The ECOWAS Commission, through the ECOWAS Project Preparation & Development Unit (PPDU), and the sector Departments of Transport, Telecommunication, Energy, and Water Resources, have held a sensitization meeting on the recently developed ECOWAS Regional Infrastructure Masterplan in response to concerns about the growing infrastructure deficit and the need to address the financing challenge of regional infrastructure projects.
Officials from the National Planning, Economic Development, and Finance Ministries of Member States, as well as representatives from the Infrastructure Committee of the ECOWAS Parliament, the Community Court of Justice, and Development Partners, attended the event, which took place from June 23 to 24, 2022, at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana.
The meeting’s main goals were to present the recently approved Masterplan to Member States’ Ministries in charge of National Planning as well as to ECOWAS Institutions (such as the 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, which was held in December 2021.
The 201 regional projects included in the 25-year Masterplan, which spans the years 2020 through 2045, are anticipated to cost 131 billion USD and will benefit all Member States that make up the regional bloc.
The ECOWAS Infrastructure Masterplan includes both soft projects (facilitation, services improvement, efficiency measures, studies, project preparation, institution- and capacity building) and hard projects, which involve actual investment projects. It addresses four key sectors: transportation, energy, telecommunications, and water resources. Additionally, it describes the crucial participants and actors in the planning and execution of the project.
H. E. Jean Claude Kassi-Brou, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, reiterated the political commitment of the Authority of Heads of State and Government to establish a suitable regional framework to ensure effective infrastructure service delivery in ECOWAS countries in a speech that was read by Mr. Pathé GUEYE, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Infrastructure.
He mentioned the Masterplan’s implementation’s possible difficulties, notably those related to securing sufficient funding to fulfill the entire projected budget. He subsequently emphasized the requirement to use private funding in conjunction with the recently enacted Regional PPP Policy and Guidelines.
In acknowledgment of the sizable expenditures necessary to fulfill the Masterplan, the Honourable Commissioner further emphasized the FODETE project, or “Fund for the Development of Regional Energy and Transport Projects in ECOWAS,” being conducted by the ECOWAS.
His Excellency Javier Nanette, the Spanish ambassador to Ghana, spoke on behalf of the Spanish Cooperation for International Development, a financial partner of the ECOWAS PPDU. He praised the ECOWAS Commission for organizing the meeting to advance the Masterplan.
He reaffirmed the AECID’s (Spain’s Agency for International Cooperation and Development) support for the PPDU, including support for the technical studies for the Dakar-Bamako Railway Project, one of the Masterplan’s flagship projects. He wished the discussion’s participants success.
On behalf of Ghana’s Honorable Minister of Finance, Mr. David Klotey Collison, Director of Public Investment, delivered the opening remarks. He extended a warm welcome to all visitors and underlined Ghana’s President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, commitment to improving regional integration through the development of high-quality infrastructure.
He referred to the conscious efforts made to ensure that the projects kept in the Masterplan are geographically evenly distributed, especially with regard to the Member States that are landlocked and island nations.
Mr. Collison emphasized the efforts made by the Government of Ghana to develop regional infrastructure, highlighting in particular the nation’s active involvement in the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project and the creation of a national Infrastructure Investment Fund, an independent fund established by the Government of Ghana to mobilize, manage, coordinate, and provide financial resources for investment in a diversified portfolio of infrastructure projects.
In order to support the implementation of the Regional Infrastructure Master plan, Mr. Collison implored all participants to carefully consider the issues raised and offer meaningful comments.
Following lengthy discussions on the masterplan presentation by ECOWAS, the participants decided to form an ad hoc monitoring and evaluation committee and step up their efforts to raise awareness among member states’ sector ministries and development partners.
In order to have enough materials to adequately present the chosen projects, the meeting also highlighted the necessity to carry out appropriate project preparation operations for individual projects in order to better engage financiers at anticipated investment fora in 2023 and beyond.
The chairperson, Mr. David Collison, gave the final remark. He thanked everyone for coming and praised them for their efforts and active involvement.
He urged participants to provide their ministers proper briefings and use elements of the Masterplan in their individual national development strategies.