Report of the NEPAD Heads of State High Level Sub-Committee on Infrastructure to the AU Nepad Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee by President Jacob Zuma – January 29, 2011.

In his capacity as Chairperson of the NEPAD Heads of State High Level Sub-Committee on Infrastructure, President Jacob Zuma used the occasion of the AU Nepad Heads of State and Government (HoSG) Orientation Committee meeting in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to report back on progress so-far registered. It will be recalled that it was at the 23rd Summit of the NEPAD HSGOC that the necessity of infrastructure to Africa’s growth and development, through the existing African Union and NEPAD infrastructure initiatives was confirmed.

At the 15th African Union Summit held in Kampala in 2010, the recommendation of the 23rd Summit of the NEPAD HSGOC to establish the NEPAD High-Level Sub-Committee on Infrastructure was adopted. The NEPAD High-Level Sub-Committee on Infrastructure is comprised of the Heads of State of South Africa, Algeria, Benin, Egypt, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Senegal.

The Sub-Committee was specifically tasked with:

  • identifying suitable, bankable and sustainable projects from the five regions of the continent and further link them to a suitable political champion as agreed in Kampala;
  • agree on a set criteria for project selection and modalities on champion selection;
  • prioritising and consolidating infrastructure projects for high impact and results; and
  • approving the modalities and procedures on the championing of infrastructure projects by specific Heads of State and Government.

Thus far, the Sub-Committee noted the support and interest of continental and international development and financial institutions in the projects. Highlighted also for consideration was on issues regarding the funding and financing of regional infrastructure projects.

In his report, President Zuma indicated that the High Level Sub-Committee on Infrastructure was proposing that in “selecting infrastructure projects to champion in each of the regions, priority should be given to projects that have the capacity to unlock the economic potential of the respective regions in particular and the continent in general”.  

Most importantly, the report proposed that investment should help meet longstanding development needs, such as:

  • Connecting African countries with each other;
  • Facilitating intra-African trade;
  • Opening up the regions and countries to tourism;
  • Facilitating longer term diversification of African economies; and
  • Enabling the continent to benefit from its natural endowments.

The report also emphasised the imperative of forging alliances and clear lines of accountability with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Pan-African institutions charged with the responsibility of infrastructure development. The report further emphasized coherence and alignment of infrastructure Initiatives with existing African Infrastructure Frameworks, such as the AU/NEPAD Africa Action Plan: 2010- 2015 and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa 2011 - 2040.

In is report, President Zuma reminded the meeting of the specific infrastructure projects covering the five AU regions and the thematic infrastructure areas of transport, energy, water, sanitation and ICT.
He reported that the Sub-Committee sought endorsement by the HSGOC of the projects identified and their respective champions and therefore their subsequent consideration and approval by the AU Assembly. In the regard, the projects and champions were agreed as follows:

  • the Missing Link of the Trans-Sahara Highway Project and the Optical Fibre Project along the same alignment - Algeria;
  • the Kinshasa-Brazzaville Road Rail Bridge Project – The Republic of Congo;
  • Water Management, River and Rail Transport Infrastructure projects - Egypt;
  • the Nigeria-Algeria gas pipeline project - Nigeria;
  • ICT Broadband and Link to Fibre Optic Network into neighbouring states - Rwanda;
  • Dakar-Ndjamena-Djibouti Rail and Road project - Senegal; and the
  • North-South Corridor Rail and Road Projects - South Africa.

Upon approval of the infrastructure projects, the Sub-Committee’s Technical Task Team, including the REC’s were requested to conduct a status analysis of the selected projects, including costs, and critical implementation issues and develop an implementation program by the end of April 2011.

The Sub-Committee also proposed that the respective Champions should report biannually at Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee Summits, and that the next AU-NEPAD Ministerial Group meeting on Infrastructure should be held before June 2011, in an effort not lose momentum.

The Sub-Committee further emphasised the role of partnerships between governments and the private sector (especially local and international financial institutions) in both infrastructure and other forms of development. An appeal was also made that regional development banks should be more proactive and more flexible concerning long term financing packages that are in the interest of the region.

The report also emphasised the need to strengthen intra-regional cooperation, reinforce public private partnerships and encourage business-to-business cooperation on infrastructure projects.

For further information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974.

Issued by:

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

February 3, 2011


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