Poor governance a major reason why infrastructure projects fail-AfDB

27Nov 2018
Angel Navuri
The Guardian
Poor governance a major reason why infrastructure projects fail-AfDB

What is the major reason why infrastructure projects fail in Africa?

African Development Bank’s Director for Regional Development and Regional Integration, Moono Mupotola.

Director for Regional Development and Regional Integration at the African Development Bank, Moono Mupotola believes this could be down to poor governance whch is resulting in projects failing to meet their timeframe, budget and service delivery objectives..

She said this during the 2018 Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week that is currently underway in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe under the theme “Realising Africa’s Integration through Smart Infrastructure and Good Governance”.

Mupotola said that poor governance on infrastructure projects often result in cost overruns, delays, underperformance, underutilization, accelerated deterioration from poor maintenance, and, occasionally, expensive “white elephants” and bridges-to-nowhere.

“Based on the above, I expect that this year’s event will enable participants and policy makers to appreciate the role of governance in infrastructure development. This will include understanding the processes, tools and norms of interaction, and the decision-making and monitoring framework used to monitor implementation of infrastructure projects” She said

Mupotola observes that the Bank’s role as financier, facilitator and honest broker in the actualization of infrastructure projects is helping to build the much-needed capacity and institutional frameworks on the continent.

“These will be crucial for establishing good governance and structuring disciplined financing required to deliver smart infrastructure in energy supply, regional transport corridors, internet connectivity as well as trans-boundary water management.” She added

She further said that given the fact that challenges in developing infrastructure are common across countries, international good practices can help governments better seize opportunities to address such challenges.

.GIZ African Union Office Director, Inge Baumgarten said Africa has so much untapped potential that can be harnessed through massive infrastructure development.

“If the Asian tigers could make it then the African Lions can also take a giant leap forward and do it as well. It is not impossible,” said Baumgarten, adding much has been achieved in infrastructure development through GIZ partnership with the African Union and its partners on the continent.

Hubert Danso, the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Africa Investor (Ai), said Africa is leading the way in terms of mobilizing financing, including pension funds, to invest in infrastructure development on the continent.

He praised the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for the work it is doing for PIDA as a partner to the African Union Commission while Nepad and the African Development Bank are pushing the continent to close the infrastructure gap on the continent.

“The ECA has very specific and specialized expertise and is helping a lot in underpinning the institutional framework of all this. We are the mobilizers of the capital while the African Union provides the political capital that’s essential to be able to give the comfort that the policies and the frameworks will be adhered to during the life style of the projects,” said Mr. Danso. 

Some of the projects that are being showcased at the 2018 PIDA Week are: the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway; the Central Corridor Dar es Salaam – Chalinze Toll Road; the Lamu Lapsset Project; the Ruzizi III hydro Power Project; Africa High Speed Rail Project; the Single Africa Air Space Project; Brazzaville-Kinshasa Road and Rail Project; Ethiopia-Sudan power transmission Interconnector project; the Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya (ZTK) power interconnector project; the Batoka Gorge Hydropower Project and the Inga 3 hydroelectric project.

The PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA- PAP) portfolio of projects prioritized for implementation from 2012 to 2020 comprises more than 400 projects in 51 cross-border programmes, covering the four sectors that include transport(235 projects), energy(54 projects), ICT(113 projects) and trans boundary water resources management (9 projects).

The (2012) total estimated cost of the PIDA (PAP} is US$68 billion or US$7.5 billion annually. Of the 400+ PIDA PAP projects-26 % are moving from concept to pre-feasibility or feasibility phases.16 % are currently being structured for tendering.32% are either under construction or are already operational.