Boosting Africa’s Trade and Connectivity
Today, a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), in collaboration with the United States and the European Union.
This strategic agreement not only seals the deal but also paves the way for significant infrastructure development in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia. The focus is on the Lobito Corridor and the new Zambia-Lobito rail line. The signing took place on the sidelines of the Global Gateway Forum in Brussels, Belgium.
Realizing the Full Economic Potential
The MoU, signed by seven stakeholders, outlines their collective intent to collaborate across various sectors, with the goal of unlocking the full economic potential of the Lobito Corridor. This initiative is a significant step forward, building upon the Lobito Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency agreement, which was inked by the three African governments in January. It is also underpinned by substantial investments earmarked for the Zambia-Lobito greenfield rail line.
This rail line, connecting northwestern Zambia to the Lobito Atlantic Railway and the port of Lobito, marks one of the most significant transport infrastructure projects on the African continent, supported by the United States, in a generation. This ambitious venture aims to bolster regional trade and stimulate economic growth, aligning with the vision of establishing a connected, open-access rail system that stretches from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.
The Power of Partnership
The collaboration showcases the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) in action, leveraging both Western and African capital to unlock regional trade and open the doors for additional investments.
This strategic transport infrastructure also sets the stage for advancements in digital connectivity, agriculture value chains, green energy supply chains, and electrification of rural health centers, among other transformative economic imperatives.
Dignitaries at the Signing
The signing ceremony saw the participation of prominent representatives:
- United States: Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Investment, Amos Hochstein.
- European Union: Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen.
- Angola: Minister of State for Economic Coordination, José de Lima Massano.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: Prime Minister, Jean-Michel Lukonde.
- Zambia: Minister of Finance and National Planning, Situmbeko Musokotwane.
- African Development Bank: Vice President, Solomon Quaynor.
- Africa Finance Corporation: Board Member and Head of Financial Services, Sanjeev Gupta.
PGI: A Presidential Initiative
This initiative is a cornerstone of President Biden’s commitment, aiming to provide a credible alternative for low- and middle-income countries worldwide to meet their infrastructure needs. The development of a substantial multi-country transport infrastructure project, meticulously adhering to the highest international standards in terms of labor, environment, and quality, serves as the flagship of PGI’s economic development corridor.
Following the MoU, AFC will collaborate with all stakeholders to initiate feasibility and preparatory studies, with the aim to kickstart this extensive infrastructure project by the end of the year. A concrete step toward economic transformation and enhanced connectivity for the region.