NEPAD at the World Economic Forum on Africa
African heads of state and government, global business, government and academic leaders have converged on Cape Town this week to focus on driving Africa's economic growth, boosting intra-African trade, strategic infrastructure and agricultural-led development, as part of the 23rd World Economic Forum on Africa Meeting. NEPAD Agency CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki has been engaged from May 6 to 9 in high-level meetings to promote investment in infrastructure and agriculture, in support for the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
On Tuesday, a high-level Summit on Africa’s infrastructure development discussed how the AU and NEPAD can maximise domestic resource mobilisation through the private sector.
AU Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma emphasised the AU’s strong interest in mobilising more African capital to invest in African infrastructure, so as to close the continent’s infrastructure investment gap. It is for this reason that an infrastructure task team was set-up led by NEPAD CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki to deal with the issue of “improved regional integration, intra-African investment and finding alternative resource for infrastructure development funding”, Dr Dlamini-Zuma said.
The Forum called on support from all sectors for important initiatives such as PIDA. Dr Mayaki emphasised that PIDA has made a huge impact on the continent in driving regional integration and economic growth through the fifty-one priority programmes and projects. “Eighty-five per cent of infrastructure funding has been public. In order to fill this gap, we have to open ourselves to Public Private Partnerships. The implementation, however, is mainly a political issue. If you have political leadership, you also increase the effective implementation of PIDA projects,” said Dr Mayaki.
African Heads of State and Government, eminent persons and leaders of business gathered at the two-day Grow Africa Investment Forum on Wednesday and Thursday, to increase private-sector investment and financing for CAADP. Grow Africa is a joint partnership of the AUC, NEPAD Agency and the WEF.
Dr Mayaki said that “CAADP provides key national level systems and capacity. This should be the scope within to advance enhanced private sector financing for CAADP.” Dr Mayaki also acknowledged that the Grow Africa countries have made agricultural transformation a priority. “It is encouraging to see companies respond concretely and apply their knowledge, finance and market access in a way that will drive Africa's development”, he said.
With 2014 being Africa’s Year of Agriculture and Food Security, AU Chairperson Dr Dlamini-Zuma called on the private sector to play a vital role in fulfilling the dream of a prosperous and peaceful continent, through increased investment in agriculture.
Heads of State of Nigeria, Benin, Malawi and Ghana as well as government ministers reported on the progress to date and opportunities in the eight Grow Africa member countries; namely Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania. President of Benin Yayi Boni, said that his country’s economy has amplified because of CAADP, and the allocation of 10 per cent of its national budget to agriculture.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to increase food production and create jobs through technology uptake, processing, strengthening value chains from farm to fork and developing an enabling environment for private-sector investment.
Malawian President Joyce Banda said Malawi is prioritising private-sector investment into agriculture, so as to empower women and small-holder farmers. Further investment was needed to support successful national programmes such as the fertiliser production programme to increase food production and uplift Malawians out of poverty.