PIDA Week entered its second day today in Swakopmund, Namibia showcasing five Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA) projects as facilitators for job creation in the continent.
Nearly 20 speakers deliberated on how to enable and leverage investments for the five PIDA projects, a day after dignitaries told the gathering to develop a pipeline of bankable sustainable infrastructure projects to create enough jobs and opportunities for the large African youth population entering the labour market.
Discussions were held throughout the day on the Central Corridor (Dar Es Salam to Chalinze Toll Road), the Kinshasa Brazzaville Rail and Road Bridge, the Ethiopia-Sudan Interconnector, the Zambia Tanzania Kenya Power Interconnector and the Batoka Gorge Hydropower Project creating synergies between the different implementing institutions, partners and stakeholders.
The Director for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, Mr. Cheikh Bedda summarizing the five sessions stated that the projects aim to mobilise key stakeholders around ongoing efforts to accelerate PIDA implementation.
“One way to expand the pipeline of bankable projects is to select a number of representative projects and begin to work systematically with partners to drive implementation through the project preparation cycle.” Mr. Bedda stated.
Mr. Bedda emphasized the need to explore innovative mechanism to unlock financing for infrastructure in Africa and concluded by recalling the importance of partnership and synergies between partners to fast track the implementation of PIDA projects.
Concrete actions towards financing the five projects were recommended on the second day of PIDA Week. Risks, challenges and new approaches of financing infrastructure projects through public financing, PPP, co-financing were shared, and the importance of political commitment from AU Member States, e.g. by incorporating all PIDA projects in national budgets, as a pre-requisite for the successful implementation of cross-border infrastructure projects was also discussed. There was overall consensus that efforts must be exerted to set up legal frameworks and instruments for corridor management.
The PIDA week commemoration, which ends on Thursday is held under the theme regional infrastructure development for job creation and economic transformation.