Ministers of infrastructure on Wednesday called on member states of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional trading bloc, to scale up infrastructure projects to accelerate regional economic development.

The ministers responsible for transport, energy, and information and communication technology in the 21-member bloc met virtually at a joint meeting and acknowledged the huge infrastructure efficiency gap across the region as a pressing policy priority, according to a statement released after the meeting.

Joel Randriamandranto, Madagascar’s minister of Transport, Tourism and Meteorology who chaired the meeting, said infrastructure gap needs to be narrowed if the region hopes to accelerate economic development.

Chileshe Kapwepwe, secretary general of COMESA, said the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of African health infrastructure, transport sector and information and communication technology.

According to the African Development Bank, annual infrastructure funding gap was estimated at between 68 billion and 108 billion U.S. dollars across the continent. Enditem

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