The African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga today opened a 3-day Development Partners Roundtable on IGAD Regional Infrastructure with a rallying call on governments in the Horn of Africa Region to reverse the slow pace of action on infrastructure – the most important enabler of trade among African nations.
Themed Interconnecting Member States for Regional Integration and Trade Competitiveness, the roundtable aims to secure support for regional Infrastructure to promote economic development and integration as it offers unrivalled opportunity for the development partners to exchange views and network amongst governments, development partners, investors and other stakeholders.
The key objective of the discussion is to support the implementation of the IGAD Regional Infrastructure Master Plan (IRIMP), which was completed in December 2020 with financial assistance from the African Development Bank (AfDB). It boasted of a holistic regional Infrastructure invested approach and defined priority regional infrastructure in transport, energy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and transboundary water projects for investment.
“The IGAD Infrastructure Master plan has highlighted well the Short-Term priority projects. There are 61 projects in transport, 9 projects in Energy, 14 projects in ICT, and 5 projects in trans-boundary waterways. These are projects that need to be implemented by 2024, three years from today, at a cost of US$ 34 billion,” said Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga at the opening ceremony of the 3-day meeting.
His sentiments were echoed by IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu.
“Our region is constrained by low stock of infrastructure and inadequate infrastructure shaves off at least 2% of Africa’s annual economic growth. As a consequence, regional integration has fallen short of expectations. However, establishment of adequate infrastructure would lead to productivity gains by African firms of up to 40%. This roundtable aims to create awareness, build confidence and secure support for the policy initiatives and priority investments as reflected in the IGAD Regional Infrastructure Master Plan (IRIMP),” said the Executive Secretary.