In a collaborative effort between the United States, Zambia, and the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) hosted a groundbreaking Investor Forum in Lusaka.
The focus of the forum was to accelerate private sector investment in the Lobito Corridor, a vital economic artery connecting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia to global markets through Angola.
Attended by over 250 business and government leaders from various nations including Angola, the DRC, the European Union, and the United States, the forum showcased a concerted effort to bolster infrastructure development in the region.
Spearheaded by His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema, President of Zambia, Amos Hochstein, Senior Advisor to President Biden, and Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO of AFC, the event emphasized the significance of the Lobito Corridor in enhancing regional trade, expanding export opportunities, and fostering economic growth.
At the core of the discussions was the ambitious plan to upgrade and construct new railway infrastructure, culminating in the establishment of the first trans-African rail line stretching from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.
The Lobito Atlantic Railway (LAR) consortium, with advisory support from AFC, aims to modernize the 1,300 km Benguela rail line across Angola, significantly reducing transport time, facilitating trade, and lowering carbon emissions.
Key announcements made during the forum include a $250 million investment from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to support infrastructure development efforts across the continent.
Additionally, DFC pledged a $10 million loan to Seba Foods Zambia, marking the first U.S. food and agriculture investment along the Lobito Corridor.
The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) also unveiled a feasibility study grant for a 200-megawatt solar power plant in Zambia, further advancing clean energy initiatives in the region.
Moreover, strategic partnerships were solidified to harness the mineral-rich potential of the DRC and Zambia.
AFC signed agreements with Congolese mining company La Générale des Carrières et des Mines (Gécamines) and Kobaloni Energy to develop critical minerals and a cobalt refinery respectively, underscoring the commitment to sustainable development and economic diversification.