A new report by the African Development Bank (http://www.afdb.org) explores how structured finance techniques can mobilize African domestic capital to support economic infrastructure projects and economic growth.The report, “Structured Finance – Conditions for infrastructure project bonds in African markets”, will be launched by AfDB Vice President Finance Charles Boamah next 19th April in Washington, DC, on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings.
During the launching ceremony, African Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors will discuss how African markets could mobilize capital for infrastructure projects, especially through African capital markets. They will also discuss how policy-makers and development institutions can help the process.
The new AfDB report highlights the opportunity for project bonds, while outlining the conditions for efficient capital markets. In that regard, the report explains the crucial role of constructive government policies and draws the lessons from other markets that might be useful for Africa.
The release of this new report comes at a very opportune time. African countries have been growing at rates in excess of five per cent. Indeed, seven out of the 10 fastest-growing countries in the last few years are in Africa. This has created a growing middle class and a flourishing financial sector. Savings are accumulating with institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies.
Africa has the financial resources to play a significant role in building African infrastructure, especially since domestic capital markets are growing in several countries. Domestic government bond markets are well established and becoming increasingly sophisticated. In many markets, non-government issuers are actively raising funds.
An opportunity for further innovation exists and would be welcomed by the market. Several African countries today have given priority to the issuance of ‘infrastructure bonds’. Many countries have been attracted by the example of Kenya, which has launched infrastructure bonds both from the central government and from state-owned enterprises such as KenGen. The government of Kenya has led the way by introducing certain tax advantages for investors buying such bonds. This has helped to build interest in the institutional sector.
The report also elaborates on examples from other emerging markets such as Chile, Brazil, Peru and Malaysia using project bonds as a way to catalyze investors’ interest in infrastructure projects. Such examples can serve as a template for African countries on how to develop their own markets.