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African countries advised to collaborate on infrastructure projects

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Trade between African countries could better the current 11 per cent of Intra-African trade levels if calls to pool resources on infrastructural projects do not fall on deaf ears.

There is power in numbers and collaboration on infrastructure projects between African nations, according to economists who now say such a move would not only benefit the continent, but also lower the high costs associated with doing business in the region.

The 6th annual Infrastructure Africa Business Forum is expected to present African leaders and infrastructure stakeholders with an opportunity to unpack the enormous growth potential by addressing Africa’s regional projects and plans.

The way forward will be examined in light of Agenda 2063’s goals for Africa’s infrastructure growth and development. Agenda 2063, which represents the AU’s vision for unity, self-determination, progress and collective prosperity, is a shared framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development to be achieved by 2063.

The idea was birthed and agreed upon by the African leaders in 2013 during the 50th Anniversary of the Organization of African Unity, and was ratified in 2015. It is the African Union’s plan for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years and includes the AU’s infrastructure plan to expedite Africa’s build programmes.

Is this an elusive objective? Not according to Liz Hart, Managing Director of Infrastructure Africa said, “The story of Africa’s development is an exciting one, with enormous untapped potential still to be accessed and realised, especially in the infrastructure space.”

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 presents a framework for a future integrated Africa that is prosperous, peaceful and productive and where all its citizens are in a position to develop their potential.

The plan is to promote sustainable and long-term stewardship of Africa’s heritage and resources, placing Africa in a position to drive its own development, while accelerating socio-economic growth and technological transformation, with the resultant eradication of poverty and gender discrimination.

Some of the past and current initiatives it builds on include: the Lagos Plan of Action, The Abuja Treaty, The Minimum Integration Programme, the Programme for Infrastructural Development in Africa (PIDA), the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), The New partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Regional Plans and Programmes and National Plans. It is also built on national, regional, continental best practices in its formulation. These plans will be discussed at the conference, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre on the 21 and 22 August.

“Infrastructure is the key to Africa’s socio-economic transformation and faster growth, but requires the collaboration of experts and policy makers, which is what the Infrastructure Africa conference is all about,” said Hart.

Agenda 2063’s infrastructure goals for Africa include well-developed ICT and digital economies, as well as world-class transport infrastructures such as high-speed railway networks and roads, supported by efficient sea and air transport.

A Pan-African High Speed Train Network will connect all the major cities of the continent, with adjacent highways and pipelines for gas, oil, water, as well as ICT Broadband cables and other infrastructure. This will be a catalyst for manufacturing, skills development, technology, research and development, investments and tourism.

The planned world-class infrastructures will promote Africa’s socio-economic growth and sustainable development and will see intra-African trade growing from less than 12 per cent in 2013 to approaching 50 per cent by 2045. By 2063, Africa’s share of global trade will rise from 2 per cent to 12 per cent, making Africa an important player on the international stage.

However, achieving these goals requires collaboration by relevant stakeholders – such as those represented at the Infrastructure Africa Business Forum on the 21 and 22 August.

 

 

 

 

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Business Journalist since 2009, has worked for Financial Post, Standard Media Group, Business Journal and People Daily.

Chief Editor at The African Business Fortune Magazine.

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