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Business News of Wednesday, 15 May 2024



UBA Africa CEO advocates for funding, partnerships to drive infrastructural development

Panel for the Africa Prosperity Dialogue 2025 Panel for the Africa Prosperity Dialogue 2025

In a panel discussion on infrastructure development in Africa at the launch of the 2025 Africa Prosperity Dialogue, Mrs Abiola Bawuah, the Executive Director and CEO of UBA Africa, emphasized the availability of funding to support the expansion of infrastructure across the continent.

Mrs Bawuah highlighted the presence of regional, commercial, and development banks in Africa which could offer the needed support for infrastructure to propel growth in Africa. She stressed the importance of collaborative dialogues with all financial stakeholders to pool funds for Africa’s development.

Speaking on UBA’s contributions, Mrs Bawuah mentioned the bank’s substantial financing of infrastructure projects in Africa, including Ghana, and expressed UBA’s willingness to partner with governments and other entities to drive Africa’s development agenda with regard to closing the infrastructure gap in Africa.

Mrs Bawuah emphasized the need for sustainable funding mechanisms, stating, “Our quest for good infrastructure like roads, railways, telecoms, etc. must be paid for, and therefore we must demonstrate the ability to pay for the funding.” She highlighted the role of banks in partnering with governments to ensure viable funding solutions, citing UBA’s financing of a USD 300 million road project in southern Africa, which is sustained through tolling mechanisms.

Addressing the cost of funding, Mrs Bawuah called for dialogues aimed at reducing funding costs to make lending more viable for banks. She urged the African Prosperity Network (APN) to convene discussions between banks, the Bank of Ghana, the Business Community, and other stakeholders to achieve this goal.

Regarding funding tenure, Mrs Bawuah noted variations across countries, with UBA offering funding tenures of 8-12 years in some countries, subject to economic factors. However, she highlighted challenges in Ghana, where the longest tenure is currently limited to 4 years due to funding costs and a challenging macroeconomic environment.

Mrs Bawuah also advocated for a review of Stock Exchanges in Africa, noting their underperformance and suggesting improvements to better support infrastructure development initiatives across Africa with long-term funds.

The panel discussion also featured prominent key personalities, including the Group CEO of Telecel, Moh Damush, the Director-General of SSNIT, Kofi Bosompem Osafo-Marfo, and Hon. John Peter Amewu, Minister for Railway Development in Ghana, emphasizing the collaborative efforts needed from various sectors to drive infrastructure development in order to harness the opportunities that abound in Africa.