Poor project preparations deny Africa infrastructure development: AfDB

By: IMMACULATE KARAMBU

Lack of proper preparation of projects and their management has resulted into failure by African states to attract private investors in infrastructure.

This is according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

This comes at a time when the continent is faced with a Sh9.7 trillion ($95 billion) infrastructure deficit per annum, largely compromising the region’s growth prospects.

The bilateral lender has also blamed African governments for not implementing favourable policies and reforms to attract private investments in infrastructure.

“One thing that makes it more difficult for people to invest is the change of policies whenever a regime changes. You need to be sure that circumstances in your country remain consistent,” said Solomon Asamoah, vice-president for infrastructure, private sector and regional integration at AfDB in a statement following the conclusion of an infrastructure workshop organised by the bank.

At the five-day event, recommendations were made that the African Union Commission should collaborate with the regional economic communities to harmonise standards in road designs and implementation of all infrastructure projects.

“Roads should connect to feeder roads in rural areas, the same as the interconnection of rural power projects. Development must be inclusive,” said Alex Rugamba, AfDB’s director for energy, environment and climate change.

The workshop comprised of 150 participants including infrastructure commissioners from the African Union, infrastructure experts from development institutions, regional economic communities, the United Nations and the private sector.

Over the last ten years, AfDB has invested more than Sh3.06 trillion ($30 billion) in infrastructure, accounting for over half of its lending activities.

The bank urged regional authorities to structure and package their projects in a manner that is attractive to private investors at the initial stages, citing Kenya’s multi-trillion Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor project (Lapsset).

Lapsset seeks to open up the country’s borders to her northern neighbours through road, rail and pipeline networks.

A recent study by American consulting firm McKinsey shows that each year, about Sh1.5 trillion ($15 billion) is available from the international private sector for investment in the African energy sector but the continent is yet to take advantage of these funds due to lack of well-prepared projects.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION