Better collaboration needed for African countries on infrastructure opportunities

Infrastructure sharing can greatly assist in developing African countries and can also save billions of dollars in costs, African Union Commission (AUC) infrastructure and energy commissioner Dr Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim told delegates at the Infrastructure Africa conference, in Johannesburg, on Thursday. She noted that the AUC’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) provided a common framework for African stakeholders to build the infrastructure necessary for more integrated transport, energy, information and communication technology and transboundary water networks to boost trade, spark growth and create jobs.  

She explained that the main objective of PIDA was to increase the use of resources to enable African stakeholders to speak with one voice, on the basis of a common agenda and common vision for infrastructure development.   African Development Bank (AfDB) gender special envoy Geraldine Joslyn Fraser-Moleketi, meanwhile, stressed that addressing inequalities, whether gender-related or otherwise was not just a moral imperative, but “absolutely necessary” for sustainable development on the continent.  

The AfDB had invested in 114 infrastructure projects across 44 African countries at a value of about $11.6-billion including the establishment of 26 nonstop border crossings. Private equity investment firm Abraaj Group partner Tas Anvaripour told conference delegates that public–private partnerships were critically important in addressing the challenges of infrastructural development in Africa.

“It is impossible for African governments to raise these funds themselves – public-private partnerships were crucial. But governments must create business environments that are attractive for companies to invest in these projects on a long-term basis,” she remarked.