Johannesburg, October 29, 2018 - “As an afro-optimist and not pessimist, my message to Africans is that Africa needs to tap into its own potential. The number one issue that we need to tackle is infrastructure,” said Honourable Raila Odinga, the High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa.
Following his recent appointment as High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Hon. Raila Odinga of Kenya made an official visit to the NEPAD Agency in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Hon. Odinga visited the NEPAD Agency to discuss his new continental role, particularly as champion for the upgrading and modernisation of the missing links of the Trans-African Highways Network and the Continental High-Speed Freight Railways Network (C-HSfRN) - two important Infrastructure projects of Agenda 2063 – and its First Ten-Year Implementation Plan.
Hon. Odinga’s work will be in support of strengthening infrastructure projects undertaken by the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Agency, within the framework of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
“I am absolutely confident that the High Representative is more than capable in assisting the continent to tackle its infrastructure challenges, since he has the comparative advantage of being technically knowledgeable in this field, and he also has the requisite political backing,” Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency said in welcoming Hon. Odinga.
The former Prime Minister of Kenya, Hon. Odinga also previously held the offices of Minister of Energy and Minister of Roads and Public Works. In his new continental role, he will pay particular focus to the missing links along the transnational highway corridors identified as part of the Trans-African Highways Network, with a view to facilitating their development and modernisation. Hon. Odinga has already been involved in providing input into the Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET corridor programme), which is Eastern Africa’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure project.
“I believe that African countries should be able to trade freely among themselves through the African Continental Free Trade Area, and the skies should be open through the Single African Air Transport Market,” Hon. Odinga said. He added that, “For all this to happen, we need to stay focussed on the priority infrastructure projects and start with the key ones alreadyidentified in PIDA, and Agenda 2063. Having an integrated approach will help us realise quick wins.”
Dr Mayaki reiterated that the African Union Commission and NEPAD Agency are delighted with the appointment of Hon. Odinga as the continent’s High Representative for Infrastructure, as well as the political will that has been shown. “We are fully committed and ready to support you,” he informed Hon. Odinga.
Going forward, the NEPAD Agency-led Technical Working Group, comprising the AUC Department of Infrastructure, foot-print Regional Economic Communities and Member States of the missing links corridors, will convene a technical review meeting in Sudan on the High Representative’s work plan for 2019, slated for 11-13 November 2018, in Khartoum.
To enhance regional integration and trade, two important activities to be discussed by the experts, the High Representative and Regional Economic Community Executives, will be the proposed establishment of a joint corridor coordinating authority for the LAPSSET transport corridor. Deliberations will also focus on support for the upgrading of key missing links, for instance the Kalundu Port-Uvira-Luberizi road section (along the Central Corridor), an important 50km road stretch, linking Dar es Salaam port and the Great Lakes region, and beyond.
For more information contact:
Ms Mwanja Ng’anjo
+27 11 256 3600
www.nepad.org |Twitter @Nepad_Agency
About NEPAD Agency
NEPAD Agency is the implementing agency of the African Union, facilitating and coordinating the development of continent-wide programmes and projects, mobilising resources and engaging the global community, regional economic communities and countries in transforming Africa. NEPAD Agency is contributing to Africa’s Agenda 2063 goals, the continent’s long-term development framework for socio-economic transformation.
To learn more about NEPAD Agency’s work in Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade, visit: http://www.nepad.org/areas-of-work/regional-integration-infrastructure-and-trade