Lack of political will slows infrastructure projects, negates intra-Africa trade growth – AfDB

Dr Donald Kaberuka - AfDB President

Lack of political will is said to be slowing down the implementation of vital regional infrastructure projects in Africa, according to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Donald Kaberuka.

Dr Kaberuka told African Heads of State at the recently held AU meeting that “the lack of inter-country cooperation, rather than funding, was often the main barrier to the launch and completion of critical regional infrastructure projects in Africa.”

This, he said, had a negative impact on the growth of intra-African trade.

According to highlights of his speech made available, Dr Kaberuka gave the example of the Gambia Bridge, to link The Gambia and Senegal, as one of AfDB’s project that has been delayed for many years due to political reasons.

He also mentioned the Kazungula Bridge in Southern Africa which will link Zambia and Botswana across the Zambezi River as an example of another vital project that has been delayed by slow inter-country cooperation.

Dr Kaberuka said good inter-country cooperation could lead to the timely execution of infrastructure projects that enhance increased intra-African trade and boost the continent’s economic growth.

The AfDB president gave the example of the recently completed Ethiopia-Djibouti Power Interconnection Project, which now allows Ethiopia to export electricity to Djibouti.

Dr Kaberuka cautioned that the economic downturn that has ravaged the developed countries could weaken demand for African exports and dampen earnings.

Explaining, he said this could, in turn, undermine the ability of commercial banks in Africa to provide trade finance.

The AfDB is therefore looking at ways it could help cover this shortfall in Africa’s trade finance, Kaberuka said.

By Ekow Quandzie

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