The Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) was hosted by the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Cairo, on 21 October 2019. The PICI Inter Ministerial Meeting, under the chairmanship of the Minister Mohammed Khalil Abdel Aty with the support of AUDA-NEPAD as the secretariat for PICI, discussed the detailed report that was prepared by the PICI Technical Task Team Workshop at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on 7 and 8 October 2019. This report provides an update on the status of the PICI projects, challenges and the necessary recommendation for interventions from the Champions where needed.
Before the official opening, all Ministers in attendance and Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD made a courtesy call to the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
In his opening remarks, the Minister Mohammed Khalil Abdel Aty underscored the need to undertake key continental infrastructure projects if the continent is to realise its growth potential through trade. Minister Aty further underscored the need for Africa to develop its capacity to be able to undertake these projects.
Minister Jackson Mphikwa Mthembu (Co-chairperson) of South Africa, spoke on the importance of developing continental Infrastructure. He reiterated that the continent needs to accelerate its infrastructure development to match the growing population and rapid urbanisation to achieve development goals.
Dr Mayaki provided the overarching frame of reference for the PICI and the underpinning success of the model through the Champions who bring visibility, unblock bottlenecks and give critical momentum leading to the acceleration of these projects.
Based on the success in PICI, Dr Mayaki added, the PICI Africa wide IMC will recommend to the AU and the African Union Commission that the PICI model be reflected in this PIDA Review as a positive approach for championing and accelerating the implementation of PIDA projects, and that it should be replicated and strengthened.
Following AUDA-NEPAD’s broadened mandate of the AUDA-NEPAD, Dr Mayaki noted that he is keen to see PICI strengthened and positioned to assist in delivery of these key infrastructure projects is which are essential building blocks in the actualisation of the results anticipated in our continental flagship programmes as articulated in Agenda 2063.
Minister Mustapha Kouraba, Minister of Works and Transport of Algeria presented the progress achieved in implementation of the Trans-Sahara Highway that connect 6 countries – Algeria, Mali, Niger, Tunisia, Nigeria, and Chad. The Minister also presented to the meeting Algeria’s desire to host the next PICI Africa-wide IMC Meeting.
The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Minister Mr Sankwasa James Sankwasa of Namibia and Madam Gnounka Diouf, Minister Counselor of the President from Senegal, representatives from Niger, Rwanda and the African Development Bank. The meeting received a detailed update on the status of all PICI projects. In addition, Sudan requested that the following projects be endorsed and considered as part of the PICI:
- The Suakin Seaport Harbor which has been previously submitted to the PICI Africa wide IMC, held in Cape Town on 5 February 2019;
- The Dakar-N’djamena-Port Sudan Railway, and
- The Babanusa – South Sudan Railway.
The meeting welcomed Sudan and endorsed its membership as part of the PICI. This decision will be shared at the Heads of State level.
The Report from the Inter Ministerial Meeting will be finalised by AUDA-NEPAD and the South African Presidency to be submitted to the African Union Heads of State Summit scheduled for 9-10 February 2020, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and to be presented at the Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee on the margins of the AU Summit.