Nigerian Oil Tycoon Kola Aluko Launches $500 Million African Development Fund At Nasdaq

(By Mfonobong Nsehe)

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.

Nigerian oil magnate Kola Aluko and Ghanaian-born British fashion designer Ozwald Boateng have launched Africa50, a $500 million African infrastructure project development fund.

Oscar-winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx joined the two African businessmen to officially launch the fund on Wednesday at the NASDAQ in New York where they rang the opening bell.

Africa50, a $500 million Pan-African infrastructure fund, is a joint venture between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF), a UK non-profit organization founded by Kola Aluko and Ozwald Boateng to facilitate development in Africa by funding large-ticket infrastructure projects across sub-Saharan Africa.

So far, Africa50 had raised about $250 million. Aluko and the African Development Bank have committed $50 million each to the fund. Together with the AfDB, the Made In Africa Foundation plans to attract investments from development finance institutions, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and governments to the fund. Capri Global Capital, a US-based investment advisory founded by African-American fund manager Quintin E. Primo III, will work with the AfDB and MIAF in raising the additional capital.

The alliance between MIAF and AfDB aims to raise $500 million for Africa50’s project development arm by the first half of 2014. The money will be used to fund feasibility studies of large-scale infrastructure projects. Made In Africa is also planning to raise a $10 billion project finance 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 available here.

Aluko and Boateng set out to provide a catalyst for African development and growth by focusing on commercially viable infrastructure projects in Africa.

“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, a 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.

Aluko is a wealthy Nigerian businessman with interests in the energy and private aviation industries. He is a founder of Fossil Resources, an oil trading company, and Atlantic Energy, a private Nigerian upstream oil and gas company. He also serves as a member of the advisory board for Swiss luxury aviation company Vistajet and drives for the Swiss car racing team, Kessel Racing.

(Source: Forbes)

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