NEPAD Agency, represented by the Head of Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Programme, Mr Symerre Grey-Johnson, undertook a working visit to COMESA to discuss preparatory arrangements for the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week 2018, as well as to provide training to COMESA staff on the Virtual PIDA Information Centre (VPiC).
During the working visit, Mr Grey-Johnson also paid a courtesy call to the Secretary General of COMESA, Mr Sindiso Ndema Ngwenya and delivered a special message from the NEPAD Agency CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki.
In response to the special message from Dr Mayaki, the Secretary General commended the excellent work that the NEPAD Agency is doing as a technical agency of the African Union under the leadership of Dr Mayaki.
He added that COMESA is ready to host PIDA Week 2018 and that the regional economic community looks forward to showcasing PIDA projects situated within the region. The Secretary General will, after consultations with member states, provide information on the venue and dates for PIDA Week 2018.
Mr Grey-Johnson and Mr Jean Baptiste Mutabazi, on behalf of the two institutions thereafter signed an aide-mémoire, detailing the modalities of cooperation, specifically on:
- Knowledge exchange through the sharing of detailed project data;
- Joint implementation of the second phase of the PIDA Capacity Building project;
- Training and capacity development in the content management of the Virtual PIDA Information Centre
- Joint planning and collaboration in the build-up to PIDA Week 2018
With regards VPiC, Mr Mutabazi commended NEPAD Agency for the training provided to COMESA and indicated that COMESA will continue to use the tool to share crucial information on the progress of the PIDA projects.
COMESA has been instrumental in accelerating key PIDA projects within the region. These include the Zambia- Tanzania-Kenya transmission interconnector, the North- South Multimodal Transport Corridor and the Lilongwe – Lusaka Terrestrial Fibre Connection.
“We note and acknowledge the immense work that the COMESA region has put into the realisation and success of these projects. We commend you for that. This joint collaboration between NEPAD Agency and COMESA will indeed help strengthen the commitment from all our partners to accelerate PIDA project implementation,” said Mr Grey-Johnson.
On behalf of Dr Mayaki, Mr Grey-Johnson expressed gratitude to the Secretary General and COMESA for hosting the NEPAD team during the working visit and for accepting to host PIDA week 2018 in one of the member states, including providing the necessary support as required.
A delegation from the China Electricity Council (CEC) made an official working visit to the NEPAD Agency in South Africa. The visiting delegation was led by Mr Yang Kun, Executive President of the China Electricity Council and accompanied by representatives from the South African office of the State Grid Corporation of China (the largest utility company in the world).
Centre: Mr Yang Kun, Executive President of the China Electricity Council and Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, NEPAD Agency CEO, flanked by CEC and NEPAD staff
The objectives of the visit were threefold;
- Explore Possibilities of linking the China Africa Power Development and Cooperation Forum to promote dialogue between stakeholders and partners who are willing to contribute towards Africa’s Infrastructure Development
- Bilateral Exchange with the NEPAD Infrastructure Team
- An overview of the NEPAD Agency to better understand the work undertaken at NEPAD
The discussions held included a focus on: NEPAD Agency’s footprint; NEPAD Agency’s Regional Integration Infrastructure and Trade Programme and Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Energy projects; Proposed NEPAD – CEC platform for cooperating on energy issues in Africa, and; China-Africa Power Development and Cooperation Forum.
The general expression by both sides was that there is need and shared desire for a common platform that could link the two parties’ stakeholders in order to accelerate the implementation of PIDA energy projects. The main areas of cooperation that were identified include:
- Proposal for NEPAD Agency to take the lead in coordinating CEC’s engagement with African energy stakeholders on PIDA
- A platform for joint planning under FOCAC. CEC will organise a side-event during the China – Africa Summit
- Jointly organising a multi-stakeholder planning meeting for Inga III
- CEC participation at the upcoming PIDA Week.
- NEPAD Agency and CEC will work on a Memorandum of Understanding listing all areas of cooperation identified as well as timelines for implementation.
