Business & Economy - News - April 9, 2021

How ECA will boost Africa’s investment in infrastructure, agriculture

Identified 64 projects to support the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) policy

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says it is working with African countries and private sector players to increase investments in infrastructure and agriculture on the continent.
The Economic Affairs Officer of the Commission, Habiba Ben Barka, said in Addis Ababa on Thursday the ECA was also working with the Private Sector Development and Finance Division, to strengthen the private sector business environment in energy and infrastructure development.
Barka listed the increasing use of Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) as one of the means to scale up investment in infrastructure, especially in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
During ECA’s first-quarter Accountability and Programme Performance Review Meeting (APPRM) in Addis Ababa, Barka said in order to achieve this specific outcome, the ECA identified three key strategic activities to focus its attention and resources.
They include supporting a number of member-states to implement infrastructure planning tools, focusing on energy and transport, and applying methodologies developed by ECA for increased private sector participation in road safety and bringing more countries to adopt policies to attract more private sector investments through the use of PPP frameworks and other means for scaling-up infrastructure investments.
Also, Barka said the Commission would pay attention to the need to foster more engagements between actors in the aviation industry and financial institutions within the context of COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery on the continent.
Barka said among other things, a methodology has been developed for assisting the energy regulatory environment in three African countries.
“A Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) policy brief that assesses the progress that African countries have made in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-7) target, will be launched soon,” she added.
The SDG-7 is aimed at ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
Barka said the sub-programme contributed to the identification of a pipeline of 64 projects that support the PIDA initiative, which were all endorsed by African Heads of State and Government in February 2021.
“Each region will have 10 projects on energy, transport, cross-boundary water and ICT.
“The remaining projects would target the needs that will be requested for under the presidential infrastructure initiative and also for small island development states,” she said.
Barka noted that one of the outputs delivered by her section was the mobilisation of capital from institutional investors, including pension and sovereign wealth funds, in Africa and across the world.
The ECA Economic Affairs Officer explained this the capital was to finance the continent’s infrastructure development and green economy needs.
She said, going forward, ECA would strengthen its partnership with institutional investors and partners, to support the development of green financing markets and the establishment of a Pan-African Green Infrastructure Investment Bank (AGIIB).
“There are ongoing efforts to strengthen the capacity of member states to deepen financial markets and mobilize long-term financial instruments,” she said.
Barka added that the sub-programme was working to identify barriers to key energy infrastructure on the continent and the number of countries that would be able to align land policy reforms with energy sector infrastructure investment in Africa. (NAN)

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