The African Union at Expo 2020 Dubai successfully held its second Spotlight on Africa event, under the theme: Infrastructure development. Attended by dignitaries across the public and private sector, engaged through dialogue and presenting case studies on advances made in the development of the African continent as the African Union continues its quest to showcase that Africa is open and ready for business.
The 2-day high level conference emphasized the need for more strategic engagements, guided by policy and the need for more global roundtables through collaborative efforts between the private and public sectors. Furthermore, the conference also presented to the global audience some of the flagship projects that are put in place to serve the continued implementation of Agenda 2063.
Infront of over 3 000 people in attendance, both in-person and virtual, thought leaders from the African continent, articulated the African vision for transformational infrastructure, while engaging stakeholders on the effective delivery of infrastructure and energy in Africa.
To officially mark the conference open, the AU Higher Representative on Infrastructure Development in Africa, His Excellency, Right. Honorable. Raila Odinga set the tone as he reiterated the continent’s confidence in the sustainable development of the various sectors, in particular; infrastructure and energy development.
“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)” he remarked.
This high optimism was met with an equally balanced view of some of the challenges the continent faces, as the Rt. Hon. Odinga went on to say, “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,”
A call for those whose interests lie on the investment opportunities that the 55 member states of the African Union boast, as well as a stark reminder that the continent seeks investors whose desire is to see the development of the continent and not profits alone.
Reading remarks on behalf of the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Department, H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, the Ag. Director of Infrastructure & Energy Mr. Atef Marzouk relayed that “infrastructure development is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end, which is transformed lives, better living conditions, improved livelihoods, decent jobs, gender equality, access to services and shared prosperity,”
On behalf of Her Excellency, the commissioner, Mr. Marzouk concluded by saying “these are the ultimate aims of the infrastructure development projects that we are so vigorously pursuing. They are ambitious but achievable. All they require are the right frameworks, strong partnerships, and private sector investments.”
Mr. Marzouk’s views were supported in the strongest of terms by H.E. Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the AUDA-NEPAD CEO, who remarked that “Infrastructure is not about economic transformation alone, but the transformation of people’s livelihoods.”
The conference further presented the opportunity for the African Union Commission to highlight, 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,” remarked Dr. Mayaki.
The second PIDA Priority Action Plan, known as PIDA-PAP 2 (2021-2030) has adopted the Integrated Corridor Approach, a multi-infrastructure corridor approach to infrastructure development that works toward a more prosperous Africa by emphasising projects that maximise job creation and climate friendliness. The approach also contributes to continental integration by prioritising projects that improve connectivity between urban and rural areas and link different infrastructure sectors. Mr. Symerre Grey-Johnson, AUDA-NEPAD’s Director of TCPF.
Technical Cooperation and Programme Funding, AUDA-NEPAD pointed out that projects in PIDA-PAP 2 were curated this way to also guarantee a people-driven Africa as they strengthen the role of women through gender-sensitive infrastructure development.
The African continent has a land area of about 30.3 million Square Kilometers, and being the second largest Continent of the World, featuring a population of about 1.2 billion people where 60% of this is represents youth who are below the age of 25.
“This is a rare and highly capable skills-force awaiting working opportunities that will help in the sustainable development of their communities, thus benefiting the continent’s genuine drive towards the development of the Africa we want; which is driven by our youth and women” commented AU Expo Deputy Commissioner General, Mr. Chiza Charles Chiumya who followed the proceedings online like the many African citizens who streamed the event.
At the conclusion of a successful 48-hour long engagement, the event was brought to a conclusion by the AU Expo Commissioner General, Dr. Levi Uche Madueke, who commented during his closing remarks that “we have seen the importance and the need to continue engaging with our stakeholders on the effective delivery of infrastructure across the African continent.”
Further adding “the already existing initiatives and frameworks such as the Continental Digital Transformation Strategy, the Single African Air Transport Market and the African Single Electricity Market, should be all signs that showcase to the world that Africa is simply on the right track and moving in the right direction.”
The public, media and all other interested parties can keep up-to-date with the latest out of Dubai as well as get all the necessary information surrounding the AUC lead activities/events by visiting the official AU at Expo 2020 website: https://africaexpo2020dubai.au.int/en
For further information please contact:
Mr. Lunga Kupiso, Public Relations & Media Officer - AUC at Expo 2020 | Information and Communication Directorate | African Union Commission - Tel: +251 115 517 700 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Ms. Faith Adhiambo, Media & Communications Coordinator - AUC at Expo 2020 | Information and Communication Directorate | African Union Commission - Tel: +251 115 517 700 | E-mail: email@example.com | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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