Ghana News Agency (Accra) – President Akufo-Addo urged increased and knowledgeable exchange between Africa’s community of development experts to make possible solutions to bridge the continent’s infrastructure deficit.
President Akufo-Addo said it was time that Africa’s human resources were managed well for its (Africa’s) rapid advancement.
The president made this call in a speech read for him at the virtual joint launch of a report on Quality Infrastructure in Africa by the African Centre for Economic Development (ACET) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The report, which stemmed from a call that President Akufo-Addo made at the 18th International Economic Forum on Africa, held in Paris in 2018, for the OECD and ACET jointly to facilitate policy dialogue to accelerate and scale up quality infrastructure on the continent, outlines the path to achieve that objective.
At the forum Akufo-Addo stressed the need for an African-led development approach in building quality infrastructure to meet the continent’s growth requirements. He urged African states to simplify processes, speed up investment and make financing more accessible to enable significant progress in infrastructural expansion.
The dynamics of urbanisation
The joint report maintains that with the continent expecting to become home to a population of roughly 2.5 billion people by 2050, there is an urgent need to expedite the delivery of quality infrastructure that will match the dynamics of the continent’s demographic growth and urbanisation.
The report also holds that to attain the common development goal of the continent speedily, African governments have to devise new ways of making infrastructure development and investment faster and less burdensome to fit the needs of their economies and populations.
It proposes the promotion of the quality label and project delivery model of the strategic continental initiative Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) to enhance the delivery of energy, transport, ICT and trans-boundary water resources.
The report also pushes for the establishment of community infrastructural expert institutions Africa-wide to enhance real-time peer learning and the sharing of good practice. It further calls for the strengthening of institutional capacity and harmonising regulatory regimes to overcome the continent developmental challenges.
President Akufo-Addo, who described himself as a strong advocate of PIDA, said there was an urgent need to build quality infrastructure to meet Africa’s development needs.
He was pleased that the OECD/ACET initiative had been aligned with the PIDA action plan, saying it was a welcome development for “our efforts on project quality”.
Build the knowhow
The president further noted that although the African Continental Free Trade Area presented a considerable opportunity for Africa’s future, the continent needed to build the requisite knowhow and capacity to draw on the great benefits of the arrangement.
“To develop our infrastructure, we need our own financiers, project developers and managers, engineers, environmental, social and governance experts, evaluators and construction professionals.
“We in Africa have world-class experts in these areas, but we do not always manage these human resources well … we need more knowledge exchange and peer learning within Africa,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo was sure the OECD/ACET recommendations, an important step in harmonising infrastructure processes in Africa, would appeal to all stakeholders engaged with the continent’s development.
He expressed his appreciation to the German government, the African Union Development Agency, the African Development Bank and the World Bank Group, as well as China and Japan, for providing financial support for the initiative, which he was hopeful will be presented at the AU’s Heads of State and Government Summit in February 2021.