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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) participated at the Validation Meeting for the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Acceleration Strategy Action Plan (PAS) and the preparatory meeting for the launching of the Continental Business Network (CBN) held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, from April 9 to 10, 2015. The Bank’s delegation was led by Mohammed Hassan, Coordinator for the ICA for Africa, and comprised Shem Simuyemba, Chief Infrastructure Economist, and Mtchera Chirwa, Chief Infrastructure & PPP Specialist, from the NEPAD, Regional Integration and Trade Department.
The PAS aims to fast-track the implementation of a number of the priority PIDA projects, specifically, the 16 projects agreed at the Dakar Financing Summit (DFS) held in Dakar, Senegal, in June 2013 which constitute projects ready for acceleration. These include the Sambangalou hydro-power project in West Africa; the Batoka Gorge hydro-power project in Zimbabwe; the Serenje-Nakonde road in Zambia, which is part of the North-South Corridor; and the Dar-es-Salaam Port expansion project in East Africa, among others.
The objective of the meeting was therefore to discuss the proposed Action Plan for implementing the PAS. The meeting considered progress, next steps and areas of NEPAD and other partners’ intervention required to move these projects forward to preparation and financing. The Bank’s head of delegation delivered a statement of support and commitment to the PIDA projects and acceleration processes on behalf of the Vice-President of Operations, Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, Solomon Asamoah.
The CBN is intended to be a high-level advocacy and investment platform for increased private sector participation in PIDA financing/investment and implementation, and more generally as a forum for addressing challenges and opportunities relating to the development of Africa’s infrastructure. The meeting discussed the rationale and possible set up and operational modalities for the CBN which is set to be launched on June 1, 2015 at the World Economic Forum Africa Summit in Cape Town, South Africa. The Bank is expected to be a key member of the CBN and has continued to play a critical role in the implementation of PIDA, Africa’s highest priority infrastructure programme intended to interconnect the continent through priority transformational infrastructure projects in energy, transport, ICT and trans-boundary water.
Speaking at the meeting, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Agency, commended partners including the Bank for supporting the PIDA process and observed that, “The partnership in the delivery of PIDA must extend from the public to the private sector by involving Africa’s business leaders to engage in results-driven dialogue with political leaders and policy-makers so as to create a conducive environment for private sector participation in infrastructure financing in Africa.”