NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – Poor infrastructure, political instability and outdated technology have been identified as the major challenges stifling inter-Africa trade.
Speaking during the launch of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative workshop, East African Community and Northern Corridor Development Cabinet Minister Peter Munya notes that African states are underutilizing the vast resources in the continent.
“The level of cross-border infrastructure especially the modes of transport is a challenge. We also have technological challenges that lead to most of the African projects being outsourced from other continents. There is also uncertainty in the political climate that affects long-term investments in the continent.”
“These challenges affect the tapping of resources in Africa especially in reference to the population of 1.2 billion people that offer a very compact market for most of the goods and services being produced,” the CS said.
Munya, however, said with the political goodwill shown by African Presidents with the agreement of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by 44 African countries in March this year, there was hope in the realization of continental development.
The CS also expressed confidence in East Africa regional development and referred to the Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport program (LAPSSET) which he said is 48 per cent complete, as an example of regional growth.
Munya further said the pipeline connecting Kenya and Uganda was set to be discussed during the Northern Corridor Summit later this month, with plans of re-launching the project being on course.
“I can assure that the LAPSSET program is on course and major milestones have been achieved by the three countries.”
“The issue on the pipeline with Uganda is almost been resolved. We are aware that Uganda had plans of constructing their pipeline through Tanga in Tanzania. However, during the summit to be held on May 26, representatives from both countries will discuss on the same and I am confident the project will continue as previously planned,” he said.
Speaking during the workshop, African Development Bank (AfDB) representative Mamady Souare assured African countries of continued financial support so as to enhance industrialization ion Africa.
He further advised African states to look into investing more on infrastructure and noted that the political goodwill demonstrated through PICI offered a good avenue for more projects to be brought into the market.
The PICI task team workshop is set to be held for two days in Nairobi with the stakeholders set to prepare a comprehensive status report to be presented to the Africa Union Assembly during the June- July African Union summit 2018.
PICI is a platform created by African head of states in a bid to accelerate regional infrastructure development across Africa through political championing of the projects.