Over 250 participants came together for the 2016 Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week celebration. The event which focused on “Creating Jobs through Regional Infrastructure Development,” ended with a strong advocacy for economic transformation in Africa through accelerated job creation made possible via infrastructure development. Referring to the vison 2063, the participants (which were made up of stakeholders’ representatives of member States, private sector, development partners and project owners) acknowledged the youth capital in Africa and thus, a need to offer great employment windows for them, and making benefit of their skills and potentials.
The event which is hosted in Abidjan in Ivory Coast seeks to showcase and validate the significance of regional infrastructure (PIDA) projects and its associated impact on the socio-economic development of Africa while paying much attention on job creation for the youth. The event was graced by officials from the African Union, the African Development Bank, and the NEPAD Agency, who cumulatively advocated for job creation for the African youth through development of infrastructure development.
The CEO of NEPAD said during the event that it is essential for African nations to have a change in mind-set, policy formulation and programme implementation if it seeks to be successful in bridging the gaps between local and trans-boundary infrastructure developments. He furthered to say that, it is also relevant for trans-boundary projects to be highlighted in many spaces and platforms as PIDA is doing. The vice president of African Development Bank in an address to the participants, said, “We have selected our destination and we are going to get there, as long as we can be assured of excellence in our infrastructure and total reliability in its implementation and operation on the ground. The PIDA programme is at the front of our thinking. We consider it to be critical for Africa’s integration agenda.” The AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy also said, “PIDA should play an important role in narrowing the gap between job creation and unemployment. To that end, public decision-makers and private sector management are urged to actively undertake training and skills acquisition in infrastructure development, particularly in building roads, rail systems, power generation and power transmission systems in order to enable young Africans to be well prepared for the implementation of complex programmes such as PIDA.”
Over the years, PIDA has been operating under diverse levels of platforms and in diverse sectors in the fields of water, energy, ICT, transport, and have focused on strengthening infrastructure in Africa. This year’s PIDA week is anticipated to follow up on the previous events while stretching arms to reach more global infrastructure investors, development finance institutions, export credit agencies, project sponsors (public and private) and governments. Additionally, the event targets to increase the visibility of PIDA projects, and reach out to a wider community.