Report by President Zuma in his capacity as chairperson of the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) to the 32nd Summit of the NEPAD Heads of State Governments and Orientation Committee
I greet you all and wish you well in the New Year, 2015.
This year, 2015 will be an important one for Africa given the important theme, Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.
We meet during an important period when significant progress is being made in Africa. Poverty rates are falling.
Child and maternal mortality rates are down, many more children are in school, and the total number of people going hungry in Africa is falling – albeit far too slowly.
Infrastructure investment spending has quadrupled, exports have increased and Africa is receiving a growing share of foreign direct investment.
These positive trends come on the back of improving governance and a much sounder approach to macroeconomic management.
We need to sustain these trends, and deepen them. We are still left with extreme economic inequality which appears out of control and getting worse.
The impact of climate change is also hitting us where it hurts – despite relative stability and the developmental strides made over the last few decades.
This means we should work harder to boost economic development in the continent, taking advantage of the positive climate.
Regional integration is the key, and infrastructure development is a catalyst for economic development in the continent.
Many of our Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have developed regional infrastructure plans to facilitate regional trade and investments.
However it is important to also invest in national infrastructure, in addition to regional infrastructure.
Regional infrastructure can facilitate regional trade but national infrastructure will facilitate industrial production and national trade.
To help in dealing with this challenge – closing the infrastructure gap, the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) aims to facilitate continuous dialogue and work to boost infrastructure development.
The initiative has served to link political Heads of State to specific infrastructure corridors to ensure strategic political leadership in the championing of cross-border infrastructure projects.
These are projects that should ultimately unlock the economic potential of the continent and provide development opportunities for communities, cities and regions.
As South Africa we are intimately involved in the North South Corridor, a multi-modal and multi – dimensional infrastructure corridor that includes road, rail, border posts, bridges, ports, energy and other related infrastructure.
The corridor passes through twelve countries – Tanzania, Congo, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
Through this initiative we are leading the charge in infrastructure development across the continent, and these projects form the nucleus of the implementation of the broader Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
I have the honour today to present an update on progress that has been made by the championing countries in bringing these projects to a reality. A full report has been made available to Summit.
With regards to the Missing Link of the Trans-Sahara Highway- Algeria, the construction of the other package (100Km) will start in early 2015.
The entire construction of this highway is expected to be completed by 2016-2017.
In relation to the Optic Fibre from Algeria via Niger to Nigeria, the roll out of the works is set for 2015.
With regards to the Dakar-Ndjamena-Djibouti Road/Rail – Senegal, the West African Economic and Monetary Union will finance all technical studies which are expected to be completed at the end of November 2015.
It is expected that the project implementation phase will start before 2018.
The execution of contracts for the early gas phase on the Nigeria-Algeria Gas Pipeline, known as the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline, is in progress.
With respect to the Kinshasa-Brazzaville Bridge Road/Rail, two workshops are planned for 2015 to finalise the detailed design stage and thereafter the project will move to the tender process for the construction of this road/rail bridge which is envisaged to be completed by 2025.
His Excellency President Kagame has been providing strategic leadership and advocacy for ICT on the African continent, and is playing a similar role globally, through the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
This important intervention contributes to the project of Unblocking Political Bottlenecks for ICT Broadband and Fibre optic projects in the neighbouring states.
The objective to connect five Capital Cities was completed in 2013. All the 5 countries are now interconnected and linked to the sub-marine cables at Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.
This brings this particular PICI project to successful completion within three years as planned. Thus this is a flagship successful project for the PICI.
The pre-feasibility study for the Establishment of a Navigational Line from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea via the River Nile Project in Egypt is now expected to be completed by the end of May 2015.
The project will also embrace intermodal transport system.
In order to enhance data collection, missions are planned in February 2015 to Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. The project is expected to be operational by 2023.
Significant progress continues to be made with the North South Road, Rail and related Infrastructure Corridor, managed by South Africa.
A number of hard and soft infrastructure issues and projects are in progress and are being addressed. To date, there are various projects in various stages of the project life cycle, comprised of road, rail, bridge, border posts and energy projects. The projects are listed in the full PICI report submitted to this Summit.
To alleviate pressures at Beit Bridge, South Africa and Zimbabwe committed to improve operations at the Post.
Importantly, the PICI Ministerial Working Group, in their meeting of 16 January 2015 also recommended the inclusion of the following energy projects:
The Strategic North South Transmission Line;
The Sahel Desert Tech Solar Project and
The Central Power Transmission Line, and the
Identification of the respective champions
The Ministerial committee also recommended that South Africa champions the manufacturing and production of locomotives and wagons as part of a deepened industrialisation drive.
We also call for better coordination and harmonisation with the Regional Economic Communities and our critical pan African partners and stakeholders and between the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) structures.
We also present to Summit the proposal to include new political champions under the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative as requested previously by Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and Namibia.
We also propose the establishment of an ad-hoc committee of the PICI Ministerial Working Group to assist in the progression of projects where required.
The PICI is tasked with bringing visibility to the infrastructure projects, facilitate the unblocking of bottlenecks and any political impasse, provide leadership in resource mobilisation and subsequently ensure speedy implementation.
Building on the One Area Network in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda) as leaders we now need to set a deadline to have a One Africa Network. This is already part of SMART Africa and can be done immediately.
It makes so much sense that we also commit to accompanying every major trans-boundary infrastructure project with the laying of the fibre-optic cable.
We also encourage our pan-African institutions and also the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to accelerate its work especially on building a database of Africa Infrastructure Network.
With solid and efficient infrastructure, we can without doubt reach the much sought after and almost magical 7% growth rate per annum – a good starting point for Africa.
Infrastructure is the way to go towards sustainable development, and we are on the right track.
I thank you.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS