Courtesy: NEPAD Dialogue (NEPAD Secretariat)
Regional workshops to discuss the medium to long-term strategic framework for infrastructure development in Africa will be hosted by the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and convened by the African Development Bank and NEPAD during April 2007 in centres across the continent. Infrastructure, comprising energy, water and sanitation, transport, information and communications technology (ICT), stands at the heart of NEPAD objectives of poverty reduction through economic growth and full participation in the world economy.
Because African economies considered individually are typically too small, the coordinated development of regional infrastructure has been identified as a critical element in fostering regional integration and trade competitiveness. Collaboration and joint action at the sub-regional and regional levels are, in turn, necessary for the development of regional infrastructure to allow economies of scale through pooling and joint facilities, and to overcome the limitations of small markets and enhance competition.
The goal of NEPAD is to develop infrastructure services that are adequate, efficient and of minimum cost and are, therefore, able to support the development of trade and economic growth needed for achieving the NEPAD aim of reversing Africa’s marginalisation in the global economy. Inadequate, unreliable, unpredictable and high costs of infrastructure services are acknowledged as the most serious constraints for Africa’s competitiveness.
The role of NEPAD in infrastructure is essentially one of coordination, advocacy and facilitation focused on:
Mobilising political will and actions to implement policy and institutional reforms, including the harmonisation of regulatory systems;
Facilitating resource mobilisation through policy coordination among external partners and by helping to create an enabling environment for investment in infrastructure;
Fostering partnerships for infrastructure development and financing involving the private sector, infrastructure agencies and regional economic communities (RECs);
Developing a strategic framework to coordinate and monitor programs for regional infrastructure; and
Facilitating knowledge sharing, networking and dissemination of best practices among countries, RECs and technical agencies.
The NEPAD action plan for infrastructure is rooted in the ongoing programs and initiatives of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and sector organisations. It brings a new vigour and sense of commitment to the implementation of REC programs and will help to strengthen and supplement them by setting them in a framework driven by common long-term strategic goals.