A two-day high-level conference that was aimed at showcasing and mobilising support for strategic continental infrastructure and energy projects in Africa was held at Expo 2020, in Dubai, on 31st October and 1st November 2021, convened by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD).
The conference on Infrastructure Development in Africa at Expo 2020 featured high-level personalities and thought leaders from the continent, articulating the African vision for transformational infrastructure, while engaging stakeholders on the effective delivery of infrastructure and energy in Africa.
“We believe that Africa’s better days lie ahead of us. Appropriate infrastructure is a prerequisite for implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). However, the lack of well-prepared and bankable infrastructure projects has been a major constraint. This is why we are working with AUDA-NEPAD, AfDB and other partners in the NEPAD Project Preparation Facility, encouraging strategic partnerships with the private sector,” Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, the AU Higher Representative on Infrastructure Development in Africa stated, during the opening session of the event.
Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, the AUDA-NEPAD CEO , remarked that “Infrastructure is not about economic transformation alone, but the transformation of people’s livelihoods.” This was in agreement with Mr Atef Marzouk, Ag. Director of Infrastructure and Energy at the AUC, who also emphasised that infrastructure development is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.
The conference highlighted, among others, the recently adopted Second Phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA-PAP2). “Before the onset of PIDA, regional infrastructure projects were not prioritised. When we moved from PIDA Priority Action Plan 1 to PIDA Priority Action Plan 2, we took on a corridor approach, in order for us to think beyond country boundaries. The corridor approach is the main change in paradigm in our continent’s infrastructure development. Africa is therefore ready for investment – it has gone through a process of consultation, prioritisation and development of tools with strong political will,” Dr Mayaki said.