The East African Community and its partners, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) will meet, this week, in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the regions’ infrastructure development programme.
According to a statement released over the weekend by EAC, from Thursday to Friday countries from the Eastern and Southern Africa region will discuss strategies and funding for development of infrastructure at the Infrastructure Development Conference organized by EAC, COMESA and SADC under the ‘Tripartite Framework’ in conjunction with the IGADD.
IGADD is a regional body with a mission to assist and complement the efforts of the Member States to achieve: food security and environmental protection; promotion and maintenance of peace and security and humanitarian affairs; and economic cooperation and integration, through increased cooperation
“The event, themed Linking up Eastern and Southern Africa for sustainable economic development & best practices in private sector opportunities, will be characterized by presentations and plenary discussions on several topics including projects and programmes within the Tripartite arrangement, infrastructure developments, public-private partnerships, and business opportunities for SMEs in infrastructure,” reads part of the communiqué.
“Key among the gains expected from the Conference are funding commitments by the international donor community for the pre-feasibility and feasibility work that will be needed for development of Aid for Trade programmes along major transport corridors in the ESA region.”
It is also envisaged that the Nairobi conference will give birth to partnerships between regional small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and companies from Europe that are geared towards the promotion of projects and services in the infrastructure and related sectors.
According to Philip Wambugu, the EAC Director for Planning and Infrastructure, the event will be the first where special attention will be given to the roles that SMEs (especially African companies) can play in the provision of infrastructure services like engineering and design, construction, transport, logistics, management and operation of infrastructure facilities.
The cost of addressing Africa’s infrastructure needs is estimated at around $93 billion a year, about one-third of which is for maintenance—more than twice the Commission for Africa’s (2005) estimate.
Even if major potential efficiency gains are captured, Africa would still face an infrastructure funding gap of $31 billion a year, mainly in power.
Decisions of the October 2008 COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Summit in Kampala, Uganda forged a milestone on the road to regional integration and infrastructure development in the ESA region.