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21st AU Summit: NEPAD launches website on Africa’s infrastructure projects

A web-based portal, called Virtual PIDA Information Centre (VPiC), was launched here Saturday as an innovative approach to storing and disseminating information about the African Union’s regional infrastructure programmes.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall and the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana-Dlamini, officiated at the launch during a breakfast meeting for the Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency.

President Sall chairs the committee which provides leadership to the NEPAD process and sets policies, priorities and programmes of action.

Members of the committee are elected on the basis of the AU five regions.

Sall stressed the importance of VPiC as a critical tool for gathering and making available information related to projects undertaken under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

The new site provides access to up-to-date information on the implementation status of the 51 PIDA projects, and its users will be able to search for projects by name, country or regional economic community.

PIDA was jointly developed by the AUC, the NEPAD Agency and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to enhance cross-border trade, share resources and co-ordinate the construction of mutually-beneficial infrastructure in Africa.

Proposed regional projects under PIDA will be implemented between 2020 and 2040 with a view to encouraging regional integration and interconnection, which facilitate trade and lead to greater socio-economic development.

“VPiC will fill a vacuum of vital information to investors in Africa and outside the continent on most of the projects in our priority action plan in terms of background, financial reports and progress of implementation,” said NEPAD’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki.

Meanwhile, the Committee meeting received a report on the study of domestic resource mobilization and South African President Jacob Zuma briefed the meeting on outcomes of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit his country hosted recently.

“The BRICS countries highlighted that they would strengthen their cooperation with the African continent, thus ensuring that Africa realises its full potential to industrialise and rapidly increase levels of infrastructure development, premised on our priority projects, PIDA and PICI,” said President Zuma.

The Committee met on the sidelines of the one-day AU Special Summit held to mark the 50th Golden Jubilee Anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity/African Union.

May 25 or Africa Freedom Day was marked throughout the continent as a special day with Africans reflecting on the continent’s progress in economic, social and governance areas since liberation from colonial rule and the need to promote Pan Africanism.

The celebrations in Addis Ababa were attended by other world leaders, including the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff, China’s Deputy Prime Minister Wang Yang and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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