In Nouakchott, Mauritania, the NEPAD Agency submitted recommendations for the endorsement of the Continental Transmission Network to the Specialised Technical Committee Ministerial Meeting. The continental transmission network will link Africa as whole to Europe, Asia and the Gulf States. It will also enable any country in Africa to source its energy from the most competitive supplier and create a mega size energy trade market within Africa and with other continents and regions.
The African Union, in collaboration with Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania organised the First Ordinary Session of the Sub Committee on Energy of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructures, Energy and Tourism. The first meeting of the Specialised Technical Committee (STC) on Energy was convened on 21-22 March, followed by STC Ministerial Meeting on 23 March.
The main objectives of the STC sub-committee on energy were to take stock of the action plan agreed upon in Lomé, Togo, in March 2017- the outcomes of the July 2017 Summit on the implementation of the energy action plan and to deliberate on an M&E system to follow up on the 2017-2019 energy action plan. The outcomes of the STC subcommittee on energy and its recommendations were forwarded to the STC Ministerial meeting for consideration and endorsement.
Prof Elmissiry represented the NEPAD Agency in the STC sub-committee on energy and gave a speech on behalf the Agency’s CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, during the STC Ministerial Meeting opening session.
NEPAD Agency responded to the roles assigned to it under the STC action plan agreed upon in Lomé in 2017 with an update on the progress made thus far. The main highlights of the NEPAD Agency’s achievements under Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa’s Priority Action Plan (PIDA PAP) in 2017 include the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya interconnector, the Batoka Gorge, the Ethiopia –Sudan transmission line and Inga III.
Current status of remaining PIDA PAP energy projects was also given, as well as NEPAD Agency’s energy action plan for 2018/2019 and how it will directly contribute to the implementation of the STC action plan on energy.
In addition, the meeting was briefed on NEPAD Agency’s programme for implementation of Africa’s high priority renewable energy projects under the Renewable Energy for Rural Access Project and its achievements in The Gambia, Madagascar, Tanzania and Rwanda. The meeting was also briefed of NEPAD Agency’s achievements within M&E of PIDA projects and in particular the Virtual PIDA Information Centre (VPiC) and Infrastructure Management. In addition the Service Delivery Mechanism for the provision of technical assistance to develop projects was also expounded on, with recommendations made to support it.
Prof Elmissiry ended the presentation with the vision for the development of a master plan for the establishing of a continental transmission network that will link all the 55 African countries
The Ministerial Meeting, which was chaired by the Minister of Energy and Petroleum in Mauritania and also attended by a number of African Ministers, was pleased with the NEPAD Agency’s submission and endorsed recommendations for the development of a master plan for a continental transmission network ,under section 33 and 34 of The Report of Experts Meeting, 21-22 March 2018. It went further and called upon development partners to assist in the development of the master plan. It also called upon regional economic communities to fast track the connections of the remaining countries within their regions.
As a relatively young Minister in the mid-nineteen nineties sitting with my Organisation of African Union (OAU) peers, I pondered deeply if Africa will pull itself together and forge ahead. At that time, Rwanda was coming out of its genocide and most of West Africa was still experiencing military coups. Central Africa was somewhat calm but some countries there had subtle political tensions, with what is termed the “first Congo war” taking place in the former Zaire now Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Whilst Somali’s civil war intensified, Ethiopia in Eastern Africa commenced the developmental-state experiment under Prime-Minister Meles Zanawi and Eritrea gained independence. Northern Africa, pretty much calm with “strong” leaders steering the affairs of state and some of whom played a prominent role in the Israel-Palestinian peace process which resulted into the creation of the Palestinian National Authority. The end of apartheid and the ushering in of a democratic South Africa was the most positive highlight during this period for the OAU as it demonstrated that the OAU; as a Continental liberation movement, had achieved its ultimate goal of politically liberating Africa.
Globally the mid-1990s also saw the rise of alternative and new media, multiculturalism and strengthening of democratic principles; thanks to the internet and satellite television. The world was indeed changing but Africa was still branded as the hopeless continent.
