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Africa Finance Corporation to lead United States (US)-backed development of the Lobito Corridor and Zambia-Lobito Rail Line

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, October 26, 2023/ —  “This represents the most significant transport infrastructure that the US has helped develop on the African continent in a generation”- Helaina Matza, US State Department; AFC  is appointed lead project developer, working with US, EU, Angola, DRC, Zambia, AfDB; Connected, open-access rail from the Atlantic to Indian Ocean envisaged under MOU.

Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the leading infrastructure solutions provider in Africa, today joined with the United States Government, the European Union, the African Development Bank and the governments of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the Lobito Corridor connecting northwest Zambia to the Benguela rail line in Angola and ultimately to the port of Lobito. The ceremony took place on the margins of the Global Gateway Forum in Brussels, Belgium, today.

In a statement reflecting the historic nature of the moment, the U.S State Department’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) Special Coordinator Helaina Matza stated: “This represents the most significant transport infrastructure that the U.S. has helped develop on the African continent in a generation and will enhance regional trade and growth as well as advance the shared vision of connected, open-access rail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean.”

President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission said: “Global Gateway provides the frame for ambitious and strategic partnerships driving structural transformation. The new partnerships with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia will support the development of sustainable and resilient value chains of critical raw materials, while creating quality local jobs. The Lobito transport corridor will also be a game changer to boost regional and global trade.”

The expansion of the Lobito Corridor holds enormous promise for regional and international trade, fostering economic development and improved connectivity. This project aligns with the broader vision of the Biden Administration’s PGI to invest in global infrastructure that serves as a cornerstone for economic prosperity and stability. It underscores the commitment of all partners to sustainable growth and Africa’s transformation.

Following the seven-side MoU, AFC will work with the parties to launch the feasibility and preparatory studies necessary to further prepare this extensive infrastructure project—a critical concrete action step targeted to begin before the end of this year.

“AFC is committed to collaborating with all parties as lead project developer on the expansion of the Lobito Corridor, a signature initiative of the Biden Administration’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment and the European Union’s Global Gateway Initiative,” said Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO of AFC. “There is an urgent need for transport infrastructure on the continent and this project presents a transformative opportunity to enhance regional connectivity, unlock the critical minerals supply chain, promote trade, create local jobs, and drive economic growth in Africa. AFC will leverage its expertise in de-risking projects and mobilising financing at scale to ensure the successful implementation of this vital initiative. We will do so while meeting the expectations of our private shareholders and our government partners.”

The MoU was signed by US Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy & Investment Amos Hochstein, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen, Angolan Minister of State for Economic Coordination José de Lima Massano, the Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Minister Jean-Michel Lukonde, Zambian Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane, the African Development Bank Vice President Solomon Quaynor, and AFC’s Sanjeev Gupta, Board Member and Head of Financial Services.

In affixing his signature for AFC, Gupta said, “This is an important milestone for the Africa Finance Corporation—in many ways historic. This MoU demonstrates the premise of our model, that African project development expertise and African capital can be the enabler to crowding-in global public and private financing to meet Africa’s vast infrastructure needs.”

The Lobito Corridor expansion project showcases the power of partnerships and international collaboration. It is a testament to the shared vision of creating a prosperous Africa by facilitating the seamless movement of goods and people across the continent. As AFC leads this partnership toward implementation, it will serve to demonstrate the immense scope of opportunity for the continent, creating a positive impact on regional growth, job creation and livelihoods.

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