In 2021, the African Union Development Agency (AUADA-NEPAD) together with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) offered technical advisory to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through a Covid-19 Call for Proposals by AUDA-NEPAD’s Continental Business Network (CBN). Following the technical advisory offered by AUDA-NEPAD and GIZ support, Cool Lion launched a demonstration site in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire to showcase the product to prospective clients, mobilized USD25.000 grant funding from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Foundation. The company was selected as one of the 25 finalists of the Milken-Motsepe Prize for which they receive USD10.000 to further develop and test their designs. Furthermore, Cool Lion received a EUR261.481 grant from the EU – African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Innovation Fund project on Accelerating Inclusive Green Growth through Agri-based Digital Innovation in West Africa (AGriDI). The Covid-19 Call for proposals offered technical assistance valued at EUR96.500 this comprised of a business plan, financial model, employment action plan, marketing collateral, and an opportunity to present to three prospective investors for business prospects.

Cool Lion is one of the MSMEs selected through a competitive continent-wide process and received technical advisory support to boost and improve its business prospects for investment opportunities. In addition, Cool Lion was selected as a pilot project under the Compact with Africa to receive technical assistance to mobilize financing for the project’s implementation and to carry out an employment analysis. Cool Lion contributes to eight of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Zero Hunger by providing access to storage means that minimize food waste and prolong the shelf-life of fresh food, Good Health, and Well-being by reducing respiratory disease-causing black carbon emissions associated with the current method of smoking fish and Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.

Cool Lion provides sustainable, cold chain solutions through the fabrication and sale of affordable, solar-powered, refrigerated solar-powered refrigerated containers for social impact. The main target markets are fishing and horticultural produce sellers. To service these markets, Cool Lion offers a range of different container configurations with a choice of power source, temperature, and size, manufactured according to the needs of each customer. Its human-centered design process used inputs from the National Women’s Association of Fishmongering in Côte d’Ivoire (UNSCOFEPCI) which comprises 13 cooperatives and over 1,000 members.

African Heads of States and Governments adopt the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA PAP 2) and the Africa Single Electricity Market (AfSEM)

African Heads of States and Governments adopt the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA PAP 2) and the Africa Single Electricity Market (AfSEM)

The Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government adopted, in its 34th Ordinary Session on 7 February 2021, the strategic documents submitted by the Department of Infrastructure and Energy related to the Second Phase of the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA PAP2, 2021-2030). The strategic documents include PIDA PAP2 implementation strategy, financing strategy, and partnership strategy for sixty-nine (69) regional infrastructure projects in the sectors of Energy, Transport, Trans-Boundary Water, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with an estimated budget of 161 Billion USD. These projects were selected from a long list of over 240 projects proposed by Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and Specialized African Institutions. The long list was the subject of extensive consultations from December 2018 and throughout 2020 and were prioritised according to new criteria which include rural connectivity, economic viability, financial attractiveness, climate friendliness, gender sensitive and smart infrastructure. The alignment of projects to the integrated corridor approach has been ensured during the submission and selection process through the corridor overlap and the inclusiveness and sustainability criteria. At a more strategic level of arbitration, projects which contribute to integration across regions and AUC flagships and Agenda 2063, especially those facilitating the implementation of the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Free Movement of Goods and People, have been prioritized.

The selection of projects of the second phase of PIDA also ensured equitable distribution by African region and by sector and focused on preparedness and fast-tracked approaches.

It is estimated that, upon the implementation of PIDA PAP II projects, the outcomes include modal switch from road to rail transport and inclusion of fluvial navigation in more competitive and climate friendly multimodal transport systems, key contributions to establishment power pool interconnection as a first step to the African Single Energy Market (AfSEM), development of high impact multipurpose dams to achieve sustainable rural livelihoods and climate resilient agriculture, and using ICT infrastructure to develop value added services, boost digitalization and create jobs for youth. PIDA PAP 2 is expected to play a key role through the immediate impact of the construction activities, job creation and also boost industrialization and trade through provision of utilities and competitive transport and logistics services enabled by multi modal infrastructure.

The Heads of States and Governments meeting has also adopted the roadmap, policy and governance structure of the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM). AfSEM is aims to facilitate a sustainable development of the African electricity sector through the integrated continental electricity market on the basis of the 2019 African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). AfSEM will serve as key instruments under AfCFTA to foster conditions for economic growth and stability, while facilitating cross-border electricity trade. Under this scenario AUC is collaborating with pan-African and regional Energy institutions to operationalise the Electricity Market harmonization agenda by developing working documents, policy papers, roadmap and governance structure. The common policies for the organisation and functioning of the AfSEM are based on the existing policies governing the regional markets under RECs and the national markets within the AU Member States and have been designed to give confidence to investors and ensure that the supporting regulatory frameworks are robust, credible, and transparent to support investment and unlock trading opportunities that will enhance the socio-economic development of the African continent.

