Building capacity to help Africa trade better

2017 PIDA Week: Conference proceedings


2017 PIDA Week: Conference proceedings

2017 PIDA Week: Conference proceedings
Photo credit: PIDA | NEPAD

Enhancing Trade and Economic Transformation through Regional Infrastructure Development

Opening session

NEPAD CEO Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki welcomed the participants to PIDA Week and thanked the Government of Namibia for the warm hospitality extended to all guests and for organizing the event. Introducing PIDA and the theme of 2017 PIDA Week, Dr. Mayaki noted that African Heads of State and Government including leaders of Industry and Finance recognize the lack of technical capacity for project preparation as one of the key bottlenecks in the implementation of PIDA projects.

Dr. Mayaki explained that ‘the African Union Commission and NEPAD established the PIDA Service Delivery Mechanism (SDM) as an instrument for tackling the lack of technical capacity during the project preparation phase. The CEO also spoke about the 5 Percent Agenda that NEPAD launched this year under the leadership of the African Union Commission Chairperson Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat. Noting that the private and public sectors are joining forces in Africa to create conducive environments to attract investments, which are so vital for the continent’s growth, Dr. Mayaki explained that the 5 Percent Agenda is a campaign to increase investment allocations by Africa asset owners into African infrastructure from its low base of about 1.5% of their assets under management to an impactful 5%.

Mr. Cheikh Bedda said that policy makers, infrastructure experts and the private sector have a crucial role to play in training and skills acquisition in infrastructure development to prepare young Africans for the implementation of complex programmes such as PIDA. He highlighted that the continent needs as a matter of urgency, to scale-up capacity for project preparation in terms of resources, skills and development of bankable project pipelines to create enough jobs and opportunities for the large African youth population entering the labour market. Reflecting on the mid-term review of the PIDA Priority Action Plan (PAP) that the AUC is currently conducting, the Director stated that early indications on the implementation of projects clearly show the critical importance of a sound project preparation, given that more than half of the portfolio of projects are still at the conceptual stage.

Referring to the theme, Mrs. Emilie Mushobekwa stated that SADC has taken a multi-pronged approach to accelerate the preparation and implementation of PIDA Projects in the region to facilitate regional integration and job creation. A case in point, Mrs. Mushobekwa stated that SADC Secretariat has allocated an annual budget since May 2016 to support project preparation to bankability and corridor development.

Mr. Shem Simuyemba, offered more suggestions on possible solutions by highlighting the AfDB’s financial commitments to Africa’s infrastructure development, which accounts for half of its total spending. He noted that the African Development Bank is stepping up the pace by focusing on the High 5 priorities, which include Light upand power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa, that are crucial for accelerating Africa’s economic transformation. He added that the solution is to scale-up capacity for project preparation and development as the only means to assess, package and structure the projects in such a way that there is a‘rolling pipeline’of bankable projects.

H.E. Mr. Namibia’s Minister of Works and Transport, Alpheus Naruseb called for strong coordination in the implementation of PIDA and the preparation of bankable, investment-ready projects that can attract financing for implementation.

At the opening session, the NEPAD Agency also launched its pioneering pdf 2017 PIDA Progress Report (3.66 MB) . Mr. Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head of Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade at the NEPAD Agency explained that the report is the outcome of collaboration between all PIDA stakeholders who shared information on projects and interventions on the ground and on progress made during the year.

Parallel session: Good Practice for PIDA Corridor Implementation

The main objective of the session was to take stock of current corridor management practices but also to learn from the experiences of other partners.

The intervention of the representative of SADC allow to better understand the crucial role of the prioritization of projects in the success of the corridor approach. Similarly, the collaborative approach has played an important role in the success of two flagship corridor management projects in the SADC area, with involvement of several partners: the NBF (support for PPP mechanisms), GIZ, EU, etc.

The NBF emphasised on the importance of resources, in particular, capacity building of actors through training. Involvement of all actors is useful for the success of projects. Thus, it is not only the dedication of the REC but also a real commitment of the Member States. For instance with the North South Rail Corridor project there are six member states which makes management complex. This is where the political role played by SADC is crucial.

