Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa to be key feature of AU summit

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The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is to be a key topic of discussion in sessions of the Summit of African Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 23 to 30 January. The programme’s mandate is to accelerate the development of Africa’s regional and continental infrastructure.

PIDA will feature in several sessions, but notable among them will be the 26th meeting of the New Partnership for African Development Heads of State and Government Committee on 28 January. The meeting is expected to approve the recommendations and recommend adoption of the PIDA study by the summit. The PIDA study is a joint initiative by the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency and AfDB.  It was officially launched in July 2010 at the fifteenth summit of the African Union held in Kampala, Uganda.

The summit’s adoption of the PIDA study will result in the development of concrete steps for its implementation.

PIDA promotes the development of regional and continental infrastructure projects in transport, energy, information and telecommunications technologies, as well as trans-boundary water in order to accelerate the physical integration of Africa, boost intra-African trade, and raise African competitiveness in the global economy.

The programme is a long-term initiative. It sets out short-term goals to be achieved by 2020, medium-term goals to be achieved by 2030, and long term ones by 2040.

In the shorter term, PIDA will focus on its Priority Action Plan. This plan dwells on regional and continental infrastructure projects to be implemented by 2020. The projects here are designed to meet Africa’s more immediate regional and continental infrastructure needs and future growth bottlenecks.

Based on the results of recent studies by leading experts in the areas it covers, PIDA aims to redress Africa’s serious infrastructure deficit. This deficit is seen as a major impediment to sustained African development. For instance, experts believe that Africa loses up to two per cent in annual GDP growth due to poor infrastructure.

The programme is the culmination of various efforts to develop Africa’s vital infrastructure and merges a number of continental infrastructure initiatives. These include the NEPAD Short Term Action Plan, the NEPAD Medium to Long-Term Strategic Framework, and the African Union’s Infrastructure Master Plans initiatives into one coherent programme for the entire African continent.

Benefits expected to result from PIDA include:

  • Growth in Africa’s global competitiveness, including in agriculture and manufacturing
  • Growth in Africa’s share of world trade, at least twice today’s share of two percent
  • Creation of up to 15 million new jobs through construction, operation and maintenance of PIDA projects - millions more will be created indirectly through the increased economic activity the projects will generate
  • A doubling of intra-African trade shares from the current levels of 11–12 percent
  • The securing of water resources and basins for future generations
  • Growth of ICT bandwidth by a factor of 20
  • Access to electricity will be no less than 60 percent in any African countries, providing access to an additional 800 million people.