According to African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, H.E. Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, post-COVID-19 recovery requires the fast-tracking of Africa’s infrastructure development to improve resilience and improve livelihoods and economies. “The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated digitalisation, exposed the gaps in energy in rural areas and the gender divide, and highlighted the need to develop infrastructure that is smart, climate resilient, inclusive and sustainable”, said Dr. Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissner for Infratsructure and Energy.

About the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA)

The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is an African Union Commission initiative, in partnership with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). This continental programme is designed to address the infrastructure deficit in transport, energy, ICT and transboundary water sectors. PIDA provides a common continental strategic framework and blue-print for inter-connecting and integrating Africa through priority infrastructure programmes and projects for African stakeholders to build the infrastructure necessary for more integrated transport, energy, ICT and trans-boundary water networks to unleash Africa’s economic and social transformation, boost trade, spark growth and create jobs and re-position Africa as a modern, competitive and vibrant continent, in line with the AU Agenda 2063 aspirations and goals.

The Second phase of PIDA has benefitted from the learning from phase 1 for over a decade (2012-2020). PIDA PAP II design and process have achieved (i) a high degree of country ownership and national prioritisation, (ii) a strategic approach to regional cross border infrastructure development, (ii) focus on projects with a well-defined scope which can independently reach financial close and be implemented in the short to medium term.

About the Africa Single Electricity Market (AfSEM)

The Africa Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) is the initiative of AUC. AfSEM is initiated to be the common language, the common energy governance system establishing the market operation over the continental-wide, interconnected electricity infrastructure. The goal is to give African households and businesses more secure, sustainable, reliable, competitive and affordable energy.The creation of AfSEM at the continental level started in 2015 in cooperation with the EU, to date, the AfSEM Policy Paper, the Roadmap and the governance structure were prepared by the team of EU-TAF Experts coordinated by the Department of Infrastructure and Energy, validated by RECs, Power Pools and other Pan African Energy Institutions. AfSEM is designed to bring greater energy security, sustainability and competitiveness to Africa Member states, it will be the largest single Electricity Market in the World covering 55-member states serving 1.5 Billion population, AfSEM will be the most cost-efficient response for strong growth of electricity demand in Africa, most essential tool to use full potential of the continent’s Renewable Energy Sources, and an Effective accelerator to 100% access of electricity in the continent. It is planned to launch the AfSEM in March, 2021. and to be fully operational by 2040.

Infrastructure and Industrialisation remain key pillars of AfCFTA

Infrastructure and Industrialisation remain key pillars of AfCFTA

The 6th PIDA Week scheduled for 18-21 January 2021, ended today on a high note with the various infrastructure stakeholders re-affirming the crucial role of PIDA in the achievement of the main goals of the AU Agenda 2063 for continental integration, prosperity and peace. They further reiterated their commitment to regional integration and the development of integrated and efficient infrastructure.

The closing of the week-long virtual event began with messages of condolence from AUDA-NEPAD Agency CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, Ambassador Ghulam Hussein Asmal from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa and Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, on the passing of Minister Jackson Mthembu, Minister in the South African Presidency. They all spoke of his high level of motivation, humility, and dedication to pan-Africanism.

PIDA Week this year saw deliberations ranging from the Continental Business Network session which focused on the accelerated involvement of the private sector in infrastructure projects, to sessions on resource mobilization, to the Africa Single Electricity Market, Cyber Security, African High Speed Rail, the AfCFTA, PIDA Priority Action Plan, Gender Responsive financing in infrastructure and a session on the PIDA Jobs Outlook.

Speaking during the opening session of the event, the CEO of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki indicated that while the AfCFTA has become a reality, developing robust infrastructure is crucial to its operationalisation and success. He said that Member States must be connected physically and digitally through hard infrastructure and connected in the harmonisation and coordination of processes through soft infrastructure.

Echoing his sentiments at opening session was the Minister of International Relations, South Africa, Dr Naledi Pandor who spoke on the need for a unified approach to infrastructure development through regional integration and cooperation.

It is worthy to note that majority of the speakers during this PIDA Week spoke at length about the AfCFTA which in their perspective, would foster economic transformation in the continent. They however warned that without the necessary infrastructure being put into place, the goals of AfCFTA might not be realized.

“Infrastructure and industrialistion are the main pillars in the success of the AfCFTA” said Prudence Sebahizi during the AfCFTA, Infrastructure and Economic Transformation in Africa session.

