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- Infrastructure connectivity and availability of sufficient, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy are necessary for regional integration in Africa, experts have said.
Dar es Salaam. Infrastructure connectivity and availability of sufficient, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy are necessary for regional integration in Africa, experts have said.
The experts, drawn from the infrastructure and energy sectors, have concluded a two-day meeting in Zanzibar.
They reviewed the progress of existing projects and making recommendations on actions and innovative pathways to accelerate development.
They convened under the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, and Energy.
The STC is convened at a time when the AU is evaluating the implementation of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan (FTYIP) of Agenda 2063.
This comes ahead of the launch of the Second Ten-Year Implementation Plan (STYIP) that seeks to rally member states and stakeholders to commit to the implementation of the STYIP by highlighting the crucial and catalytic role of infrastructure and energy in attaining the aspirations of Agenda 2063.
The STC is convened under the theme, “Accelerating Infrastructure to Deliver on Agenda 2063 Aspirations”.
AU Commission’s Director of Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Kamugisha Kazaura, restated the African Union commitment to support member states and Regional Economic Communities in developing the transport, transcontinental and interregional infrastructure, and energy sectors.
“It is our expectation that the decisions during this meeting will help accelerate the implementation of the infrastructure and energy projects and address pressing needs for basic infrastructure among the member states,” he said.
He further highlighted the progress made in the implementation of key projects and initiatives on energy and transport, as well as the PIDA programme. This includes:
The implementation of the action plans of the African Single Electricity Market (AFSEM) launched in 2021 to strategically enhance the continent's energy security and the sustainability of the African electricity sector through the integrated continental electricity market.
The Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility which has been successful in providing grants to project developers in Eastern Africa. Over 40 projects have qualified for grants amounting to about $130 million, which will leverage investments of about $10 billion and contribute 3,500 MW to the energy mix in Eastern Africa. The commission is planning to establish a geothermal capacity-building programme to further support Member States.
The commission is developing full-scale programmes to explore Africa's potential in green hydrogen and solar energy while partnering with key institutions to explore opportunities for scaling-up climate finance and expanding mini-grids in Africa.
Dr Kazaura said significant achievements have been made in the various Transport sub sectors (Road, rail, air and maritime transport).
They include, among others, the development of a Continental Roadmap for a Comprehensive and Integrated Regulatory Framework for Road Transport in Africa, establishment of the African Green Ports' Forum, finalization of the report on ports efficiency and competitiveness in Africa, revision of the Abuja Aviation Safety and Air Navigation Targets to align them with the global aviation targets, a continental Sustainable Aviation Fuels initiative, and the development of the SAATM Pilot Implementation Project.
Representing the AUDA-NEPAD Mr Simbini Tichakunda, called for all stakeholders to accelerate efforts towards achieving the goals of the AU Agenda 2063 through the implementation of critical initiatives, including the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), accentuating the importance of enhancing coordination and cooperation among all stakeholders.