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By Nehemia Levtzion

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Infrastructure investment needs for sub-Saharan Africa have been estimated as at least 5 percent of the region’s GDP, plus a further 4 percent of regional GDP to cover operation and maintenance. In absolute terms, this amounts to US$22 billion per year of investment needs, and a further US$17 billion for maintenance (table 7). 3 billion or 20 percent of the total). These estimates of investment needs are based on research by World Bank staff, which also provided the underlying basis for similar estimates presented in the 2005 Report of the Commission for Africa.

2 billion was awarded to the Brazilian operator Camargo Correa and partners who have yet to choose the project’s financiers. Natural resources are being used to secure some of the financing. The Congo River Dam in the Republic of Congo and Bui Dam in Ghana, which are currently under construction, are being financed by the China Ex-Im Bank loans backed by guarantees of crude oil in case of the Congo River Dam, and cocoa, in the case of Bui Dam. The Poubara hydropower dam in Gabon is to be built by Sinohydro as part of the US$3 billion Belinga Iron Ore project; however, the amount of Chinese financing committed into the project is not known.

US$6 billion in 2005 (figure 2a). Around half of this cooperation went to four countries: Mauritania, Nigeria, Angola, and Sudan (figure 2b). These official statistics on foreign economic cooperation merge together three distinct types of projects: those financed from official Chinese sources (which are of central interest to this study), those undertaken by Chinese contractors but financed by multilateral agencies (such as the World Bank), and those undertaken by Chinese enterprises in association with overseas private contractors (AFD 2006).

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