UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa says Africa’s continued progress on growth and development targets will hinge on concerted efforts from partnerships inside and outside the continent, to enhance infrastructure, a vital area that will facilitate diversification of its economies and unleash their full productive capacity.
Mr. Kutesa made the remarks on Friday at a meeting of the UN General Assembly on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and other key issues concerning for the continent, including efforts to roll back malaria.
He said that with the adoption of NEPAD’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) in July 2012, African leaders laid a foundation for the development of critical regional and continental infrastructure.
“Africa needs hydropower dams and transmission lines to facilitate production. It needs roads, railways and ports to facilitate commerce and trade. It needs core ICT (information and communication technology) infrastructure to support trade in goods and services, as well as governance structures,” he stated.
Hailing the efforts under NEPAD in coordinating development of infrastructure across the continent through PIDA’s priority Action as “commendable”, the Assembly President noted that over the last 12 months, of the 51 projects and programmes envisioned, 16 national and regional projects were identified as quick wins for financing and implementation.
Mr. Kutesa said it was important that the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) continued to receive attention, as a guiding framework for the development of this sector.
According to him these projects and others would require enormous amounts of resources, but financing by governments alone was not enough.
“Other sources of funding, especially from the private sector, including specialized funds, should be tapped into,” he said, noting that the Presidential Infrastructure Champions Initiative (PICI), adopted to prioritise and fast-track the implementation of key regional projects was a step in the right direction.
He also said that strengthened bilateral and regional cooperation to develop joint cross-border projects would also be important going forward, adding that improving access to sustainable sources of clean, reliable and affordable energy would also be crucial to Africa’s economic and social development.
“The United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which aims to ensure universal energy access by 2030, has highlighted the importance of access to electricity,” Mr. Kutesa added.
Turning to the global effort to eradicate malaria, one of the most serious health problems facing the world today and which is endemic in Africa, especially in tropical Africa, with an estimated 90 per cent of the total malaria incidence and deaths occurring there, he said that since the Assembly adopted the first resolution on malaria in 2000, the world had witnessed significant political commitment to the fight against the disease.
“We should all be proud of the fact that just 10 years after the passage of the first resolution, more than 1.1 million deaths from malaria were averted,” he said.
Mr Kutesa, however, cautioned against complacency, stressing that, “we should redouble our efforts to reach our ultimate goal of its total eradication. We must press on with conviction and determination that this preventable and treatable disease can be eradicated in our lifetime.”