Africa needs $68 billion for infrastructure

By Nawa Mutumweno – About $68 billion is to be spent on the implementation of 51 priority regional infrastructure projects in African countries, including Zambia, under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) by 2020, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The project have been approved by the African Union (AU) with respective member states expected to finance about 45% of the requirements with additional funding coming from various cooperating partners.

These projects include the 1 600 MW Batoka hydropower plant between Zambia and Zimbabwe and the North-South power transmission corridor from Egypt, through Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Others are the Nacala Corridor, a transport corridor from Malawi to the port of Beira in Mozambique and the north-south multi-modal corridor facilitating easy flow of goods- and services across the borders of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Democractic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Africa.

This intervention is tailored to resolve infrastructure inadequacies Africa is facing with the bank facilitating the smooth implementation through the provision of technical advice to the member countries and their regional economic communities.

‘’We are looking to improve the road, rail and energy infrastructure in Zambia and Africa as a whole. By undertaking such projects, African countries will trade among themselves in areas such as electricity. Thus, power generated in one country could be traded with countries that have a deficit,’’ he elaborated.

He called for quick financing of the projects by the member states and cooperating partners  as infrastructure development plays a pivotal role in the economic development of Africa, adding that the bank is committed to assisting the continent improve its infrastructure. The AfDB had committed $2.7 billion in 2011.

‘’Infrastructure has been the core of our development assistance, accounting for up to 60% of our operations over the last seven years. The bank has invested $11 billion over the last five years to build trade infrastructure,’’ he said.