Cooperating partners call for strengthened and strategic collaboration in the preparation of NEPAD infrastructure projects

nepad2Cooperating partners who provide financial support to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) have called for enhanced partnerships in strengthening the capacity of NEPAD-IPPF to increase the Facility’s scope to prepare infrastructure projects for financing and implementation. This was at the Special Oversight Committee (OC) meeting of the NEPAD-IPPF on Wednesday, September 16 in Abidjan.

Edmond Wega from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFATD) who is the current Chairperson of the NEPAD-IPPF’s OC – the decision making body made of representatives of cooperating partners, the AfDB and the African Union Commission (AUC) – said, “Project preparation will remain key to unlocking investment because financing can only go to projects which are economically, financially, environmentally and socially viable”. He said donors are committed to supporting a stronger, more efficient and better resourced NEPAD-IPPF.

Birgit Holderied-Kress from Germany’s KfW (German Development Bank) said Germany has and will remain a strong sponsor of NEPAD-IPPF because its role was critical. Joining other donors, Brian Baxendale of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), observed that “the need for project preparation in Africa is so fundamental that even if NEPAD-IPPF as an institution did not exist, a similar institution would have had to be created”.

NEPAD-IPPF which has been in existence for the past ten years, having been established in 2005, has committed US $100 million to preparation of projects in energy, transport and ICT which have generated investments of US $7.33 billion, which is a huge leverage effect. With respect to projects in the trans-boundary water sector, NEPAD-IPPF works closely with another Bank-hosted project preparation facility, the Africa Water Facility (AWF). Donors supporting NEPAD-IPPF are, Canada, Germany, the UK, Spain, Norway and Denmark.

Solomon Asamoah, the AfDB’s Vice-President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, informed the Special OC meeting that the Bank was committed to transforming NEPAD-IPPF into Africa’s premier infrastructure project preparation facility and that in this regard, the Bank has started to address some of the issues impacting on the performance of NEPAD-IPPF. These include release of US $12 million into the capital operations of NEPAD-IPPF in addition to hosting the Facility; two key appointments – that of Moono Mupotola as the new Director of the Bank’s Regional Integration and Trade Department (ONRI), and the appointment of Shem Simuyemba as the new Manager of NEPAD-IPPF; and increased engagement with African Governments including African Regional Development Banks to make contributions to NEPAD-IPPF to complement donor financing.

He called on NEPAD-IPPF to engage with Bank Sector Departments, potential financiers and policy-makers to ensure that projects that are prepared have a higher chance of reaching financial closure and therefore, moving to implementation bearing in mind that the ultimate aim of projects was development impact to improve the lives of people.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is a premier Development Financial Institution (DFI) present on the African continent.

Infrastructure development is considered one of the 5 Operational Priorities as enunciated in the ‘10 Year Strategy for 2013-2022’.

There is consensus within the Bank that the African continent has substantial infrastructure needs and the current landscape tells of a tale of underinvestment across all major sectors. The aim is to bridge the infrastructure gap with an aim to increase the GDP of member countries and impact everyday lives.

The AfDB has played an instrumental role in developing infrastructure on the continent and does so by contributing substantial sums through its various funding streams. In addition, it aims to scale up infrastructure financing on the continent by leveraging its financial sources. One way it does this is by hosting and contributing to the NEPAD-IPPF fund.

The Fund is in a unique position to be the recipient of funds from the Bank, but also benefit from being physically and strategically positioned at its Headquarters; where it was assigned a leadership role in the provision of; intellectual and technical support to the NEPAD Steering Committee in infrastructure development- both in the form of sectoral expertise and leveraging of downstream financing.