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New OECD report outlines path to boost infrastructure in Africa

DUBAI, July 9, 2020

By 2050, Africa will be home to 2.5 billion people, almost twice as many as today. In the face of this formidable transformation, the continent urgently needs to accelerate the delivery of quality infrastructure such as roads, bridges, energy, water and broadband, according to a new report
published by OECD Development Centre and the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), in partnership with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).
 
Quality Infrastructure in 21st Century Africa argues that traditional business models for project development have failed to deliver the infrastructure services needed to match the dynamics of Africa’s demographic growth and urbanisation. 
 
A basic infrastructure project can take up to 30, or even 40 years from conception to completion, by which time it no longer fits the needs of populations and economies, stated the report.
 
In order to reach the development goals enshrined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, strengthen regional and local value chains, and create more jobs for urban and rural populations, African governments need to design new ways of managing such projects, the report finds -such as by making infrastructure investment faster and less burdensome.
 
This includes overcoming the shortcomings of the two main common approaches of their financial and technical partners: one that aims to help strengthen the institutional environment together with building the infrastructure, and the other that works to develop infrastructure rapidly, with institution-building seen as a local, evolutionary matter. 
 
Assessing the causes of delays in the development of infrastructure projects in Africa -including institutional capacity constraints, multiple regulatory and technical standards- the report proposes two overarching mechanisms to accelerate preparation, funding and implementation:
 
*Expand the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Quality Label System to recognise quality infrastructure;
 
*Create a platform to enhance real-time peer learning and the sharing of good practices among African infrastructure professionals.
 
*The recommendations will feed into the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa 2021-30. 
 
The report’s launch at a July 9 online event marks the culmination of the first phase of this joint collaboration. A second phase will follow.
  
It stemmed from the 18th International Economic Forum on Africa held in 2O18 in Paris, when President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana called on the OECD Development Centre and ACET to jointly establish a technical platform to facilitate a policy dialogue around optimising, accelerating and scaling up quality infrastructure in Africa. 
 
The report benefited from the support of the German Organisation for International Development (GIZ) on behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).-TradeArabia News Service



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