A regional consultation workshop capturing the project selection process for the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, also known as PIDA PAP2 (2021-2030), was held for Southern African Member States and their Specialised Institutions. As the importance of regional integration in supporting Africa’s economic development is realized by African leaders, the purpose of this three-day workshop, from 4th – 6th March 2020, is to provide the Member States, SADC, and Specialised Institutions with the necessary information and tools to prioritize gender-inclusive, environmentally friendly and smart infrastructure projects that will create jobs and economic opportunities for the African people.

The Africa Union Commission in collaboration with AUDA-NEPAD, AfDB and UNECA has developed the integrated corridor approach framework as a strategic basis for the PIDA Priority Action Plan 2. This approach captures specific goals of addressing youth employment and education, strengthening gender-inclusive socioeconomic development, smart innovation and technologies, environmentally sustainable communities and economies, and regional connectivity through world-class infrastructure linking people, markets, and facilitating trade, as outlined by Agenda 2063 Aspirations 1, 2, and 6. As such, the PIDA strategic objective contributes to the achievement of the aspiration of Agenda 2063.

In her opening remarks, the Director of Infrastructure at SADC secretariat, Ms. Mapolao Mokoena recognized the importance of regional integration by way of infrastructure for socio-economic development. She highlighted, in particular, the importance of trans-boundary water projects now more than ever as climate change drives populations towards sustainable water supplies. Furthermore, as the private sector participation in water projects remains weak, Ms. Mokoena called on the public sector to provide the special support that’s needed.
Recognizing the need for projects to be divided fairly among the four sectors – transport, energy, ICT, and trans-boundary water resources – the selection process of PIDA PAP2 projects has required at least one project in each region to be a part of each sector. The shift in requirement demonstrates a way forward reflective of the lessons learned from PIDA PAP1 as only one water project in the continent was completed during that phase.

As the prioritization and project selection for regional infrastructure proves to be an important, yet challenging mission, the capacity building workshop is designed to provide administrative support and the training to the Member States and RECs on the project identification, consolidation and selection processes. In the final analysis, the projects selected will reflect the integrated corridor approach.

Member States will first propose projects to their RECs, who will take the projects’ key information and fill out forms provided for the screening process. The forms are expected to be complete and submitted to the Task Force members in the coming months after the workshops so that the Task Force members are able to analyze, score and prioritize the proposed projects according to the eligibility and project selection criteria. Once the project selection process is complete and the PIDA PAP2 is developed, it will then be submitted to the African Heads of State and Government for adoption during the AU Summit in January 2021.

Member States in attendance of the Southern Africa regional workshop were the Republic of Botswana, the Republic of Madagascar, the Republic of Mauritius, the Republic of Malawi, Kingdom of Eswatini, Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Namibia, Union of the Comoros, the Republic of Seychelles, the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Zimbabwe. The continental and regional organizations were SADC, AUDA-NEPAD, and COMESA.
In the end, 58 projects are to be selected – 10 projects per the Northern African, West African, Central African, East African and Southern African regions, and one additional project for each of the 8 Islands States.

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