The example of the Trans-Kalahari Corridor has shown that both a political commitment and an economic approach to corridor management are required. The existence of a joint entity in charge of the corridor management and with a secretariat, has made it possible to have a good coordination of the services rendered on the corridors in all the countries traversed by the infrastructure. Thus, the interest of all the countries is safeguarded, while tending towards the efficiency of the corridor with a good maintenance of the corridor which started since 2 years of management. JICA has been particularly interested in the development of a regional master plan as part of the success of the corridor approach. Indeed, the divergence of master plans at the level of each country, makes global coordination difficult. The regional master plan also makes it possible to better introduce the economic approach by integrating all the present economic sectors such as agriculture, commerce, etc.

The presenters did not neglect the lessons of the Abidjan Lagos Corridor where the high level advocacy of the NEPAD Agency allowed a serious commitment of the Member States. The implementation of the corridor management framework is a good step forward because for the moment, each country thinks about its interests and not really about the efficiency of the corridor. Also, the major challenge remains how to interest the private sector and get them involved enough to invest.

Summary of discussions

  • Corridor development should centre on delivering value, accelerating economic integration and development; for each country through which a corridor passes, there should be analysis of the needs, value addition, comparative advantage and services to be provided along and by the corridor for that country

  • Project preparation is key and this should be prefaced by careful prioritization and selection of projects, e.g. Central Corridor acceleration started with 180 projects and ended up with 27 priority projects which are now under preparation; SADC acceleration started with 38 projects and prioritized 5

  • Ensure that the corridor have the requisite support structures: a management institution, national policy, PPP support, training and capacity

  • Learn from example of Asia where corridors and cross-border infrastructure were a critical success factor in the expansion of the region’s share of global trade. Corridors in Asia were developed as part of long-term masterplans including a focus on multi-sectoral approaches and recognizing that corridors are not only about infrastructure development but economic activity and economic development.

  • Include soft infrastructure (policy, legal and regulatory frameworks) as quick wins in corridor development

  • develop strategic partnerships around corridor development and put in place effective management structures for corridors, which involve all key stakeholders and create attractive conditions for the private sector e.g. SADC Secretariat harnessed resources, capacity and expertise through strategic partnerships with NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF), SADC PPP Network, SADC PPDF, PPIAF

  • Document and learn from good practice as exemplified by the Abidjan-Lagos corridor, the Trans-Kalahari Rail, the Maputo Development Corridor, the North-south Corridor, the Beira Corridor, projects in East Africa, etc. in particular, take better inspiration from Southern Africa's good practices and lessons in corridor management;

  • Recognize that each country or region is unique and has specificities which may require adaptations that take into account political, economic and other realities.

Other elements to consider for corridor development:

  • Enhance stakeholder capacity

  • Have a responsive border regulatory framework

  • Improve border infrastructure

  • Improve road safety and security

  • Improve Road infrastructure

  • Improve stakeholder relations

  • Improve communication infrastructure.

Key recommendations

Several recommendations and conclusions emerged from the rich discussions, for the proposed corridor guide, namely that it is important to:

  1. Put more effort into setting up legal frameworks and instruments for corridor management, as MOUs are not really legal instruments that reassure parties, including the private sector;

  2. Take a commercial approach to corridor development while factoring in socio-economic development of the communities along the corridors. This should include rigorous analysis of the assets to be realised from corridor development, what benefits these assets would generate (e.g. how the corridors would support trade) and some form of performance indicators (KPIs).

  3. Develop data-driven decision-making models to prioritizing project selection and better inform corridor development

  4. Ensure that corridor development includes funding plans that take into account analysis of funding models suitable for the different projects along the corridor (look into innovative funding mechanisms including the 5% agenda, recommendations in NEPAD-ECA domestic resource mobilisation report, establishment of listed SPVs as in China).

  5. Designate champions to promote corridor projects, ensure that political commitments translate into tangible action and ensure that there is absolute commitment at all levels


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