Infrastructure Skills for Development (IS4D)

The DFAT and NEPAD Agency developed an IS4D programme to build public-sector capacity to plan and oversee the delivery of priority PIDA infrastructure projects.

The aim of the IS4D programme is to help accelerate the effective de- velopment of priority PIDA infrastructure projects through the delivery of an action-learning programme for key professionals in critical pub- lic-sector agencies.

IS4D is a nine month, work-based programme, designed to equip professionals with the project-management competencies they need to initiate and oversee key infrastructure projects, especially the PAPs that form part of the PIDA.

IS4D Project Outcomes

IS4D trained 65 participants from 17 public-sector agencies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan and Zambia across two cohorts during 2015 and 2016. All participants were senior- and middle-level professionals working on regional PIDA projects.

A total of 38 people participated in the first phase of the programme, or IS4D-1. The second phase, which is ongoing, has attracted 27 participants, each with a role in delivering PIDA projects along the Northern Multi-Modal Transport Corridor, the North-South Power Transmission Corridor, Northern Corridor Transit and NCTTA, as well as the Beira- Nacala Rail Corridor. They are employed in a variety of government implementation and regulatory agencies, ministries, as well as inter-regional bodies involved in the rail, road and power sectors, plus corridor-management institutions.

The findings of a recent  independent evaluation of IS4D revealed that the initiative has been relevant and is highly valued by participants, their employers and government agencies working on PIDA. It provides an effective way of addressing the skills needs of infrastructure professionals who oversee the design and implementation of PIDA projects. A total of 77% of the IS4D participants indicated that the programme met their expectations, while 19% said it exceeded their demands. Similar positive feedback was received from the participants’ supervisors.

There was also ample evidence to demonstrate that the IS4D programme had a positive im- pact on accelerating implementation of PIDA priority cross-border infrastructure projects on southern and East African rail, port and road corridors.

Key successes of the IS4D include:

  • The development of a proven action- learning method that offers a real-time support package for infrastructure professionals based on a real project, while mitigating time away from work.
  •  It provides a supportive learning process focused on participants’ daily work responsibilities by providing access to:
    • regular individualised technical support from experienced and expert mentors,
    • a peer-to-peer support group or learning set, and
    • on-line, accredited project- management training provided by an Australian-registered organisation.
  • Depending on identified needs, participants were also able to access specialised short-term training to hone their negotiation, infrastructure financing and leadership skills. It also offered study tours and short-term work placements with organisations, undertaking tasks related to the participants’ work-based projects.
  • IS4D offered theory, practical expertise and visits, as well as wide networking opportunities via learning sets, short courses and visits to professional institutions.
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