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The First extra-ordinary meeting of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Transport, Intercontinental and Interregional Infrastructures, Energy and Tourism (STC-TTIIET) kicks off virtually on Monday under the theme “Africa’s Infrastructure Priorities 2021-2020”.
On its first day, the meeting brought together more than 170 experts drawn from African Union Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional and Continental Institutions, and partners.
Officially opening the Experts’ meeting, Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Mohina, First Undersecretary Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy of the Arab Republic of Egypt, current Chair of STC-TTIIT, said that Africa, is the land of promises with untapped potential in natural resources and human capacity.
Dr. Mohina highlighted that it's urgent for Africa to invest in infrastructure and enhance interconnectivity thereby improving the standard of living of its citizens. “We require massive investments in the infrastructure sector. So far, much of Africa’s infrastructure has been financed by governments that strain public resources. We need to promote the full participation of the private sector to pull appropriate financial and technical resources to the sector”.
During the meeting, the STC-TTIIET experts, reviewed the priority list of projects for the Second Phase of the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA-PAP2), discussed the launch of African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM), the implementation of the ‘COVID-19 Emergency Action Plan for Resilience and Recovery and the African Road Safety Action plan of the Decade 2021-2030, which looks at slashing road traffic accidents in Africa by 50 percent.
Dr. Mohina, the Chair of the experts’ meeting,recognised the concerted efforts excreted by the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), African Union Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) towards an inclusive PIDA PAP2 process, despite the ongoingCOVID-19 pandemic.
Mr William Lugemwa, Director of Private Sector Development and Finance Division at the UNECA said PIDA PAP 2 will shape regional infrastructure development in Africa in the next 10 years commending AUC for the outstanding leadership provided in the PIDA PAD 2 process. “The inclusive and innovative approach to the process has been remarkable. A tremendous effort has been made to address the myriad of challenges that plagued the implementation of the first phase of PIDA, notably inadequate finance and national ownership of projects”.
A total of 73 potential regional infrastructure projects in the Energy, Transport, Trans-Boundary Water, and ICT sectors have been lined up in the PIDA-PAP2 priority list, along with the PIDA PAP2 Implementation Strategy, Financing Strategy, and Partnership Engagement Strategy, which were developed by the four PIDA institutions in close collaboration and consultation with the Member States and Regional Economic Communities.
Director of Programme Delivery and Coordination at AUDA-NEPAD, Mr Amine Idriss Adoum said, “PIDA PAP2 Projects are expected to contribute to a people-led Africa by strengthening the role of women through the development of gender-sensitive infrastructure. The implementation of PIDA PAP 2 projects will also touch on the social aspect taking into account the post-COVID 19 crisis recovery period”.
The experts meeting has also looked at the policy, roadmap, and governance structure of the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) which is projected to be launched in February 2021, during the African Union Assembly of the Heads of State and Government. The meeting which also reviewed the implementation of the COVID-19 Emergency Action Plan for Resilience and Recovery, confirmed that pandemic response activities progressing well.
In his closing remarks, the Head of Energy Division at the AUC, Mr Atef Marzouk said, “The various programmes and initiatives presented during the meeting demonstrated that Africa is in the right direction in addressing its infrastructure challenges which is a prerequisite for the successful operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Free Movement of People, the flagship projects of Agenda 2063”.
He further emphasized the need for stakeholders to harmonize and synergize their efforts to ensure a coordinated approach to addressing the infrastructure deficit in the continent.
The STC-TTIIET will continue its second-day meeting on Tuesday, December 15, graced by African infrastructure ministers which are expected to adopt the draft recommendations and declarations to be presented by the experts meeting.