Nigerian, Ghanaian Magnates Launch $500M Infrastructure Fund

Nigerian, Ghanaian Magnates Launch $500M Infrastructure Fund

Oscar-winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx joined two African businessmen Wednesday at the NASDAQ in New York to ring the opening bell and launch the Africa50, a $500-million African infrastructure project development fund, according to a Forbes report.

Nigerian oil magnate Kola Aluko and Ghanaian-born British fashion designer Ozwald Boateng launched the Pan-African infrastructure fund in a joint venture with African Development Bank and the Made In Africa Foundation, a U.K. non-profit. Aluko and Boateng founded Made In Africa to help develop the continent 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. They hope to attract investments from development finance institutions, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and governments. Capri Global Capital, a U.S.-based investment advisory founded by African-American fund manager Quintin E. Primo III, will help raise additional capital, the report said.

The alliance hopes 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.

Aluko said charity is not the solution to Africa’s problems. Charity-built schools or hospitals are  sometimes unsustainable. “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.”

Aluko and Boateng want to focus 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 an online broadcast.

Boateng said Africa cannot properly compete without the infrastructure to 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 has interests in the energy and private aviation. 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.