African infrastructure investment gap is set to grow to US$1.59 trillion by 2040, finds new report from ACCA and CPA Canada

ACCA and CPA Canada launch joint report at ACOA: African accountants need to be at the centre of the infrastructure decision-making process was a key message delivered yesterday at the fifth Africa Congress of Accountants (ACOA) conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Helen Brand OBE, chief executive, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and Geneviève Mottard, CEO of CPA Quebec, who represented CPA Canada at the event, officially released a joint report Bridging the African Infrastructure Gap: Bringing accountants to the centre of the decision-making process at a plenary session titled ‘Investing in Africa’.

At this session, Brand and Mottard asserted that the proper provision of infrastructure is critical for economic and social development across Africa, especially as the continent’s infrastructure investment gap is set to grow to US$1.59 trillion by 2040, a figure that provides a benchmark for meeting Africa’s infrastructure needs.

The term ‘global infrastructure gap’ identifies the difference between infrastructure investment needed and the resources available to meet that need. In 2018 alone, the investment gap grew by over $400 billion and, according to analysis from the Global Infrastructure Hub and Oxford Economics 2018, it is set to grow to a staggering $14 trillion by 2040.

According to the report, the successful delivery of public infrastructure requires governments to have the right professional teams in place to harness the benefits of additional investment, while also working to mitigate the risks ahead.

Helen Brand said: ‘Solving the infrastructure puzzle is crucial to achieving a better more sustainable future for all, as it tackles global issues such as inequality, poverty and climate change. In order for Africa to close the gap, total forecasted spending would have to increase by 39% by 2040, compared to 19% for the global figure.’

Investing in Africa’ is top policy priority for the continent  with the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) helping to address the infrastructure deficit so that a course to a more well-connected, competitive and prosperous Africa can be charted. Accountants in Africa – and beyond – can use their expertise to aid governments in assessing the financial feasibility of proposed infrastructure projects along with their economic impact.’

The report offers 20 recommendations to close the infrastructure gap, based on observed global good practice. The recommendations shared at the ACOA conference were:

1.    Create a vision of future infrastructure provision
Establish expert-led bodies to forecast infrastructure requirements and recommend projects on the basis of need

2.    Get incentives right in financing projects
Monitor the interaction of off balance sheet liabilities and government fiscal targets

3.    Tackle corruption and moral hazard
Professionalise the public sector finance function to empower public servants to challenge unethical behaviour.

Helen Brand concluded: ‘These three top line ideas give a view of some of the actionable steps that we advocate in the report to help Africa close the growing infrastructure investment gap. It is a challenge, but it is also a massive opportunity ahead.’

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About the report

Bridging the African Infrastructure Gap: Bringing accounts to the centre of the decision-making process is based on ACCA’s global report How accountants can bridge the global infrastructure gap. This surveyed 3,611 respondents from 118 countries across ACCA and CPA Canada’s memberships respectively.

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development.

Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here:

About CPA Canada

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is one of the largest national accounting organizations in the world, representing more than 217,000 members. Domestically, CPA Canada works cooperatively with the provincial and territorial CPA bodies who are charged with regulating the profession. Globally, it works together with the International Federation of Accountants and the Global Accounting Alliance to build a stronger accounting profession worldwide. CPA Canada is a respected voice in the business, government, education and non-profit sectors and champions sustainable economic growth and social development. The organization serves the profession, advocates for the public interest and supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards. CPA Canada develops leading edge thought-leadership, research, guidance and educational programs to ensure its members are equipped to drive success and shape the future.



"Solving the infrastructure puzzle is crucial to achieving a better more sustainable future for all, as it tackles global issues such as inequality, poverty and climate change"

Helen Brand OBE, chief executive - ACCA