The Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Mr. Charles Boamahand the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), H.E. Erastus J.O. Mwencha signed aUA 5.6 million (US$ 8.9mill) three-year, capacity building grant during the on-going meetings of the African Heads of State and Government being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The signing ceremony was held in the presence of the AfDB’s Director of the NEPAD, Regional Integration and Trade Department (ONRI), Mr Janvier K. Litse, the CEO of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, and the Commissioner for Energy and Infrastructure of the AUC Dr Elham M.A. Ibrahim.
The grant will support activities aimed at strengthening the capacity of African countries through their respective Regional Economic Communities (CEN-SAD, COMESA, EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS, IGAD, SADC, UMA) as well as the AUC and the NPCA to plan, prepare and coordinate the implementation of regional infrastructure programmes and projects necessary for enhancing Africa’s physical and economic integration and socio economic transformation with a focus on the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), approved by African Heads of State and Government during the 18th Ordinary Session of African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2012.
The project is in recognition of the fact that regional infrastructure projects are complex because of their cross-border and multi-sectoral nature requiring a myriad of interventions ranging from institutional, legal and regulatory reforms; to creating the enabling environment to attract project financing as well as the smooth functioning of growing regional markets for infrastructure services such as transport and logistics, power, ICT and even trans-boundary water.
Specifically, the grant will support the accelerated implementation of PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA PAP), a set of 51 priority programmes and projects at an investment cost of US$68 bill to be implemented by the year 2020, by providing the necessary technical capacity to RECs and AUC and NPCA, to support Member States to move PIDA PAP projects to preparation, bankability and financing.
PIDA defines priority regional cross-border infrastructure projects in energy, water, transport and ICT intended to interconnect, integrate and transform Africa through modern infrastructure. It provides the strategic framework for African stakeholders to build the infrastructure necessary for more integrated infrastructure networks to boost trade, spark growth and create jobs as well as to support regional integration and linkages into the global economy. Successful implementation of PIDA will therefore, enhance Africa’s competitiveness within itself and in the global economy while acting as a catalyst to Africa’s economic transformation.
Infrastructure remains a core priority for the AfDB and for Africa. Over the six years up to 2012, the Bank invested directly over US$20 billion in infrastructure. In the year 2012, total Bank Group lending operations amounted to UAC 4.25 bill (US$6.5 bill) of which infrastructure constituted 49% or US$3.185 bill of total lending. The Bank has initiatives and instruments which are playing a role in moving PIDA towards realization. These include the Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (IPPF) and the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA), both multi-donor funded initiatives handling project preparation and resource mobilization respectively. The Bank’s newest initiative scaling-up infrastructure financing is the Africa50, targeting project development and investment financing for continental and commercially viable regional infrastructure projects. Collectively, these initiatives together with the PIDA Capacity Building Project should help to accelerate the implementation of PIDA within mutually beneficial partnerships involving the AUC, NPCA, the RECs, RMCs, the AfDB and other development partners including private sector stakeholders.