Building capacity to help Africa trade better

PIDA Week 2018 ends with calls on Africa to accelerate implementation of game-changing infrastructure projects


PIDA Week 2018 ends with calls on Africa to accelerate implementation of game-changing infrastructure projects

PIDA Week 2018 ends with calls on Africa to accelerate implementation of game-changing infrastructure projects
Photo credit: GWP Southern Africa

Addressing Africa’s infrastructure gap remains an imperative that African governments should continue to take seriously if the continent is to realise the aspirations its people as enshrined in the continent’s blueprint for development, Agenda 2063 and the global agenda for sustainable development.

Ministers and delegates attending the fourth Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from 26-28 November agreed firm political commitment was necessary for the development of key trans-boundary infrastructure projects that will integrate the continent economically and socially for the benefit of its people.

“Given the infrastructure backlog in the continent, we have to keep up the efforts to accelerate development of key infrastructure projects. PIDA projects, especially transboundary infrastructure projects, will bolster regional integration and are a pre-requisite for unleashing Africa’s growth potential,” they agreed in their communiqué.

Africa, they said, has to increase projects under construction from the current 32 to 50 percent if it is to achieve its developmental aspirations.

The delegates said the continent should create an enabling environment for the private sector to have space to buy into the continent’s key priority projects. “The private sector will not come on board if issues of trust are not mitigated,” they agreed.

“Establishing good governance frameworks and mechanisms for Africa’s infrastructure projects will not only boost investor confidence, it will also guarantee timely delivery of projects within budget and to specification.”


They also agreed that it is essential for the continent to develop bankable and smart infrastructure with cross border orientation to propel socio-economic growth on the continent with governments being urged to proactively all stakeholders, in particular communities to make the projects inclusive and true enablers for development.

De-risking of projects is necessary and critical to ensure they are bankable to attract capital that has remained largely elusive. Infrastructure, the delegates agreed, should not remain in the public sector domain with governments being urged to engage the private sector for long term projects.

The delegates emphasized the importance of strong institutions in Africa’s infrastructure development. “The relevant institutions should facilitate capacity building in key areas of infrastructure development in the continent. This will boost technical capacity and skills at all levels of the project life cycle as well as relevant institutions to ensure efficient development and management infrastructure,” reads the communiqué.

The PIDA Quality Label received recognition as a framework needed to ensure projects fulfil set criteria.

To realize NEPAD’s 5 percent Agenda and the African Infrastructure Guarantee Mechanism (AIGM), the delegates recommended the establishment of PIDA project specific working groups to focus on data transparency and dissemination; advocacy work; project development; review and funding; partnerships and capacity building.

The partners, including the African Union Commission (AUC), NEPAD Agency, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), vowed to continue working together to put in place sustainable capacity building mechanisms for key infrastructure sectors on the continent and to invest in efforts to accelerate development of key infrastructure projects.

They also pledged to launch and use the PIDA Job Creation Toolkit as a part of the package and means to attract and convince pertinent stakeholders, including financiers and development partners on the benefits of key PIDA priority projects in the construction phase.

They recommended:

  • that PIDA PAP 2 (2020-2030) draws from the ongoing review and consultative process and ensure that it is has a realistic list of projects that should be inclusive of all sectors;

  • the integration of several key issues including smart and integrated corridor approaches, renewable energy; youth and gender sensitivity potentials of projects in the development of the Second Phase of the PIDA;

  • and a strong communications strategy to communicate progress on priority PIDA projects and facilitate sharing of lessons and experiences on the implementation of PIDA projects.

In his closing remarks, Zimbabwe’s State Minister for Matebeleland North Province, Richard Moyo emphasized the need for Africa to accelerate the implementation of PIDA projects.

“This will allow us to add impetus to the continent’s integration process. We need to have the right infrastructure mix and align our national infrastructural projects to the PIDA programme for collective gain,” he said, adding nothing was impossible if Africa united and stayed focused on what it would have agreed to.

Nepad Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, also reiterated the need for the continent to accelerate the delivery of infrastructure projects as one.

“We also need to continue enabling a constructive dialogue with all the partners, including the private sector so that we can deliver concretely,” he said, adding over the past three days participants had managed to enhance their partnerships as “we fight for a peaceful, united and prosperous humanity”.

For his part, the African Union’s Infrastructure Director, Mr. Cheik Bedda emphasized the importance of good governance to promote infrastructural development that will positively impact the continent’s economies.

Representatives of the European Union and the GIZ, a major partner to Nepad and its partners in the PIDA programme, also spoke in support of Africa’s quest for an integrated infrastructure network.

“Big change is on the way for Africa through PIDA and we have to stay the course. Huge investments are required for it to become a reality. We as GIZ are with you. There are also huge opportunities in terms of human capital as well for the continent at all levels,” said GIZ African Union Office Director, Ms. Inge Baumgarten.

