Too often there is a disconnect between the advice of research of scholars on the ground and the international actors and African policymakers themselves, despite their shared goals of positive impacts on social and economic development. The opportunities to leverage the interface and implicit synergies between these three groups of actors, each bringing different assets to development efforts, are multiple. Too often, however, their mandate and work overlap without being connected or coordinated, ultimately to the detriment of development outcomes.
Africa’s infrastructure deficit is well known: It needs $93 billion per year to fill its gap and, due to limited domestic sources, the continent must rely heavily on foreign investments. However, many investors view contributing to African infrastructure projects as risky, meaning that long-term, risk-averse investors such as sovereign wealth funds—which have accumulated almost $6 trillion in assets—to shy away from these projects.