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Annual Report

Annual Report > Previous Annual Reports  > 2012 Online Report  > Stories of Impact 

Promoting a Virtuous Cycle by Modernizing Africa’s Infrastructure

India's Rural Women

We focus on the building blocks of any modern economy—ports, railways, telecoms, and power.

Even as crews put the finishing touches on newly built roads, ports, and power stations across Africa, the continent’s people and its growing economies are demanding more.

Africa’s recent economic growth is highlighting—even deepening—long-standing structural problems, with infrastructure growth failing to keep pace. Congested roads, a lack of clean water, and frequent power outages are the reality in many African cities. Most of Africa’s population has no access to electricity at all.

IFC responded on a historic scale in 2012. For the first time, we invested and mobilized nearly $1.6 billion in investments in all types of private infrastructure in Africa. This was more than double the amount in 2011.

Our focus is on the building blocks of any modern economy: ports, railways, telecoms, and power, including renewable energy.

Recent successful projects highlight the various ways IFC is helping Africa build its infrastructure. In Senegal, we supported private sector involvement in the Dakar Toll Road, which will greatly improve transport and trade in and around the capital. In Togo, our investment and advisory support is helping Togolese power company ContourGlobal Togo S.A. develop, build, and operate a 100-megawatt thermal power plant in the capital, Lome.

These and many other projects underscore the strides Africa is making. But it will take time and sustained investment for the continent to build a solid infrastructure foundation.

IFC is also leading the way in strengthening Africa’s know-how on developing and guiding infrastructure projects in ways that achieve the right balance between private and public interests and manage environmental and social risks.

We have successfully advised African governments, including local municipalities, on how to engage the private sector in essential public services, and on how to restructure state-owned enterprises. Our support for public-private partnerships between fiscal years 2008 and 2012 is expected to facilitate more than $175 million in private financing for infrastructure and health, and to provide improved services to 500,000 people.

Political risks, corruption, and regulatory interference remain formidable obstacles, but economists and analysts are pointing to the outlines of a virtuous cycle: as Africa grows, it is attracting increased investment and expertise to fund and drive future expansion.



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