Sixteen priority regional infrastructure projects of NEPAD’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) are being reviewed for implementation at a high level private and public sector forum in Zimbabwe. The forum set for April 9 to 10 has convened yesterday with the objective to identify concrete steps for fast-tracking the roll-out of the projects.
Addressing representatives from government, project owners, private sectors and development partners, NEPAD Agency CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, said that the meeting will “feed, trigger and enhance the quality of our implementation process”. The CEO underscored that all present are accountable for the delivery of PIDA, thus need to ensure that the 2020 targets of the first phase of PIDA will be met.
Adding to the CEO’s statement, Head of NEPAD's Infrastructure Strategic Business Unit, Mr Adama Deen highlighted that this meeting "is a golden opportunity to put our fingers on the issues and problems projects are facing and bring projects to a closure.”
The meeting set the stage to validate the PIDA Implementation Acceleration Strategy (PAS), which was recently endorsed by NEPAD's Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) and the AU Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2015. The PIDA Strategy (PAS) forms part of the Dakar Agenda for Action (DAA), which outlines concrete measures and actions for the implementation of the 16 priority projects by 2020.
The technical session was officially opened by Permanent Secretary of Transport and Infrastructure, Zimbabwe, Mr Munesushe Munodawafa, who stressed that “while Africa is one of the richest continents in terms of natural resources, regrettably, we are ranked the lowest in terms of infrastructure.” He emphasised the need for partnerships with the private sector to boost regional integration and intra-African trade.
Project owners of the Abidjan-Lagos Multimodal, Sambangalou Hydropower and Interconnection, Ruzizi III, Dar es Salam Port expension, Serenje-Nakone Road, Batoka Gorge Hydropower, ZTK Transmission and LAPSSET projects presented the current status and requirements of their projects.
Participants were updated on the ongoing feasibility studies of the Ruzizi III project to be finalised in 2016, the construction of 3 berths at the Lamu port in the LAPSSET project to commence in April this year and the need for funding to finalise the feasibility study for the Sambangalou Hydropower and Interconnection project. Mr Claude Kayitenkore of Ruzizi III project also emphasised that “there is a substantial need for support on legal and regulatory regimes, project finance preparation and capacity building,” he said.
In closing the meeting, Mr Reiaz Moe Shaik, Group Executive, Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), called project owners to outline their needs and timelines for implementation in order to bring on board the private sector.
The meeting will validate today the Action Plan of the PIDA Implementation Acceleration Strategy and prepare the launch of the Continental Business Network (CBN), an initiative to facilitate private sector participation and investment in PIDA.