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Tunis, 21 October 2005 – The African Development Bank (ADB) Group has begun to put in place the necessary structures and facilities required to host the secretariat of the Africa Infrastructure Consortium.
The inaugural meeting of the Infrastructure Consortium, which is composed of key African institutions and donors (1), was held on 6 October 2005 in London where the ADB was mandated to host the all-important Secretariat of the Consortium.
The Secretariat will facilitate close collaboration between the Consortium and the African Union, NEPAD, the Regional Economic Communities and the Bank on the development of infrastructure.
President Donald Kaberuka, who led the Bank’s delegation to the London meeting, has stressed the importance of infrastructure development in the region. He pointed out that 39% of all ADB Group project approvals in 2004 were for infrastructure.
The Consortium is a major new effort to accelerate progress to meet the urgent infrastructure needs of Africa in support of economic growth and development. It will address both national and regional constraints to infrastructure development, with emphasis on regional infrastructure, in line with the prevailing challenges at the regional level. Members of the Consortium are expected to be more effective at supporting infrastructure in Africa by pooling efforts in selected areas such as information sharing, project development, and dissemination of good practice.
In acknowledging that infrastructure is key to accelerating growth, reducing poverty and promoting regional integration in Africa, the Consortium agreed to work together to ensure more effective and sustainable infrastructure activity on a larger scale, by drawing on the resources and expertise of both the private and public sectors. The Consortium promised to undertake intensive work, with others, and drawing on past lessons, ensure that the most effective approaches across the range of infrastructure sectors are adopted.
The Consortium plans to identify and overcome project development, financing, capacity, and business environment constraints, in a cooperative spirit that recognizes the comparative advantages of different donors, with emphasis on the need for greater coherence of donor efforts to reduce transaction costs and ensure more effective and efficient delivery of funding consistent with the commitments made in Paris on harmonization.
The Consortium has also worked out a set of joint actions in support of the Secretariat, NEPAD, Project preparation, analytical work and capacity building, in order to remove some of the immediate bottlenecks in the promotion and development of cross-border and regional infrastructure projects in Africa.
The next meeting of the Consortium is scheduled for June 2006 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
1. African Development Bank, AU, Canada, COMESA, Development Bank of Southern Africa, ECOWAS, EAC, European Commission, European Investment Bank, France, Germany, NEPAD, Japan, Italy, Russia, SADC, UK, USA, World Bank.