Southern Africa member states and their specialised institutions are meeting in Botswana in the third leg of regional workshops to select projects to fall under the second phase of a continental drive to build cross border infrastructure projects.
The initiative, the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA, is being spearheaded by the African Union Commission (AUC) in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the AU’s development agency, AUDA-NEPAD.
The three-day meeting which began Wednesday and ends Friday will provide member states, Sadc and specialised institutions with the necessary information and tools to prioritise gender-inclusive, environmentally friendly and smart infrastructure projects that will create jobs and economic opportunities for the African people.
Regional workshops have been held in Gabon (for Central African states) and Nigeria (West African states). Two upcoming workshops will be held in Ethiopia (East African states) and at a venue to be confirmed for North African countries.
Member States that are attending the Botswana workshop are the hosts, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malawi, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Comoros, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The meeting is also attended by continental and regional organisations such as SADC, AUDA-NEPAD and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
AUC, in collaboration with AUDA-NEPAD, AfDB and UNECA has developed the integrated corridor approach framework as strategic basis for the PIDA Priority Action Plan 2 (PAP2).
The second phase of PIDA runs from 2021 to 2030 and is a successor of the first phase which ends this year having begun in 2012.
The integrated corridor approach under the second phase of PIDA will focus on addressing youth employment and education, strengthening gender-inclusive socioeconomic development, smart innovation and technologies, environmentally sustainable communities and economies, and regional connectivity through world-class infrastructure linking people, markets, and facilitating trade.
In her opening remarks, the Director of Infrastructure at SADC secretariat, Mapolao Mokoena recognised the importance of regional integration by way of infrastructure for socio-economic development.
She underscored the importance of trans-boundary water projects as climate change drives populations towards sustainable water supplies.
The selection process for projects under PIDA PAP2 will see them being divided among four sectors—transport, energy, ICT and trans-boundary water resources. One project in each region should be a part of each sector.
The new thrust comes after one water project on the continent was completed during the first phase of PIDA.
Under PIDA PAP2, 58 projects are to be selected, 10 projects per each region—North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa—and one additional project for each of the eight island states on the continent.
PIDA will run through 2040 resulting in the development of cross border infrastructure projects in ICT, Energy, transport and transboundary water resources.
PIDA projects include the US$4.6bn Batoka hydropower scheme which will generate 2400MW to be shared equally by Zimbabwe and Zambia.