Interconnecting African capitals through High Speed Rail

Interconnecting African capitals through High Speed Rail

Following the signing of the High Speed Rail Detailed Scoping Study contract in December 2018 and the submission of the final Inception Report to AUDA-NEPAD, CPCS Consultants held a meeting with the AUDA-NEPAD team, to discuss the status of the high speed railway network consultancy project. During the meeting, the key milestones and way forward were mapped out.

The AUDA-NEPAD team with CPCS consultants

A key objective of the African Integrated High Speed Railway Network is the connectivity of Africa’s capital cities and megacities, including but not limited to, commercial hubs/economic zones and tourist destinations, among others.

This initiative is aimed at interconnecting African capitals with one another across the continent, using appropriate high speed rail technology and other complementary power, transboundary water, and information and communications technology broadband infrastructure and services.

The African Integrated High Speed Railway Network will complement the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa and enable the realisation of the African-wide frameworks such as: Boosting of Intra-African Trade; the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Accelerated Industrial Development for Africa, among others.

An initiative of the continent’s Agenda 2063, the African Integrated High Speed Railway Network will be developed with a phased approach, with the first phase (from 2013 to 2023) setting out an implementation plan got two regional high speed rail projects.

Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative progress

Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative progress

The Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) was adopted to accelerate regional infrastructure development that is enabled through the political championing of projects. The role of the champions is to bring visibility, unblock bottlenecks, co-ordinate resource mobilisation and ensure project implementation. Most of the PICI projects, if not all, have made tremendous progress since its inception.

The 8th Technical Task Team workshop for the PICI was held in Windhoek, Namibia from the 23 to 24 January. The workshop was co-hosted by the Government of Namibia (Ministry of Works and Transport) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

Namibia’s Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr Willem Goeiemann gave a description of the Namibian International Logistics Hub PICI project. Through its Transport Master Plan, Namibia aims to establish a development framework and strategies to make the country the regional logistics centre. Namibia will structure this PICI project within the context of the PICI protocol and modalities.

Representing the AUDA-NEPAD CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, Mr Symerre Grey-Johnson, NEPAD Agency’s Head of Partnerships, Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade said that, “PICI technical workshops not only provide a platform for knowledge sharing with all of the respective experiences, but through the active participation of all focal points, they also aim to define an implementation strategy enabling our Heads of State and Government to be actively involved in the development of these projects.”

The Champions of infrastructure in PICI include:

  • H.E President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria for the Missing Link of the Trans-Sahara Highway, as well as the Optic Fibre from Algeria via Niger to Nigeria;
  • H.E President Macky Sall of Senegal for the Dakar-Ndjamena- Djibouti Road/Rail;
  • H.E Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria for the Nigeria– Algeria Gas Pipeline: Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline;
  • H.E President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo champions for the Kinshasa-Brazzaville Bridge Road/Rail;
  • H.E President Paul Kagame of Rwanda champions the Unblocking of Political Bottlenecks for ICT Broadband and Fibre optic projects;
  • H.E President Abdel Fattah El Sisi of Egypt champions the Establishment of a Navigational Line from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea via the River Nile Project (VICMED);
  • H.E President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa for the North- South Corridor Road/Rail Project;
  • H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, of Kenya for the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (LAPSSET)
  • H.E President Hage Geingob, of Namibia champions the International Logistics Infrastructure Hub Projects

The Technical Task Team workshop provided a platform for effective brainstorming and round table discussions on the best and innovative solutions for infrastructure delivery for Africa ranging from infrastructure financing solutions, enabling environment, private public partnership delivery solutions based on international best practices.

South-South Cooperation took shape: One Stop Boarder Post (OSBP) knowledge sharing workshop in Ghana

South-South Cooperation took shape: One Stop Boarder Post (OSBP) knowledge sharing workshop in Ghana

On 5th and 6th December 2018, the NEPAD agency co-organized “Knowledge Sharing Workshop on how to make OSBPs Operational as an instrument of trade facilitation in the West and Central African Regions” in Accra, Ghana with the Government of Ghana, JICA, ECOWAS, ECCAS and UEMOA targeted on West and Central Africa.

The aim of the workshop was:

  1. Improve knowledge on the 2nd edition of the OSBP Sourcebook.
  2. Update and share experiences of OSBP development in the West and Central Africa regions and the enhancement of South-South Cooperation through learning lessons from the East and Southern Africa regions.
  3. Identify challenges of nonoperational OSBPs in the West and Central Africa regions and necessary action to take for each stakeholder.

