United Against Developmental Challenges

Cross-section of participants at the workshop
Cross-section of participants at the workshop

African leaders and key decision-makers end workshop on private financing of infrastructural development

By Maureen Chigbo  |  May 6, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

AFRICAN leaders and decision makers in key development institutions have come to the realisation that it is just about time for the continent to ambitiously tackle its developmental challenges. This realisation came to the fore at the three-day international workshop on implementation of the Programme for Infrastructural Development in Africa, PIDA, and private sector financing of infrastructure in the continent which ended April 19 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ibrahim Mayaki, chief executive officer, CEO, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, harped on this when he said, in his opening remarks, that: “It is time for Africa to be ambitious,” in addressing its development challenges, particularly those related to infrastructural development.”

“We have to be ambitious because Africa has the capacity, the institutions and the resources,” he said, stressing the need for coordination of regional and continental efforts to overcome Africa’s infrastructure deficit. “We must not only work together, we must deliver together.”

Similarly, Ralph Olaye, manager, NEPAD/Infrastructure at the African Development Bank, said that Africa’s development through the implementation of PIDA, should be anchored on four pillars – integrated development, infrastructure as a priority, private sector development and governance.

Adopted by the African Union and NEPAD leaders in January 2012, PIDA is based on an assumption that with a projected annual economic growth rate of  six percent for African countries, the GDP for all countries will grow six times and the average per capita income will rise above $10,000 in the next 30 years with anticipated increase in the infrastructural demand in all sectors.

ECOWAS ministers and experts from the infrastructure sector also met recently in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, to discuss the objectives of PIDA and how it aligns with the continental strategic programming as well as sensitise member states on West Africa’s component of the PIDA Priority Action Plan, PIDA-PAP, and regional development plans to help drive the domestication of PIDA projects in national plans and budgetary provisions.

Group photo of participants at the workshop
Group photo of participants at the workshop

ECOWAS officials and their counterparts from other Regional Economic Communities, RECs, as well as the African Union, African Development Bank, AfDB, and the World Economic Forum, WEF, also participated in the PIDA workshop, jointly organised by the African Union and the WEF.

Jules Gogoua of ECOWAS Commission’s Infrastructure Directorate, who led a six-member ECOWAS delegation, briefed the workshop on ECOWAS’ five PIDA PAP Projects covering energy and gas connectivity, ICT and transportation. PIDA, he said, is in line with the objectives of ECOWAS’ Vision 2020 for a citizen-centred community that promotes free movement of persons, goods and services and where the population enjoys the benefits of the region’s rich natural resources. Aboubakari Baba Moussa, director, Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union, charged participants to come up with concrete recommendations to fast-track the implementation of PIDA and thereby foster the development of RECs and Africa’s transformation.

Communication experts from the African Union, NEPAD, ECOWAS and other RECs also met on the margins of the workshop to fine tune a draft of PIDA Communication Strategy and Action Plan, which will drive the implementation of the continental infrastructural development programme. The ECOWAS delegation included Raphael Koffi, Olumuyiwa Shokunbi and Chris Appiah, all from the Infrastructure Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission as well as Paul Ejime of the Communication Directorate.

Apart from ECOWAS, other RECs represented at workshop were Common Market for East and Central Africa, COMESA, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, CEN-SAD, the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS and the Southern African Development Community, SADC.

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