President update on the work of the NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) chaired by President Jacob Zuma Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
President Jacob Zuma has today, 29 January 2015, presented a report to the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Coordinating Committee on work done by the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI).
The African Continent continues to make progress in infrastructure development through the implementation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) chaired by South Africa and spearheaded by seven dedicated Heads of State and Government including President Zuma. The Minister in the Presidency, Minister Jeff Radebe chairs the Ministerial Working Group of the PICI.
The PICI is part of the PIDA, as it is an initiative that brings strategic political leadership to bear on fast-tracking the implementation of important projects from the PIDA Priority Action Plan by identifying and dealing with blockages, missing links and choke-points.
Under the PICI, for example, progress is being made in closing the missing link of the trans-Saharan highway project covering 4500 kilometres between Algeria and Nigeria and $40 million has been secured towards its continued construction. It is expected to be completed in 2016. The optic fibre component of the same project has seen substantial progress, with the completion of 60% of the project. Egypt recently held the first Steering Committee meeting of the footprint states of the Navigational route between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea.
In other infrastructure work, construction on the Grand Inga project is due to begin in 2015. The Dakar Financing Summit in June 2014 prioritised 16 PIDA PAP projects for exposure to private and institutional investors.
Progress also continues to be made along the North-South Corridor that President Zuma champions, with a number of hard and soft infrastructure issues and projects being addressed.
Says President Zuma: “The major outcomes that we strive to achieve through creating an efficient North-South Corridor are to upgrade infrastructure and remove impediments to trade flows, including regulatory and administrative constraints to transport and transit systems”.
Such work involves identifying missing links, chokepoints and bottlenecks and then bringing strategic, political will to bear to provide solutions to unblock the further development of the Corridor, including dealing with border blockages.
To date, there are 157 projects in various stages of the project life cycle, comprised of 59 road projects, 38 rail projects, and 6 bridge projects.
The detailed North-South Corridor Framework Report done in 2012 proposed 19 shortlisted projects and 9 priority projects as a way forward. Progress has been made with regards to the identified 9 priority projects, two of which are fully financed and have now been moved to the post-financing stage for project monitoring and reporting. An additional 3 projects have been included onto the priority project list. Seven of the nine other projects are in the pre-finance phase.
With regard to the Institutional Framework for the North-South Corridor (NSC), the National Steering Committee is working towards the completion of the North-South Corridor Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and efforts are underway to finalize the various outstanding aspects of the MoU.
The President is satisfied with progress made by the PICI to date and work is continuing to take projects forward.
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SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS