could change the course of economic development for the whole of Africa while over the past five years, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has delivered over $5.4 billion in critical infrastructure investment in Africa through private sector and public-private partnership financing by attracting investments from development finance institutions, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and governments to the fund.
Kola Aluko, a successful Nigerian oilman, has said in the past that the solution to Africa’s problems is not charity in terms of building schools or hospitals, which sometimes are not sustainable. “These projects happen and then they are left in incapable hands and they are not commercially driven. As a consequence, most of them will go on for as long as the money has been given lasts and beyond that they slowly dilapidate and slowly die,” he said on an online broadcast.
“Infrastructure drives growth. If we focus on the big infrastructure projects- power, good roads, railways – then we will be creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs in other areas of endeavor which are non-infrastructure,” Aluko said in the online broadcast.
Re-emphasizing the need for such an investment, Ozwald Boateng, co-founder of MIAF, reiterated that Africa could not properly compete without the infrastructure that would drive trade. “Clearly as Africans to compete we need the roads and rail, telecommunications and urban environments that stimulate and ensure trade,” Boateng said in a statement.
Oscar-winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx joined the two African businessmen to officially launch the fund last Wednesday at the NASDAQ in New York where they rang the opening bell.
Kola Aluko is a Nigerian energy and aviation tycoon who founded oil trading firm – Fossil Resources in 2001, then went on to become CEO of Exoro Energy. In 2007, the company merged with Seven Energy where Aluko is now Deputy CEO and a leading shareholder with operations and key interests in four onshore fields in the Niger Delta. Aluko is also a member of the advisory board of Vista Jets a Swiss-based private jet charter company.
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