The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, today appointed Honorable Raila Odinga of Kenya as High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa. This decision is part of the African Union’s drive to expedite the integration of the continent through infrastructure, in order to promote economic growth and sustainable development. It comes against the backdrop of renewed efforts in this regard, as exemplified by the adoption, last March in Kigali, of the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport, as well as by the launching of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), in Addis Ababa in January 2018.
The High Representative will work to support and strengthen the efforts of the Commission’s relevant Departments and those of the Planning and Coordinating Agency of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), within the framework of the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), which was endorsed by the Assembly of the Union in January 2012. In this respect, his mandate includes mobilizing further political support from Member States and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and facilitating greater ownership by all concerned stakeholders on the continent. He will also support the Commission and NEPAD initiatives to encourage increased commitment from development partners.
In the discharge of his mandate, and building on the work and leadership of the PIDA Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI), the High Representative will pay particular attention to the missing links along the transnational highway corridors identified as part of the Trans-African Highways Network, with a view to facilitating their development and modernization. He will also focus on the continental high-speed train, which is one of the flagship projects of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063, in the context of the relevant African Union decisions. He will interact with the current Champions of related African Union initiatives and seek their guidance, to ensure the required synergy and coherence.
The Chairperson of the Commission is grateful to Honorable Raila Odinga for accepting this important assignment. He brings with him a rich political experience and strong commitment to the ideals of Pan-Africanism and African integration, as well as a deep knowledge of infrastructure development. Honorable Odinga has served in a number of critical positions in a career spanning more than forty years. In addition to having been a Member of Parliament, he has held important ministerial portfolios, including Energy, Roads, Public Works, and Housing between 2001 and 2005. He has also served as Prime Minister of Kenya from 2008 to 2013.
The Chairperson of the Commission expresses appreciation to President Uhuru Kenyatta for his support to this decision, consistent with his commitment to African integration. He looks forward to the full cooperation of all Member States with the High Representative, as he carries out the mandate entrusted to him.
Given the current situation of African rail networks and the desire and ambition displayed at high levels to revitalise or even develop this vital sector so that it can contribute effectively to inclusive growth and the integration of the continent, African transport Ministers have made various commitments and declarations.
The declarations include those adopted in Brazzaville in 2006; Algiers in 2008 and Malabo in 2014, through which they undertook to support and strengthen the African Railways Union to enable it to play its full role, as well as to adopt Vision 2040 for rail revitalisation in Africa, placing it at the heart of the programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
The call was made to provide Africa with a “reliable, sustainable, high-performance, environmentally friendly, affordable rail system by 2040 that can, along with other modes of transport, promote the socio-economic development of and regional integration while contributing to a better global position for the continent.
Since then, the Africa Union Commission and the NEPAD Agency have undertaken several initiatives towards achieving these commitments.
It is in this context that African Union with the Technical support of NEPAD Agency held its first meeting on the revitalisation of the continent’s railways, at African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 24 to 27 September 2018. On the agenda was the restoration of the African Union of Railways; the implementation of Vision 2040 on the revitalisation of railways in Africa; an update on the progress of the Continental High Speed Train, and; the action plan for the implementation of rail revitalisation in Africa.
Participants of the first meeting on the revitalisation of Africa’s railways in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Leader of the NEPAD delegation to Addis Ababa, Mr Louis Napo, NEPAD Agency’s Advisor on the African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network, presented the progress report on the continental High-Speed Railway Network. The next step in the continental project will entail conducting a feasibility study, for which a consultant has been selected, following the tender bidding process.
Members of the Committee examined the different aspects related to the problem of African Union of Railways and decided on a roadmap to finalise the appropriate plan for the revitalisation of the entity, which will be submitted for approval of the conference of Transport Ministers scheduled for July 2019.
The NEPAD Agency with support from the German Government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Global Clearinghouse for Development Finance (GlobalDF) developed the PIDA Job Creation Toolkit to estimate the labour market effects of PIDA cross-border infrastructure projects. The Toolkit is a first of its kind online estimation tool that can be utilised by project owners to estimate how many direct, indirect, induced and secondary jobs can be created by infrastructure projects. The possible jobs created, can be disaggregated by project phase, project and beneficiary countries as well as economic sector of where those jobs are estimated to be realized.
In that respect, the NEPAD Agency held a training workshop in Pretoria on the 17th – 18th July 2018 to train PIDA project owners and officials from the Regional Economic Communities and the African Union Commission in applying the Toolkit for their respective projects. Mr. Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head of Regional Integration Infrastructure and Trade Programme at the NEPAD Agency, welcomed the delegates and introduced the toolkit as a powerful tool that can transform African job maximization. Users were trained how to input their project’s data to generate job estimations and analyse the Toolkit output for further use. For example: a hydropower project has the potential to create above 2 million job years in the project and project beneficiary countries over an estimated project life cycle of 50 years. Building up on that, the Toolkit also shows the economic sectors of where those estimated jobs can be created so the local labour market can be prepared to absorb those potential jobs locally. Another Toolkit function is that of scenario analysis: often times in infrastructure development, project inputs such as construction materials or the preparation of technical studies is brought in from outside of Africa. The Toolkit recognises this as investment leakage and therefore does not estimate local jobs. Rather the Toolkit shows users the number of local jobs that are lost because of for example importing steel from overseas. However, the Toolkit can create a what if scenario: what if, these inputs such as construction materials/technical studies etc. were locally sourced instead of imported? Eventually, the user can see an As If versus a What If scenario that contrasts the number of local jobs potentially being lost for not buying locally sourced project inputs e.g. steel. Additionally, the Toolkit provides action areas of how local jobs can be maximized during the different project phases.
