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AU emphasizes infrastructure development for spurring continental integration, trade facilitation

ADDIS ABABA, (The Southern African Times) – The African Union (AU) Commission on Friday emphasised the importance of infrastructure development in Africa to realize continental integration and trade facilitation.

“Infrastructure in Africa in the next decade” serves as “the backbone of the realisation of the much-needed integration and trade facilitation in the continent,” AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou-Zeid said in a statement issued on Friday after a recent ministerial meeting on infrastructure development in Africa.

Post-COVID-19 recovery “requires the fast-tracking of Africa’s infrastructure development to improve resilience and improve livelihoods and economies,” said Abou-Zeid.

“The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated digitalisation, exposed the gaps in energy in rural areas and highlighted the need to develop infrastructure that is smart, inclusive and sustainable,” she added.

The commissioner also called on all AU member countries, regional economic communities and other concerned stakeholders “to synergies efforts towards the realization of Africa’s infrastructure development ambitions.”

AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga also proposed to create “an Africa Continental Infrastructure Fund under the auspices of the AU to pool resources.”

“Such a fund would focus on a combination of domestic sources and private sector financiers,” Odinga said.

“Annually, we have an infrastructure financing gap of between 60-90 billion U.S. dollars. We need effective and efficient plans to mobilize resources to fund the identified PIDA (Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa) projects,” he added.

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