AU envoy urges regional blocs to strengthen efforts of infrastructure dev’t

The African Union (AU) High Representative for Infrastructure, Raila Odinga, has urged regional economic blocs in Africa to strengthen efforts of infrastructure development, and thereby achieving Africa’s integration and continental development.

Odinga and the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Mahboub Maalim, on Friday held a brief meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, where the two sides dwelt upon issues related to infrastructure development and connectivity in Africa, according to an IGAD statement on Saturday.  Emphasizing the importance of connectivity to spur regional and the continental development, the AU High Representative stated some of the activities he will be undertaking in the coming months, including visits to all regional economic communities such as IGAD.  “With the support from the regional organizations like IGAD, I will do my best to raise resources to complete all connectivity projects for free movement of people, goods and services,” Odinga has noted.

 Maalim on his part said IGAD remains fully engaged and committed to the realization of the continent’s massive infrastructure and development needs.  The Executive Secretary of IGAD briefed Odinga, who was the former Prime Minister of Kenya. “Infrastructure and energy resource development would ensure faster realization of both the AU Agenda 2063 and UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Maalim said, adding that these two are the biggest enablers of development. The Executive Secretary invited Odinga to visit the IGAD Secretariat in Djibouti to further discuss economic integration matters and other issues affecting the region.

The AU appointed Odinga in October last year as part of the pan-African body’s drive to expedite the integration of the continent through infrastructure, in order to promote economic growth and sustainable development.  Odinga’s mandate includes mobilising further political support from member states and the regional economic communities (RECs) and facilitating greater ownership by all concerned stakeholders on the continent, according to the AU.