Additionally, there is a mismatch between skills demand and supply to absorb this socio-economic capability via a well-educated and skilled workforce.
This was mentioned during the 2nd Policy Dialogue on facilitating the implementation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) that was held in Equatorial Guinea under the theme commitment of AU member states for accelerated development of regional and continental infrastructure.
Officials from the African Union (AU), and AUDA- NEPAD Agency reaffirmed their commitment to ensure inclusion of job creation in infrastructure projects in a bid to create inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa.
Speaking during the session designated for Development Process of second phase of PIDA priority action plan (PIDA-PAP 2) Snowden Mmadi, AUDA -NEPAD Infrastructure Technical Expert said that the number of young people is expected to double by 2050.
According to Mmadi more young people than ever before call the world home, and the vast majority are in emerging economies. While these young men and women prove their potential and promise every day, too many lack opportunities to carve a path for themselves.
Meanwhile, the infrastructure and natural resource industries which include power, transportation, water, oil and gas, and mining confront their own host of challenges. A new publication argues that youth engagement offers promise for both groups and, for the affected industries, it makes good business sense.
On her part Sunita Pitamber Director for African Network for Women in Infrastructure (ANWIN) said that the role of women in Africa’s economic development remains a central issue with gender inequality thwarting growth in many countries.
“The women of Africa currently represent an untapped economic force that is necessary for the continent’s socio-economic development, hence optimization of its potential is necessary,” said Pitamber
She added that women are catalysts for meaningful change on the African continent and that women and women leaders will be critical in leading the African continent into a new future. As such, creating opportunities that promote African women’s economic participation is a prerequisite if Africa is to experience its predicted growth within the next few decades.
Pitamber noted that in most African countries, only about a third of women participate in economic activities, adding that reliable research shows that when women are actively involved, the improvement is immeasurable. She pointed out that in Africa, women’s economic participation encourages increased GDP, better governance within political structures and improved performance as a result of leadership within organizations.
And since phase 1 of PIDA was silent on women and inclusiveness of gender balance, she highlighted that not only women’s economic participation is needed in Africa, but also more representation in most spheres, including in infrastructure sectors, most importantly to be involved in the decision-making and planning of infrastructure projects and programmes.
In addition, during the discussion experts said the burden of infrastructure deficit is carried mostly by women, who walk kilometres per day and spend hours collecting water as well as wood for cooking and heating, hence the design of infrastructure programmes needs to priorities such gender-specific issues to ensure that women are able to carry out their everyday chores more efficiently, allowing more time for family care, educational opportunities, productive work and participation in community life.
Presenting the approach to select PIDA PAP 2 project Yagouba Traore African Union PIDA Coordinator said that during the STC in Togo in 2017, the declaration requested member states to adopt the integrated Corridor Approach and mandated AUC and AUDA to formulate details of that approach.
He added that PIDA PAP 2 aims to be a strong portfolio of projects that includes priority of projects that includes priority actions, attracts financing and increase chances of implementation.
Traore further said that the integrated, multi-sectorial infrastructure corridor approach including orientation towards gender sensitivity, climate protection, employment and connection of rural areas serves as conceptual basis for PIDA PAP 2 planning.
When concluding the section experts observed that infrastructure is an important driver for the growth of economy of any region. The observed that electricity, roads, water systems, public utilities, airports, railways, and telecommunications are essential services that drive the economic activity, hence a huge and dire need to channelize trade and mobility.