ECA, AU Discuss Ways of Tackling Continental Infrastructure Challenges

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Addis Ababa  May 31/2019 Heads of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development discussed on ways of cooperating to tackle the continent’s infrastructure challenges.

The Executive Secretary of ECA, Vera Songwe, and the High Representative for Infrastructure Development, Raila Odinga met in Addis Ababa on Thursday to see ways of cooperation to address the challenge.

They discussed on ways of accelerating regional integration, and resources needed for infrastructure projects.

The discussion was focused on key trans-boundary infrastructure projects such as the Trans-African Highways Network; the Lamu Port; the LAPSSET corridor program, which is East Africa’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure project; and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Grand Inga Dam, among others.

The two sides agreed that Africa needed to fast-track trans-boundary energy and transport infrastructure, including key road corridors, noting that this is the only way to ensure full implementation of the continental Free Trade Area.

“One of the things we are busy working on here at the ECA is the nexus between trade and infrastructure and how we can use it, particularly in the Horn of Africa where we are trying to see how we can use the regional integration and trade conversation to build and capitalize on the peace momentum,” said Songwe.

The High Representative praised the ECA for the work it has been doing for the past 60 years in championing the economic and social development of its member states, fostering intra-regional integration, and promoting international cooperation for Africa’s development.

“Your work has a direct link to the work that we are trying to do in the continent on infrastructure. We need to connect our countries through air, rail, road and regional power pools to accelerate implementation and spread the benefit of the AfCFTA,” Odinga said.

Understanding the need to exert maximum effort on infrastructure development, the African Union has created the post of High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, in 2018 with the aim of enhancing infrastructure integration.

The creation of the post is part of the AU’s drive to expedite the integration of the continent through infrastructure, in order to promote economic growth and sustainable development.