Dignitaries from Africa, under the auspices of the African Union’s NEPAD Agency, in collaboration with the NEPAD/APRM Kenya Secretariat, converged on Nairobi from 23 - 24 May 2018 for the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) Technical Task Team workshop to deliberate on the way forward for the initiative and to present the progress status of each of the PICI projects. PICI is a continental initiative created to accelerate regional infrastructure development across Africa through political championing of projects.
The workshop, which was opened by Hon. Peter Munya, Cabinet Secretary, East African Community and Northern Corridor Development, brought together relevant stakeholders and the PICI Country Focal Points to provide inputs for the preparation of the Comprehensive PICI Project Status Report. The report will be submitted to the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee for onward transmission to the July African Union Assembly.
NEPAD Agency’s PICI Coordinator, Dr John Tambi set the scene by contextualising the PICI projects within the framework of PIDA, as a precursor to this continental strategic framework for infrastructure, before presenting to the audience the different achievements and milestones for each of the PICI projects. Dr Tambi gave the opening speech on behalf of Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency, who stated amongst others, that the role of the Country Focal Points and members of the PICI Technical Task Team is of tremendous importance to provide leadership and direction for infrastructure development in Africa.
In attendance were development partners, from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and representatives from the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), CCTFA, and UMA. Participants were drawn from Kenya, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa and Namibia.
Progress achieved in the development of various projects under PICI across the continent was highlighted. These projects include:
- The Missing Links of the Trans-Sahara Highway and Optic Fibre Link between Algeria and Nigeria via Niger championed by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria;
- The Nigeria-Algeria Gas Pipeline Project (Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline) championed by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria;
- The Dakar-Ndjamena-Djbouti Road/Rail Project championed by President Macky Sall;
- The North-South Corridor Road/Rail Project championed by President Cyril Rhamaphosa of South Africa;
- The Kinshasa-Brazzaville Bridge Road/Rail Project championed by President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Congo Republic;
- The Unblocking Political Bottlenecks for ICT Broadband and Optic Fibre Projects Linking Neighbouring States and the SMART Africa Project championed by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda;
- Construction of the Navigational Line between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea championed by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt;
- The Lamu Port Southern Sudan and Ethiopian Transport Project (LAPSSET) championed by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; and
- The International Logistics Hub Project Championed by President Hage Geingob of Namibia.
Hon Munya informed the participants that the Lamu Port South Sudan and Ethiopian Transport (LAPSSET) project was on course and that major milestones have been achieved. The three berths being constructed by the Government of Kenya at the Lamu Port were now 48% complete. The CS further said that LAPSSET is just not for the three countries (Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan) but it is a continental project by all standards, as it feeds into existing transport and trade corridors such as the great North Corridor from Cape Town to Cairo (Trans-Africa Highway No:4).
In his remarks made on his behalf by NEPAD Kenya Acting CEO Mr Daniel Osiemo, Dr Julius Muia, PS State Department of Planning, reiterated the importance of cross-border infrastructure for unlocking development potential. The PS further said that PICI is playing an important role of accelerating regional infrastructure development and commended NEPAD Agency for its great work and commitment towards Africa’s integration.