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  • Writer's pictureInfrastructure Exchange

AU meeting considers transport, energy and tourism nexus

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

The Second Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism (STC-TTIET) took place this week from April 14-18, in Cairo.

The meeting was organised by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to consider strategies for developing smart infrastructure to boost Africa’s continental transformation and integration. The meeting was attended by 38 member states and regional economic communities, regional and continental institutions, and international organisations.

An experts’ meeting on Sunday and Monday (April 14-15) preceded the ministerial meeting which considered and adopted the recommendations presented by the experts. Mrs Dagmawit Moges, Minister of Transport, led the Ethiopian delegation to the meeting which observed a minute’s silence for the lives lost in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to Nairobi on March 10.

The meeting considered the nexus between transport, energy and tourism and its relevance for Agenda 2063 and implementing the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

With regard to the transcontinental and inter-regional infrastructure, it took note of the implementation status of PIDA, the Plans of Action of the STC-TTIIET of PIDA and recommended member states to ensure strong ownership of PIDA’s Priority Action Plan projects and include them in their national budgets and plans. It further recommended member states to increase local employment opportunities through an integrated multi-sectoral corridor approach.

Minister Dagmawit noted investment in the transport, energy and tourism infrastructure was a crucial component of Africa’s accelerated growth and sustainable development. These sectors had great potential to create jobs, generate income and enhance economic development. Some of the flagship projects towards realising Agenda 2063 were key components of these sectors; however, they were still not properly contributing their fair share of the continent’s development and growth.

It was important to put in place the necessary structural, institutional, legal, financial and human resources, she said. Moges pointed out that Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan were part and parcel of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063, and the Plan was giving special focus to the development of these sectors in a bid to accelerate growth and serve as a vehicle towards continental integration. She stressed that the Plan mainstreamed gender and women and youth, which she said, were at its heart, noting also that Small and Medium Enterprises were important engines of development for low income families and groups. In addition, the private sector had an irreplaceable role in the GTP, and Ethiopia was now in process of privatising telecom and airlines services to speed up development and growth.

Overall, the transport, energy and tourism sectors contribute immensely to GDP, she said, and “if we double our efforts, the revenue they generate will impact our growth and development significantly.”

The Minister said Ethiopia’s determination to encourage and support the establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market, and the full realisation of PIDA and AUDA/NEPAD programmes and plans of action, was a testimony to its commitment to Africa’s integration. She noted Ethiopia had just ratified and deposited the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement with a view to enhancing continental integration. In conclusion, Minister Moges assured the meeting that Ethiopia would do everything in its capacity to strengthen inter-African cooperation in the transport, energy and tourism infrastructure sectors. The journey might not be smooth or easy, and immense challenges remained, but “with the necessary political will and commitment there is no doubt that we will meet the demands of our peoples.”

Taking note of the progress made in establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), the meeting affirmed the need for an overall continental transport policy.

The meeting concluded urging member states, the African Union Commission and Regional Economic Communities to strengthen intra-African and continental cooperation in the infrastructure sectors. It urged member states to mainstream climate change into infrastructure planning and implementation. It appealed to member states to formulate harmonised policies and regulations for infrastructure development to create local jobs particularly for the youth; to strengthen African Small and Medium Enterprises and ensure technology transfer through vocational training. It called for member states to speed up ratification of pending legal instruments related to infrastructure, including the Maritime Charter, the Single African Air Transport Market, and the AFREC Convention and Road Safety Charter.

It also called on key regional and international partners including the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa the World Bank and the European Union, to continue to support the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa.

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