18 May 2015
Global and African chief executive officers will launch an exclusive continental business network for Africa’s regional infrastructure development on 1 June, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa.
WEF on Africa takes place in Cape Town from 3 to 5 June.
Infrastructure is Africa’s top priority, according to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), one of the drivers of the Continental Business Network. With low levels of intra-regional economic exchange and the smallest share of global trade, Africa is the least integrated continent in the world.
Nepad says infrastructure inefficiencies are costing Africa billions of dollars annually and are stunting growth. Bridging the gap in infrastructure is thus vital for economic advancement and sustainable development. However, this can only be achieved through regional and continental co-operation and solution finding.
The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (Pida), sponsored by the African Union Commission, Nepad Agency, African Development Bank, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and regional economic communities, is Africa’s solution. It will work through building mutually beneficial infrastructure and strengthening the ability of countries to trade and establish regional value chains for increased competitiveness.
In June 2014, under the leadership of Senegalese President Macky Sall, the chairman of the Nepad Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, the Dakar Financing Summit for Africa’s Infrastructure delivered a robust and upbeat declaration, the Dakar Agenda for Action. It unpacks how the continent’s public sector will partner with the private sector and development players to ensure financing and investment for 16 key Pida regional infrastructure projects.
The Dakar Agenda for Action outlines concrete actions and measures towards financing for Africa’s infrastructure development.
The private sector and African policy makers also recognised that the lack of capacity and funds in project preparation combined with a weak involvement of the private sector were the main issues causing bottlenecks to Pida implementation.
As an outcome of the Dakar summit, the Nepad Agency and the Pida stakeholders have taken the lead in addressing these challenges by launching the Continental Business Network.
The network is an exclusive infrastructure investment advisory platform for African leaders, providing thought leadership and engagement on a range of strategic issues such as policy, investment risk ratings, project structuring and specifically the existing constraints to the implementation of Pida projects.
The network will comprise leading African and global business and finance bodies as well as regional and international organisations.