Africa’s energy masterplan takes shape as African Development Bank and AUDA-NEPAD release key report

Africa’s energy masterplan takes shape as African Development Bank and AUDA-NEPAD release key report

The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the African Development Bank have released recommendations of a baseline study that looked into the development of a continental energy grid and market.

The study, supported by the European Union, is the first step in an ambitious project to create an efficient, competitive energy sector that helps to serve Africa’s vast non-connected population, which is key to the continent’s economic prospects. The recommendations were discussed at a roundtable meeting between the partners organized by the African Development Bank on Wednesday 28 October.

African Energy Ministers directed AUDA-NEPAD to promote a continental transmission masterplan during the AU Specialized Technical Committee meeting on Infrastructure (Transport, Energy and Tourism) held in Nouakchott and Cairo in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

“This will be a game changer, since, in the long term, a continental transmission network will allow energy trade within Africa, as well as off the continent, with Europe and Asia through existing links,” said Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD.

The baseline study constitutes the first of two phases of the masterplan. The next phase entails the development of the plan itself.

The European Union (EU) agreed to support Phase 1 under its EU Technical Assistance Facility (EU TAF) for sustainable energy, under the scope of the African Union-European Union partnership to harmonize the African Single Electricity Market Regulatory Framework.

The baseline study goals included: a review of the existing masterplans developed by each of the five regional power pools in Africa and to identify power generation capacity and power demand up to 2063 and to develop the terms of reference for phase 2.

“Our continent has a vision to develop a single electricity grid that will guarantee secure, reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supplies to enhance the economic prospects of the continent, especially for our children. This can only be realized with a well-coordinated, widely accepted and highly articulated masterplan,” said Cheikh Bedda, Director Energy, at the African Union Commission.

The recommendations of the baseline study include: establishing a permanent unit to develop the masterplan in order to produce a skills transfer within AUDA-NEPAD and the five regional power pools, and aligning the plan with existing infrastructure projects, such as those identified under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, AUDA-NEPAD and the African Development Bank.

The next steps are to develop the terms of reference for phase two and to discuss how the masterplan will be funded.

“The continental masterplan will provide a holistic roadmap to connect countries to each other within a single regional power pool and to connect the power pools into a single electricity market, promoting energy access and regional integration,” said Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate & Green Growth at the African Development Bank Group.

Over 640 million Africans have no access to energy, corresponding to an electricity access rate for African countries at just over 40 percent, the lowest in the world. Per capita consumption of energy in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) is 180 kWh, compared to 13,000 kWh per capita in the United States and 6,500 kWh in Europe.


  • African Development Bank: Gershwin Wanneburg, Communication and External Relations Department, email
  • African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD): Bénita Nsbaua, Communications Assistant, email:
Update on the African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network by AUDA-NEPAD

Update on the African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network by AUDA-NEPAD

The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) has released a video capturing the conception, design and implementation plan for the African Integrated High- Speed Railway Network. The seven-minute video includes reports from across Africa, dedicated to railway revival, expansion and modernisation in the spirit of the continental rail plan.



The High-Speed Railway project was endorsed by the African Union (AU) Heads of State at the 2013 24th AU Summit as part of “Agenda 2063.” The project has seen completion of the technical feasibility study and consequent unprecedented construction and procurement decisions among the economic blocs and individual national governments.

The target is the achievement of the first three objectives by 2033, namely: Interconnecting landlocked countries, connecting regions of Africa together and establishing Trans-Africa beltways. The master plan of the railway links has also been analysed and prioritised. The Dar es Salaam-Kigali link combined with the Kampala-Kigali-Bujumbura, as well as the Walvis Bay-Windhoek-Gaborone-Pretoria, have been identified as pilots for accelerated development. In addition, ten other regional pilots have been identified as priority projects and will be subjected to feasibility assessment as soon as possible.

The planned network will connect the 16 landlocked countries in Africa to major seaports and neighbouring countries. It will establish interoperability of railways across different regions, create East-West / North-South land-bridges and interconnect African capitals. This will the interconnection of major commercial and economic hubs to boost economic growth and intra-African free trade, as well as complement the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The AUDA-NEPAD’s Technical Coordination Team and African Union Commission’s Directorate of Infrastructure and Energy, are providing guidance for the implementation, seeing as African leaders have demonstrated political will to address lack of rail connectivity, interoperability questions and high cost of transportation. The net impact of less connectivity is reduced intra-Africa trade, under-developed manufacturing, agriculture and mineral extraction and an over reliance on the world for imports and exports. These and more are reasons why Africa is presently witnessing railway renaissance across the economic blocs.

