Development Finance in Africa

Development finance institutions and businesses around the world are increasingly setting their sites on Africa. African leaders and development institutions tout the benefits that increased private sector investment will bring for the region. The continent, however, has a long history of wealth being extracted, leaving behind greater poverty and inequality. Without effective mechanisms to ensure that the African people have a say in what development will look like and how it will be implemented, past failures will be repeated. That’s why civil society groups and peoples movements are working to chart a new path for self-determined, rights-respecting development.

Development financiers active in Africa include development banks such as the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the New Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) such as the Japanese Bank of Investment Cooperation, Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) and the US EXIM Bank provide government-backed guarantees to support the export of goods and services to Africa. And increasingly Chinese finance institutions –  China Development Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Ex-Im – are playing a large role on the continent.

The most influential DFI in the region, the African Development Bank (AfDB), provides loans, grants, policy reforms, and technical assistance to African governments as well as private corporations. The AfDB is owned and governed by 78 member countries within Africa and beyond. AfDB’s “High 5” agenda, as well as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), and the G20’s Compact with Africa, are focused on boosting private investment and infrastructure development by promoting public-private partnerships and regulatory reforms to promote a friendly environment for investors. The concern of many civil society groups is that many of these reforms actually privilege private companies over the public interest and will undermine development.

The Coalition’s working group on Development Finance in Africa works to increase the capacity of organizations to engage in development decisions at the national level and to hold development financiers and actors accountable. We work with communities impacted by development projects, and we engage with financiers and governments on the following areas:

  • Gender
  • Energy
  • Accountability
  • Participation
  • Industrialization / Private Sector

If you are a civil society group, and interested in getting involved, email contact (at)

AfDB Materials

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