In 2011, the 1st edition of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) Sourcebook was published to support policymakers and implementers to develop and operationalize OSBPs. While the 1st edition of the OSBP Sourcebook proved to be a unique and useful tool, there was a need to update this reference so that policymakers and implementers can learn from current knowledge, experience, and good practices. The Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA), hosted by African Development Bank together with the NEPAD Agency initiated this project in January 2015 with the financial support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The 2nd edition of the OSBP Sourcebook was published in May 2016 and the NEPAD agency is now taking the lead in promoting this Sourcebook and support RECs, member states and other key stakeholders for OSBP development on the continent. In cooperation with RECs colleagues, the Agency is aiming to establish an OSBP practitioner’s network to learn from each other as well as to regularly update the Sourcebook. In this regard, the RECs under the leadership of AUC and NEPAD agency are leading this process by having organized knowledge sharing workshops in East and Southern Africa already, now it is a time for West and Central Africa.

Since OSBPs play significant role in regional corridor development and trade facilitation both regionally and inter-regionally, participants of the seminar learnt from more advanced regions in terms of development of OSBPs, in the spirit of South-South Cooperation, which is corresponding to a founding philosophy of the NEPAD agency.


Good governance and infrastructure development

Good governance and infrastructure development

“Africa needs to unite and work hard to reverse colonial infrastructure systems which promoted the extraction of profitable agricultural and mineral wealth for export at the expense of local communities and the continent,” Zimbabwe’s Transport and Infra-structural Development and Transport Minister, Joel Biggie Matiza said as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week opened on 26 November in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, buoyed by gathering momentum.

Speaking during the opening session of the 2018 PIDA Week in Victoria Falls, Mr Matiza said for Africa to fully develop and integrate, there was need for the continent to focus on infrastructure development, in particular transboundary projects, to ensure it was competitive enough to make a difference.

The official opening of PIDA Week in Victoria Falls town, Zimbabwe

“Historically African countries inherited underdeveloped infrastructure geared towards exports-imports transportation rather than focusing on transforming and improving local production capacity as well as promoting intra-Africa trade. This is rea-son for us to reverse this legacy and as a continent we have crafted a new trajectory through PIDA, a turning point we should follow to ensure we transform the current state of affairs,” he said.

Mr Matiza hailed PIDA for its efforts in trying to bridge Africa’s infrastructure deficit. He said PIDA Week offered a valuable opportunity for policymakers, project developers, private sector, civil society, and academia to exchange views and proffer solutions towards the implementation of regional infrastructure projects on the continent.

CEO of the NEPAD Agency, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki said Africa needs to accelerate the development of transboundary infrastructure projects if it is to fully integrate. He said a lot of progress has been made since African leaders adopted PIDA in 2012.

“We recognise that optimal solutions for continental problems lie in regional integration. We are getting there progressively, but we need to accelerate implementation if we want regional integration. It’s not a question of lack of financial resources, it is a question of lack of bankable projects and sound rules. So we need to do our homework,” said Dr Mayaki, adding that local, national and regional governance was key to the success Africa seeks in closing its infrastructure deficit.

The African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid said the current low levels of infrastructure on the continent posed one of the biggest challenges to Africa’s industrialisation and development agenda, which is having a negative impact on Africa’s competitiveness and participation in the global markets.

According to the World Bank, the state of infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa in respect of its electricity, water, roads and ICT, reduces national economic growth by 2 percent annually and reduces productivity by as much as 40 percent. The financing gap in Africa for infrastructure development is estimated at between US$130 -170 billion per year.

African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development, Honorable Raila Amollo Odinga, said Africa needs to move away from the conference and feasibility study syndrome and move to implement agreed projects if it is to successfully integrate and achieve sustainable development and change the lives of its citizens for the better.

“Transformational decisions have to be taken if we are to move ahead. Africa must deal with political bottlenecks that hamper its development or we shall never compete,” said Mr Odinga. “We must also overcome the habitual of feasibility study after feasibility study without implemention. We must change.”

Ms Carla Montesi, European Commission’s Director for Planet and Prosperity and a representative of COMESA Secretary General, Ms Chileshe Kapwepwe, also spoke in the opening session in support of Africa’s desire to invest in infrastructural development that will support Africa’s growth. Ms Montesi said the EU will continue to support Africa in its quest for an integrated infrastructure that generates jobs for the youth; helps reduce poverty; and supports regional integration.

Mr Xiao Weiming, Director-General of the Belt and Road Unit, National Development and Reform Commission, the People’s Republic of China, said his country will continue to work with African nations to help build their infrastructure capacity.

The 2018 PIDA Week theme was ‘Realising Africa’s Integration through Smart Infrastructure and Good Governance’. It built on the relative achievements and the momentum created in the previous three events to continue to engage stakeholders on the effective delivery of infrastructure on the continent. The event welcomed more than 400 participants brought together through an impressive line-up of top-level government representatives, influential industry leaders, private sector, leading thinkers from international institutions, government, academia, business and finance.

Accelerating project preparation and financing water projects in Africa

Accelerating project preparation and financing water projects in Africa

Africa’s population is projected to reach 1.6 billion by 2030, which translates into a need to produce at least 50% more food; and at least a tenfold increase in water needs for energy production to support socio-economic development. These challenges and the resultant increase in water demand are further aggravated by rapid urbanization and industrialisation. This requires huge investments in water to satisfy the social and economic demands among other things.

