WEFA: Report calls on African countries to institutionalise cross-border cooperation

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) – The World Economic Forum Africa (WEFA) secretariat on Wednesday released a report, calling on African countries to institutionalize cross-border collaboration as the key factor in regional growth and cooperation.

Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, Mr. Ibrahim Mayaki, said that the report, titled ‘Managing Transnational Infrastructure Programmes in Africa – Challenges and Best Practices', is intended to be a guide for policy-makers, sponsors and managers to help facilitate the delivery of transnational infrastructure programmes on schedule, at the right cost and at a high quality value.

Mayaki noted that the report was an important contribution to identifying best practices that will ultimately help facilitate and coordinate the implementation of regional priority programmes.

According to him, "the management of any complex infrastructure programme – a railway system, for instance, or an electricity production and distribution network – is difficult enough within a country."

The challenges, says the report, are tremendous with transnational programmes, and more so still in Africa, owing to the continent’s wide variation in languages, cultures, financial capacities and maturity of public institutions. Infrastructure is essential for integrating regions, realizing socio-economic potentials and fast-tracking development in Africa.”

A statement from the WEFA Secretariat on the report noted that "there are myriad challenges when it comes to infrastructure projects in Africa, including financial, technical and regulatory alignments, as well as governance and human relations issues. Difficulties may also have a historical dimension too; a legacy of mistrust or even conflict can often jeopardize cooperation between participating nations, and many countries lack a tradition of conducive environmental measures, such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws and the availability of stringent regulations on public-private partnerships."

Chief Executive Officer of GE Africa, Jay Ireland, noted: "Africa’s growth will accelerate through success in building intra-African trade. Coordinating actions across multiple Governments inevitably makes the process more complex, costly and bureaucratic. But the payoff from regional integration — building more efficient and reliable infrastructure for energy, logistics management, and movement of labour across borders - is high and will have a strong multiplier effect on growth, entrepreneurship and employment."

The report enumerates best practices that have been brought to bear in response to the challenges at various phases of a programme’s lifecycle.

They include a joint strategic vision for regional infrastructure and integrated national infrastructure plans; a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis assessing the impact in all affected countries; the issuing of a single transnational concession rather than several intra-national concessions; a precise allocation of the costs, risks and benefits to the participating countries, with a detailed compensation plan for people adversely affected by the facility; a rigorous and transparent tendering process; harmonization of regulations; and coordination of demand profiles and maintenance schedules.

Another key success factor is to institutionalize cross-border collaboration. This could best be done by setting up a strong programme management unit, established through a special treaty between all participating countries. Whether based on public or private resources or a mix of the two, such a unit would oversee most of the phases of the programme, and coordinate all the stakeholders.
-0- PANA MON/VAO 7May2014

07 mai 2014 14:29:06

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