President Paul Kagame has called on African countries to mobilise necessary resources to close the infrastructure gap, as a way to unlock development potential and usher in prosperity for the people.
The Head of State made the call on Thursday at the 2nd Dakar Financing Summit for Africa’s Infrastructure Development, a forum to secure funding for regional infrastructure projects under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), an AUDA-NEPAD initiative, convened by President Macky Sall of Senegal, who is also the African Union (AU) chair.
President Kagame, who is also the Chairperson of the AUDA-NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, highlighted the urgent need for resources to fund different infrastructure projects to link the continent and boost trade. He pointed out that despite progress in recent years, major gaps remain.
“Over the years, good progress has been made. No doubt about that. But Africa’s infrastructure gap remains significant. To close this gap for good, mobilizing domestic resources is very critical,” he said, adding that it the reason AUDA-NEPAD, in 2017, launched the 5% Agenda on Increasing Institutional Investment in Africa’s Infrastructure.
“This summit is an opportunity to add to this funding mix, by partnering with the private sector, to make our infrastructure projects even more bankable. Having inclusive, reliable, and sustainable infrastructure , is not an end in itself,”
“For Africa, it means reducing the cost of doing business, boosting regional trade, and becoming more resilient against future shocks. Ultimately, infrastructure is a means to create prosperity and opportunity for our people,” President Kagame said.
He pointed out that since its creation, under the leadership of President Cyrille Ramaphosa of South Africa, membership of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative has increased.
“This underscores, once again, that building Africa’s infrastructure requires us to work closely together, both as governments, and with the private sector. In fact, this also helps to operationalize with full capacity the African Continental Free Trade Area,”
“It is part of our wider vision, as outlined in Agenda 2063, to build a more secure and prosperous Africa for all of us. Let’s seize this momentum, to make faster progress towards our shared goals. We cannot be satisfied, with business as usual,” President Kagame observed.
The Summit which is held under the theme “Maintaining the momentum towards world-class infrastructure in Africa”, and calls for the development of world-class infrastructure and the mobilisation of funds from both the private and public sector towards priority regional infrastructure projects.
The Summit takes place as the African continent continues to face infrastructure gaps. At present, 600 million people on the continent do not have access to electricity while only 28% of Africans were connected to the internet at the end of 2020.
Development of infrastructure is an important driver of progress. As it stands, the lack of reliable infrastructure in energy, telecommunications, and transport networks have a negative effect on growth and business productivity in Africa.
The 2nd Dakar Summit highlights the need to scale-up Africa’s financial resource mobilisation, and provides a unique high-level platform to convene and engage African leaders, businesses, regulators and policy makers on the challenges and opportunities of infrastructure projects across the continent.