Fast forward, this month in Kigali, at the 10th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly, Africa’s leaders came together to append their signatures on the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA).
Upon implementation, the agreement will make the continent the world’s largest trade zone where goods and services can be traded freely among African Union member states. Of the 55 African Union member states, 44 appended their signatures on the AfCFTA agreement, 43 countries signed the Kigali Declaration and 27 signed the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right to Residence and Right to Establishment.
Following the ratification of the AfCFTA by countries, its implementation could increase intra-African trade by 52% by the year 2022. In addition, the agreement will help bring about the removal of tariffs on 90% of goods and also liberalise services and tackle other barriers which hamper trade between African countries, such as long delays at border posts.
I must say it was a proud moment for Africa and for me in particular being in the plenary hall of the Kigali Convention Centre and observing an emotional yet joyous and enthusiastic signing of each African leader or their Minister, of the Agreement, Protocol and Declaration, all under the able leadership of the President of Niger, H.E Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger as the Leader of the AfCFTA, flanked by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, current AU Chairperson and H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
The gradual end of colonialism in the 1960s and 70s now proves to have brought mixed blessings to Africa. We now have 55 countries; 47 of which are on the African continent and the remaining are island nations. Thus, the end of colonialism gave birth to new multiple states cutting across people’s ethnicity, cultures, traditional norms and value-systems.
In 1963 the newly “independent” African countries came together to form an organisation (OAU) that would promote the unity and solidarity of the new African countries and act as a collective voice for the African continent. Notwithstanding this aspirational desire, the same countries also emphasised the importance of the territorial sovereignty of their respective countries and therefore the OAU remained neutral in terms of internal country specific affairs. By the mid-1970s regional economic blocks (now referred to as the Regional Economic Communities) started to emerge.
With the introduction of Regional Economic Communities; RECs as commonly known, African integration began to take two very different paths. The first being a somewhat political path which focused on the eradication of all forms of colonial ways of life and notions by defending the interests of independent countries and helping to pursue those territories that were still-colonised- the OAU path. The second, focused on regional economic integration with the 2 most advanced; Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community (EAC), signing a number of protocols that called for free movement of goods, services and its peoples within the respective regions. Africa now has 8 African Union recognised Regional Economic Communities, but there are also a number of sub-regional bodies that are actively pursuing Africa’s integration agenda.
So despite the forms of integration that Africa or parts of Africa experimented with, by 1991 the Abuja Treaty established the African Economic Community (AEC), the Abuja Treaty proposed that the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the building blocks of Africa’s integration.
Ten years later, in 2001 at the OAU Summit, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) was adopted by African Heads of States and Government as the socio-economic programme that ought to accelerate economic co-operation and integration among African countries. The same OAU Summit recognised the need for close involvement in the formulation and implementation of all programmes of the RECs within the African Union. Additionally, the OAU/AEC Summit in Lomé, Togo adopted the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which formally replaced the OAU in 2002.
Following these important milestones of the African integration discussion and agenda, came the reform process for a vibrant African architecture. And the architecture has re-introduced the integration agenda.
The discussion has generally concluded that due to economies of scale and tiny economies of most African countries, a regional dimension and approach to Africa’s transformation is the best way forward.
The sequence of Africa’s path to integration as I have outlined, amongst others, place a demand on an urgent need to re-think Africa’s priorities and therefore a coherent and consolidated strategy was launched at the 50th Anniversary of African Unity. In 2013 the African Heads of State and Government adopted Agenda 2063 as an expression of the political intentions and aspirations of the Continent, guided by a new vision of an integrated and prosperous continent. The Agenda enunciates Africa’s renewed resolve and commitment to pursue sustained socio-economic growth and development. The 1st Ten Year Implementation Plan, running from 2013 to 2023, draws heavily from the experiences in the implementation of the NEPAD programme. While the plan outlines broad development priorities and programmes, there is need to translate Africa’s development vision further into concrete actions.
