ECOWAS Ministers Meet in Yamoussoukro On Regional Infrastructure Development

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Yamoussoukro - Cote d'Ivoire — ECOWAS Ministers in charge of infrastructure are to meet in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire on Friday 9th November 2012 to agree measures for the domestication of the Action Plan on the Programme for the Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA-PAP) projects, and for the strengthening of the coordination, capacity and synergies for the development of regional infrastructure.

The ministerial gathering being preceded by a two-day regional experts meeting, is expected to build consensus for the speedy implementation of the PIDA-PAP within West Africa, focusing on the dissemination of the outcomes of the PIDA Study and its implementation strategy as it relates to capacity building for the PIDA implementation within Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) and Member States. Specifically, the meeting will introduce Ministers and Experts to the intentions and objectives of the African Union PIDA and how it aligns with the continental strategic programming.

It will also further sensitize Member States on West Africa’s component of the PIDA-PAP and regional development plans to help drive the domestication of PIDA projects in national plans and budgetary provisions. Other objectives of the meeting are to provide a short-term pipeline (action plan) of regional projects for immediate development to be submitted for approval by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers; identify capacity building needs and knowledge requirements for project preparation and implementation in line with the Institutional Architecture for Infrastructure Development in Africa (IAIDA) approved for the PIDA-PAP; and also introduce the Terms of Reference for the proposed West Africa Infrastructure Master Plan to Experts and Sector Ministers.

This is a follow-up to the decision of the 41st ordinary session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, in Yamoussoukro, in June 2012, which emphasized the importance of infrastructure to the improvement of the competitiveness of the Region. The summit directed the ECOWAS Commission to intensify its efforts in regional infrastructure development and the mobilization of the necessary resources towards this end. The African Union Commission and the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Authority (NPCA), with support from the African Development Bank (AfDB) prepared PIDA to serve as a vision and strategic framework for the development of regional and continental infrastructure (Energy, Transport, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Trans-boundary Water Resources), for a period of 30 years from 2010.

PIDA is based on an assumption that with a projected annual economic growth rate of 6% for African countries, GDP for all countries will grow six times and the average per capita income will rise above US$10,000 in the next 30 years with anticipated increase in the infrastructure demand in all sectors. The Programme was adopted by the 18th Summit of the African Union, the 26th Summit of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee and the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government, held in Addis Ababa, respectively on 28 January and 29-30 January 2012.

Within the PIDA framework, a Priority Action Plan (PIDA-PAP) resulting from analysis, criteria review and consultations on the REC master plans was developed with a number of priority infrastructure projects and programmes forming the 1st batch of agreed priorities covering large projects in the Transport, Energy, ICT and Trans-Boundary Water sectors. The PIDA-PAP consists of 51 priority infrastructure projects identified in the four sectors across Africa, to be implemented in the next eight years (2012 - 2020), with the programme and priority action plan expected to be implemented by the AU Commission, its Organs and the NPCA through the RECs, related sector specialized institutions, Member States and development partners.

The ECOWAS Commission has been selected as the lead REC to oversee and co- ordinate the implementation of about 20 out of the 51 priority projects selected under the PAP with regards to West Africa. This will form a key basis for a detailed ECOWAS infrastructure development programme and Master Plan to guide infrastructure development in West Africa. The Yamoussoukro meetings are expected among others, to extract the commitment of Member States’ Sector Ministers to support the prioritization and implementation of the programmes under the PIDA and other regional infrastructure programmes There will be presentations on the PIDA Study, background, expected results and the way forward, PIDA-PAP Implementation scheme and the way forward, and the ECOWAS Infrastructure Development Short-Term Programme (Vision, Strategy and Projects profiles).

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