The commissioner made the remarks on Monday during the opening of 2019 PIDA week that is currently underway in Cairo, Egypt under the theme Positioning Africa to deliver on Agenda 2063 and economic integration through multi-sectorial approaches to infrastructure development.
“There is also a need to ensure that the development of infrastructure on the continent contributes to transformative and inclusive growth driven by poverty alleviation” Abou-Zeid said
She said that the theme was selected for two important reasons. First, the scarcity of financial resources and the low levels of access to infrastructure as well as the increasing demand for efficient services means future infrastructure systems have to be smart, integrated, efficient as well as transformative.
Added that second, the huge financing and volumes of infrastructure required calls for good collaboration at all levels of projects development including mobilization of resources, projects implementation, maintenance and operation for the attainment of the Agenda 2063 aspirations.
Noting that thus the 5th PIDA Week will seek to highlight the importance of integrated corridor approach in accelerating infrastructure development and expansion on the continent.
In this regard, the 5th PIDA Week occurs few weeks after the 3rd Ordinary Session of the STC on Communication and ICT, held in Sharm El Sheikh with the support from the Government of Arab Republic of Egypt.
“I am glad to report that the Committee considered and provided valuable inputs to the Draft Digital Transformation Strategy (DTS) for Africa crafted in an inclusive manner” She said
The commissioner futher said that the DTS aims to harness digital technologies and innovation to transform African societies and economies to promote Africa's integration, generate inclusive economic growth, stimulate job creation, break the digital divide, and eradicate poverty for the continent’s socio-economic development and ensure Africa’s ownership of modern tools of digital management.
Citing example of the the current conditions of the economies of some African countries marked by volatility on export markets show the importance of prioritizing the development of infrastructure and transport facilitation services on the continent to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In addition, the infrastructure financing gap of $47to $87 billion per year (as reported by ICA) remains a major challenge for the 55 Member States of the African Union.
The 5th PIDA Week also intends to build on the relative achievements and the momentum created in the previous four events to continue to engage stakeholders on the effective delivery of infrastructure on the continent.
It aims at providing a platform for stakeholders to engage in accelerating and synergizing their efforts to accelerate projects preparation and implementation, mobilize adequate financial and technical resources for projects, increase private sector participation in PIDA implementation; and mobilize Member States to integrate the PIDA projects into their national development plans.
In April 2019, ministers in charge of Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism, meeting in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, in the Second Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism reiterated on a joint requested to the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) jointly with the African Development Bank to strive to fast track the development of second Priority Action Plan of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA PAP 2) adopting the integrated corridor approach, which should be submitted to the AU policy organs for consideration and adoption by January 2021. Accordingly the STC mandated the Bureau of the STC to validation the studies of PIDA PAP2.