New York, 17 October 2017 – The case for financing infrastructure and agricultural development was made at the United Nations headquarters during Africa Week.
Chair of the Africa Group, Mr Mohamed Siad Doualeh, Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the United Nations, made the call to look at ways to mobilse resources, investment, capacities, skills and technology in order to facilitate agricultural and infrastructure development in Africa.
As envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and Agenda 2063, partnerships will be the essential means of implementation for these development frameworks. In this context, African leaders have prioritised domestic resource mobilisation, through enhancing economic growth, improving the tax system and expanding the tax base, and curbing illicit financial flows while promoting public-private partnerships, and leveraging remittances, financial markets and pension and sovereign wealth funds.
Financing infrastructure and agriculture projects requires an enabling environment that includes adequate skills in project preparation and management, the availability of adequate financial products and institutions, a business friendly environment, adequate hard and soft infrastructure including the legal framework, comprehensive risk management, and political leadership.
H.E Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of Tanzania , reiterated the need for resources to be increased for agriculture and infrastructure. “Since the Maputo declaration was made in 2003 through Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme [CAADP], many governments have increased their budgetary allocations to agriculture. However, mechanisation is still lacking and a number of challenges still remain. Therefore, more investment in agriculture and infrastructure is needed to achieve inclusive growth,” he said.
Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency, concurred with H.E Kiwete in stating that agriculuture in Africa was revitalised through CAADP. “As the development agency of the African Union, NEPAD implements continental strategies and builds coherent plans through frameworks such as CAADP for agriculture and PIDA for infrastrcuture,” Dr Mayaki said. “ These and other continental frameworks are embeded in Agenda 2063 through which regional and national coherence is built,” he added.
Dr Mayaki went on to state that energy is a good example of the link bewteen agriculture and infrastructure. “More bankable projects are needed to attract the much needed investment in infrastrutre, ensuring that returns are high and risks are low. NEPAD Agency’s desrisking report shows that Africa is not as risky as was perceived,” Dr Mayaki said.
“With the underutilisation of resources, coupled with population growth, Africa has not yet achieved self-sufficency in food security,” Prof Victor Harison, Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission stated.
The Commissioner also remarked that rural infrastructure is essential to accelarate agricultural development, emphasising that infrasturure and agricultural developement are prerequisites for meeting goals in Agenda 2063 and SDGs.
World Bank Senior Vice President, Mr Mahmoud Moheildin’s presentation showed that following a sharp slow down, recovery is underway in Africa, South of the Sahara. GDP in the region is expected to strengthen to 2.4 percent on 2017/18 from 1.3 percent in 2016. However, growth in cereal yields in Africa has been consistently lower than in other years, with infrastructure deficit holding back growth
Prof Al-Amin Abu-Manga, Member of the African Peer Review Panel of Emminent Persons concluded that, “Africa has reoruces, what needs to be strengthened is governance thereof.”