Officials from the African Union (AU), the NEPAD Agency and the African Development Bank (AfDB) reaffirmed their commitment to ensure employment opportunities are included in infrastructure project design to create inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa.
The pledge was made at the closing ceremony of the second annual Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA) Week in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
PIDA Week 2016 kicked off with the Annual Meetings of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) supported by the Government of Japan, under the theme “Building Quality Infrastructure for Africa’s Development.”
A project financiers’ roundtable organized by the NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility, a special fund hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), deliberated how to enhance collaboration and co-financing.
“We have had fruitful discussions around PIDA particularly on how to fast-track the implementation of its Priority Action Plan,” Elham Ibrahim, AUC Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, said in her closing remarks. “We need to do more and faster to attain our 2020 targets. On the other hand, we should improve our communication and monitoring strategies with a focus on the social and economic impacts of projects such as the number of jobs created, population impacted.”
The 250 participants and stakeholders representing member states, private sector, development partners and project owners actively participated in discussions on how to enhance Public Private Partnerships in the implementation of PIDA projects and draw on lessons learnt from other regions of the world. A key highlight of the weeklong event was the PIDA Marketplace, a project exhibition to showcase ongoing PIDA projects.
Speaking during the closing ceremony, the CEO of the NEPAD Agency, Ibrahim Mayaki, underscored the need for a commitment from various stakeholders, alongside a collective effort towards realising infrastructure development. Infrastructure development is not about building bridges and roads, he said. It is about social inclusion. “Until we realise this vision, we cannot say we have succeeded. Infrastructure development must lead to social inclusion,” he said.
“As the NEPAD Agency we remain committed to the implementation of PIDA to realise the vision of long-term infrastructure development which will lead to job creation and a better Africa. We cannot fail,” said Mayaki.
Experts agreed on key recommendations to fast-track infrastructure project delivery, stimulate growth and keep the momentum around PIDA. These include encouraging infrastructure investment from donors, governments and pension fund managers to commit long-term resources. The need to build resilient infrastructure to foster inclusive growth and industrialization was underscored. Participants also indicated that it was critical to conduct a mid-term review to update African heads of states on PIDA’s progress.
For Moono Mupotola, Director of NEPAD Regional Integration and Trade Department at the AfDB, “the focus for this PIDA Week was to highlight the importance of designing and implementing our regional infrastructure projects in such a manner that they enhance opportunities for job creation for our people, and specifically the youth. This is a fundamentally important objective in our development efforts on the continent. We have all listened to the feedback from the thematic sessions on the transport, energy, ICT and water sectors. Our task going forward is to take those key conclusions and recommendations to put them into action in the design of our projects to ensure that we achieve development outcomes that can demonstrate results,” she said.
PIDA, a multi-sectoral programme that covers transport, energy, transboundary water and ICT, is dedicated to facilitating continental integration in Africa through improved regional infrastructure.