Since 2005, NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) has approved 76 grants for regional infrastructure projects, crowding in investment financing of over US$ 8.7 billion, thereby directly impacting Africa’s integration and development agenda.
Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head Regional Integration and Trade Division- AUDA-NEPAD Agency made the statement during the African Development Bank Annual Meeting under the theme Regional integration’ that were held recently in Equatorial Guinea.
According to him NEPAD-IPPF was specifically instituted to address the lack of investment-ready infrastructure projects, one of the key constraints to economic development in Africa.
Grey-Johnson mentioned the key achievements which include North Core (Nigeria-Niger-BeninBurkina Faso) 330KV Transmission Project, Multinational Burundi-Rwanda,Benin -Togo- Ghana Electricity Interconnection Project, Kenya-Uganda Oil Pipeline Project, (and Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Power Interconnection Project.
He further said that Africa’s integration is no longer a matter of choice. Against an international backdrop of changing political and economic priorities, Africa must plot a new course for its industrialization and economic develop, using the momentum of regional integration.
According to him for Africa, a vast continent of over 1.2 billion people, integration has considerable potential not only for promoting robust and equitable economic growth through markets, but also for reducing conflict and enhancing trade liberalisation.
Adding that Africa has a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion. Such a market could create huge opportunities for producers on the continent. But to make it a reality, African governments and regional economic communities should intensify efforts aimed at facilitating the free movement of goods, services, people and trade across borders.
According to reports Regional integration is often seen as less relevant for resource-rich countries, since demand for commodities typically comes from the global market rather than from regional demand. Regional integration in Africa, however, can play a vital role in diversifying economies away from dependence on the export of just a few mineral products; in delivering food and energy security; in generating jobs for the increasing number of young people; and in alleviating poverty and delivering shared prosperity. Therefore to accelerate the integration, the priority of economic integration must be balanced by those of social, cultural and political integration. Policy instruments, especially for overlapping REC member nations, need to be harmonised. Currently, weak enforcement of existing treaties and nontariff barriers continue to hinder free movement of goods, services and persons across borders.
Author: ANGEL NAVURI