Adeyemi unpacks PIDA Model Law for transboundary infrastructure projects in Africa at PIDA Week

Adeyemi unpacks PIDA Model Law for transboundary infrastructure projects in Africa at PIDA Week

The proposed model law facilitates private sector investment and financing in transboundary infrastructure projects

Economic Commission for Africa’s Adeyinka Adeyemi, on Monday unpacked the PIDA Model Law for private sector investment in transboundary infrastructure in Africa for participants at the on-going Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa Week in Namibia.

Mr. Adeyemi, Senior Advisor and Head of the Regional Integration and Infrastructure Cluster in the ECA’s Capacity Development Division (CDD), said investors want predictability and reliable local partnerships, respect for the rules of the game, a conducive regulatory environment and a respectable return on investment, among other things.

“All these issues and more are covered by the PIDA Model Law for transboundary infrastructure projects,” he said, adding financing infrastructure projects in Africa required billions of dollars that can be easy to secure with the right policies in place.

Mr. Adeyemi was part of a panel, including NEPAD’s Ms. Towela Jere, Addis Ababa University’s Fikremarkos Merso, also a lawyer, and IDEP’s Ron Kamwendo, that discussed how the PIDA Model Law, can be used to unlock investment opportunities in Africa.

The proposed model law facilitates private sector investment and financing in transboundary infrastructure projects; ensures transparency, efficiency, accountability and sustainability of transboundary infrastructure projects; harmonises cross-border regulation of transboundary infrastructure projects; and promotes intra-African trade and opens domestic markets to international trade.

All these issues and more are covered by the PIDA Model Law for transboundary infrastructure projects
The law will not apply to domestic infrastructure projects or transboundary infrastructure projects covered by binding treaties where such are inconsistent with the model law.

The ECA advisor said PIDA estimates that Africa needs up to $93 billion annually until 2020 for both capital investment and maintenance; $360 billion for the PIDA projects to be implemented through to 2040; and by 2025 with African countries envisaged to spend $180 billion on infrastructure, an indication of governments’ determination and confidence.

If PIDA is implemented, Mr. Adeyemi said, Africa will reduce electricity production costs by $30 billion or $850 billion through 2040; access to power will rise from 39% (2009) to nearly 70% in 2040, providing access to an additional 800 million people; transport efficiency gains will be about $172 billion in the African Regional Transport Integration Network (ARTIN); Intra-African trade shares will double from the current 12 percent; and more than 15 million new jobs will be created in construction, operations and maintenance.

He said investment in transboundary infrastructure in Africa is beset by three giant fallacies: Africa is too risky; there are too many divergent laws, policies and regulations; and that investment opportunities are scarce.

Panelists and delegates also discussed unique challenges, including risks, facing Africa as it tries to woo investors to fund transboundary infrastructure projects on the continent and how the model law can help harmonize cross-border rules, regulations, laws and policies governing such projects in Africa.

The law is expected to be adopted by African Heads of State at their January Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after which the ECA and its partner in this project, NEPAD, will help countries to domesticate the law to fit their needs.

PIDA covers four main sectors; transport, energy, information and communication technology as well as transboundary water resources. It has 433 projects with 51 marked as priority.

The ECA, African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB) and NEPAD organized the 2017 PIDA Week which is being held under the theme; “Regional Infrastructure Development for Job Creation and Economic Transformation”.