African Corridor Alliance established to stimulate economic development
Leaders of various Corridor Management Institutions (CMIs) gathered in Walvis Bay, this week to discuss the architecture of the African Corridor Management Alliance (ACMA).
From across Africa forces are joining to assist with the development of their cross border transport corridors as they serve to open up markets and promote increased trade and investment. Transport is a significant sector, in that it reduces transactional costs in enhancing trade.
This year is important for the continent’s trade agenda as it is expected that the negotiations for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) will be completed. There is, therefore, a need for ACMA to work closely with the CMI’s as a platform for trade facilitation.
Having been around for centuries corridors are the focal point for regional development initiatives. Transport corridors have only been recognised in the last few decades for what they are and more importantly, what they can become as well as the value add to economic growth.
With this in mind, heads of the institutes hosted by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), are meet together with several representatives from the ECA, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC), the NEPAD Agency, the African-Export-Import bank (Afrexim Bank) and other economic integration stakeholders.
Among the most prominent CMIs on the continent are the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor, the Northern Corridor that links Mombasa to Kigali and Kampala, the Walvis Bay Corridor with routes to seven southern African countries and the Maputo Corridor connecting Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa.
“The aim of ACMA is to provide the Corridor States with lessons, practical tools for the design, capacity development and successful implementation mechanisms for economic corridors,” said Mr Johny Smith who is the Interim Chairperson for ACMA. The alliance was joined by representatives from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and various other integral stakeholders at the inaugural meeting.
Namibia’s Permanent Secretary of Works and Transport, Willem Goeiemann said government supports the ACMA. Goeiemann emphasises the ACMA as a vehicle to enhance the growth of trade throughout the continent, and that the alliance should respond to the African Union’s (AU) aspiration of boosting intra-Africa trade.
Director of the Capacity Development Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Stephen agrees that an institutionalised platform for a continental dialogue contributes to policy discussions. Karingi said that Africa is moving towards a more continental view on trade hence the establishment of the CFTA.
The role of economic corridors in promoting transformation and boosting intra-Africa trade has increasingly become important. The corridors themselves are viewed not only as conduits to growth and regional integration but also as engines of regional and local economic development.
The ACMA secretariat will assist in unbundling, prioritizing and sequencing corridor-orientated initiatives into the pipeline of bankable sub-projects with financing institutions.
The support and collaboration of the Regional Economic Communities and the Corridor States are vital to not only lead to the success of the undertakings by the Alliance, but also to ensure that the ownership of ACMA initiatives is consistent with those of the communities and the Corridor States who are ultimately the beneficiaries.