The case for financing infrastructure and agricultural development was made at the United Nations headquarters during Africa Week.
Chair of the Africa Group, Mr Mohamed Siad Doualeh, Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the United Nations, made the call to look at ways to mobilise resources, investment, capacities, skills and technology in order to facilitate agricultural and infrastructure development in Africa.
Financing infrastructure and agriculture projects requires an enabling environment that includes adequate skills in project preparation and management, the availability of adequate financial products and institutions, a business friendly environment, adequate hard and soft infrastructure including the legal framework, comprehensive risk management, and political leadership.
H.E Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of Tanzania, reiterated the need for resources to be increased for agriculture and infrastructure. “Infrastructure is a critical input for growth and development of any society and nation. It is a catalyser, enabler and a pivotal lever of growth. One can rightly say that there is no meaningful development without infrastructure. More needs to be done to transform agriculture in Africa. There is a need to leverage and anchor modern science and technology in crop and animal production. Also, improving infrastructure in rural areas will make a huge difference in increasing production and making value addition possible,” he said.
Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency, concurred with H.E Kikwete in stating that agriculture in Africa was revitalised through CAADP. “As the development agency of the African Union, NEPAD implements continental strategies and builds coherent plans through frameworks such as CAADP for agriculture and PIDA for infrastructure,” Dr Mayaki said. “These and other continental frameworks are embedded in Agenda 2063 through which regional and national coherence is built,” he added.
Dr Mayaki went on to state that energy is a good example of the link between agriculture and infrastructure. “More bankable projects are needed to attract the much needed investment in infrastructure, ensuring that returns are high and risks are low. NEPAD Agency’s de-risking report shows that Africa is not as risky as was perceived,” Dr Mayaki said.
“With the underutilisation of resources, coupled with population growth, Africa has not yet achieved self-sufficiency in food security,” Prof Victor Harison, Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission stated.
The Commissioner also remarked that rural infrastructure is essential to accelerate agricultural development, emphasising that infrastructure and agricultural development are prerequisites for meeting goals in Agenda 2063 and SDGs.
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