By Andy Sambidge
New report says aid from GCC-based entities represents up to 10% of total African inflows over past decade
Gulf entities have funded at least $30 billion of African infrastructure projects over the past decade, according to a new study by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The report said the funding amounts to between seven and 10 percent of total inflows, of which approximately $15 billion was in the form of loans and grants from Gulf development agencies and $15 billion in direct investments.
The study, developed in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit, also said that annual contributions are likely to average $5 billion in the coming years.
It also revealed that Gulf funding for African infrastructure has focused on North Africa, which has received the bulk of aid (about 65 percent of the total) and also a large share of the direct private investment (60 percent).
It highlighted a focus on countries such as Djibouti and Senegal, with relatively little Gulf investment in the continent’s fast-growing economies of Angola, Ethiopia and Nigeria, which have attracted considerable infrastructure funding from Brazilian and Chinese entities.
According to the study, more than half of Gulf aid has gone to transport projects, mainly road building, with about 30 percent on power and 15 percent on water projects, but very little on telecoms infrastructure.
By contrast, the telecoms sector has been the main infrastructure focus of the GCC private sector, followed by ports and, increasingly, power generation, it added.
Hamad Buamim, president and CEO, Dubai Chamber, said due to cultural and historical ties to Africa, GCC investors are well positioned to invest in infrastructure in Africa.
He said: “Opportunities are not limited to public and large companies, small companies are also well positioned to invest. Dubai Chamber’s study has revealed that given the perceived risks associated with mega-projects in several African markets, smaller-scale projects have becoming increasingly more appealing, especially in the energy industry."