2018 PIDA Progress Report: Summary Update


Five years ago, Africa launched Agenda 2063 calling for “world class, integrated infrastructure that criss-crosses the continent.” This mirrored the spirit of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA); which was adopted a year earlier in 2012.

The First Priority Action Plan of PIDA (PIDA PAP) aims to implement key transboundary infrastructure projects with the potential to interconnect, integrate and contribute to structural transformation of Africa’s geographic and economic regions by 2020.

During this year, together with the African Union Commission and our partners we have been able to record some successes towards the implementation of PIDA PAP and the first ten year implementation plan of Agenda 2063.

Currently 44 out of the 55 AU member states have signed the consolidated text of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the ratification process is underway. These 44 countries together could create a huge market with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than US$3.4 trillion. The role of PIDA in contributing to the success of the AfCTA cannot be over-stated and necessitates an integrated approach to infrastructure development.

As regional integration arrangements deepen and intra-African trade increases, we need to focus on improved trans-continental highways in terms of road and rail networks; furthermore, deepening of financial markets and increased cross-border financial flows including money transfer will require us to make additional investments in ICT and digitalisation while growing industrialization and agro-industries will require more reliable and affordable power supply across the energy mix. The NEPAD Agency will thus pursue its integrated corridor development approach and aim to take advantage of synergies between the large trans-boundary projects in PIDA.

In January 2018, the AU Assembly also launched the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and designated H.E. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of Togo as its champion. As acknowledged by the International Air-Transport Association (IATA), the SAATM has the potential for remarkable transformation that will build prosperity while connecting the African continent.

The NEPAD Agency is leading the Sub-Core Team on SAATM Infrastructure and we are committed to working with the AUC, AfDB, ICAO and other partners to reduce fares and costs of travel by 50% to achieve air traffic double-digit growth rates in Africa by 2023.

Every year around 15 million people of working age enter the labour market in Africa and it is therefore important that we consider how large-scale infrastructure and PIDA in particular, can contribute to absorbing some of this latent labour force. With the support of the German Government through GIZ, the NEPAD Agency has over the last 2 years been working on the PIDA Job Creation Toolkit which includes a methodology to quantify the job creation impacts of infrastructure projects and guidelines on how to mainstream labour market effects into PIDA project planning and implementation.

The Toolkit allows users to explore ways in which to maximize job creation from infrastructure projects and thus capitalize on Africa’s demographic dividend and opportunities for wider regional economic development. This innovative tool will be launched on the margins of the African Union Summit in February 2019.

With current projections that Africa’s population will reach 1.6 billion by 2030, there is enormous pressure to increase food production and increased pressure on water resources, including a projected tenfold increase in water needs for energy production. This, coupled with rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, will increase the demand for water and hence necessitate PIDA from 2019-2024.

With a portfolio of nine (9) transboundary water and 10 hydropower projects, the goal of PIDA Water is to accelerate the preparation and financing of transboundary water projects and foster a water-food-energy nexus approach in the development of hydropower projects.

In 2016 we established the Continental Business Network (CBN) as a platform for high-level engagement with the private sector to facilitate investment in transboundary infrastructure projects. The work of the CBN is to continuously deliberate on how Africa can finance its infrastructure and how Africa’s infrastructure can be de-risked to attract investments from the private sector as well as to explore innovative measures and instruments to close the US$108 billion infrastructure gap on the continent.

Following the launch of the 5% Agenda in 2017, this year the Continental Business Network (CBN) once again gathered international investors, pension funds, stock exchange CEO’s, multi-lateral development banks and G7 representatives at the New York Stock Exchange, to follow up on the Agenda and consider how to structure an Africa Infrastructure Guarantee Mechanism (AIGM) that would attract participation from institutional and long-term investors.

Apart from a well-structured and resourced AIGM, enticing institutional investors to invest significantly in Africa’s infrastructure requires that we have well-prepared and packaged projects. To this end we have continued to strengthen and promote the PIDA Service Delivery Mechanism (SDM) which aims to assist regional project owners with advisory services for early-stage project preparation. Building on the lessons learned in applying this instrument to the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor, we are currently starting to apply it to the Lamu Port-South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (LAPSSET).

In October we were pleased to receive Hon. Railia Odinga the High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, appointed by the the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat. Hon. Odinga will support us in PIDA implementation by championing the upgrading and modernisation of the missing links of the Trans-African Highways Network and the Continental High-Speed Freight Railways Network (C-HSfRN) – two important Infrastructure projects of Agenda 2063 – and its pdf First Ten-Year Implementation Plan (2.04 MB) .

Partnership remains an integral element of PIDA implementation and we continue to work with partners such as GIZ, DBSA, the EU, AfDB, UNECA and others. In 2019, our cooperation with GIZ will enter a new phase as will the PIDA Capacity Building Support from the AfDB. We also look forward to working with the EU through their new phase of the Infrastructure Support Mechanism.

As we celebrate the successes of the past year, I look forward with much anticipation to future successes in 2019 and beyond.

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki



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