Currently, the level of financing for water and sanitation activities on the continent falls far below the level required to meet the targets of the Africa Water Vision 2025; the Africa Union (AU) agenda 2063; and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). To accelerate implementation and focus attention on the water projects, the NEPAD Agency, in collaboration with the Global Water Partnership (GWP), has formulated the PIDA Water Project as part of ongoing activities to prepare the second phase of the Priority Action Plan of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA-PAP II) from 2019-2024.

The project was unveiled on 29 August 2018, during the Stockholm World Water Week, at a side event on “Accelerating project preparation and financing of transboundary water and hydropower projects in Africa: Learning from Africa and scaling up”. The event convened by the AU, NEPAD Agency, the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), the African Water Facility (AWF) and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) culminated in the signing of a communique which expressed the partners’ commitment to work together and mobilise other partners to accelerate project preparation and water investment in Africa.

Building up on the outcomes of side event in Stockholm, GWP and the NEPAD Agency are convening a technical session on the project during the upcoming PIDA Week to be held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The session will be held at 11:00 hours on Monday 26 November 2018 in Kalala Room, Elephant Hills Resort hotel. The aim is to discuss strategic pathways to accelerating the preparation and financing of the PIDA transboundary water projects, as well as mainstreaming water, energy, food and ecosystems (WEFE) nexus perspectives into the implementation of the hydropower projects.

PIDA Water comprises a portfolio of transboundary water and hydropower projects sponsored and implemented by Member States of the African Union. The Regional Economic Communities (RECS); the African Ministers’ Council on Water; and River Basin Organisations (RBOS) will provide support towards implementation, which will be coordinated by the NEPAD Agency with GWP as the Executing Agency. The programme targets to leverage $10 Billion in investments by 2025. The programme was established following a review on the implementation of the transboundary water projects under PIDA. The review, commissioned by AMCOW, concluded that the transboundary water projects had made limited progress in comparison to projects in other PIDA focus areas.

Speaking on the PIDA Water Programme, Mr. Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head – Regional Integration, Infrastructure Trade and Partnerships at the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency emphasised a key objective of the programme as promoting innovation, stronger project transaction advisory support services linked to PIDA-PAP II, as well as capitalising on the available PIDA delivery instruments to move the advance the water projects from conception to implementation.

“The goal of PIDA Water Programme is to accelerate the preparation and financing of transboundary water projects and foster a water-food-energy nexus approach in the development of hydropower projects. The implementation of the programme will facilitate project preparation and investment into nine prioritised PIDA PAP Water Projects, three water aquifer projects, one River Basin Management Project, five Multipurpose reservoir projects and the 10 PIDA hydro Energy Projects. By accelerating Water infrastructure, PIDA is expected to meet the needs of water-dependent growth sectors and addressing the needs to the poor. The programme is also expected to see the mainstreaming of water security, sustainable sanitation and climate resilience in development” said Mr. Grey-Johnson.

He also added that the programme will pave way for the development of SDG 6 ‘Investments Cases’ on water and sanitation developed and support job creation, gender empowerment and industrialisation, whilst allowing for the preparation of bankable projects water-energy-food-ecosystems nexus.

With regards to NEPAD’s partnership with GWP on PIDA Water, Mr. Alex Simalabwi, GWPSA Executive Secretary and Head of Africa Coordination Unit,  highlighted that GWP support to PIDA Water will be provided within the framework of the Africa Water Investment Program (AIP) through the component on Project preparation and Finance for water, energy, food and ecosystems nexus of the AIP.

“The AIP was developed by GWP in collaboration with AfDB, Africa Water Facility (AWF), AU and AMCOW. The AIP is an outcome of the joint UN and World Bank High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) established by the President of the World Bank and UN Secretary-General in 2016. Its main goal is to transform and improve the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation for a prosperous peaceful and equitable society. This goal will be achieved by enhancing job creation through gender-sensitive investments in water security climate-resilient development and industrialisation,” added Mr. Simalabwi.

The NEPAD Agency will work with GWP to mobilize partners across the continent, accelerate project preparation and catalyse-e investments for job creation. The AIP support Programme to PIDA Water will contribute to African Union Agenda 2063, the Heads of State and African Union AU Sharm el-Sheikh Declaration on water and sanitation; the N’Gor Declaration on Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene; and the Africa Water investment Programme objectives.

The special session on PIDA Water will give participants a platform to share investment opportunities in transboundary water and hydropower projects, discuss bottlenecks and solutions to resolving these bottlenecks in order to accelerate implementation of the PIDA Water Projects. Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to showcase selected PIDA Water and PIDA Hydropower project. Updates on the development of PIDA Water within the framework of the Africa Water Investment Programme(AIP) will also be shared during the session, whilst stakeholders give their inputs and reflections.

Author: Leticia Ngorima