In his capacity as the head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat has appointed Raila Odinga as an envoy for infrastructure Development in Africa. This new dispensation requires Raila Odinga to uphold and reinforce the efforts of the AU Commission’s important organs as well as the Planning and Coordinating Agency of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). This comes as the continental bloc seeks to ensure visible economic growth and spur sustainable development at all levels on the continent.
WHY PROMOTE AFRICA’S INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT?
According to statistics, just 38 per cent of the African population can access electricity; less than 10 per cent have access to the internet. The same statistics have shown that just a quarter of the African road network is accessible. The deplorable states of roads, railways and ports have increased the cost of goods traded in Africa by up to 40 per cent. It therefore remains of no use to talk about economic growth or development without mentioning development in Infrastructure. From a holistic view, infrastructural development is at the forefront towards the evolution of any society.
After identifying these setbacks, African presidents and head of governments in 2012 unanimously adopted a plan of action for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) as the continental bloc validated a project that will boost sustainable development in Africa. The project is expected to run until 2040.
PROGRAM FOR INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
The Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is a well-planned continental project orchestrated by the African Union and backed by its member states. This program has as objective, to assemble resources, that will hasten the growth of the African continent through modern infrastructure. The AU-driven infrastructure projects comprise over 400 actionable sub-projects covering four main infrastructure sectors, such as energy, transport, Tran’s boundary water and ICT. Some African organs associated to this project include, EAC, SADC, IGAD, ECOWAS, and ECCAS among others.
The financial needs of PIDA are estimated at 11, 391,527 USD. This amount includes the cost of the panel of experts (funded by DFID), regional sector consultation workshops (funded by the NTF and the EU) and the establishment of an infrastructure database (funded by the EU). Sectorial studies alone will cost USD 7,552,343. They are financed by the Bank at a rate of 25.6% (1, 933,319 USD); the African Water Facility (AWF) at 24.6% (US $ 1,862,224); the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) up to 23.3% (USD 1,756,800) and the NEPAD-IPPF grant up to 26.5% (USD 2 million).
Who is Raila Odinga?
Raila Odinga is a prominent political figure and main opposition leader in Kenya. He served as Prime Minister in 2008 under a unity government; he has held several important positions including Energy, Roads, Public Works, and Housing between 2001 and 2005. Thus Mr. Raila has a rich political background; he’s an advocate of the ideals of Pan-Africanism and African integration. Odinga is also very versed with infrastructure development.
If any nation or continent can boast of real economic growth, then infrastructural development most be a priority. We can only talk of poverty reduction, human development, among other things, if we investin infrastructure such as roads, electricity. The African Continent has witnessed economic development in recent years thanks to visible infrastructural development.
AFRIC Editorial Article.