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African Development Bank boosts business opportunities

The African Development Bank is going to enhance private sector participation in key sectors financed by the Bank.

100 companies from a dozen countries from the sub-region and beyond were represented with a variety of sectors and sizes, including many SMEs.

Over the two-day seminar, these companies, who were South African, regional as well as international, expressed keen interest in doing business with the African Development Bank.

The fields were diverse and included: energy, transport, infrastructure, ICT, agriculture, water, health, financial products, and heavy industry.

“The objective of this bi-annual event is for us to have better communication with our clients, meaning not only the information we share about us but also receiving feedback from them about doing business with us,” said Valerie Dabady, African Development Bank division manager for resource mobilisation and partnerships department.

Following in the footsteps of the African Investment Forum which showcased Africa as a prime investment market place, and had transactions at the core of its deliverables, the seminar stressed that without qualified companies to implement its projects, African Development Bank would not have the outcomes, and therefore the impact sought.

The companies however needed to be well versed in the African Development Bank’s  policies in order to bid for projects successfully.

The seminar put together a database of interested trade partners, and through a dedicated monitoring system, follows up on the potential partnerships.

A number of contacts were already established between companies participating in the seminar, and SA Taxi, Eskom and Kalagadi Mining, were the three private sector companies that shared their experience in obtaining AfDB financing.

“The Business Opportunity Seminar (BOS) brought the focus down from the continental level to the regional one,” explained Kapil Kapoor, African Development Bank Southern Africa Region director general.

“With the BOS, we tried to put together a database of specific project proposals that individual investors discussed with us.

“Our staff will put together a database and monitoring system which will make sure that each of these transactions is followed up on so it doesn’t become another talk shop,” said Kapoor.

The Southern Africa  of the African Development Bank operates in 13 regional member countries with an ongoing portfolio of more than USD 11 billion, with South Africa taking the lion’s share at 42%, followed by Namibia (11%), Zambia (9%) and Angola (7%).

Many more untapped opportunities are still out there, and this seminar serves as a start to trade and investment between AfDB and consultants, contractors, manufacturers, private sector, entrepreneurs and suppliers.

“There are a vast amount of opportunities that one actually was not aware of,” said Lerato Motsamai, founder & MD of Petro Link.

“There should be another session that really talks to the entrepreneurs, the SMEs in terms of how they can be a part of the procurement opportunities as well and how they can leverage from the Bank’s resources,” Motsamai added.