PIDA Week was inaugurated in 2015 as a forum to bring together key stakeholders in the implementation of the PIDA programme. The event has since progressed into a critical forum for accelerating infrastructure implementation in Africa, but also to link infrastructure to the key themes of development of regional integration, transformative economic growth, and job creation. The format of the event provides an opportunity to engage and exchange information on PIDA and infrastructure development in general. This year’s event was held under the theme. New decade, new realities, new priorities – positioning PIDA and infrastructure development in Africa’s continued growth and economic recovery.

On the last day of this year’s PIDA Week, recommendations made by different stakeholders were read out in the form of a communique. The communique encapsulates key recommendations from the different sessions, and it outlines the commitments of the various stakeholders to advancing PIDA implementation. .

Reading from the Communique Ambassador Ghulam Hussein Asmal, (extracted from the communique), said: “We, Ministers and delegates to the Sixth PIDA Week … encourage PIDA stakeholders to adopt the principles espoused in the PIDA partnership strategy that will ensure a common African approach to infrastructure development partnerships; and urge AUC/AUDA-NEPAD to set mechanisms to assess the performance of Africa’s infrastructure partnerships using the accountability framework presented in the partnership strategy…”

In his remarks, Dr, Mayaki reminded participants of the need for adequate funding for project preparation, saying “The aspect of sustainable financing of early-stage project preparation cannot be over-emphasised. Without well-prepared projects, we will be shooting in the dark and unable to move projects to bankability and hence full implementation.”

The issue of youth empowerment in infrastructure through PIDA projects was highlighted by Minister Patricia de Lille who underscored that as infrastructure stakeholders both in the public and private space connect to various industries, it is important to bring the youth along on the journey.

“It would be a detriment to Africa, if the youth were to be neglected”, she said

The hope is that these commitments will not only be on paper but actualized because the realisation of the vision of Agenda 2063 is highly dependent on the implementation of these commitments.

Infrastructure key to realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area

Infrastructure key to realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area

The 6th PIDA Week opened virtually on Tuesday, 19 January 2021, with key speakers stressing the need for Africa to continue to invest in quality and sustainable infrastructure if the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is to deliver for the continent.

The AfCFTA’s main objective to boost intra-African trade can only be achieved with adequate quality infrastructure, speakers in the opening session, among them Chief Executive Officer of African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Mr. Kgabo Mahoai, Director-General of the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Infrastructure and Energy Commissioner, Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, of the African Union Commission (AUC), and South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr. Naledi Pandor, agreed.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they said, had disrupted efforts to deliver key infrastructure projects, but heightened the need for urgent investment in quality and sustainable infrastructure.

“Infrastructure development in Africa will support the adoption of hygienic practices, delivery of health services, remote working, remote learning, and the continuation of economic activity under disruptive conditions,” said Dr.  Mayaki.

For her part, Dr. Pandor said; “The greatest lesson of COVID-19 is that Africans must work hard at implementing African responses to any crisis.  I accept we need to have global partners, but they must be strategic additions and not enforced collaborations.”

She added that good governance was crucial if Africa is to attract private investment in key infrastructure projects.

Africa’s infrastructure development requires investment in the region of USD130bn-USD170bn annually. However, in order to attract this investment, we need to address issues of good governance which affect quality and delivery of infrastructure. PIDA project owners need to have capacity and enabling environment for driving good governance,” said Minister Pandor.

Said Mr. Mahoai in his opening statement; “Since the 1st January 2021, we have been trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This is a historic start to the journey of increasing intra-Africa Trade, which can revitalise the continent. However, goods and services do not move on their own. The realisation of the AfCFTA will depend on investment in quality infrastructure.”

The 6th PIDA week marks ten years of the implementation of the first PIDA Prority Action Plan (also known as PIDA PAP I) and the transition to the second Phase of the Programme (PIDA PAP II), which will run from 2021 until 2030.

The PIDA-PAP I comprised  over 400 projects; and at its close in 2020, approximately 50 percent of those were in some stage of operation, construction, tendering, or financial close.

“The lessons which we can take forward into the implementation of PIDA –PAP II is that we need to have efficient use of scarce project preparation funds for early stage project preparation to take   projects to bankability,” said Dr. Mayaki.

Inclusivity, sustainability, digitalisation key for PIDA-PAP II projects

The priority list of projects for PIDA-PAP II is on track to be approved by the Heads of States during the AU Summit in February, following recent validation by the Ministerial Specialized Technical Committee that met on 12 January 2021.

Dr. Mayaki said the development of PIDA PAP II was premised on an Integrated Corridor Approach, which ensures that all related corridor infrastructure, link to and complement each other, and the integration of inclusivity and sustainability features into the planning process mirroring the AU’s Agenda 2063 vision. This in order to realise the full socio-economic development impact of regional projects.

