Johannesburg-South Africa — Stakeholders, including Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the African Union, NEPAD, development partners and the World Economic Forum (WEF), have ended a three-day meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa calling for accelerated implementation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
The stakeholder workshop jointly organized by the African Union (AU) and the WEF on the implementation of PIDA and private sector funding of infrastructure in Africa, called for the buy-in of RECs, such as ECOWAS, in order to build a consensus with them and their Member States on the proposed "methodology for the selection of the PIDA pilot projects, to be accelerated through the application of private sector business principles." RECs were also urged to share ideas on how to “improve the selection methodology, and the decomposed project list with a more inclusive private sector membership of the WEF Business Working Group (WEF/BWG), and regional projects, taking into account the continental nature of PIDA.” WEF is to continue to hold “technical follow-up meetings with RECs from May to September 2013, after the Cape Town WEF in Africa, Summit, to exhaust the dialogue, and secure the necessary political buy-in from their political leadership.”
Given the need for “quick PIDA implementation early success(es),” the meeting agreed that the PIDA list will incorporate a "Shortlist" and a "Pipeline" of priority projects, where the approved PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA-PAP ) projects will constitute the "Shortlist," and new projects received from RECs and other stakeholders, will form the "Pipeline" of projects to be rolled into the "Shortlist," as projects reach maturity and financial close.
Participants also agreed that key regional private sector stakeholders will be invited through the African Union to attend the 2013 WEF in Africa Summit, in Cape Town, South Africa The workshop equally recommended that the Institutional Architecture for Infrastructure Development in Africa (IAIDA) approved together with PIDA during the African Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2012, should enter the next steps of operationalization with the composition of the Council for Infrastructure Development (CID) and the Infrastructure Advisory Group (IAG), with strong private sector interest in the IAG. Meanwhile, the German international development agency, GIZ and AfDB - the two institutional funders supporting the capacity building of AU institutions - AU Commission (AUC), NEPAD Coordination Agency (NPCA) and RECs - have agreed to provide funding to support the implementation of PIDA through the appointment of technical staff to be seconded to the AUC and to NPCA, including short-term experts.
The workshop also discussed update of PIDA project fiches as well as the context, objectives, outcomes and impacts, funding mechanism, readiness, partners, strategic function of infrastructure, benefits and risks associated to the 51 PIDA PAP projects covering four core sectors - transport, energy, trans-boundary water and ICT.
Participants made inputs to the PIDA Communications Strategy and Action Plan, fine-tuned by communication experts on the margins of the workshop. It was agreed that given the importance of communication to the successful implementation of PIDA, RECs as key partners should validate the communication strategy, with the necessary support from all stakeholders to ensure that the objectives of the programme are effectively communicated to internal and external audiences.
On the update of the Sandton Roadmap 2012-13 for PIDA implementation, emphasis was placed on resource mobilization, capacity building, PIDA study documents and database, institutional arrangement (operationalization of notably IAIDA structures (CID and IAG), communication plan rolled out, monitoring and reporting, and private sector participation. Apart from ECOWAS, other RECs represented at the 17th -19th April 2013 workshop were the Common Market for East and Central Africa (COMESA), the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The ECOWAS six-member delegation was led by Mr. Jules Gogoua of the ECOWAS Commission's Infrastructure Directorate. Adopted by the African Union and NEPAD leaders in January 2012, PIDA is based on an assumption that with a projected annual economic growth rate of six per cent for African countries, GDP for all countries will grow six times and the average per capita income will rise above 10,000 US dollars in the next 30 years with anticipated increase in the infrastructure demand in all sectors.
ECOWAS ministers and experts from the infrastructure sector met recently in Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire to discuss the objectives of PIDA and how it aligns with the continental strategic programming as well as sensitize Member States on West Africa's component of the PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA-PAP) and regional development plans to help drive the domestication of PIDA projects in national plans and budgetary provisions.