The recent Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week saw calls for African governments to accelerate solutions to the continent’s infrastructure gaps. The event delegates also noted the need to increase projects under construction from the current 32% to 50% if Africa is to achieve its developmental aspirations. Furthermore, the continent should create an enabling environment for the private sector to have space to buy into the continent’s key priority projects.

To realise NEPAD’s 5% Agenda and the African Infrastructure Guarantee Mechanism (AIGM), the delegates recommended the establishment of PIDA project specific working groups to focus on data transparency and dissemination, advocacy work, project development, review and funding, partnerships and capacity building. They also pledged to launch and use the PIDA Job Creation Toolkit as a part of the package and means to attract and convince pertinent stakeholders, including financiers and development partners, on the benefits of key PIDA priority projects in the construction phase.

Africa aims to fill its infrastructure gaps

The meeting recognised the PIDA Quality Label as a framework needed to ensure projects fulfil set criteria, and delegates recommended that PIDA PAP 2 (2020-2030) draws from the ongoing review and consultative process to ensure that it is has a realistic list of projects. These project should be inclusive of all sectors and have a strong strategy to communicate progress and facilitate sharing of lessons and experiences.

The event was attended by delegates representing the African Union Commission (AUC), NEPAD Agency, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Attendees vowed to continue working together to put in place sustainable capacity building mechanisms for key infrastructure sectors on the continent and to invest in efforts to accelerate development of key infrastructure projects.

PIDA has been lauded as a means through which dependable mechanisms have been established to facilitate and safeguard investment in transboundary projects across Africa.  A senior adviser on regional integration and trade at the ECA, Adeyinka Adeyemi, recently assured private sector investors that the PIDA Model Law makes investment more secure, removing the plethora of policies, laws and regulations involved in transboundary projects.

Speaking during a side event organized on the margins of the Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi to raise awareness investment into the Lamu Port, South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project, Adeyemi assured potential investors that their money is safe. “LAPSSET bears hopes and dreams to the peoples of three countries, and I would like to reiterate Ethiopia’s commitment to the realisation of such a noble aspiration,” Ethiopia’s transport minister, Dagmawit Moges, said at the event.

Stephen Karingi, ECA’s Director of Regional Integration and Trade, said that LAPSSET is supposed to play a part in the realisation of the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) because “we cannot harness the potential of the AfCFTA unless we have movement of persons and goods and services, and cross-border trade facilitation and investment”. According to James Macharia, cabinet secretary for Kenya’s ministry of transport, infrastructure, housing and urban development, significant progress has been made but that governments need to take the lead and invest significantly in the project in order to attract the private sector.

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