The Union Member States, Regional Economic Communities, and continental institutions get together virtually for PIDA Continental Technical Validation Workshop. The workshop presented the process, outcome, and the draft priority list of projects for the second phase of the PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA PAP2) which has entered an active consultation phase in November 2019.

Over 70 regional infrastructure projects in the 4 PIDA sectors:  Energy, Transport, Trans-Boundary Water, and ICT have been prioritized from a long list of over 240 projects proposed by the Member States, RECs, and Specialized Institutions.  The balance projects will constitute a reserve list that will serve to replenish the priority list at planned reviews during the 10-year implementation time frame from 2021 to 2030.

Opening the workshop, African Union Commission (AUC) Director for Infrastructure and Energy, Mr. Cheikh Bedda, highlighted that “PIDA PAP 2 has benefitted from the learning experience of PAP1. “The second phase of PIDA has been guided by strategic directives for a shorter, more operational list of projects which promote an integrated, multi-sectorial corridor approach that is employment-oriented, gender-sensitive, and climate-friendly and that connects urban/industrial hubs with rural areas”, says the director.

The PIDA task force of infrastructure experts from AUC, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), and African Development Bank (AfDB) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa(UNECA was mandated to guide the Member states and RECs to submit projects.  Continuous engagement and a consultative and participative approach have led to the ownership of the PIDA process and priority list by the focal points. According to Mr. Bedda, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was a major challenge on the PIDA PAP2 process which led to a fully-digitalized process of project submission, selection, screening, and ranking process with active participation and engagement with RECs and MS focal points.

AfDB Infrastructure & Urban Development Amadou Oumarou commended the concerted efforts put in place by key stakeholders to develop PIDA PAP2 despite the unexpected challenges the pandemic has caused. He reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to supporting the implementation of PIDA PAP2, recalling that it has provided an estimated 7billion USD for PIDA projects in the past ten years making it the lead financier of the Continent’s infrastructure programs.

Private Sector Development & Finance Director with UNECA William Lugemwa emphasized the importance of involving the private sector from planning to execution of infrastructure for a higher rate of success in PIDA PAP2 implementation. Mr. William further noted that PIDA PAP2 projects align with agenda 2063 and agenda 2030.

There was a consensus among participants on the transparency and rigor of the PIDA PAP2 process which was aligned to the approved selection criteria and but also led to the selection of projects which are in the priority list of RECs and the Member States.  It was also noted that the inclusiveness and sustainability criteria inbuilt into the PIDA selection process have prioritized infrastructure projects which will lead to economic and social impacts critical for Post-COVID recovery.

The workshop highlighted the importance of seamless and timely implementation of infrastructure projects was This will be facilitated by a package of tools developed by PIDA Institutions:  Implementation Strategy by AUDA-NEPAD, Financing Strategy by AfDB, and Partnership Engagement Strategy by UNECA.

Speaking of the Implementation Strategy, Economic Integration Division Supervisor with AUDA-NEPAD Dr. Towela Jere, said guided by the framework of the Integrated Corridor Approach, the strategy is designed to provide a high-level overview of how PIDA PAP2 projects would be developed and progressed throughout the project lifecycle from planning to financial close which enhances project bankability and socio-economic development impact.

Based on the consensus achieved at this PIDA continental workshop, the priority list and process will be presented to the Specialized Technical Committee on Transport Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy, and Tourism (STC TTIIET) for further validation at the ministerial level. The list along with the strategic documents will be submitted to the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government in February 2021 for adoption.

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