Overall the workshop was big success leaving participants to go back home with a tool that benefits them in terms project management and marketing as well as policy planning. Participants stated to use the Toolkit in future socio-economic analysis and promoting their projects to Ministers and management officials. At the training closing remarks, participants started to tweet: #PIDA Job Creation Toolkit: changing people lives or #NEPAD Agency prepares game changing Job Creation Toolkit. Moving forward, the PIDA Job Creation Toolkit will incorporate the feedback provided by the participants to optimize its service before going online.
One of the outcomes of the 3rd Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week was for the NEPAD Agency to lead on accelerating PIDA projects, with specific emphasis on the PIDA sectors of power transmission, aviation and water. The limited progress reported on moving PIDA water projects from conception to implementation was in part attributed to challenges in developing investment cases to attract the required resources.
Capitalising on the momentum of the United Nations High Level Panel on Water, NEPAD Agency in collaboration with the AUC, the Global Water Partnership (GWP), and the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) – has formulated the PIDA Water support initiative Project (2019-2024) to accelerate the preparation and financing of transboundary water projects and foster a water-food-energy nexus approach in the development of the hydropower projects.
The ambition is to leverage at least US $10 billion in investments that will contribute to the greater goal of assuring water security; triggering industrialisation; creating jobs; and, in turn, stimulating transformative economic growth. It is in this regard that on 12 July 2018, the NEPAD Agency Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Programme team convened a meeting on the NEPAD Agency-PIDA Transboundary Water Project jointly with GWP and AMCOW.
Speaking on behalf of the NEPAD Agency CEO, Mr Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head of RIITP at the NEPAD Agency said that water and aviation sectors were not prioritised during PIDA Phase 1. This was well noted during the 3rd PIDA Week and thus the need to address this during PIDA Phase 2.
The meeting held in Gaborone, Botswana brought together various Infrastructure experts from the RECs and PIDA Transboundary project owners to deliberate on the implementation of the partnership between NEPAD Agency, GWP and AMCOW, which aims to support the acceleration of project preparation and financing of the PIDA Water Priority Transboundary and Hydropower Projects.
Mr Phera Ramoeli representing the SADC Infrastructure Director, Ms Mapolao Mokoena, also echoed his sentiments, highlighted that SADC welcomes the PIDA Water initiative as part of implementing SADC’s development and industrialisation agenda, and is ready to work with the PIDA Water project.
Dr Canisius Kanangire, Executive Secretary of AMCOW emphasised the need to coordinate efforts and strengthen partnerships to implementing the new AMCOW Strategy towards achieving the Africa Water Vision 2025, Agenda 2063 and AfDB’s High 5 priorities.
Mr Alex Simalabwi the Executive Secretary of GWPSA and Head GWP Africa Coordination Unit in his presentation said, “The overall objective is to enhance job creation through Gender sensitive investments in water security, industrialisation and climate resilient development.”
During the session, the Regional Economic Communities and PIDA Project Owners were given an opportunity to present on the water projects within the regions, including the challenges faced during implementation and to comment on the PIDA Water support initiative project.
A PIDA Evaluation report on the status of implementation of the water related projects were presented along with a proposed implementation framework which outlined the associated costs of un-bottling the stalled projects. Modalities on the partnership between the projects and PIDA Programme were discussed, this included discussions on resource mobilisation. The meeting was concluded with a site visit to the Gaborone Dam to evaluate the level of progress made to date.
PIDA Water comprises a portfolio of transboundary water and hydropower projects and will be implemented by NEPAD Agency, Regional Economic Communities, River Basin Organisations and executed by GWP in collaboration with other partners. The current projects under the Water-Energy portfolio are: Sambangalou , Ruzizi III , Rusumo Falls III , Polihali Hydropower Dam and Transfer Tunnel to Katse Dam,Mpanda Nkuwa, Kobong Pumped Storage Dam , Kaléta, Inga 3, Grand Ethiopian Renaissance and Batoka Gorge.
The NEPAD Agency Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Programme convened on 10-11 July 2018 in Gaborone, Botswana, a Reference Group Meeting on the Support to PIDA with specific focus on the PIDA Capacity Building Project (PIDA CAP) Phase Two.
The meeting held in Gaborone, Botswana brought together Regional Economic Communities Infrastructure experts, Development Partners, Infrastructure Project experts and PIDA lead partners i.e. African Union Commission, NEPAD Agency and AfDB to review the second phase of PIDA CAP and analyse its value proposition in line with the mandate of the various PIDA partners in charge of PIDA implementation.
“The first phase of PIDA PAP was a period of defining and apportioning roles and responsibilities within the African Infrastructure institutional arrangements, the next phase will allow us to truly consolidate our interventions and deliver more concrete results,” said Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head of RIITP, on behalf of the NEPAD Agency CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki.
In light of the need to craft a strategy for PIDA CAP Phase two implementation, the experts were assigned into thematic groups in order to input into the proposed working document for Phase two implementation. The session also made recommendations for the selection of new PIDA projects, the financing thereof and made suggestions on possible resource mobilisation campaigns to fund these projects.
Speaking on behalf of the African Union Commission, the Director for Infrastructure and Energy, Mr Cheikh Bedda, underscored the importance of capacity building in the successful implementation of PIDA projects.
By the second day, the teams focusing on the different thematic areas had consolidated all recommendations which the NEPAD Agency will use in the drafting of the proposal for PIDA CAP Phase two implementation.