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AfDB and AUC Sign Grant to Enhance the Capacity of African Countries to Accelerate the Delivery of Regional Infrastructure Projects
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Union Commission (AUC) on Wednesday, January 29 in Addis Ababa signed a new project grant. The project will strengthen the capacity of African countries through their respective Regional Economic Communities (Community of Sahel-Saharan States, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East African Community, Economic Community of Central African States, Economic Community of West African States, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Southern African Development Community and Arab Maghreb Union), 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).
AfDB Vice-President, Finance, Charles Boamah and the Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, Erastus Mwencha, signed the US $8.6 million three-year, capacity building grant during the ongoing meetings of the African Heads of State and Government being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Speaking at the signing, Erastus Mwencha thanked the AfDB for the support and stated that “linking what we do to what affects people directly is critical. The AfDB has shown the way in what you do to mobilize financing for infrastructure will change Africa and the impact will go beyond projects.” He called on the need to put in place systems and processes that will help measure “people level” impact of the various interventions being undertaken by the AfDB the AUC and other players on the continent.
In response, AfDB Vice-President Charles Boamah stated that infrastructure remains a core priority of the Bank linked the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy (2013-2022) and that over the last six years up to 2012, the Bank had invested US $20 billion in infrastructure, a significant part of it in regional continental infrastructure projects. He indicated that the Bank remains committed to supporting Africa build the infrastructure that will lead to the continent’s transformation, but which also impacts on inclusive growth by translating into jobs and improved lives for the majority of Africans.
Specifically, the grant will support the accelerated implementation of PIDA approved by African Heads of State and Government during the 18th ordinary session of African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2012, by providing the necessary capacity to RECs and the continental bodies (AUC and NPCA), to enable them support Member States to move PIDA projects to preparation, bankability and financing. PIDA projects include modernizing ports, railways and road networks across Africa, interconnecting power grids and completing Africa’s IT connectivity.
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.
The Bank has initiatives and instruments which are playing a role in moving PIDA towards realization. These include the Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (IPPF) and the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA), both multi-donor funded initiatives handling project preparation and resource mobilization respectively. The Bank’s newest initiative scaling-up infrastructure financing is the Africa50 fund, targeting project development and investment financing for continental and commercially viable regional infrastructure projects. Collectively, these initiatives together with the PIDA Capacity Building Project should help to accelerate the implementation of PIDA within mutually beneficial partnership involving the AUC, NPCA, the RECs, Regional Member Countries, the AfDB and other development partners including private sector stakeholders.