ECOWAS, World Bank hold virtual meeting on InfraSAP

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ECOWAS Virtual

THE ECOWAS Commission and the World Bank held a one-day virtual mission to review initial findings of the regional infrastructure sector assessment programme, InfraSAP, and the progress of the ongoing World Bank Study on PPP Harmonization for the ECOWAS Commission.

The mission is a follow-up to high-level discussions held between Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, president of the ECOWAS Commission and Makhtar Diop, vice president Infrastructure Practice Group of the World Bank during the Bank’s Spring Meetings in 2019 in Washington DC, which focused on possible areas of support to ECOWAS in infrastructure development, financing and governance.

The ECOWAS InfraSAP aims to diagnose the region’s transport and digital sectors, as well as cross-cutting areas of infrastructure finance and PPPs with a view to identify key constraints and jointly propose appropriate measures to address them.

The mission presented key issues regarding regional transportation and infrastructure financing, Institutional and regulatory regimes as well as governance. Recommendations for reforms in these areas were reviewed and commented by sector experts and participants from the ECOWAS Commission, EBID, PPDU, Port Managers Association of West and Central Africa (PMACWA), Borderless Alliance and Officials in-charge of Roads and Ports from some ECOWAS Member States.

ECOWAS Virtual 1

Opening the meeting, the Commissioner for Infrastructure, Pathe Gueye, acknowledged the enormous contribution of the World Bank in supporting ECOWAS Member States with projects in key economic sectors, “the World Bank contributes to the deepening and consolidation of regional integration by financing regional projects and programs in the energy and agriculture sectors…” The Commissioner expressed the pleasure of ECOWAS to continue to collaborate with the World Bank for appropriate solutions to be found for the key regional infrastructure development challenges, by contributing actively to the Regional InfraSAP.

The Commissioner recalled that, in response to the inefficiencies and shortcomings in the region’s infrastructure sector, ECOWAS is in the final stages of completing a 20-year Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan covering road transport, maritime, air, rail, energy, telecommunications and water resources. To provide the required financing for the Master Plan, ECOWAS has prioritized project preparation and will continue to engage with development partners, of which the World Bank is key, to jointly provide the needed framework to attract private sector investments for the implementation of the Master Plan.

On behalf of the World Bank, Shyamala Shukla, Senior Public-Private Partnerships Specialist and Task Team Leader for the ECOWAS InfraSAP project recalled that when completed, the ECOWAS Regional InfraSAP, will provide a roadmap for next steps in the selected sectors. The diagnostics and resulting recommendations will culminate in key recommendations on enabling tools such as an ECOWAS Regional Harmonized PPP Framework, a framework for assessing project suitability for regional PPPs and the development of a rolling pipeline of bankable projects as well as a framework for managing fiscal commitments and contingent liabilities. Project financing facilities including the establishment of a regional guarantee facility will also be explored.

The diagnostic analysis for the ECOWAS Regional InfraSAP study is structured around three pillars namely, “Connectivity Pillar” which aims to set out a coherent picture of transport and digital connectivity in the ECOWAS region and assess the infrastructure interventions needed; “Institutions Pillar” which will specifically assess the adequacy of the legal, regulatory and institutional environment for effective delivery of regional infrastructure assets and services, including with private participation; and “Finance Pillar”  which assesses the extent to which the efficiency and availability of funding and financing is a constraint for regional infrastructure projects. It will also assess potential approaches to alleviate those constraints.

Closing the mission,  Fatouma Toure Ibrahim, practice manager,  and director, Imad Fakhoury, both of the World Bank’s Infrastructure Finance, PPPs and Guarantees Group, expressed their appreciation to the ECOWAS Commission for the cordial collaboration accorded to the Bank’s Team and stressed on the importance of the assignment to the Bank. They assured participants of the Bank’s continuous support to ECOWAS and Member States towards the attainment of the “ECOWAS of People” Agenda.

– Oct. 14, 2020 @ 18:15 GMT |

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