The intra trade in Africa remains at 15 percent lagging behind Europe whose intra trade stands at 70 percent respectively.
The AU High Level Representative on Infrastructure Raila Odinga, made the remarks in Kisumu yesterday during the first day of the 9th Africities Summit at a High Level Dialogue on Infrastructure and Urban Development on Wednesday.
“Infrastructure development is a priority and key ingredient for economic development. The major reason for low intra trade in the continent is the lack of infrastructure to connect its countries. There is a need to come with the African infrastructure fund to be self-sufficient in terms of funding,” said Odinga, who is also the Kenyan presidential candidate.
Danny Faure who is former President of Seychelles called upon the need for Africa to choose the right infrastructure that will have an effective impact on the continent, citing the case of Botswana, where a new bridge has been built with its length at 71 meters all the way to Zambia providing a hub to Zimbabwe and Namibia.
“The infrastructure is strategic and Africa needs it,” said Faure.
The Executive Director of the UN Human Settlement Programme Maimuna Mohamed Sharrif called upon the need for Africa to ensure provision of basic services such as water, health cities, sanitation, health and housing.
“People move from rural to urban areas due to lack of facilities. If they had it, they would not move. We need to look into the intermediary cities in the provision of basic services,” she stressed.
The AU Chairperson Mussa Faki suggested need to develop public private partnership to invest in energy and infrastructure.
The Africities Summit is one of the most concrete initiatives to build African unity. It is a democratic platform and a process for promoting Africa's development and integration from the bottom up and is thus a training platform for African leaders of local and sub-national governments.
It allows them to familiarise taking into account national, pan-African and global debates to which they should bring the point of view of local governments to make these debates more tangible and worry about the concrete impact on the populations on the ground.
This year, Kisumu one of the fastest growing and strategic intermediary cities in Kenya is hosting the 9th summit ever since its inception with the theme being The Contribution of Africa Intermediary Cities to the implementation of Vision 2030 of the UN and Agenda 2063 of the AU.
Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of the Republic of Kenya graced the event which brought together more than 8,000 delegates from all over the region.