Private sector-focused Alliance for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (Sapz) has announced $3 billion (about K5.1 trillion) in new investment to transform Africa’s underdeveloped rural areas into agro-industrial corridors of prosperity.
The alliance has been formed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Afreximbank, Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms, the Islamic Development Bank Group and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.
Adesina: It will
The Alliance, comprising development financial institutions, the private sector and development-oriented technical partners, will also help streamline the development and delivery of SAPZ projects.
A statement published on the African Development Bank website shows that the new commitment consists of $1.1 billion by AfDB Group, $1 billion by Afreximbank, $300 million by the Islamic Development Bank Group and $600 million from Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms and its partners.
AfDB Group president Akinwumi Adesina said in the statement the alliance will raise funds through various investment windows for project preparation, project development and construction, and financing for tenant companies.
“By doing so, the Alliance will bridge the critical financing gap, complement existing initiatives, and mobilise resources towards our common goal of enhancing agricultural value-addition in Africa,” he said.
The development comes as Malawi’s efforts to shift towards export-oriented industrialisation that involves production of goods and services that are competitive on the global market have faltered almost 30 years on.
This is reflected in the reduction in the number of firms participating in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) from 40 in 1996 to 15 at the end of last year and is largely due to change in trade and fiscal policies.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre has drafted a Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Bill that is expected to guide developments and operations of the SEZs in Malawi.
Malawi has since identified Area 55 in Lilongwe for the development of 55 SEZs in agro and food processing, production of electrical equipment, manufacture of chemical and plastics, general and light engineering, electronics manufacturing, information and communications technology and logistics centre.