NEPAD Commends AfDB for Capacity Building Project to Accelerate the Delivery of PIDA

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Following the signing of the Capacity Building Project between the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) during the meetings of the African Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2014, the AfDB formally launched the project in Centurion, South Africa, on April 7, 2014.

This is a three-year (2014-2017) 5.6 million Unit of Account (US $8.6 million) project intended to strengthen the capacity of African countries through their respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as well as the AUC and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) to plan, prepare and coordinate the implementation of regional infrastructure programs and projects necessary for enhancing Africa’s physical and economic integration and socio-economic transformation with a focus on the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

Speaking at the Launch Ceremony held at the AfDB’s Southern Africa Resource Center (SARC), Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD said, “We commended the AfDB for the leadership in driving PIDA and for adopting a bottom-up approach which ensured that all stakeholders – continental bodies, RECs and Member Countries were consulted, which has resulted in the existing strong ownership of PIDA by stakeholders across the continent.” He observed that “PIDA provided a quantum leap in the way continental infrastructure projects of a regional nature were planned and developed.” He called for building permanent systems to ensure that the PIDA approach was sustained.

Kennedy Mbekeani, Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the AfDB’s SARC office, speaking at the same function said, “It should be recognized that PIDA is not just about infrastructure modernization, but more importantly, about development outcomes. Ultimately, PIDA must impact on the quality of lives of people by improving access to electricity, transport, water and ICT services for the majority of Africa’s population, while at the same time acting as a catalyst for the growth of business, both small and large, and also creating employment and business opportunities for the women and our youth.”

The launch and week-long stakeholder workshop is also intended to provide training to staff of the Executing Agencies, AUC and NEPAD (NPCA), as well as the eight beneficiary RECs – Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) – on Bank procurement and financial management processes and rules. The training is being provided by a number of Bank Departments notably, procurement and financial management (ORPF), financial disbursement (FFCO), legal (GECL) and management of regional infrastructure projects (ONRI). Understanding and compliance to Bank rules and procedures will ensure success of this important continental project.

Speaking on behalf of the RECs, Philip Wambugu, Director of Infrastructure at the EAC Secretariat, said, “This is an important milestone and shows commitment by the African Development Bank to support the decision of African Heads of State and Government when they approved PIDA in January 2012, when they called for creation of the necessary capacities to accelerate the preparation and financing of PIDA projects.”

PIDA defines priority regional cross-border infrastructure projects in energy, water, transport and ICT intended to interconnect, integrate and transform Africa through modern infrastructure at an investment cost of US $68 billion up to the year 2020. It provides the strategic framework for African stakeholders to build the infrastructure necessary for more integrated infrastructure networks to boost trade, spark growth and create jobs as well as to support regional integration and linkages into the global economy. Successful implementation of PIDA will therefore, enhance Africa’s competitiveness within itself and in the global economy, while acting as a catalyst to Africa’s economic transformation.