Africa challenged to implement infrastructure reforms
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also the Chairman of East African Community (EAC), stated that development of key transport corridors will further contribute to the realization of Africa Union’s vision of inclusive growth. (Image: The East African)
African countries have been challenged to adopt and accelerate reforms that will attract and retain more private sector investment in infrastructure projects.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was speaking at 4th European Union-African Summit, which took place in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014, said this is the only way that the continent will realize its ambitious growth in infrastructure.
President Kenyatta, who is also the Chairman of East African Community (EAC), stated that development of key transport corridors will further contribute to the realization of Africa Union’s vision of an inclusive growth agenda, for an integrated prosperous and peaceful continent.
West African leaders recently endorsed “in principle” their Economic Partnership Agreement EPA with the EU two months after the negotiations were completed.
The EAC has yet to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement`s (EPA) though and is insistent that the EPA should be structured to ensure that trade expands and that it supports growth of intra-regional trade in Africa.
The EU and North African countries are also committed to continue bilateral negotiations for Deep and Comprehensive Free-Trade Areas that will expand market access in areas not yet fully open.
Divisions remain over some outstanding technical issues, particularly as some African countries, namely Nigeria, raise questions over the deal’s potential economic impact.
In addition, the EU and West Africa had reached a compromise on an EPA at the senior officials’ level at the end of January, pending political endorsement.
However, the deal must also be initialed, signed, and ratified before October 1st, 2014; otherwise, some of the West African countries may lose their existing preferential access on the EU market.
In addition, President Kenyatta added that Kenya has taken deliberate steps with the enactment of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) legislation, which aims at facilitating the private sector in the development of projects in transport, energy, water and ICT.
Further, he added that the Kenya government is committed to ensuring that all parts of the country have developed adequate roads, affordable electricity supply and clean drinking water to satisfy all basic infrastructural needs.
At a regional level, the President mentioned that the East African Community has prioritized the development of key regional transport in order to encourage trade and investments.
The East African infrastructure projects also include the rehabilitation and expansion of the Northern Corridor and the improvement of the Central Corridor.
Other infrastructure projects are the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) project, a transport corridor that will form important transport connectivity between Eastern Africa and Western Africa countries, thus further promoting intra-Africa trade and investment.
Speaking at the opening of the summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended both Africa and Europe for showing leadership in crafting a new sustainable and inclusive development agenda.
Ban Ki-moon, however, said that more focus must be directed to empowering women and ensuring that the voices of young people are heard.
Meanwhile Armando Guebuza, the President of Mozambique, asked Europe to continue to support African countries through training and investment.
Speaking to Euronews, he said, “Our traditional sectors are linked to agriculture, where productivity is increasing, which is an important step.”
Security was among others one of the top themes, with EU officially launching its military mission in the Central African Republic, leaders also took this opportunity to discuss about corruption and money laundering.
Africa and the EU agreed at the end of the Summit to continue working on outstanding Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the aim to foster intra-African trade, Africa’s regional integration efforts and the planned Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).