Ladies and Gentlemen, as your host for today, firstly, let me welcome you all to the Lagos branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

As the Chairman of the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp), I would like to acknowledge my fellow Promoters – the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA); my fellow board members – the Debt Management Office (DMO) and the independent non-executive directors; and the Presidency, here represented by the Special Adviser on Infrastructure, Finally, let me congratulate Dr Lazarus Angbazo on his appointment as the foundation Chief Executive Officer of InfraCorp, as he drives the company to deliver on its mandate to our Nation.

As we meet here today to witness the signing of the Term Sheet between InfraCorp and the Independent Asset Managers, I think it necessary to bring attendees up to speed on the journey here. A few months after the administration was returned in 2019, after the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Mr President issued a challenge to the Banking and Finance Sectors. He challenged us to partner with him in his Infrastructure Transformation Agenda to deliver the foundation of national assets for sustainable economic growth. No sooner was the challenge accepted, than the extraordinary events of 2020 took a hold over our individual, national and global lives.

In March-2020, just as the Global Pandemic was being recognised, the Bank launched the Going for Growth 2.0 Initiative with public and private-sector stakeholders. With the virus threat just unfolding, amongst the major issues addressed were the challenges and recommendations for the expansion of Technology and Telecommunication, Transportation, and Energy Networks. During the plenary session moderated by my fellow promoter – Samalia Zubairu, panellists underscored the need for private sector participation in infrastructure development stating that government funds were insufficient for national needs. However, no sooner was a direction agreed than the virus took full control of our lives.

During 2020, we were reminded of national self-interest. Across the globe, shortfalls in critical economic sectors became National Security issues. With no access to foreign-manufactured drugs, vaccines and hospitals. Nigerians’ health would be determined solely by Nigerians. The Gospel of Globalisation went untold and unheard, as it was every country for itself.

However, Nigeria did not panic, and it is here that we may find a lesson. After consultations and engagements, private sector operators joined together to support the Federal Government, forming the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID). By procuring equipment and materials, establishing health and testing centres and securing and storing critical food supplies, the impact of the virus on our economy and society was significantly reduced. It was an unexpected and unique cooperation between Nigerian public and private sectors to provide a local solution to a global problem.

This type of collaboration, I believe, provides a practical template to solve many of the complex socio-economic problems that our Nation faces. From public health, climate change and the energy transition, to infrastructure and beyond, the Public Sector cannot resolve these issues by itself. The Private Sector, correctly incentivized, can deploy the critical resources and capacity to deliver successfully.

Returning to Mr President’s challenge. I presented my memo on the InfraCorp Concept to His Excellency on May 7th 2020, and he graciously gave his approval on July 1st 2020, for His Excellency the Vice President to chair the Infrastructure Finance Project Steering Committee to develop the concept. Since that day, the Promoters – the Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority have worked assiduously with the Transaction Adviser – KPMG, and the Legal Advisers – Kenna Partners, Olaniwun Ajayi, and Ukiri and Lijadu to deliver InfraCorp as a catalyst to accelerate public-private solutions for Infrastructure. For Infrastructure projects originated by the public sector, InfraCorp’s goal is to shape projects for private sector financing and management. For projects originated by the private sector, InfraCorp will help shape government policy to support and sustain private sector investment. Today, marks a major milestone as InfraCorp and the Infrastructure Asset Managers – the AAA Consortium, Chapel Hill Denham, Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers here in Nigeria, and Sanlam Infraworks – have concluded the initial discussions on how they will operate together to deliver infrastructure to the Nation

Economic storms continue. However, as global trade networks retreat and agreements fail, Africa moves against this trend providing opportunities to companies in Nigeria. For Nigerian companies to focus successfully on their competencies, they need to be assured of the infrastructure that they rely upon. The deficit may be large; however, with resources from the private-sector, targeted incentives from the public sector and the drive of our individual citizens, I strongly believe that Nigeria will be ready, willing and able to deliver the infrastructure that will be the foundation of our development.

I thank you all for your contributions in delivering this day.

Godwin Emefiele

Central Bank of Nigeria