Using pension funds in infrastructure finance in Africa : the case of NEPAD projects

Chuckun, Vedvyas Sharma (2010-03)

Thesis (MDF (Development Finance))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Infrastructure and related services are crucial for facilitating economic activities, creating employment opportunities and generating economic growth. The African continent has a huge infrastructure gap estimated by the World Bank at US$75 billion per annum. However, the current levels of public sector resources and foreign capital inflows in Africa are insufficient to fund this infrastructure gap. Africa, therefore, needs to explore new sources of funding to finance its infrastructure backlog. It is then natural that Africa should encourage the private sector to invest in the infrastructure sector. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the worldwide funded pensions market is about US$24.6 trillion of which US$16.2 trillion is held by pension funds (Inderst, 2009). Infrastructure investments provide important benefits including long-term and inflation-hedged cash revenues which are compatible with pension fund interests. Pension funds around the world have been already investing in infrastructure assets, for example in Latin America, Australia, Canada and the United States of America (US) amongst others. However, such experiences of pension fund participation in infrastructure financing in Africa are very rare. Anecdotal evidence suggests that African pension funds currently manage assets of about US$300 billion. If a small portion of the pension fund assets could be invested in infrastructure projects in Africa, the continent’s infrastructure gap could be partly addressed. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), a programme of the African Union, seeks to address the infrastructure gap and mobilise the necessary resources domestically and from outside the continent. NEPAD, together with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the regional economic communities, has developed an Infrastructure Plan for Africa. This study explores the possibility of utilising some of the Africa pension fund assets for infrastructure investments especially in the NEPAD infrastructure projects. The global trends in pension fund investments in infrastructure are reviewed to propose a model for infrastructure investments by African pension funds and some recommendations are put forward on how to increase such investments. AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Infrastruktuur en verwante dienste is krities vir die fasilitering van ekonomiese aktiwiteite, die skep van werksgeleenthede en om ekonomiese groei te genereer. Die Afrika-kontinent het ’n groot infrastruktuur-gaping wat deur die Wêreldbank op US$75 biljoen per jaar beraam word. Die huidige vlakke van openbare-sektor hulpbronne en buitelandse kapitaalinvloei is egter onvoldoende om hierdie infrastruktuur-gaping te befonds. Afrika moet daarom nuwe bronne vir befondsing ondersoek om sy infrastruktuur agterstand te befonds. Dit is dan natuurlik dat Afrika die privaatsektor sal aanmoedig om in die infrastruktuur-sektor te belê. Volgens die Organisasie vir Ekonomiese Samewerking en Ontwikkeling (OECD), is die wêreldwye pensioenmark omtrent US$24.6 triljoen waarvan US$16.2 triljoen deur pensioenfondse gehou word (Inderst, 2009). Infrastruktuur-beleggings bied belangrike voordele insluitend langtermyn- en inflasie-verskanste kontantinkomstes wat versoenbaar is met pensioenfonds belange. Pensioenfondse regoor die wêreld het alreeds begin om in infrastruktuurbates te belê, byvoorbeeld in Latyns-Amerika, Australië, Kanada en in die Verenigde State van Amerika. Sulke gevalle van pensioenfonds deelname aan infrastruktuur-finansiering in Afrika is egter seldsaam. Daar word gespekuleer dat Afrika se pensioenfondse tans bates bestuur van ongeveer US$300 biljoen. As ’n klein gedeelte van die pensioenfondsbates in infrastruktuur-projekte in Afrika belê kon word, sou die kontinent se infrastruktuur-gaping gedeeltelik aangespreek word. Die nuwe vennootskap vir Afrika se ontwikkeling (New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD), ‘n program van die Afrika Unie, streef daarna om die infrastruktuur gaping aan te spreek en die nodige hulpbronne binnelands en van buite die kontinent te mobiliseer. NEPAD, tesame met die Afrika Ontwikkelingsbank (AfDB) en die streek se ekonomiese gemeenskappe, het ’n infrastruktuur-plan vir Afrika ontwikkel. Hierdie studie ondersoek die moontlikheid om ’n gedeelte van Afrika se pensioenfondsbates vir infrastruktuur-beleggings aan te wend, veral in die NEPAD infrastruktuur-projekte. Die wêreldwye neigings in pensioenfondsbeleggings in infrastruktuur word ondersoek om ’n model voor te stel vir infrastruktuur-beleggings deur Afrika pensioenfondse en ’n paar aanbevelings word gemaak om sodanige beleggings te verhoog.

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