General Electric, the Mara Group and Atlas Merchant Capital have launched a JV to invest in the highly underdeveloped African infrastructure sector to meet the estimated population rise to 1.5bn by 2025.
The three argue that Africa presents high growth prospects in power generation, transport, oil & gas and other infrastructure areas including mining, therefore the JV will focus on facilitating access to capital for both advanced and early development stage projects.
According to Jay Ireland, President and CEO GE Africa: “This joint venture unifies three businesses with a strong commitment and expertise in infrastructure in Africa. The joint venture is our response to an integrated infrastructure approach in Africa.”
The hurdles to address are rapid urbanisation, and a growing middle class devoid of infrastructure. More than 50% of our African nations including Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and the DRC, don’t have access to electricity(2) and an infrastructure investment of US$360bn in power production, power transmission, water storage, modern railways, port capacity and modern highways will be required until 2040. Furthermore, Africa needs to spend $90bn a year for the next decade in order to upgrade and maintain its existing infrastructure alone.
Ashish J Thakkar, Founder, Mara Group, adds: “Through our joint venture with GE and Atlas Merchant Capital, we hope to tackle the funding deficit by creating a platform that has the power to truly change the lives of those living on the continent.”