Current infrastructure initiatives have not seen enough progress

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There has been insufficient progress on Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa over the last decade.

“I think it is important that we know why the issues and the challenges are still the same. When NEPAD was created in 2001, it came up with this action plan for infrastructure. A large review of these type of projects indicate that very few of them are implemented,” Dr. John Tambi, the transport infrastructure expert and coordinator for the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative at NEPAD told ABN Digital at the Infrastructure Africa 2013 conference in Johannesburg.

The conference is aimed at addressing some of the inefficiencies, objective deficits and poor maintenance issues that plague the continent.

Tambi alluded to a number of projects where only a few have been implemented by the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). This includes the North-South corridor which Mtchera Chirwa, chief infrastructure and PPP specialist at African Development Bank, insists is a priority.   

“The North-South corridor is one of the priority projects. This corridor spans eight countries from the port of Durban, South Africa linking all the way to the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and there’s components in road, rail and even energy,” he said.

“We look at PIDA as being the key programme that focuses on integrating the continent and moving it forward, transforming  the, so far, impressive growth of the continent even beyond current levels,” he added.

PIDA was developed by the African Union Commission, NEPAD Agency and the African Development Bank to promote regional economic integration by bridging Africa’s massive infrastructure gap.   

“The entire PIDA programme up to the year 2040 is estimated at a cost of 306 million dollars. In terms of prioritisation of implementation, it’s divided into three phases so you have a short term phase, a medium term phase and a long term phase. For the short term phase we are looking at Horizon 2020,” said Chirwa.

He said that PIDA aims to look at facilitating movements between borders and dealing with capacity issues in the coming years.

“PIDA is identifying where the population centres will be, where the mineral, energy resources are. Where the hubs are in terms of transportation linking Africa to the rest of the world and saying, if Africa is going to grow by so much, in the next 20, 30, 40 years, what will be the demand in infrastructure to be able to service that growth.”