The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, along with Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, attended an African Union Investment Summit Round Table meeting on Saturday, 24 July 2010 in Kampala, Uganda.
The round table luncheon was held under the auspices of the 15th African Union Summit held from 25-27 July 2010 in the Ugandan capital.
The theme of the meeting attended by the Ugandan business community was: ‘Creating New Business Opportunities in the Aftermath of Global Economic and Financial Crisis.”
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Kaberuka said “The magnitude of Africa’s financing needs for infrastructure is far beyond the public sector’s capacity, and clearly highlights the opportunities for private sector involvement,”
On the challenges facing the African energy sector, Mr Kaberuka said: “Africa needs to focus its efforts on three areas - energy sector reforms, new generation capacity and the development of regional markets.”
He also engaged in a private dialogue with President Museveni and later responded to questions asked by the Ugandan business community.
Other speakers at the event included the AU Economic Affairs Commissioner, Maxwell Mkwezalamba; the Uganda Investment Authority Chairman Patrick Bitature, and the Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC), Patricia Francis.
AfDB and AU launch PIDA
Earlier, the AfDB, NEPAD and the AU officially launched the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) on the fringes of the Summit.
PIDA identifies energy, water, ICT and transport as central to the implementation of economic and social development policies. The programme is in line with infrastructure development, one of the key pillars of the Bank Group’s 2008-2012 Medium-Term strategy. The Bank’s approvals of Infrastructure projects reached USD 6 billion in 2009, accounting for more than half of all approvals during the year. .
PIDA aims to facilitate increased regional integration in Africa through improved regional and continental infrastructures.
The project, which is a joint venture between AU Commission, the AfDB, and the NEPAD Secretariat, was officially launched by South African President, Jacob Zuma, AU Commission chairperson, Jean Ping, and the AU Commissioner for Energy and Infrastructure, Ebrahim M.A. Ibrahim.
Speaking at the occasion, President Kaberuka’s advisor, Youssouf Quedraogo, said: “African leaders were unanimous in their call for greater regional integration in Africa.
“Our role as a development institution is to support this expressed ambition by providing realistic and achievable steps in order to attain this objective” he emphasized.
US Promises to help Africa fight Corruption
Meanwhile, US Attorney General, Eric Holder, who represented President Barack Obama at the summit addressed African leaders ahead of the official opening of the event, saying that his country would collaborate, partner and assist African nations to overcome their challenges.
The US, Mr. Holder said, would use every resource at its disposal from diplomacy, through the courts and intelligence capabilities to defeat the global terror network.
Corrupt African leaders will not be able to look to the US for a safe haven for stolen money, he told African leaders, adding that Washington would seize money stolen by corrupt leaders.
“I have assembled a team of prosecutors [to deal exclusively with this]” he said, adding that the US was also willing to support the development of African judiciaries to deal with the problem of corruption.
Mr Holder is part of the American delegation to the Kampala summit led by Mr Johnnie Carson, the US top diplomat in Africa.
The Kampala Summit is being held on the theme, "Child maternal health and development in Africa"