The global view is that business and consumer confidence have generally improved, but investment, trade and productivity have not strengthened as excepted. This has a direct impact on both foreign and domestic investments into Africa’s development, particularly into Africa’s infrastructure. With growth rates in the developed world more-or-less stagnating, Africa although not significant to make a registered impact still reminds the second fastest growing region. Therefore, Africa holds much promise to those investors willing to invest time in understanding our local economies, and identifying opportunities presented by the booming middle class who have an endless appetite for consumables.
In the Africa Report titled Africa in 2017, almost all 55 countries end their forecast by anticipating to implement or commission energy, transportation and other infrastructure projects like seaport-terminals and airports. Our countries continue to appreciate the irreversible need to industrialise by streamlining trans-boundary infrastructure projects as indicted in the Africa Report 2017.
However, if Africa is to be successful in increasing the number of regional and domestic infrastructure projects and show impact in advancing sustainable inclusive development, wholesale changes are needed in mind-set and perceptions on the issue of “Investment Risk” in Africa.
The AU-NEPAD Continental Business Network (CBN) is continuing its agenda towards de-risking infrastructure projects as a key element to attract financing. Pension and Sovereign Wealth Funds emerged as the key catalyst to close this financing gap. In September 2017, NEPAD under the guidance of the CBN, initiated a revolutionary campaign that is African-led and African-owned, aimed at increasing the allocations of African asset owners to African infrastructure from its currently low base of approximately 1.5% of their assets under management (AUM) to an impactful 5% of AUM. The CBN has called for a more strategic engagement with domestic institutional investors in support of this campaign. The purpose of the 5% Agenda campaign is to work with Pension and Sovereign Wealth Funds including Ministers of Finance to gradually increase infrastructure investments, using financial resources avail-able on the continent and strengthen public-private partnerships to mobilise financial and global institutional investments.
In conclusion, the AfCTA, is a monumental step for Africa; another significant milestone in Africa’s integration process. I have to however aptly point out that the AfCFTA was signed in Kigali, the capital that experienced complete turmoil some 24 years ago but is now poised to become the futuristic “Wakanda.”
By Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD Agency
“Infrastructure development is central to creating favourable conditions for Africa’s industrialisation to address the needs of Africa’s youthful population, urbanisation, unemployment and Africa’s aspirations for double-digit growth,” said Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head of Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade at the NEPAD Agency.
Mr Grey-Johnson was speaking on 12 March at a workshop held at the NEPAD Agency in Johannesburg, to prepare for the launch of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Job Creation Toolkit.
He went on to state that, “The toolkit will help lead policymakers on the continent in the right direction to addressing the demographic dividend and youth unemployment by making the case that infrastructure can reduce unemployment.”
The Job Creation Toolkit will serve as a practical tool, catalysing a new African jobs’ focus in the development and operation of Africa’s infrastructure projects, and maximising the number and quality of African jobs.
The methodology upon which the toolkit was developed, estimates direct, indirect and induced labour market effects during the planning, construction and, operation and maintenance phases of PIDA’s infrastructure projects. In addition, the methodology estimates secondary job effects, which are those jobs that are being created in other sectors of the economy due to the operational infrastructure in service, such as improved energy access.
For instance, the methodology estimates that 126,500 jobs can be provided through the Ruzizi III hydropower project serving Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The estimated jobs are broken down as follows: Around 25,100 direct, indirect and induced job years during the project 5-year construction phases; 6,500 job years for the operation and maintenance phase; and around 103,700 secondary job years over the 50-year useful life of the project as a result of improved energy access across the three countries.
The methodology’s underlying foundation is based on the assumption that project total investment costs will lead to the purchase of goods and services within an economy, which will then create employment.
Dr Towela Nyirenda-Jere, NEPAD Agency’s Principal Programme Officer for the Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Programme explained that the PIDA project owners and their technical partners can use the online toolkit to test alternative project designs and scenarios to maximise African job creation. The toolkit will also have a Best Practice Job Maximisation Guide that will detail possible employment-generating interventions at both national and regional levels. It will provide guidelines on policies and good practice for job maximisation in infrastructure.
The PIDA Job Creation Toolkit will be launched in July 2018.