AU to hold first specialized Africa infrastructure meeting in Togo

Infrastructure development is a large part of the factors that would drive growth in Africa, lead to job creation and improve lives. A World Bank study has found that some $93 billion is required for infrastructure development in Africa annually. But currently, some $45 billion is being spent on building the continent’s infrastructure.

The African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with its partner institutions will hold the first ever Specialized Technical Committee on Transport, Tourism and Energy meeting in the Togolese capital, Lome.

The meeting under theme, “Financing Infrastructure in Africa” is being organised jointly with the African Development Bank (AfDB) the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the Togolese government, a press release copied to has said.

The continent of Africa has a huge infrastructure deficit, which is stalling growth and development. The objective of the meeting among others is to urge African governments and the private sector to pursue concrete actions in the financing of major infrastructure needs, notably those in the Priority Action Plan of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA/PAP) in ways that foster inclusive growth and promote employment on the continent.

“Preparing for the First Specialized Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructures, Energy and Tourism comes at a time in which African governments look to push road, airport, railway and energy projects to the finish line,” Dr. Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the AUC was cited as saying. He added that the meeting provides the opportunity for African governments to discuss how to ensure better regulation and clearer policy certainty to ultimately attract infrastructure spending.

The meeting scheduled for March 13 to 17, 2017 has a special; the High Level Panel Discussion on “Enhancing Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure Financing”, on Thursday March 16 and that will be preceded by the Experts’ meeting, which will hold from March 13 to 16 and the Ministers’ meeting will take place on March 17.

The release indicates that, the Specialized Technical Committees (STCs), which constitute an important technical organ of the AU, were established under Article 25 of the African Economic Community Treaty (the Abuja Treaty). With the transformation of the OAU into the AU, the STCs were carried over by the Constitutive Act of the African Union under Articles 14 to 16.

The STCs are expected to work in close collaboration with the various departments of the AUC so as to provide well-informed inputs in their areas of specialization to the work of the AU Executive Council. They should also, be involved in monitoring development programmes implementation by the AUC and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), it added.

African Heads of State on Monday January 30, 2012 endorsed the launch of the PIDA, a multi-billion dollar initiative that will run through 2040.

At the 18th African Union Summit held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the Heads of State approved the implementation of the recommendations in the study on PIDA presented to the Summit.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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