Concerned by the increasing infrastructure deficit and the need to address the financing challenge of regional infrastructure projects, The ECOWAS Commission through the ECOWAS Project Preparation & Development Unit (PPDU), and the sector Departments of Transport, Telecommunication, Energy and Water Resources, has held a sensitization meeting on the recently developed ECOWAS Regional Infrastructure Masterplan.
The event which was held from 23rd to 24th June 2022 at the Alisa Hotel, Accra, Ghana was attended by officials of National Planning, Economic Development and Finance Ministries of Member States, representatives of the Infrastructure Committee of the ECOWAS Parliament, the Community Court of Justice, and Development Partners.
The objective of the meeting on one hand was to present the newly approved Masterplan to the Ministries in charge of National Planning from Member States, and on the other hand to ECOWAS Institutions (Parliament, Court of Justice and EBID) and Development Partners.
The ECOWAS Regional Infrastructure Masterplan was approved by the Authority of Heads of State and Governments during the 60th Summit held in December 2021. The 25-year Masterplan covering 2020-2045, comprises 201 regional projects at an estimated cost of 131 billion USD covering all Member States that form the regional bloc. The ECOWAS Infrastructure Masterplan covers four key sectors (Transport, Energy, Telecommunication and Water Resources) and contains both soft projects (facilitation, services improvement, efficiency measures, studies, project preparation, institution- and capacity building) and hard projects involving physical investment projects. It also details the roles of the key actors and stakeholders in both its development and implementation.
The President of ECOWAS Commission, H. E Jean Claude Kassi-Brou whose speech was read by the Commissioner for Infrastructure of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Pathé GUEYE reaffirmed the political commitment of the Authority of Heads of State and Government to put in place an appropriate regional framework to ensure efficient infrastructure service delivery in ECOWAS countries. He cited the potential challenge associated with the implementation of the Masterplan particularly in terms of the mobilization of adequate resources to cover the entire estimated budget. He therefore reiterated the need to leverage private financing taking advantage of the recently adopted Regional PPP Policy and Guidelines. The Honourable Commissioner also highlighted the FODETE “Fund for the Development of Regional Energy and Transport Projects in ECOWAS” initiative being undertaken by the ECOWAS, as a key to facilitating local resource mobilisation in recognition of the huge investments required to implement the Masterplan.
Speaking on behalf of the Spanish Cooperation for International Development, financing partner of the ECOWAS PPDU, the Spanish Ambassador in Ghana His Excellency Javier Nanette, on behalf of the Spanish Cooperation for International Development thanked the ECOWAS Commission for initiating the meeting to promote the Masterplan. He reiterated the support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) to PPDU, among which includes support to the technical studies for the Dakar – Bamako Railway Project which is one of the flagship projects in the Masterplan. He wished participants fruitful deliberations.
The keynote opening statement was made by the Director of Public Investment – Mr David Klotey Collison – on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Finance of Ghana. He welcomed all participants to Ghana and reaffirmed the continued support of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo –Addo, President of Ghana towards better regional integration through provision of high standard infrastructure. He mentioned the deliberate effort to ensure there is adequate geographic spread of the projects retained in the Masterplan, particularly the landlocked and Island Member States. Mr. Collison highlighted the efforts of the Government of Ghana on regional infrastructure development citing in particular the country’s active participation in the Abidjan – Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project and the establishment of a national Infrastructure Investment Fund, an independent fund set up by the Government of Ghana to mobilize, manage, coordinate and provide financial resources for investment in a diversified portfolio of infrastructure projects in Ghana. Mr Collison urged all participants to examine the issues presented and make salient recommendations to facilitate the implementation of the Regional Infrastructure Master plan.
After thorough deliberations on the presentation of the masterplan by ECOWAS, the participants agreed to create an ad-hoc monitoring and evaluation committee and intensify sensitization campaigns targeting the sector Ministries of Members States and development partners. The meeting also recognized the need to undertake necessary project preparatory activities for individual projects to better engage financiers at planned investment fora in 2023 and beyond, in order to have sufficient elements to showcase the selected projects.
The closing speech was delivered by the Chairperson, Mr. David Collison who thanked all the participants and commended them for their contributions and active participation. He urged participants to adequately brief their respective Ministers and incorporate components of the Masterplan in their respective national development plans.