Africa Nears Agreement on Continental Infrastructure Plan With Accord in Morocco

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African states came closer to finalizing a continental programme for the development of vital infrastructure as talks ended in Morocco at the weekend.

North African countries agreed on priority projects at the last round of regional consultations by the promoters of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) in Rabat, Morocco.

PIDA is an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission and the

New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) planning and coordination agency. Representatives of Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) member countries agreed on priorities for the region with PIDA. The UMA countries represented were Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. Egypt also participated in the discussions at the invitation of the AfDB.

Similar consultations for other regions on the continent were concluded earlier in eastern, southern, central and western Africa. The various regional plans will be combined in a single PIDA document for official adoption by African heads of state at their next African Union summit in Addis Ababa in January 2012.

Ralph Olayé, manager of the AfDB’s NEPAD division, said the successful outcome of the meeting was important, and that the delegates at this and the other regional consultations determined that the programme would succeed.

“The development of infrastructure is not something Africa can postpone.  It is at the very core of the development of our continent to bring truly inclusive and sustainable economic growth over the long term.” he said.

PIDA promotes the development of regional and continental infrastructure projects in transport, energy, information and telecommunications technologies (ICT), as well as trans-boundary water. 

Agreed projects will support regional integration and development throughout the continent.  PIDA’s long term goal is to enhance the physical integration of Africa, boost intra-African trade, and raise African competitiveness in the global economy.

PIDA is based on the results of a number of recent studies by leading experts in the areas it covers.

It covers the period to 2040. It also has a short term Priority Action Plan of infrastructure and reforms to be realized by 2020.  The Programme will be presented for endorsement by African heads of state and government at the upcoming Summit of the African Union in January 2012.