June 2, 2016

General Electric Africa, Mara Group and Atlas Merchant Capital Partner to address infrastructure challenges in Africa

Dolapo Omidire

Three international firms have partnered to help address infrastructure challenges in Africa through investments in equity projects.

The firms, General Electric Africa (GE), Mara Group and Atlas Merchant Capital, will invest in infrastructure projects including energy, rail, among others, in a quest to stimulate the continent’s economic potential through infrastructure development.

GE Africa President Jay Ireland said Wednesday, May 25 at a press briefing on the sidelines of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual Meetings in Lusaka, Zambia, that adequate infrastructure remains critical in the economic development and integration of the continent.

Ireland said GE Africa, which committed US $2 billion three years ago in various investment programmes, wants to effectively contribute in addressing infrastructure gaps.

Ireland said the partnership with Mara Group and Atlas Merchant Capital will solidify efforts of improving rail transport, access to power through reliable energy projects, water and sanitation projects.

“We want to dedicate ourselves to developing under-developed infrastructure in Africa through equity projects. As you know, the theme for the Annual Meetings is all about ‘Energy and climate change’,” he said, adding that infrastructure is absolutely key for African countries to become middle-income economies.

At the same occasion, Mara Founder Ashish Thakkar said the initiative will impact positively on the continent, which is grappling with infrastructure challenges.

“Investments in power projects, for instance, will have a direct impact in addressing the US $50-billion gap in power financing. This will impact positively on all sectors of the economy,” he said.

Thakkar said partnerships among stakeholders remain critical in meeting the infrastructure needs on the continent.

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