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Africa has a Capital Problem Nairobi Wants to Solve

Can the new Nairobi International Finance Centre compete with Johannesburg and Dubai to help finance trade and industry in East Africa and beyond? Acting CEO Oscar Njuguna believes that there is plenty of room for everyone. “Foreign Direct Investment to the continent declined by 16% in 2020 to $40bn, from $47bn in 2019,” says a report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development. More broadly, even $50bn a year is far short of what is needed, even if remittances add another $50bn. The IMF estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa could face a financing gap of $290bn between 2020 and 2023, while the African Development Bank reckons $120m a year is needed for building and maintaining infrastructure alone. But Njuguna believes his institution can help catalyse some of this investment.