Ethiopia: Africa’s infrastructure renewal plan gets new push

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Africa’s efforts to rapidly improve railway, energy and transport networks is expected to get a major boost with the launch of an infrastructure promotion Week set to be launched from 13-17 November in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, officials said Thursday.

The African infrastructure push driven by the African Union, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) will kick off Friday. It will seek to boost public and private spending to improve continental trunk roads network and railway connections.

The infrastructure plan, known as the Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA) seeks to attract more than US$360 billion to finance investments in the various infrastructure initiatives.  

“As we open up Africa with high quality regional infrastructure – especially rail, transnational highways, information and communications, air and maritime transport – Africa will witness a phenomenal boost in intra-Africa and global trade,” AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said ahead of the launch.

The event will help to formulate measures that need to be addressed by African Heads of State and Government, including policy decisions necessary for tackling barriers hindering infrastructure development. It will also discuss private sector contributions to project implementation.  

The Bank executive said the infrastructure initiative would play a big role in unlocking the entrepreneurial spirit of small and large businesses, and millions of young people, will be unleashed.

The PIDA Week will be held at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, under the theme “Accelerating Infrastructure Implementation for Africa’s Integration.”

Some 150 participants are expected at the event, including the AU’s Commissioner for infrastructure, Elham Ibrahim, infrastructure experts from development banks and organisations and officials drawn from regional economic communities, the United Nations and the private sector.  

PIDA is a joint initiative of the AU, the NEPAD and the AfDB. It seeks to promote regional economic integration by bridging Africa’s massive infrastructure gap that affects trade and free movement of people.

Experts say the poor infrastructure connection within Africa could be traced to Africa’s colonization.

“The delay that Africa accumulated during colonization gave to the continent an infrastructure system that harms its own development,” said Ibrahim Mayaki, NEPAD Agency’s Chief Executive Officer. “PIDA is a strategy to break those barriers and set continental priorities which brought consensus and commitments both at technical and political levels.”  

The initiative provides a common framework for African stakeholders to build the infrastructure necessary to increase intra-African trade, boosting socio-economic development across the continent.

PIDA estimated the cost of closing Africa’s infrastructure deficit at around US$360 billion between 2011 and 2014, with significant investments required by 2020.

The PIDA Week is expected to create links between different PIDA-related activities.

Several initiatives have been launched to push the project implementation. They include high-level meetings by the project’s Steering Committee, the Council for Infrastructure Development (CID), and the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA).

Other initiatives are the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (IPPF) and the Continental Business Network meeting.

-0- PANA AO/AR 12Nov2015

12 november 2015 18:01:53

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