Boosting investment for infrastructure, energy in Africa

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The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is working with African countries to increase investment in infrastructure and agriculture on the continent.

In a presentation during the ECA’s first quarter Accountability and Program Performance Review Meeting (APPRM), Habiba Ben Barka, Economic Affairs Officer with the Private Sector Development and Finance Division, said the ECA was working to strengthen the private sector business environment in energy and infrastructure development, and increasing the use of public-private-partnerships (PPPs) as one of the means to scale-up investment in infrastructure, especially in the context of COVID-19.



To achieve this specific outcome, the ECA has identified three key strategic activities which are; supporting a number of member-states to implement infrastructure planning tools, focusing on energy and transport, and apply methodologies developed by ECA for increased private sector participation in road safety; bring more countries to adopt policies that will attract more private sector investment through the use of PPP frameworks and other means for scaling-up infrastructure investment; and foster more engagements between actors in the aviation industry and financial institutions within the context of COVID-19 economic recovery on the continent.

Ms. Ben Barka said that among other things, a methodology has been developed for assisting energy regulatory environment in three African countries. A Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) policy brief that assesses the progress that African countries have made in achieving SDG7 target to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all, will be launched soon, she added.

The sub-program contributed to the identification of a pipeline of 64 projects that support the PIDA initiative, which were all endorsed by African Heads of State and government in February 2021.

“Each region will have 10 projects on energy, transport, cross-boundary water and ICT. The remaining projects would target the needs that will be requested for under the presidential infrastructure initiative and also for small island development states,” she said.



Ms. Ben Barka indicated that one of the outputs delivered by her section was to mobilize capital from institutional investors (pension and sovereign wealth funds) in Africa and across the world to finance the continent’s infrastructure development and green economy needs. Going forward ECA will strengthen its partnership with institutional investors and partners to support the development green financing markets and the establishment of a Pan African Green Infrastructure Investment Bank (AGIIB).

There are ongoing efforts to strengthen the capacity of member states to deepen financial markets and mobilize long-term financial instruments, added Ms. Barka.

She also stated that the sub-program was working to identify barriers to key energy infrastructure on the continent and the number of countries that will be able to align land policy reforms with energy sector infrastructure investment in Africa.