President Paul Kagame has emphasised the role of private sector investment in developing Africa’s infrastructure to attain sustainable development. He was speaking during the second Dakar Financing Summit for Africa’s Infrastructure Development in Senegal, on February 2. ALSO READ: EAC Secretary General tips private sector on infrastructure development The forum, themed “Maintaining the momentum towards world-class infrastructure in Africa”, seeks to catalyse public, private, and blended funding for identified priority infrastructure regional projects. Different continental heads of state, government officials, and members of the private sector gathered to discuss ways of securing funding for regional infrastructure projects under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), an AUDA-NEPAD initiative. President Kagame noted that there has been progress over the years but Africa’s infrastructure gap remains significant. To close this gap for good, mobilising domestic resources is very critical, he said, adding that this is why, in 2018, AUDA-NEPAD launched the ‘5 percent Agenda’ on increasing institutional investment in Africa’s infrastructure. This summit is an opportunity to add to this funding mix, by partnering with the private sector, to make our infrastructure projects even more bankable, he added. Kagame highlighted that having inclusive, reliable, and sustainable infrastructure is not an end in itself but for Africa, it means reducing the cost of doing business, boosting regional trade, and becoming more resilient against future shocks, adding that ultimately, infrastructure is a means to create prosperity and opportunity for the people. President Macky Sall of Senegal and Chair of the African Union, also emphasised that infrastructure is the nerve of development and driver of integration because it supports economic activities and ensures the indispensable mobility of the development process. “In Africa, infrastructure remains underfinanced in terms of volume and badly financed in terms of interests and repayment period,” he said. According to the latest report of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa, investments in infrastructure in Africa have decreased from $100 billion in 2018 to $ 81 billion in 2020, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since its creation, Kagame said that the membership of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative has increased under the leadership of South Africa. This underscores, once again, that building Africa’s infrastructure requires us to work closely together, both as governments and with the private sector. In fact, this also helps to operationalise with full capacity the African Continental Free Trade Area, he noted. He, therefore, called on government leaders and the private sector to seize this momentum and to make faster progress towards the shared goals as outlined in Agenda 2063.