Infrastructure and Regional Integration to “Regenerate” African Energy Sector

05/11/2010
Share |

Infrastructure and regional integration are the main pillars on which Africa’s quality energy programmes will be based, according to experts attending the All Africa Energy Week conference in Maputo, Mozambique.

In a statement, Elham Ibrahim, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, said that “solving energy issues was necessary in order to improve the competitiveness of our economies and the quality of life of our citizens that are severely affected by the weaknesses and many failures of energy systems, and in particular, their low availability”.

The Commissioner called on the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) “to join efforts to convince African decision-makers to set up a permanent framework of cooperation for regional and continental energy infrastructure development, taking into account new challenges of climate changes”.

UNECA’s António Pedro, for his part, said that "regional cooperation and integration could pool the continent’s energy capacities and transform its economies". According to him, "the fragmentation of the energy market is impeding industrial development. Regional integration is thus crucial for Africa because many of its countries face numerous common challenges that can best be dealt with collectivity". He also declared: "Power is Africa's largest infrastructure challenge by far."

In order to scale up financial support for energy development, Pedro called on the AfDB and other multilateral agencies to increase their funding for the development of Africa's infrastructure and to increase their support to the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) and the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF).

In response, the AfDB Chief Energy Specialist, Jacques Moulot, reiterated the Bank’s commitment to supporting infrastructure development, especially in the energy sector in it regional member countries.

“The African Union State Members mentioned energy as being their priority sector and these members are African Development Bank clients,” Mr. Moulot Said, explaining that  the Bank will continue to play its role by providing financial advice, financing projects and mobilizing resources for infrastructure projects.

The AfDB is also supporting the Project for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), whose ambition is to develop an African vision on infrastructure and energy.