Swakopmund, Namibia, 13 December, 2017 (ECA) – The 2017 PIDA Week ended in Swakopmund, Namibia, Wednesday with delegates calling on Member States to commit themselves to the development of Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) projects on the ground and to renew their focus to infrastructure development in rural and remote areas, among others.
Of major importance to the Economic Commission for Africa was the adoption by delegates of the PIDA Model Law which was developed by the ECA to harmonize cross-border rules, regulations, laws and policies governing transboundary infrastructure projects in Africa.
Delegates agreed to expand the law to address issues such as skills transfer, job creation and training.
“We are happy that delegates to the Third PIDA Week have given their support to the model law. I believe that this law, if adopted and domesticated, will address the impediments that have been blocking investors from putting their money in transboundary infrastructure projects on the continent,” said Adeyinka Adeyemi, Senior Advisor and Head of the Regional Integration and Infrastructure Cluster in the ECA’s Capacity Development Division (CDD).
The proposed model law facilitates private sector investment and financing in transboundary infrastructure projects; ensures transparency, efficiency, accountability and sustainability of transboundary infrastructure projects; harmonises cross-border regulation of transboundary infrastructure projects; and promotes intra-African trade and opens domestic markets to international trade.
The law is expected to be adopted by African Heads of State at their January Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after which the ECA and its partner in this project, NEPAD, will help countries to domesticate the law to fit their needs.
Meanwhile, delegates also agreed that Africa should up its game in mobilizing domestic resources to fund the complete implementation of five selected projects and promote the maximal use of local content within the beneficiary countries and regions.
The five projects are the Central Corridor (Dar es Salaam to Chalinze Toll Road), Kinshasa-Brazzaville Road and Railway Bridge, Ethiopia-Sudan Power Interconnector, Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Power Connection and the Batoka Hydropower Plant.
In their final communique delegates recommended that for Africa to build on progress made through the implementation of PIDA PAP, there was need for some strategic focus on a number of things.
This includes fast tracking the assessment of the PIDA mid-term review and engaging the preparation of the PIDA PAP 2 (2020-2030) with an updated list of the priority projects; promote integrated corridor development using data-driven decision-making models to prioritise projects for commercial viability and promote the setting up of legal frameworks and instruments for corridor management.
The communique emphasizes the use of cross-sectoral approaches, including the water-food-energy nexus approach, to promote and demonstrate the economic viability of water projects on the continent; and the need to ensure ICT is fully integrated in PIDA projects so broadband is available, affordable and that there is sufficient bandwidth for new services such as Data centers to support and promote online start-ups.
Delegates also said there’s need to raise awareness on the importance of the digital economy as an integral part of PIDA and Africa’s development and promote the online domain name industry and raise public awareness on DoTAfrica (.Africa) as a continental identity for African companies and citizens online.
“There’s need to operationalize the 5% Agenda by encouraging African sovereign wealth funds and pension funds to invest a greater part of their assets in Africa’s development including the implement of PIDA projects,” read the communique.
The third PIDA Week was held under the theme ‘Regional Infrastructure Development for Job Creation and Economic Transformation’ from and ends Thursday with the tour of Namibia’s Walvis Bay Corridor.
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