African stakeholder gathering assesses progress on infrastructure projects

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Over 150 government officials and private-sector stakeholders converged on Abidjan, Ivory Coast, last week to discuss African infrastructure development.

The inaugural Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week was planned by the African Union, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Development Bank.

The group aimed to evaluate the work being done on 16 major infrastructure projects across the continent that are seen as crucial in helping African economies work together and thrive.

“Once implemented, the 16 projects are expected to significantly boost Africa’s competitiveness and business climate," NEPAD CEO Ibrahim Mayaki said. “Trade between countries and regional cooperation are of the utmost importance when it comes to building a strong and sustainable African economy. By encouraging regional integration, NEPAD also helps countries to improve their trade links, to better share their resources and to build infrastructure that will form the foundations of vital economic diversification for development.”

The projects are scheduled to be completed by 2025, with five of them already underway: the Abidjan-Lagos corridor; the Dakar- Bamako rail link; two hydroelectric dams, Sambangalou in Guinea and Ruzizi III in Rwanda; and the road from Serenje to Nakonde in Zambia.

The 16 projects are considered the most impactful out of the 400 PIDA Priority Action Plan projects proposed since PIDA was created in 2012.

“A new consensus has taken shape in Abidjan," Mayaki said. "Various workshops with participants from all over the continent have allowed us to validate key steps on the road to developing our 16 projects. African governments, the donor community and international investors are now defining a new paradigm that heralds a new era in Africa’s development based on the financing and construction of infrastructure that will unlock its economic takeoff."

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