Closing Africa’s infrastructure gap is a top priority in order to put the continent on a path for double digit growth and sustainable development, according to world-renowned professor of economics, Jeffrey Sachs.â€œThere is no choice, Africa needs 10 per cent per year of economic growth in the next 15 years,â€� Professor Sachs said. The only way to achieve this, according to him, is to focus on large-scale investments in trans-national infrastructure projects in power, roads, broadband, and other core regional infrastructure needs.
Professor Sachs was speaking Monday on the side-lines of the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event themed â€œUnlocking Public and Private Capital for African Infrastructureâ€� was organised by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
For Africa to realise the 2030 timeframe, Professor Sachs, Director of the SDSN and Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, urged the global community to rally around the NEPAD agenda, as the continent’s strategy for implementing cross-border infrastructure projects. â€œWe need to help support NEPAD achieve its goalsâ€�, he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Agency, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, highlighted that Africa’s challenge was not a lack of resources, but a lack of bankable projects. â€œWe need to invest in the capacity to investâ€�. It is about proposing structured projects,â€� he said.
Dr. Mayaki mentioned the complementary instruments that have been developed to build the necessary capacity for early-stage project preparation and the Africa50 Fund to finance the implementation of PIDA and other regional infrastructure projects. He also underscored the important role of Regional Economic Communities in providing the enabling environment for project implementation, through harmonised policies and regulatory frameworks.
The event brought together leading representatives from the private and public sector, as well as global think tanks.
The NEPAD Agency, SDSN, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Washington-based think tank Brookings Institution, agreed to set up a working group that will move Africa’s regional infrastructure financing agenda forward.
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