Bedda made the remarks at the conclusion of the 2nd Policy Dialogue Conference on the implementation of PIDA that was held in Equatorial Guinea.
Has emphasized inclusive infrastructure development in Africa as the continents proceed with the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
“Africa needs to accelerate the development of transboundary infrastructure projects if it is to fully integrate. He said a lot of progress has been made since African leaders adopted PIDA in 2012,” he said
Reminding experts PIDA is a catalyst for inclusive development on the continent, adding that “PIDA will constitute the most appropriate framework for inclusive development in terms of the continents infrastructure.
The director said that there have been remarkable achievements within a short period of time considering the many barriers that exist within the continent. However, the scale of the challenge in infrastructure development on the continent calls for more accelerated implementation and innovative approaches to meet-up with the increasing demand for infrastructure services.
“Phase 2 of PIDA involve women and youths, source of inclusiveness and enable rural communities to contribute to this continent”
The director said Africa’s partners have begun to understand the continent has its own approach and its priorities have begun to understand the continent has its own approach and its priorities have to be respected as they are anchored on AU development blue print dubbed Agenda 2063.
“We recognize that optimal solutions for continental problems lie in regional integration. We are getting there progressively, but we need to accelerate implementation if we want regional integration. It’s not a question of lack of financial resources, it is a question of lack of bankable projects and sound rules” said Bedda adding that local, national and regional governance was key to the success Africa seeks in closing its infrastructure deficit.
According to him the time to assimilate local and international investors in project is now, adding that there should be innovative ways of bringing on board the latter on win –win situation” he said
Reiterating that AU side has had successful deliberations with China, one of the key development partners in the sector.
“We’ve had a successful meeting with the Chinese through the forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in September 2018. And in the declaration it was made very clear that infrastructure will remain the top priority for the Chinese partners as well as for the African side. When we talk about infrastructure we are also talking about the rural areas “he said
Furthermore, in the same vein, he said EU, through the EU commission and in the end had an action plan that as validated in Abidjan, which clearly mentioned that infrastructure will remain the top priority.
During discussions experts said Africa needs to unite and work hard to reverse colonial infrastructure systems which promoted the extraction of profitable agricultural and mineral wealth for export at the expense of local communities and the continent.
Current low levels of infrastructure on the continent posed one of the biggest challenges to Africa’s industrialization and development agenda, which is having a negative impact on Africa’s competitiveness and participation in the global markets.
According to the World Bank, the poor state of infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa in respect of its electricity, water, roads and ICT, reduces national economic growth by 2 percent annually and reduces productivity by as much as 40 percent.
Meeting Africa’s infrastructure needs and developing cost-effective infrastructure services requires significant investments,” the Commissioner said, adding the continent should turn its challenges in infrastructure development into an opportunity.
The financing gap in Africa for infrastructure development is estimated at between US$130-170 billion per year.
Despite encouraging investments on infrastructure, both at the domestic and international levels, which averages about US$75 billion per year, there is a need for significant increase in infrastructure investments on the continent.
PIDA stakeholders concludes to ensure that the project prioritization focuses on a bottom up approach to ensure coherency in the process.
PIDA was adopted by AU heads and government in 2012 as a strategic framework for regional and continental infrastructure and development in Africa, and it covers four main sectors transport, energy, information and communication and trans-boundary water.
PIDA’s continental implementing partners are the AU Commission, the NEPAD planning and Coordinating Agency, The African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.