The video that has been produced to capture progress on this project shows rail development across the various regions and nations of the continent, as confirmation that Africa is demonstrating political will to ensure execution of Agenda 2063, of which the high-speed railway is a major component.


Media Contact
Ms Mwanja Ng’anjo
African Union Development Agency-NEPAD
+27 11 256 3582
Technical Contact
Mr Louis Napo Gnagbe
African Union Development Agency-NEPAD
Project Advisor High-Speed Rail Network
Economic Integration Unit
+27 11 256 3582 / + 27 603 13 22 02
PIDA PAP 2 Gender Selection Criteria and Gender sensitive procurement actions

PIDA PAP 2 Gender Selection Criteria and Gender sensitive procurement actions

The African Network for Women in Infrastructure (ANWIN), hosted its first webinar on the 23rd April 2020, focusing on PIDA PAP 2 gender criteria which forms part of the PIDA PAP 2 process for selecting regional PIDA projects. The purpose behind the webinar was to provide the PIDA Focal Points, the opportunity to ask the question and get clarity on the gender criteria.

The ANWIN Secretariat/Coordinator, Dr. Sunita Pitamber proposed six procurement-related actions that projects could utilize to score better under the “gender-responsive infrastructure planning and implementation scoring.” Hence, increasing women’s participation and opportunities in the infrastructure value chain. These action items could be considered in the early stages of project planning and preparation. The following are the proposed gender-sensitive procurement-related action items that could be considered by project owners (but not limited to):

  • Actions that support preferential procurement of women-owned SMEs or gender-certified businesses as subcontractors.
  • Capacity building of contractors and state institutions in methodologies for increasing women’s participation.
  • Training women business owners to get appropriate national certification
  • Establishing standards for bidders to demonstrate track-records about promoting gender-inclusive activities; and
  • Establishing gender-responsive monitoring and reporting systems. Benchmarking and monitoring are key in assuring that the proposed impact of this feature is achieved.

These six-procurement related action items would be assessed and scored under the gender criteria and their weight would then contribute to the ranking and selection of PIDA PAP 2 regional projects. Based on the discussions during the webinar, and the findings presented by ANWIN, there was a consensus on the importance of addressing and incorporating gender at each phase of the project cycle – specifically at the early stages.

ANWIN seeks to transform the narrative in infrastructure development, by promoting women’s participation in infrastructure at the national, regional, and global level. The network an advocate for change and strives to lobby for gender equality in earnings, which could increase human capital wealth by 21.7% globally to reach a total wealth of 14.0%.


Regional Consultation Workshop for East African Project Selections for the PIDA PAP2

Regional Consultation Workshop for East African Project Selections for the PIDA PAP2

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The East African regional consultation workshop, shaping the rigorous project selection process for the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, also known as PIDA PAP2 (2021-2030), was held for the East African Member States and their Specialised Institutions. The three-day workshop, March 11th till March 13th, was launched by the African Union Commission (AUC) with the purpose of providing the Member States and specialized institutions such as EAC and IGAD with the necessary information and tools to prioritize gender-inclusive, environmentally friendly and smart infrastructure projects that will create jobs and economic opportunities for the African people. Taskforce members nominated from UNECA were instrumental in providing support and training for this workshop and will later be tasked with the screening and selection of projects for PIDA PAP2 along with AUC, AUDA-NEPAD, and AfDB.

The AUC, in collaboration with AUDA-NEPAD, AfDB, and UNECA, developed the integrated corridor approach framework as a strategic basis for the PIDA Priority Action Plan 2. This approach captures specific goals of addressing youth employment and education, strengthening gender-inclusive socioeconomic development, smart innovation and technologies, environmentally sustainable communities and economies, and regional connectivity through world-class infrastructure as outlined by Agenda 2063 Aspirations 1, 2, and 6. In this regard, the PIDA strategic objective contributes to the achievement of the aspiration of Agenda 2063.

Mr. Zachariah Kingori Project Coordinator at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), highlighted that IGAD is at the final stage of preparation of its infrastructure master plan and was eager for its input towards PIDA PAP 2 project selection process. Eng. Murenzi Daniel, Principal Information Technology Officer at the East African Community (EAC), emphasized Infrastructure as a core business and activity of the EAC commission. And highlighted the need for harmonized standards and M&E framework scorecard as key milestones to be undertaken in the PIDA PAP 2 process.

