Investing and implementing infrastructure projects in East Africa is set for a paradigm shift as government officials, private sector and expert meet in Nairobi for the first East Africa infrastructure project financing conference.
The two day conference to be held at the Radisson Blu will see 21 key speakers from the East Africa, Africa and the global space share the platform to address issues around infrastructure development and financing.
It will attract more than 150 key delegates from Spain,South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania and representatives of global bodies among them the World Bank.
The conference is an annual forum that seeks to explore mechanisms that can increase investment in infrastructure in the East African region, through efficient structuring of infrastructure projects.
It brings together, among others, project lenders, project owners, insurance firms and government entities to brainstorm and share expertise on how to structure longer term and sustainable infrastructure finance facilities and mechanisms that will ensure more investment in the region.
“The conference aims to showcase the infrastructure opportunities, the challenges, the risks and how the region, jointly with multilateral agencies and other stakeholders, can mitigate the risk exposures so as to ensure favourable returns for the stakeholders in this sector,” said Johnson Mwawasi, CEO and founder Lean Africa Consultants Ltd.
According to the organizers, the outcome of the conference will lead to more investment and possible acceleration of the infrastructural development of the region.
Additionally, the conference will help the leadership of the region, project sponsors and other contracting entities in successfully packaging infrastructure project proposals in such a way that they attract sustainable and longer term financing.
The conference is an initiative of Lean Africa Consultants Limited, a consulting firm incorporated in Kenya that offers project finance and Public Private Partnership (PPP) advisory services.
Lean Africa’s vision is to structure sustainable financing solutions that conclusively address the needs, challenges and opportunities of Africa.
The forum is designed to build capacity on how to structure and enhance infrastructure project proposals so as to make them bankable.
It also offers an opportunity to engage the banking fraternity on the need to model sustainable longer term finance facilities for infrastructure projects, explore mechanisms that can minimize and mitigate risks in infrastructure projects and to create a forum through which the East African region can show case infrastructure project pipeline.
It is further meant to increase investment in infrastructure through efficient structuring of infrastructure projects and to explore possibilities of harmonizing the region’s PPP framework so as to be able to sell regional projects to the private sector.
Participants are expected to understand project structuring; learn from renowned infrastructure project consultants on how best to structure infrastructure project proposals for success.
“Additionally, you can benchmark on how other project owners in the region have been able to successfully structure and implement signature infrastructure projects,” Mwawasi noted.
The conference brings together diverse infrastructure project lenders including commercial banks, pension funds and development financing institutions. These entities will showcase the different financing lines that they offer and how one can package infrastructure proposals to secure financing through them.
It will also enable participating governments and the private sector to have an early look at the project pipeline of the East African region and identify key projects that they might be interested in, while helping companies position themselves for business.
“The conference is a strategic opportunity to network with the government officials, top management of commercial banks and contracting authorities, infrastructure consultants and legal entities that will be in attendance,” the secretariat notes, as it calls on both the regional states and sector players to take advantage of the breaks during the conference to close important deals to further their business and development agendas.
Expected at the form include ministries of finance, infrastructure and transport from the East Africa member states.
It will also attract Public Private Partnership unit directors, infrastructure financing units of contracting entities, infrastructure or project finance units of commercial banks, insurance companies, institutional investors, EPC contractors and project finance consultants.
Others are law firms, multilateral and development finance institutions, research and educational institutions and economic and commercial offices of foreign governments.
Key speakers include Johnson Mwawasi (Lean Africa Consultants), Charles Mwaura (Principal Secretary State Department of Housing and Urban Development –Kenya), Judith Nyakawa(acting director Public-Private Partnership Unit at the National Treasury-Kenya, Allen Kagina(Executive Director Uganda National Roads Authority) and Collin Catherine, European Investment Bank –Head of East Africa Representative.
“We are trying to see how we can create long term solutions which include how we can come up with well packaged projects which will attract funding. It is high time we create a solution and give governments a break to focus on other issues,” Mwawasi said, noting that private sector has the capacity to fund mega projects domestically, which if implemented, will tame the growing foreign debt accrued by regional government in infrastructure funding.