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An ECOWAS master plan for the development of regional infrastructure
Group Photo
Group Photo

The Chief of Staff in Togo’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Mr Marc Sondou, stated that the infrastructural sector is a major challenge for West Africa.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Validation Workshop for the draft Master Plan for Infrastructural Development in ECOWAS, Mr Sondou summarised the challenges in the sub-sector.

These include high cost of transportation and energy, inadequate and obsolete infrastructure as well as difficult links and interconnections, particularly for landlocked countries.

Whereas growth and the strengthening of regional integration depend on trade promotion among countries.

He thanked ECOWAS for its efforts in promoting the infrastructure sector, which is the basis for development.

On his part, the Commissioner for Energy and Mines of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Morlaye Bangoura highlighted the regional and continental efforts to address inadequate services in the Information and communication (ICT) sector, infrastructure, transport and energy in West Africa.

He mentioned the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), an initiative of the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD), to provide a strategic framework for priority projects at the continental level.

Thanks to the PIDA Initiative, 51 continental priority projects have been identified in the afore-mentioned sectors, 20 of these will be coordinated by the ECOWAS Commission for the West African region.

At the regional level, Mr Bangoura commended the remarkable progress made to complete some projects particularly the 240mw Kaleta Dam Project, which, since 28 September 2015, has supplied the grid, the Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) electricity interconnection project.

He also indicated that the financing plan of the Sambagalou dam projects and the Trans-Gambia Bridge has been completed, while the projects are under construction.  The preparatory activities for the construction of the Dakar-Lagos highway have reached an advanced stage and the financing plan will soon be concluded.

Mr Bangoura also recalled the decision of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers to develop a long-term master plan for the development of ECOWAS regional infrastructures, which should define the standards, minimum criteria and development objectives of regional infrastructure.

In that regard, the ECOWAS Commission launched a study in 2015 for the development of this plan.

This study is aimed at identifying the needs of the region in the area of infrastructure with a view to meeting the economic growth and development objectives of the region in the next three decades.

A master plan will also be developed to implement infrastructural projects in the transport, ICT, energy and water resources sectors.

Commissioner Bangoura also called on participants to make relevant recommendations to enable the consultant address the critical stages of this study and properly reflect the Member States and stakeholders’ point of views.

He informed participants that two other workshops on this study will be organised to ensure that Member States’ remarks are adequately collated and incorporated into the report.

Experts of Member States and officials of the ECOWAS Commission’s departments of transport, energy, ICT and water resources will participate in the workshop.

Representatives of economic and financial regional and continental institutions as well as the consultant who developed the master plan for the development of ECOWAS infrastructure will also be participating in the workshop.

The meeting is being organised by the ECOWAS Commission’s Infrastructure Project Preparation and Development Unit (PPDU), based in the Togolese capital.  The Unit is also in charge of managing Funds for infrastructure earmarked for projects preparation, mobilization of resources, identification, selection and prioritization of PPDU projects.

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