Mr. Robert Lisinge, Chief of Energy, Infrastructure and Service section, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in the opening remarks, emphasized the importance of developing a transparent and inclusive project selection method for member states and reiterated UNECA’s commitment to supporting the AUC throughout the development and implementation of the PIDA PAP2.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Cheikh Bedda, Director of Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, recognized the presence of the State Minister of Water from the Federal Republic of Ethiopia and his commitment to the PIDA PAP 2 process. He then underlined the importance of the training with regard to the roadmap for the implementation of the PIDA PAP2. Mr. Bedda encouraged the focal persons of the Member states to be proactive in the project selection process and advised delegates to make use of their time at the workshop, given the limited time available for the project submission. Furthermore, he emphasized the significance of UNECA as the secretariat to the task force which has access to the UN system, “The proposed projects will be in line with the AU Agenda 2063 aspirations as well as the Sustainable Development Goals, UN agenda 2030”.

Given that project identification, consolidation and project selection processes for regional impact constitute important, yet challenging responsibilities, the capacity building workshop is designed to provide administrative support and training to the Member States and RECs, while the question and answer sessions, interactions and networking opportunities will contribute to strategic dimensions of projects.  In the end, the projects selected would reflect the integrated corridor approach with at least one project per sector – transport, energy, ICT, and trans-boundary water resources, per region. The Member States must first identify priority projects so that ultimately the projects reflect their needs and their needs as the main stakeholders. The process is designed so that the Member States would coordinate and propose their projects to RECs, who are required to validate the projects as aligned to their Master plans, or the RECs can assume a more active role of doing the coordination and submitting the projects on behalf of Member States.

At the end of the project submission window, the final projects will be submitted to the Task Force members to analyze, evaluate and prioritize according to the eligibility and project selection criteria. While the eligibility criteria focus on regional integration, the project selection criteria concentrate on inclusiveness and sustainability with regard to gender sensitivity, rural connectivity, and environmental friendliness. The prioritization process will lead to a shortlist of high impact projects, which will be submitted to the African Heads of State and Government for adoption during the AU Summit in January 2021.

Concerns from member states included ownership of projects and the need for AfDB and other Development Finance Institutions providing financing for projects that may not be attractive to the private sector. Another important issue discussed was the opportunity to build on the PIDA PAP1 infrastructure assets by including them as PIDA PAP2 projects or by proposing complementary projects. 10 projects are to be selected for each of the five regions – Northern Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa regions. In addition to that, one project is reserved for each of the 6 Islands States, totaling the PIDA PAP2 project count to 56.

Member States in attendance of this East African regional workshop were the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Republic of Burundi, Republic of Djibouti, Federal Republic of Somalia, Republic of South Sudan, Republic of Sudan, Republic of Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Uganda. The continental and regional organizations were UNECA, EAC, and IGAD. Technical support for PIDA is provided by the EU and GIZ.

Celebrating African Women and Water – A Unique Connection

Celebrating African Women and Water – A Unique Connection

The month of March has arrived bearing two special days – International Women’s Day on the 8th and World Water Day on the 22nd.   Water. Climate. Food. Health. Women. Life. Death.  These are keywords that spring to mind when I think about water, which is embedded in all forms of development ranging from food security, health promotion, poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth in agriculture, manufacturing and energy generation.  But who has access to this water? Especially in the age of Climate Change? I grew up with the privilege of water flowing freely from indoor taps, and whose quality was safe for us to drink, run off to drum up more thirst, and get muddier. Adequate water-supply infrastructure remains a dream for the bulk of Africa’s population.

Today, most urban residents in Kenya supply their own water.  Boreholes are dug for several property developments. Blue trucks ferrying 5,000 liters traverse our towns filling up huge tanks.

The coastal town of Mombasa is littered with hand-carts filled with the ubiquitous black or yellow jerry cans ready for sale anywhere, anytime, right by the mighty Indian Ocean.  The source of the water in the trucks and carts is never verifiable.  Whether it has been tested is irrelevant.  And no one dares to ask if it is indeed safe for consumption.

The irony of water as a rare commodity on a continent with large surface water sources and substantial aquifers is nothing short of calamitous. Worse, the poverty tax associated with water scarcity is becoming increasingly evident.  While suburban residents may pay approximately US$10-15 per month for municipal water, the cost of one 5,000 liter water truck is in excess of US$30 with more than two needed per month in a middle-income household of four. The burden is heavier for residents in informal settlements – averaging US$0.40 – US$0.60 per day for a household with a daily wage of US$6 on a good day.  Spending almost 10% of your income on the water – a constitutional right – is tragic.

