Omicron variant: AfDB postpones Africa investment forum

The African Development Bank (AfDB) group, has postponed indefinitely, the 2021 Africa Investment Forum (AIB) scheduled for December 1 to December 3, in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire until further notice.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of AfDB, in a statement issued on Monday in Abidjan, said that the postponement was in relation to travel restrictions arising from the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

He said that the postponement of the event followed consultations with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the Board of Directors of AfDB.

According to him, the AIF is the premier investment marketplace for Africa.

“Several billion dollars of investment projects were scheduled for investment board rooms with project sponsors and investors at this edition of the AIF.

“Unfortunately, with rising global travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, and heightened concerns for health and safety, it is necessary, regrettably, to postpone the event.

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“The health and safety of everyone comes first,” he added.

He said that the bank and the government of Côte d’Ivoire wished to thank previously expected participants and delegations and look forward to hosting the event at a future date.

“We sincerely regret all inconveniences to our esteemed and expected heads of state and government, participants, project sponsors, investors and government delegations.

“We would like to thank all participants, investors and project sponsors for the excellent preparatory work they have done,” he said.

The event, also referred to as ”AIF 2021 Market Days” was to be held in a hybrid format featuring physical and virtual participation.

With the theme: “Accelerating Transformative Investments in Africa”, it reflects the urgent need to attract greater inflows of private capital into business and investment across Africa, a need sharpened since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Opportunities to be showcased at the event were expected to drive Africa’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A flagship initiative of the AfDB, the forum was launched in 2018 with seven other founding partners.

They are Africa 50; the Africa Finance Corporation; the African Export-Import Bank; the Development Bank of Southern Africa; the Trade and Development Bank; the European Investment Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.