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PIDA a strategic continental initiative for Africa’s Integration

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is a strategic continental initiative which has the buy-in of all African countries, for mobilizing resources to transform Africa through modern infrastructure which will unlock the continent's huge growth potential and put Africa on the path to accelerated economic and social development.

African economies are growing rapidly propelled by new resource discoveries, urbanization, a youthful population, deepening regional integration arrangements and increased integration of the continent into the global economy. These developments require sound and versatile infrastructure and the enabling environment for the infrastructure systems to perform efficiently and optimally. PIDA identifies priority continental projects in trans-boundary water, energy, transport and ICT to be realised by 2040, will have the greatest transformational impact on the continent. That is — projects that, if executed — will catalyse further infrastructure investments; open up important trade routes for landlocked countries; dramatically increase access to improved transport, electricity, ICT and water services; and support other economic activities. The total estimated investment cost is US$360 billion, or around US$9 billion per year which is less than 1% of Africa's GDP.

The PIDA Priority Action Plan (PAP) includes 51 priority projects and programmes across the major infrastructure sectors and regions of Africa at a cost of US$68 billion. Africa presently receives about US$50 billion per annum in development assistance, and imports around US$55 billion in food every year. Investing less than US$70 billion over the next 8 years in the selected infrastructure projects could unlock an increase in trade up to 25% and additional GDP growth of up to 2% per year.

PIDA priority projects were selected based on rigorous economic analysis and selection criteria, taking into account national and regional infrastructure development plans, and in close consultation with Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), development partners and the private sector.

At their 18thAfrican Union Assembly, African Heads of State and Government formally adopted PIDA as a continental programme signalling high-level political commitment to adopting a coordinated continental strategy to tackle the continent's infrastructure needs in a bold and innovative way. In approving PIDA, the Heads of State called for concerted action by all concerned to mobilise the necessary resources to make PIDA a reality by rallying African and international partners, both public and private to work together to make the vision of a transformed Africa, a reality.

The African policy makers recognised that the lack of capacity and funds in project preparation combined with a weak involvement of the private sector are the main issues that constitute the bottlenecks to PIDA implementation.

As a response, they set up the Continental Business Network (CBN) to facilitate private sector involvement in essential continent-wide infrastructure projects through the creation of a high-level private sector forum. This is an outstanding instrument towards a common understanding of the investment risks (and rewards) regarding infrastructure projects.

As a means to fast-track the implementation of PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA-PAP), the African Union Commission (AUC), the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) organized the First PIDA Week from 13 to 17 November 2015 in Abidjan.

The PIDA Week was attended by representatives of continental institutions (AUC, AfDB, NPCA), Regional Economic Communities RECs (ECOWAS, ECCAS, COMESA, SADC, UMA), UNECA, development partners (Germany, European Union, Japan), regional banks (DBSA), private sector, academia, journalists, etc. 120 people attended the PIDA Week.

On the ground some PIDA projects have made significant move among which: The Kaleta hydropower project in Guinea is currently operational. This project that significantly improves the energy supply in Guinea is funded by Chinese cooperation. Other important project such as the Internet Exchange point implemented by African Union Commission, the Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia, and the Abidjan-Lagos Transport Corridor can be mentioned as well.

In collaboration with NPCA, AfDB and RECs with the support of keys partners, AUC is focusing on the implementation of following activities: Strengthen the PIDA SDM to grow to targeted value of $5 million and increase funding of Nepad Infrastructure Projects Preparation Facility (NEPAD IPPF) with the contribution of AU States members; Establish a sub-committee to develop regional frameworks for infrastructure financing that includes innovative financing such as blended financing, diaspora bonds, and domestic resources. Bridge Infrastructure Financing gaps through well prepared projects