Spring Water. Purified Water. Mineral Water. Sparkling Water. As people start to question the quality of water – from boreholes, the municipality or trucks – one thing that has substantially changed over the last few years is the growth of the bottled water market, expected to reach a whopping US$215 Billion by 2025. Recent research has however established that some of the blends of bottled water are more contaminated than normal tap water. Most, unfortunately, the majority of bottled water sales now happen in developing economies where water infrastructure is desperately lacking. In Lagos, one of Africa’s most populous cities, the bottled water market is said to have peaked at US$6 Bn in 2019.

It has been argued that bottled water companies are wasting resources and exacerbating climate change as more than 6 liters of water are required to produce and cool 1.5 liters of bottled water. Environment and climate action champions also highlight that most plastic water bottles are made from toxic compounds obtained from fossil fuels and will take over 450 years to break down into plastic particles. Sadly, a majority of these find their way into our oceans, poisoning the ocean and killing marine wildlife. It has also been argued that the energy required in capturing, conveying and treating water in bottling plants is not justifiable.  Additional energy consumption occurs in producing, cleaning, filling, sealing, labeling and refrigerating bottles.

Lastly, energy is required to transport the bottles across the value chain to retailers and consumers. Australia’s statistics show that the total energy required in the production of bottled water is 5.6-10.2 MJ per liter compared to 0.005 MJ per liter in the treatment and distribution of tap water.

UNICEF estimates that Africa’s population will cross the 2.5 billion by 2050 and urban food markets are set to increase fourfold to exceed US$400 million by 2030.  These mouths will need to be fed and a key concern is that the continued extraction of water from underground aquifers will result in a lower water table, which could have adverse social and environmental ramifications.  The need for transboundary water resource projects has become increasingly evident in terms of water security for socio-economic development. For example, the construction of the Koukoutamba multi-purpose dam between Mali and Senegal is expected to stabilize the flow of the Senegal River to allow irrigated agriculture, river traffic and an increase in hydroelectric power. With over 60% of Africa’s population dependent on the agricultural value chain, the impact of climate change on our water resources cannot be underscored. And who is plowing this parched land?  Africa’s Women.

It is important to note, however, large multi-purpose dams that promise water for irrigation, commercial and domestic use cannot be planned without the engagement of the communities most impacted by these projects. It is estimated that Africa’s women waste 40 billion hours annually fetching water – equivalent to a year’s labor for the entire workforce in France. Depending on the season, women travel two or three times daily, collecting water. At 50-77 minutes per trip, this is 45 days per annum per household and an incredible waste of time.   As the predominant caretakers of domestic water, it is imperative that women engage in the decision-making process for water and sanitation infrastructure and services – they need to have their say about location, design, and management of water points.

Policymakers should implement concrete actions in knowledge building, career development, and dialogue so we have more women participating across the entire water and sanitation value chain – in water committees, water use associations, boardrooms, government planning departments and wearing hard hats and overalls on project sites working along with their male counterparts for equal pay. In an effort to fill the gender various gaps in society, Aspiration 6 in Agenda 2063 promotes inclusivity and encourages “all citizens to be actively involved in decision making in all aspects and where no child, woman or man is left behind or excluded, on the basis of gender, political affiliation, religion, ethnic affiliation, locality, age or other factors.”

The late UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan could not have pronounced it better in 2003 when he said that:

“…there is no effective development strategy in which women do not play a central role.  When women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately: families are healthier and better fed; their income, savings, and reinvestment go up.  And what is true of families is also true of communities and, in the long run, of whole countries”.

Author: Mary Chege, member of the ANWIn

This powerful statement still rings true today and the establishment of the African Network for Women in Infrastructure (ANWIn) under the leadership of H.E. Commissioner Amani Abou-Zeid, could not be timelier.  Launched in November 2019, the African Union Commission and PIDA partners expressed their commitment to support gender-sensitive infrastructure planning and it is envisaged that this Network will serve as a regional and global expert platform to promote dialogue, consultation and agenda-setting for women in infrastructure development in Africa. As we conclude the first Priority Action Plan of the PIDA (2012-2020) and move towards the project selection process of PIDA in Priority Action Plan2 (2020-2030), the criteria has been set to prioritize gender-responsive infrastructure. For when Women are fully involved, the benefits are seen immediately.