Economic Commission meetings look at bankable projects and transboundary model law
An infrastructure conference scheduled for Swakopmund next week follows in the wake of an Economic Transformation discussion in November in Walvis Bay. Both meetings have been organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, an indication of the growing importance of Namibia’s coastal economy for other countries in the southern African subregion.
For the upcoming infrastructure meeting, although none of the six proposed projects are located in Namibia, the discussions are seen as a testing ground to test the marketability of specific infrastructure projects.
Scheduled from 10 to 14 December in Swakopmund, the 2017 Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa week, will look at regional infrastructure projects as a means to achieve higher employment and economic transformation. This meeting is a collaborative effort of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, the African Development Bank, and the African Union.
The Head of the Regional Integration and Infrastructure cluster in UNECA, Adeyinka Adeyemi said the Infrastructure Development week will serve as a marketing platform for selected projects to accelerate their implementation.
The projects are located in Tanzania, the DRC and the Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan, Zambia and Tanzania, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.
“For my team in particular, we will focus on the proposed model law on transboundary infrastructure development in Africa, which we believe if adopted by the continent will facilitate private sector investment and financing in transboundary infrastructure enterprises in Africa,” said Adeyemi.
In the November Ad-hoc Expert Group meeting in Walvis Bay, experts in development economics, international trade and regional integration, as well as representatives of various governments in the region, talked about Promoting Growth and Economic Transformation in Southern Africa.
Organised by UNECA in collaboration with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, the participants specifically considered the impact of declining commodity prices on regional economies in general, and on the development of cross-border trade routes in particular.
UNECA’s Regional Director, Mr Said Adejumobi said the prolonged downturn in the commodity cycle has exposed the vulnerability of those African economies that are primary commodity exporters. Pointing out the pervasive structural weaknesses, he said “our major goal should be to create expanded markets through market integration and equal production expansion”.
At the same meeting, the Chief Executive of the Corridor Group, Mr Johny Smith used the corridor development model as an example for other sectors in the region’s diverse economies.