ICA members committed $19.7bn to Africa’s infrastructure development in 2017, an increase of 5% on the $18.6bn recorded in 2016. This represents one of the highest commitment amounts since the ICA began collecting data, and is only fractionally below the 2015 high of $19.84bn.
Actual commitments are likely to be even higher given that the European Commission, which between 2012 and 2016 committed around $1bn per year to Africa infrastructure projects, had not supplied data for 2017 at the time of publication of the ‘Infrastructure Financing Trends in Africa 2017’ report.
In 2017, there was a significant shift in commitments by sector compared to previous years. For the first time since 2011, ICA members provided more financing for transport infrastructure than for the energy sector. Commitments to the transport sector, which amounted to $8.1bn in 2017, increased by 63% from the previous year. This represents 41% of all funding by ICA members.
The $4.8bn of financing for water and sanitation projects in 2017 was consistent with the $4.6bn reported the previous year. However, the $5.7bn in financing of energy infrastructure in 2017 represented a 25% fall from the $7.7bn committed in 2016. This continues the gradual decline seen since the 2014 high of $9.2bn.
Commitments by ICA members to the ICT sector in 2017 were $620m, almost double the amount committed in 2016. ICA member funding for multi-sector activities declined by almost 40% from $836m in 2016 to $528m in 2017.
ICA members’ 2017 commitments by sector
Commitments by region were relatively balanced in 2017, with North, West, East and Southern Africa (excluding the Republic of South Africa) each receiving received between 19% and 25% of ICA member financing. However, new commitments to infrastructure in Central Africa continued their recent declining trend, dropping to $1.9bn in 2017 from $2.2bn in 2016.
While commitments to infrastructure projects in Southern Africa (excluding RSA) more than doubled, reaching a high of $3.8bn, commitments in the Republic of South Africa declined, from $966m in 2016 to $495m in 2017.
ICA members’ 2017 commitments by region
In 2017, $10.9bn was disbursed by ICA members. This amount is below those reported in 2011-16 of between $11.4-13.4bn. Consistent with commitments reported in previous years, the majority of disbursements in 2017 were directed towards the energy sector (44%). The regional breakdown of members’ disbursements in 2017 was also consistent with those for 2016. However, Southern Africa saw a decline in disbursements from $1.5bn in 2016 to $815m in 2017.
The significant gap in commitments compared to lower levels of disbursements is not unusual. This may be due to (a) some commitments being subsequently withdrawn; these are not reported (b) the reporting of commitments to funds, which are not subsequently reported as disbursements by ICA members but instead appear as private sector spending (c) projects being completed at a lower cost than originally expected, and (d) slow project preparation processes leading to delays in disbursements.