Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, AUDA-NEPAD CEO made the remarks during a media breakfast at the PIDA week 2019 that is currently underway in Cairo, Egyp under the theme Positioning Africa to deliver on Agenda 2063 and economic integration through multi-sectoral approaches to infrastructure.
According to Dr Mayaki progress has been registered over the entire landscape of infrastructure from hardware developments on road and railway transport, power including renewable energy, and ICT, to software enhancements in regulatory practices and regimes, policies, systems such as one-stop border post monitoring systems, and human skills and capacities.
“As the continent makes traction in leveraging additional resources, beyond public funding, through ingenious and non-conventional means to tap into insurance schemes, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds” adding that commensurate efforts are required to ensure value for money, drastically reduce illicit financial flows, corruption and other financial leakages to cut down on infrastructure service costs - amongst others, and promote bankable projects that attract smarter investments in productive investments by both local and foreign entrepreneurs.
He added that the empirical methodology of reporting on the implementation of Agenda 2063 developed by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the African Union Commission provides a sound response to this clarion call.
The CEO noted that the methodology enables each country to assess its performance against its own targets, but as well allow for comparisons of performance with other countries. Moreover, as Member States and RECs report on the progress registered in infrastructure development against a standard set of indicators, knowledge sharing on design, planning, implementation and governance of infrastructure development in Africa will be fostered towards accelerating and improving access and quality of infrastructure at all levels.
Africa suffers from poor quality and expensive infrastructure services compared to other parts of the world. It is estimated that this constrains productivity by up to 40 percent and reduces the continent’s GDP by about 2 percent per year.
With the imminent enforcement of the African Continental Free Trade Area which will be the largest single market in the world for goods and services, as well as the free movement of investments and people the urgency for infrastructure development on the continent is even more compelling.
On top of this, Africa’s limited existing infrastructure is already being severely impacted by extreme events associated with climate change.
Impact of Climate Change on Infrastructure
According to a 2015 study by the World Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) called Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Africa’s Infrastructure, some river basins could become wetter under certain scenarios of global emissions pathways, for example, the Orange River Basin and Congo River Basin, while others, such as the Zambezi River Basin, could become drier.
These impacts are already being witnessed across Africa. For example, hydropower production from the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi which supplies most of the electricity consumed in Zimbabwe and Zambia almost ceased in early 2016 when the volume of water in the reservoir dropped to about 12 percent of capacity.
This ultimately resulted from the impact of climate change on the El Niño and La Niña events in 2015 and 2016. But many large-scale dam infrastructure projects will be developed on the continent over the next few decades to unleash Africa’s largely untapped hydropower potential.