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Stakeholders call for accelerated implementation of infrastructure in Africa

 Stakeholders, including Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the African Union, NEPAD, development partners and the World Economic Forum (WEF), have ended a three-day meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a call for accelerated implementation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

The stakeholder workshop jointly organized from 17-19 April by the African Union (AU) and the WEF on the implementation of PIDA and private sector funding of infrastructure in Africa, called for the buy-in of RECs, such as ECOWAS, in order to build a consensus with them and their member states on the proposed “methodology for the selection of the PIDA pilot projects, to be accelerated through the application of private sector business principles.”

A statement issued by the organisers on Sunday said RECs were also urged to share ideas on how to “improve the selection methodology, and the decomposed project list with a more inclusive private sector membership of the WEF Business Working Group (WEF/BWG), and regional projects, taking into account the continental nature of PIDA”.

WEF is to continue to hold “technical follow-up meetings with RECs from May to September 2013, after the Cape Town WEF in Africa Summit, to exhaust the dialogue, and secure the necessary political buy-in from their political leadership”.

Given the need for “quick PIDA implementation early success(es),” the meeting agreed that the PIDA list will incorporate a “shortlist” and a “pipeline” of priority projects, where the approved PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA-PAP ) projects will constitute the “shortlist,” and new projects received from RECs and other stakeholders, will form the “pipeline” of projects to be rolled into the “shortlist,” as projects reach maturity and financial close.

Participants also agreed that key regional private sector stakeholders will be invited through the African Union to attend the 2013 WEF in Africa Summit, in Cape Town, South Africa

The workshop also recommended that the Institutional Architecture for Infrastructure Development in Africa (IAIDA) approved together with PIDA during the African head of States and Governments Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2012, should enter the next steps of operationalization with the composition of the Council for Infrastructure Development (CID) and the Infrastructure Advisory Group (IAG), with strong private sector interest in the IAG.

Meanwhile, the German international development agency, GIZ and African Development Bank (AfDB) – the two institutional funders supporting the capacity building of AU institutions – AU Commission (AUC), NEPAD Coordination Agency (NPCA) and RECs – have agreed to provide funding to support the implementation of PIDA through the appointment of technical staff to be seconded to the AUC and to NPCA including short term experts.

The workshop also discussed the update of PIDA project fiches as well as the context, objectives, outcomes and impacts, funding mechanism, readiness, partners, strategic function of infrastructure, benefits and risks associated to the 51 PIDA PAP projects covering four core sectors – transport, energy, trans-boundary water and ICT.

The statement said participants made inputs to the PIDA Communications Strategy and Action Plan, fine-tuned by communication experts on the margins of the workshop.

It was agreed that given the importance of communication to the successful implementation of PIDA, RECs as key partners should validate the communication strategy, with the necessary support from all stakeholders to ensure that the objectives of the programme are effectively communicated to internal and external audiences.

Apart from ECOWAS, other RECs represented at the 17-19 April 2013 workshop were the 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).

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 6% for African countries, GDP for all countries will grow six times and the average per capita income will rise above US$10,000 in the next 30 years with anticipated increase in the infrastructure demand in all sectors.

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