Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
Infrastructure in Africa is key for integration and growth and is a priority sector for NEPAD. To deliver this programme it is recognised that the capabilities of the Regional Economic Communities need to be enhanced.
The NEPAD Infrastructure Short-Term Action Plan (STAP), produced in May 2002, has evolved and today the project portfolio constitutes a selection of infrastructure programmes or projects that support regional integration, with a value estimated to be $20bn.
It does not contain all the projects proposed by the RECs. The mandate of the Short-Term Action Plan ends in 2007 and will be replaced by a Medium to Long-term Strategic Framework (MLSTF), expected to be finalised at the end of 2007.
The RECs are considered as the “pillars of integration”, and the driving forces for helping to implement regional programmes.
To speed up preparation and implementation of regional infrastructure projects improvement is required in two main areas :
Clear roles, task assignment and coordination between the various actors and ;
Selective capacity strengthening of the individual actors, keeping in mind the overall goal of simplification and efficiency improvement.
REC capacity building initiative A capacity building initiative for regional infrastructure provision should be based on :
A well defined structure This structure which encompasses policy, technical and administrative staffing needs for infrastructure delivery should be based on sound two to three year focused delivery plans. Such plans should include measurable outputs, and could be drawn up with the support of the AU.
In addition to RECs, important actors include national ministries, banks and utilities, regional development banks and regional specialised agencies.
Delivery plans should include details for helping to improve coordination, division of labour, communication and knowledge management between these various stakeholders, and should aim at simplifying and increasing the efficiency of the decision-making processes.
Clear roles in facilitating project implementation Delivery plans should clearly define the role of each REC. With the financial support of donors, RECs should consider the need not to spread their resources too thinly, but to focus on achieving maximum impact for their resources.
For example, helping to make existing infrastructure more effective through full implementation of regionally agreed protocols can have significant economic returns. The roles should take care of geographical overlap of some RECs and take into account the specific mandate given to eight RECs under NEPAD as the “building blocks” of regional integration.
It is proposed that a fund be set up at the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support REC delivery plans.
The fund would be demand-driven and only respond to well prepared and focused delivery plans.
It is important that plans are African owned and led. In setting out delivery plans RECs should be careful not to assume responsibilities and activities which can, and should, be left to the member states and implementing institutions at the national level.
Links should also be made to other capacity building institutions. The UNECA and African Capacity Building Foundation are just two examples of institutions that have capacity building plans for RECs. It is important that delivery plans take note of resources coming from these and other sources of support. Source : NEPAD News, March 9, 2007