Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI)

1.  Context and background

The Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) was born out of a proposal by South Africa in 2011 to accelerate regional infrastructure development enabled through the political championing of projects. The role of the champions is to bring visibility, unblock bottlenecks, coordinate resource mobilization, and ensure project implementation. The initiative, therefore, serves as a high-level platform to put Africa on the right track towards unlocking its potential, and so to achieve the “Africa we want”, as noted in Agenda 2063.

Chronology of PICI Milestones

On a different note, it is worth mentioning that 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative. Furthermore, this year witnessed a significant milestone in the implementation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) as the continent embarked on the second phase of the PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA PAP II) for the period 2021-2030, and PIDA together with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) accelerates the fulfilment of an integrated Africa, as framed by Agenda 2063.  As in the first phase, the championing of the shortlisted projects at the highest levels will be essential to accelerate the implementation of the PIDA PAP II.

2.  PICI Selection Criteria

Criteria for Projects: Projects must be:

  1. Regional (multi-country/cross-border covering at least two AU member states), continental (covering at least two sub-regions) or a state project with regional implications.
  2. Bankable and have gone beyond the pre-feasibility or feasibility stages.
  3. Have quantifiable socio-economic benefits, thereby promoting regional integration and trade in the short to medium term.
  4. Promote employment opportunities by creating sustainable jobs arising from the project.
  5. Have joint or co-ownership potential which will be accepted by the states or regions concerned.
  6. Be considered a top priority by all stakeholders concerned, and have a sub-regional or continental balance, i.e. equitably distributed.
  7. Require minimal, uncomplicated resource mobilisation efforts.
  8. Be considered a flagship project with the potential for duplication in other regions as a commendable practice in infrastructure.
  9. Serve to achieve regional integration objectives by targeting poverty alleviation, economic growth and development with demonstrable impact, and contribute to the attainment of food security.
  10. Not be hindered by complicated national and regional geo-political issues, with minimal effort required to resolve/unblock any bottlenecks.

Criteria for champions: Champions must:

  1. Have proven or demonstrable ability to promote and advocate the AUDA-NEPAD Agency’s vision and agenda.
  2. Express their commitment and willingness to infrastructure development selection criteria.
  3. Have the ability to lead the development of an action plan for final project implementation.
  4. Oversee the monitoring and evaluation process, including regular reporting on the progress of the project to the AUDA-NEPAD HSGOC.
  5. Have evidence of sustainable infrastructure development through the specific project.
  6. Be committed to sponsoring the project through active mobilisation of resources from within the African continent and from development partners, to fast-track the facilitation and promotion of infrastructure development.
  7. If necessary, be willing to source/ provide the required additional resources to support the speedy implementation of the project.
  8. Have a direct and vested geo-political interest and relevance in the project and commitment to its delivery.
  9. Be dedicated to engaging and consulting with other African colleagues towards effectively sponsoring projects.
  10. Support the creation of an environment conducive to project implementation, and the necessary technical implementing capacities to drive project delivery.
  11. Have a demonstrable interest in ensuring the completion of the project through prioritised implementation phases.
  12. Have successfully promoted infrastructure projects to full implementation in the past.

3.   PICI Membership

In 2011, 8 Heads of State and Governments founded the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI). South Africa, under the leadership of HE President Cyril Ramaphosa, chairs the PICI. Along with South Africa, the founding members of PICI are Algeria, Benin, Congo, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal. Over the period from 2011 to 2019, the membership of the PICI has increased by 50% from 8 to 12 members, reflecting the unequivocal commitment of our political leaders to significantly upscale infrastructure across the African continent. In addition to the founding member, PICI membership comprises Côte d’Ivoire, Namibia, and Kenya. Furthermore, in 2019, the PICI members accepted and endorsed the membership of Sudan which was formally announced during the AU Summit in 2020.

4.  PICI Project Portfolio

PICI projects cover various transboundary infrastructure sectors, including transport, energy, information and communication technology (ICT), and trans-boundary water.

  Project Championing State
1.         Trans-Sahara Highway missing links and the Optic Fibre Link between Algeria and Nigeria via Niger. Algeria
2.         Kinshasa-Brazzaville Bridge Road/Rail Project. Congo
3.         Abidjan-Lagos Highway Project. Côte d’Ivoire
4.         Lake Victoria – Mediterranean Sea Navigational Line (VICMED). Egypt
5.         Lamu Port – Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Project. Kenya
6.         Namibia-International Logistics Hub. Namibia
7.         Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline. Nigeria
8.         Unblocking Political Bottlenecks for ICT Broadband and Optic Fibre Projects Linking Neighbouring States and Smart Africa Initiative. Rwanda
9.         Dakar-Bamaka Road/Rail Project. Senegal
10.      The North-South Road, Rail and related Infrastructure Corridor. South Africa
11.      The Sawakin-Port Sudan Project. Sudan

5.  PICI’s latest publications

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