For her part, Commissioner Abou-Zeid said; “Smart technology is very important in the design of new infrastructure projects. This was one of the selection criteria for PIDA-PAP II projects.”

“Climate resilience considerations were equally important in the selection of projects because the adverse effects of climate change on Africa are frequent and serious. We need our infrastructure to withstand climate change.”

She added that PIDA-PAP II projects need to be geographically inclusive of marginalised rural areas and should consider women – not just as beneficiaries, but across the whole value of chain in infrastructure.

Mr. Amine Idriss Adoum, Director, Programme Delivery and Coordination, AUDA-NEPAD, presented the PIDA Progress Report after the opening session.

The development of infrastructure at the continental level is supported through PIDA which focuses on the promotion of transboundary and transnational infrastructure. PIDA will aid the attainment of AfCFTA goals through facilitating the movement of goods, services, people and capital across the continent, as well as support the development of regional value chains.

In addition to the typical issues impacting on infrastructure delivery on the continent, PIDA Week will consider thematic issues such as infrastructure priorities in the PIDA PAP II; Post-COVID-19 infrastructure financing, delivery and resilience; the critical role of infrastructure for the economy for the implementation of AfCFTA; COVID-19 impact of reduced economic growth and changes in investment and exports patterns on the continent; and the likely transformation in demand for and consumption of transport, energy, ICT and social infrastructure.

The meeting is being held under the theme; “New decade, new realities, new priorities – positioning PIDA and infrastructure development in Africa’s continued growth and economic recovery”.

African Union Infrastructure and Energy Commissioner calls for proactive gender-responsive infrastructure development in Africa

African Union Infrastructure and Energy Commissioner calls for proactive gender-responsive infrastructure development in Africa

H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy says the integration of gender-responsive approaches in infrastructure planning and implementation is not an agenda to postpone if Africa is to reach its full potential.

Opening the Gender-Responsive Infrastructure Development Webinar hosted by the African Network for Women in Infrastructure (ANWIN), Commissioner Abou-Zeid stressed the need to consider gender dimensions in all aspects of infrastructure development cycles, moving beyond gender-neutrality in the field.

The Commissioner noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the deficiencies across the various sectors of infrastructure in Africa; pinpointing that only 28 percent of health facilities in Africa have access to reliable energy, more than 600 million Africans lack electricity, and over 900 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are denied of access to clean cooking. “The impact of the global pandemic worsens the constraints women face, due to the already challenging infrastructure landscape in the Continent,” says the Commissioner referring to the disproportionate burden African women shoulder due to infrastructure deficits.

The Second Phase of the Program for Infrastructure Development Program in Africa (PIDA) which will be implemented from 2021-2030 is believed to serve as an enhancer of women empowerment in Africa’s infrastructure endeavours.  “As we embark upon the Second Phase of PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA-PAP2), we want to make sure that the sector generates jobs for skilled women professionals, ensure gender-responsive procurement, enhance the participation of women-led enterprises in the supply and value chains, and help women to make the best out of digitalization,” underscored Commissioner Abou-Zeid.

Aiming at supporting participants in ensuring gender-responsive planning, designing, implementing, monitoring & evaluation of infrastructure projects, the Webinar has brought together PIDA focal points from African Union Member States (MS), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), ANWIN’s Founding Members, private sector, and civil society among others.

Two ANWIN tools namely, the Gender-Responsive Infrastructure Development (GRID) Guidelines and PIDA Gender-Responsive Infrastructure Policy Brief (GRIPB) were showcased during the two-hour virtual presentation. The GRID Guidelines complement the PIDA implementation by including demand-side gender impacts of infrastructure and provide practical guidance to MS and RECs, while the GRIPB  aims to outline the gender-smart infrastructure policy areas that should be considered for dialogue and relevant reforms throughout the Infrastructure development process.

The webinar concluded with a round of questions and comments from the MS & REC participants concerning their respective roles and responsibilities in advancing gender-responsive practices in infrastructure, which highlighted the importance of proactive stakeholders’ engagement to attain the set targets.

About ANWIN: the African Network for Women in Infrastructure (ANWIN), which was endorsed by the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) in its Second Ordinary Session in Cairo from 17 to 18th April 2019 and officially launched at the 5th Edition of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week in Cairo in November 2019, functions as a key instrument for promoting gender-responsive planning and implementation of African infrastructure projects ranging from transport, science, and technology, to water and energy.

For more information on the African Network for Women in Infrastructure (ANWIN), contact the ANWIN Secretariat, Department of Infrastructure and Energy African Union Commission. P.O. Box 3243 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Email:  web:, &