The African Union Commission (AUC) held a regional consultation workshop for West African Member States and their Specialised Institutions for the project selection process of the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), also known as PIDA PAP 2 (2021-2030). This three-day workshop, running from 26th – 28th February 2020, aims to provide ECOWAS, its Member States 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.  PIDA is identified as a key strategic framework for the development of regional infrastructure contributing to the achievement of the aspiration of Agenda 2063. The Africa Union Commission in collaboration with AUDA-NEPAD, AfDB, and UNECA has developed the integrated corridor approach framework as strategic basis for the PIDA  Priority Action Plan 2, which 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.

H.E. Mr. Pathe Gueye, ECOWAS Commissioner for infrastructure and H.E. Dr. Zouli Bonkoungou, ECOWAS Commissioner for Telecommunications and Information Technologies were in attendance of the opening ceremony for this West African regional consultation.

Mr. Yagouba Traore, Chief of Infrastructure Information Unit at the African Union Commission in its opening speech highlighted the importance of workshop for the delegates as the opportunity to take stock of the parameters and selection criteria and to familiarize themselves with the projects submission tools that will be made available to them. “ECOWAS and its Member States will be able to identify priority projects according to the selection criteria and submit their proposals to the AUC with the support of the Task Force. In the meantime, the AUC will pursue the advocacy at the highest level to promote the development of infrastructure as well as the related political and regulatory frameworks necessary to achieve the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area and improve the lives of African populations. The AUC will work with AUDA-NEPAD, RECs, AfDB, and UNECA to deliver the next phase of PIDA with the utmost diligence.” he said.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Pathe Gueye acknowledged the collaborative effort from the different partner institutions to make possible the positive changes driven by the PIDA in the region. He stated, “It should be noted that West Africa has been a major beneficiary of PIDA thanks to the financial support for the implementation of major projects in the infrastructure sector. I would also like to pay tribute to the African Development Bank, our bank for the decisive role in the implementation of the PIDA-PAP in general and in the development of West Africa in particular by financing projects in all sectors.”

The capacity building workshop is designed to provide administrative support and the know-how to Member States and RECs on the project identification, consolidation and selection processes so that the projects selected reflect the integrated corridor approach and work towards a more prosperous Africa. 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.

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