How Can Infrastructure Create Employment and facilitate PIDA Implementation?
Currently, half of Africa’s population of 1.1 Billion is under 25 years young and it is estimated that 300 million youth will enter African labour markets until 2030. Additionally, there is a mismatch between skills demand and supply to absorb this socio-economic capability via a well-educated and skilled workforce.
The African Union recognized this potential by naming 2017 as the year of Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth. As a matter of fact, in March 2017, the AU Member States’ Ministers for Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism emphasized regional infrastructure as a key leverage to create jobs and invited AUC and NEPAD to consider job creation a vital element during the implementation of PIDA. Consequently, the NEPAD Agency, as the AU’s technical implementing organ, developed the PIDA Job Creation Online Toolkit to capitalize on the demographic dividend for job creation and wider regional economic development via PIDA infrastructure projects.
The PIDA Job Creation Toolkit, via an econometric calculation, estimates the number of jobs during the planning, construction and operation & maintenance (O&M) phases of PIDA projects. For example, the Toolkit was applied to the PIDA Project Ruzizi III (a hydropower dam serving Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda). Additional employment across the three host countries was estimated at around 25,100 direct, indirect and induced jobs during the project 5-year construction phase; 6,500 jobs for the Operation and Maintenance phase; and around 103,700 secondary job years as a result of improved energy access across the three countries.
This demonstration of labor market effects not only helps to raise political and financial commitment necessary for PIDA project implementation but also PIDA project owners and their partners can use the Toolkit as a policy instrument to assess how alternative project designs may impact African job creation and skills development. Thus, in the near future the Toolkit may serve as a labour market information system to inform education and skills planning on national level and to formulate guidelines for local content policies on regional specific level.
The PIDA Job Creation Toolkit has been presented at the Africa Talks Jobs Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and with regular reporting cycles at the annual PIDA Week. The toolkit is being developed based on concept and methodology that was tested and has provided promising results.
BRIDGES AFRICA – Volume 6, Issue 2, presents an interview with Kalilou Traoré, the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Commissioner for industry and private sector promotion. In his answers to our questions, the commissioner highlights both the vast opportunities and the significant challenges associated with infrastructure development, and presents the various efforts deployed by ECOWAS and its member states in this area.
The interview is complemented by four articles, which look at the infrastructure-tradesustainable development nexus from different angles. While Christian Kingombe explores how transport infrastructure can lay the foundation for the successful achievement of the SDGs on the continent, Niklas Malchow and Anna Waldmann look at the development potential of cross-border infrastructure from a job creation perspective. Yabin Wu and Xiao Lai, for their part, focus on China’s infrastructure development strategy in Africa, and reflect on its potential implications for African economies. Finally, Hans-Peter Egler emphasises the importance of developing sustainable and resilient infrastructure in Africa, while offering specific insights on the role of sustainability standards to meet that objective.