Press Release: Every effort must be made to minimise impact of global downturn on Africa's infrastructure

12 mars 2009

  • Continued investment in infrastructure vital for Africa’s economic development and to alleviate poverty.
  • Infrastructure Consortium for Africa will continue drive to encourage both public and private sector investment.
  • Africa to remain high on G8’s agenda.

Every effort must be made to minimise the impact on Africa’s infrastructure development of the global downturn – and to encourage continued public sector and private sector investment. This was the message from members of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA), gathered for their annual meeting in Rome this week.

Meeting in the shadow of the global financial and economic crisis, the ICA – which helps improve the lives and economic well-being of Africa’s people through supporting and promoting increased investment in infrastructure – pledged to continue and enhance its efforts to encourage both private and public sector investment in Africa’s infrastructure.

The Italian Government also took the opportunity of the meeting to confirm that Africa will remain high on the G8’s agenda. Welcoming participants, Dr Vincenzo Scotti, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Italy would use its chairmanship of the G8 to ensure that Africa would be a key issue for discussion at this year’s Summit.

Speaking at the conclusion of the Rome meeting, the ICA’s Co-ordinator, Alex Rugamba, said:

“We should not underestimate the impact of the financial and economic crisis on investment in Africa’s infrastructure sector, particularly on the levels of private sector investment. But for Africa to benefit when the upturn comes, which it will, the building blocks of a sound infrastructure must be in place.”

“This means better coordination of efforts to bridge the financing gap and working with partners and stakeholders to encourage African infrastructure service providers to tap into the US $20 billion that could be gained annually through efficiency improvements”, he added.

In addition to considering the impact of the global economic situation, the ICA’s members also reviewed the past performance of the organisation’s Tunis-based secretariat and discussed strategic options for its activity for the next three years.

“ICA members have given the secretariat an enhanced role,” said Alex Rugamba. “The secretariat will increase its information-gathering and sharing activity, and will establish a process to step up collaboration and brokering of key infrastructure programmes. We are excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead, and will now draw up our business plan for the next three years.”

Hosted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting was attended by senior representatives of G8 governments, multilateral agencies such as the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the European Commission, European Investment Bank, and by African institutions such as the African Union Commission, and Regional Economic Communities. Senior representatives of funding institutions from China, the Islamic Development Bank, the Arab Fund Coordination Group and India also attended.

Notes to Editors

  1. A full outcomes statement from the meeting will be published on the ICA’s website as soon as possible.
  2. Hosted by the Italian Government, the meeting took place on 10 and 11 March 2009 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. The evaluation of the performance of the ICA, and discussion of future strategic options, took place at a special pre-meeting workshop on 9 March 2009.
  3. The meeting was co-chaired by HE Dr Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim, African Union Commissioner, and Dr Mandla Gantsho, Vice-President of the African Development Bank.
  4. The ICA’s annual meeting is hosted by the country holding the Presidency of the G8. The 2008 meeting was held in Tokyo in March 2008.
  5. The role of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa is to help improve the lives and economic well-being of Africa’s people through encouraging, supporting and promoting increased investment in infrastructure in Africa. Acting as a catalyst, the ICA works to enhance and accelerate the development of Africa’s infrastructure, and to help remove technical and policy barriers. The Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) was launched at the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005.
  6. The ICA is supported by a small secretariat hosted by the African Development Bank. Members include the G8 countries, World Bank Group, African Development Bank Group, European Commission, European Investment Bank and Development Bank of Southern Africa.

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